Dell describes their Project Sputnik computers as systems developed by and for developers. They’re right. They are. While the XPS 13 is the best known of these, it could stand a little improvement. For example, it can only hold 16GBs of RAM. For those who need even more power and memory, you can get a Dell Precision 5520 Mobile Workstation.
You can up the RAM on this powerhouse machine to 32GBs of RAM. For processing punch, the 5520 defaults to an Intel Core i5-7440HQ 2.80GHz processor, but for an extra $322 you can crank it up to a blazing-hot Intel Core Xeon 3 GHz E3-1505M v6 CPU. The I5 7440 Processor comes with the Intel 630 HD Graphics. The other processors come with a snappy Nvidia Quadro M1200 graphics processor with 4GBs of video RAM.
My review system came with all the trimmings: 32GBs of RAM, the Xeon processor, the M1200 graphics, and a 512GB Solid-State Drive (SSD). In a word, it’s “sweet”. This is the fastest computer I’ve ever had in my laptop bag.
Ever since I switched over to a Chromebook Pixel for my main laptop, I’ve grown to dislike carrying even a single extra ounce on my shoulder. The 5520, at 4.4 pounds with the long-life battery, weighs a tad more than I’d like, but for the power, I’ll forgive it its weight.
This 15″ laptop is also a handsome beast. Its machined aluminum lid lives on a carbon-fiber body. I especially liked the patterned, soft-touch wrist-deck. This is one laptop keyboard you can type on all day with little danger of carpal-tunnel syndrome.
The screen is a bezel-free InfinityEdge display. This is a truly lovely 4K 15.6-inch display and the Nvidia makes it even nicer. But — and this is a big but — for me at least its bright 3840×2160 (4K) display renders text too small to be easily read. Once I set it to a lower resolution, 1920×1080, I was perfectly happy with it.