Dell XPS 1530 Review

I bought a Dell XPS 1530 about three months ago (February ’08), and I’ve been using it as my main computer since then. I use it basically all day long, in a wide variety of applications, so I thought I would write a bit of a review of my experiences with it so far. Hopefully someone finds this useful. If you’ve got one of these or are thinking of getting one, please leave a comment at the bottom! Cheers.

First off, here are my specs:

Dell XPS 1530

Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 (2.2GHz/800MHz FSB, 4MB Cache)
3GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz (2 Dimms)
High Resolution glossy widescreen 15.4″ LCD (1680×1050) & 2MP Camera
256MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT
Windows Vista Premium
250GB 5400 RPM SATA Hard Drive
8X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) with double-layer DVD+R write capacity
Integrated Sound Blaster Audigy HD Software Edition
Intel Next-Gen Wireless-N Mini-card
6 cell primary and 9 cell additional Lithium Ion battery
Dell Wireless 355 Bluetooth Internal (2.0+EDR)
1 Yr Return to Depot Service, Complete Care, Tech Support with Lojack

First let me say that I received my laptop sooner than I expected – I guess Dell operates by the age-old “keep expectations low, then over deliver” adage. Compared to their timeline I think I got it a week early. Which was good, because we promptly took it to Hawaii.

Traveling

It is fairly easy to travel with the XPS 1530 because it is very slim, and reasonably light. Included in the package was a slim nylon covering for the laptop with a magnetic flap. This helps protect it if you plan on throwing it in a backpack or something. On the plane, the XPS 1530 was great, because it has dual audio outputs, enabling both my wife and I to plug in and listen to movies. I think pretty much any 15″ laptop is going to be somewhat awkward on a plane (unless you fly first class everywhere), but this one fit fairly well on the tray in front of me. A major bonus was the fact that I had ordered both the 6 cell standard battery and a 9 cell backup battery. Using them together, I was able to watch movies for the duration of the 6+ hr flight. Having traveled quite a lot in the past, I can truly say it is a joy to not have to worry about where I’ll find the next electrical outlet and time to charge!

Appearance

The appearance of the Dell XPS 1530 is really quite sweet. I got the Tuxedo black model; you can also get it in blue or crimson. It is a mixture of brushed aluminum (looks like it at least) and black plastic. I don’t think you’ll find too many other laptops that look as good as Dell’s XPS series; they’ve won a few awards for that as well I believe. The hinges on the side are nice, they don’t look weak like some other laptops and they really anchor the screen quite securely from flexing. One complaint I have is that the built-in speakers are hidden under a perforated plastic grille that tends to collect dust and grime, and isn’t easy to clean. The media buttons are kind of cool; they light up when you touch them. I know some people have complained about the placement of the mouse pad (its off-center), however I find it is in just the right place when you’re typing properly. The keyboard itself feels good to the touch, though mine seems to have a slight upward bow in the center. Maybe it is my imagination though because I can’t see it from every angle. The fingerprint reader is a bit of a gimmick I suppose, though it is handy as a faster way to login to windows than typing your password. I’ve been known to use this feature to login while walking down the hallway booting up my laptop…

Display

I have my display set at max resolution (1680 x 1050) and it looks great. Colors are vibrant, everything is sharp and I find it a comfortable size to work at. Additionally, I also have a second monitor that I run off the VGA output, as an extended desktop. This works great, except for the fact that every single time I login to windows or resume from sleep mode I have to reset which side of the computer the monitor is on! (default is to extend to the right, but my monitor is on the left). This is sometimes infuriating, though I expect it is more a shortcoming of Vista / NVidia drivers than the fault of the XPS 1530. I’ve also used the XPS 1530 quite a bit with my projector (using the HDMI output) and it works well. However, another gripe with the drivers – the computer doesn’t always properly detect which secondary display is hooked up, and it screws up my custom video settings. One time after using the projector my laptop display was perpetually bright (60% or so) and every time I changed it, it would pop back a few minutes later!!! ARGH!

Network / Wireless

I don’t like Vista’s wireless admin tool. I think it sucks. They took too much control away. XP was better. That said, I use my wireless card all the time, and I haven’t noticed any slowdown as a result of my connection speed. I’m often downloading things and I often get in excess of 500kb/s download speeds. The range also seems very good (must have a very good antenna in the monitor) and my laptop far outperforms two other wireless computers I have in the house (a desktop and a Compaq laptop), both in terms of connection strength, range, and speed. Once again though, Vista sucks at handling network connections (IMHO).

I recently bought an AirPort Express, which is capable of 802.11n (draft) and the two are working beautifully together. I frequently get wireless download speeds around the 600kb/s mark. Now I just need to upgrade the other wireless cards on the network.

Audio

I got the upgraded audio option – the Sound Blaster Audigy. I notice there is a “Software Edition” tagged on the end of the line item – I’m not sure exactly what this means, but I can tell you I’m not super impressed. I’ve done some audio recording on my XPS 1530 and so far it hasn’t been able to compare to my previous desktop. Sometimes during playback (I often play music while I’m working) the sound cracks up – almost like it’s losing reception! Typically, this happens under periods of heavier stress on the CPU; using Photoshop or something of the like, but unnervingly, it also happens reasonably frequently when I am doing nothing more than scrolling my mouse! It makes me wonder if there is an IRQ conflict or something (I haven’t had to deal with with those in 10 years!!). So I’m not sure if this is a Vista configuration issue, or if it is actually a hardware problem. Nevertheless, I’m underwhelmed with the audio capabilites. The two audio outputs, as I mentioned previously, work great while traveling; when in use as a desktop the laptop automatically uses both connections so you can run a 5.1 system, which is cool. The only problem is that the connections are in front, which is annoying this time as now I’ve always got a pair of nice white speaker cables going to the front of the laptop.

Another problem related to recording is I’ve been unable to run any of my higher-end software applications like Cakewalk Sonar, due to hardware problems. I know most people probably don’t run that on a laptop, but it would sure be nice for what I’m doing. Also, I haven’t been able to monitor what I’m recording, without playing it back. That really sucks, as it is far better to monitor a live audio stream than have to play it back every 2 seconds to isolate a problem!

Miscellaneous

Dell ships a cool little remote control in the ExpressCard slot. This works great from across a room to control the laptop for music or movies. The range isn’t great, but props to Dell for including this inexpensive perk with the XPS 1530. Many times my friends have commented on the cool factor of this little remote.

Ability to run OS-X Leopard

When I was looking into what laptop to buy I seriously considered getting a Mac. The tipping factor was price. For about $1000 less at the time I was able to get a machine that was spec’d out almost EXACTLY the same as the MacBook Pro. The other thing was that I have several little programs that are only made for Windows, so even if I got used to running in OSX I’d still have to use Windows on occassion, which kind of defeats the purpose. Plus I like games, and I use an Asus monitor that have the best asus ve278h refresh rate.

So I looked into it, and realized that the Dell XPS 1530 had pretty much exactly the same hardware as the MacBook Pro. Right down to many of the model numbers. So I looked into it, and after spending an often frustrating Saturday afternoon on the issue I got OSX “running” on my XPS 1530, dual booted with Vista. Unfortunately, the sound doesn’t work, likewise the network drivers. I managed to get video drivers off the net, and probably by now someone has done the audio and network. I suppose if these issues could be resolved, there would be serious potential to kill the entire Vista installation and go straight from OSX Leopard, perhaps with XP as the Windows option inside of Leopard. For now though, I’m sticking with Vista. Leopard sure looks pretty on my Dell though.

Other Issues

I think most of the other issues I’ve had with the laptop are Vista related. Unfortunately Vista is an incredible memory hog, even with my 3GB of RAM managing to go quite slowly quite frequently. I’ve got tons of programs installed, but I’ve had to shutdown most of the background processes to keep the thing running ok. When will Microsoft come out with a slimmer OS? LOL.

Lately, I’ve also been getting several Blue Screens of Death (BSOD) – something I haven’t had to deal with since the early days of XP or Me. I’d almost forgotten about these. I think this is again related to the IRQ issue and I’ve been meaning to contact Dell regarding them. I hope my hardward isn’t screwed. This brings up another issue – warranty. Lucky me, I live in Canada so I paid more for my unit than I would have in the States (I priced it out) and I only got 1 year, depot service, while the US offer was 3 years onsite!! Argh. I hope that doesn’t come back to haunt me. I heard though that transferring warranties or getting them serviced cross-border is an absolute nightmare so I shied away from that option.

Conclusion

The only real beef I have with the XPS 1530 is the low quality sound card. It would likely be more than adequate for your typical user, but for the things I want to be able to do with it (recording) it is inadequate. I might have to look into some external solution. All in all though, I’ve really enjoyed the Dell XPS 1530, and I think that without the nastiness of Vista, I would recommend it to anyone.

If you’re in the market for a laptop, checkout one of the logolinks above, either the Dell Outlet store, or Dell’s main site – these links will give you access to the latest sales & promotions. 

38 Responses to Dell XPS 1530 Review
  1. Andrea
    May 21, 2008 | 9:28 pm

    Hi! Just one question about ordering your laptop in Canada! Was your DVD drive a slot-loading drive, or a regular tray drive?

    I’m completely sold on buying this laptop, however I customized my components on the U.S. site (wasn’t paying attention), then went on to the Canadian site to order and realized that there are a few differences in component offerings (prefer the U.S. options). In any case, thanks for this review, you’ve certainly done Dell a service!

  2. Jonathan
    May 22, 2008 | 7:28 am

    Hi Andrea, thanks for the comment. Yes, my laptop has a slot-loading drive (it can also burn double layered disks which is cool). I think the slot-loading drives are so much better than the old tray style drives. Good luck with the new laptop!

  3. bbrian017
    May 25, 2008 | 8:18 am

    Hey something I didn’t see you mentioned was the customer service side of the product purchase! How do you find Dell to be when it comes to customer service. I own the xps700 and everything is amazing except the service!

    I mean the warranty is great they replace any part no questions asked but thats if your not disconnected, sent to the wrong department etc… oh boy I had some stressful moments with them!

    They always ask for you tag when calling in and ask again when you speak with a live rep OMG just thinking of the poor quality that I got makes me upset again!

    When I first got my pc I didn’t even have support for weeks! It was the new generation of xps when it separated from the dimension side of things! I would call in and they would say, sorry sir your tech department is still in training. support for your model will be available asap. I was so upset they would even sell a product without getting all that straightened out!

    they finally launched the dell xps support team and then the company made some major changes in the telephone system software and that went on what felt like for a month!

    Like I mentioned at first my product is amazing with no issues to date besides the dvd burner and it was replaced fast! overnight to be exact!

    bbrian017s last blog post..The Basics of Domain Flipping

  4. Jonathan
    May 26, 2008 | 9:07 am

    Hi Brian, sounds like you got the royal run around!

    Even though I’ve frequently had issues thus far with my laptop (primarily Vista – related I believe), so far I’ve resisted actually contacting tech support. I’ve got a bit of a background in computers and I’ve built up a healthy distrust for the tech guys since one from HP years ago led me through some steps on the phone that totally killed my customer’s hard drive as I watched (great fun btw). So I’ve usually tried to solve my own problems since then.

    However, I’ve heard that Dell has separate tech support for the XPS series, as you’ve mentioned (apparently it is located in the US instead of India??? can anyone confirm??).

    I think I’ll need to contact them soon though as this thing keeps on crashing on me, just to make sure it isn’t a hardware issue. I’ll update the post if and when I have something to say on that.

  5. bbrian017
    May 26, 2008 | 10:00 am

    Let’s simply say I’m just happy the payments are ending! The p.c I had before was the Compaq 700 MHz Presario. The only reason I kept it so long was it had a P3 in it and I was able to install xp pro!

    Don’t get me wrong I love the XPS a lot and it still runs like a champ… It’s the “availability” of customer support that failed to impress me with dell.

    So many times being disconnected and sent to the wrong department! Yes the XPS has North American support!

    This also may have changed it’s been 2 years since I called them

    bbrian017s last blog post..Engage, Vote, Submit, Discuss, Digg, it’s all here

  6. tayfun
    May 29, 2008 | 5:44 pm

    Hi Jonathan,

    you’ve done a good job with your review, but i have a question.
    You said, that you’ve been able to watch more than 6 hours of dvd.
    Do you remember how much of it was with the 6-cell battery?
    And how long will does the battery last in “normal” usage (surfing, office works) ?

    Found al lot of reviews for the 1530 but none of it with the 1680 display, so i can’t imagine how long the battery would last…

    thanks so far…

  7. Jonathan
    May 29, 2008 | 6:06 pm

    Hi Tayfun,

    I’m sorry I don’t know offhand how much of that was the 6 cell. I think it was roughly 1/3 and 2/3 – 9 cell, but I could be wrong. I would expect you could easily get a full length movie out of the 6 at any rate.

    In regards to office type use, again, I’m not sure exactly, but I would put the mark at over 2 hours. And I don’t like turning the brightness down very much either. I will try unplugging it and see how far it goes and hopefully remember to report back.

  8. Jonathan
    May 29, 2008 | 7:32 pm

    Hi Tayfun,

    Although extremely unscientific, I just unplugged my laptop and let it run… I’m plugging back in now at 7 mins and 9% remaining. So I estimate that would have given me about 1:40 minutes of use. Keep in mind that is on full brightness, running two monitors, playing music non-stop, with Dreamweaver, Outlook, Word, IE7 and Firefox open and actively being used. Oh, and I’m running on wireless internet, with a bluetooth mouse (wireless also drains more energy).

    Cutting back on a bunch of that you’ll easily top the 2 hour mark. I will say though that the 9 cell lasts WAY longer and is a worthy investment if you can swing it.

  9. Nick
    June 5, 2008 | 2:08 am

    Hi Jonathan,
    i am really confused between xps 1530 and hp 9700 series.The only issue holding me regarding xps is 1. its screen – is it too bright and reflective to work upon ? and 2. the speakers , is the sound too small compared to hp?
    I definately want to go with dell but for these twoo isuues.
    kindly comment and help me finalise.

  10. Jonathan
    June 5, 2008 | 10:37 am

    Hi Nick,
    I’m not really that familiar with the HP 9700; however what sort of environment do you work in primarily? It is getting harder these days to find non-reflective laptop monitors… If you work in an environment with lots of strong, direct light sources you may find reflection to be an issue. Do you ever use it outside? It can be a bit hard to see outside, but I think that will be the same with most laptops.

    In my experience the XPS 1530 has a beautiful screen for working in an office. It is bright, sharp and clear (more resolution than the 9700 as well if you get the same screen as me). Much better than my old desktop monitor which I use simultaneously with it. Where I work I don’t get any reflections at all, but that is a factor of your environment. I was initially worried about this because of another review I read online, but it hasn’t turned out to be an issue for me.

    Regarding sound, yes the speakers aren’t the greatest. Personally I hardly ever use them, opting for my Cambridge Soundworks 5.1 set that I plugin (you can plugin both cables from the 5.1 set and the laptop makes use of them automatically). Either that or I go with headphones. My wife has an older Compaq R4000 and the speakers on that are actually quite good (laptop is huge though). Not sure what the 9700 is like that way. Hope that helps!

  11. Milad
    June 7, 2008 | 2:17 am

    Hi Jonathan,
    This is milad from iran (that’s right, iran!). Tnx 4 the review.
    i’ve been using an inspiron 6400 for 2 years and now i’m looking for a good gaming laptop between 1400 to 1800 usd. 3 models i have in mind are dell 1530 geforce 8600, dell d830 with nvs 140 and msi gx700 extreme with a 512 nvidia vga and 17 inch screen.
    which one would u recommend for ultimate gaming?
    Tnx a lot in advance.

  12. Jonathan
    June 7, 2008 | 7:04 am

    Hi Milad, thanks for commenting!
    I’m not that familiar with the other two models you referred to, however I can tell you that I am able to run Assassins Creed on the XPS 1530 and it works pretty well. I’m not able to max out the settings though.

    From a quick check online, it looks like the dell d830 is being positioned as a business laptop, and the msi gx700 extreme as a gamer’s laptop. If you’re primarily into this for games, I think the MSI is probably the better bet. Cheers.

  13. Andrea
    June 11, 2008 | 4:30 pm

    Hi there!

    Just wanted to follow up and say I finally got my XPS 1530 last week, an entire week early! It is a dream! I got the same configuration as you, cept I went for the 160gb HD because it was slightly faster, and only 2gigs of ram.

    I’m glad to say my only qualm so far is that the remote control i got seems to be defective, but otherwise, I’m finding this to be an excellent purchase decision. However, the jury’s still out as to whether I’ll continue running Vista, or go back to XP.

    With regards to transferring warranties, I think it is a pretty painless process. I did that for my Dell d600 a couple years ago and it went through within 24 hours. They’ve made the process even easier now, as it can all be done online (I did it over the phone last time), and I just applied to transfer my warranty this afternoon, as I am no longer living in Canada.

    With regard to Dell’s customer service in general… maybe I’m just lucky, or maybe the techies are nice to me because I’m a girl, but I’ve used their tech support in four different countries, and I’m now on my fourth Dell. I may have caught one or two folks on a bad day, but the service has always been excellent. I have to say their post-sale service is one of the main reasons I haven’t strayed from this brand.

    And to Tayfun — go for the 9 cell battery! It’s weighty but worth it.

  14. Tony G
    July 6, 2008 | 6:42 pm

    Jonathan Boettcher!

    Great review. Adding my two bits: I bought the 1530 and can only agree with you on audio. 50% of the reason I bought this was to replace the fantastic audio I get on my XPS M140. No such luck. I don’t understand why Dell would low-buck audio for their next-gen XPS.

    Also, be careful with that gorgeous screen. I broke mine. Luckily I got the fancy warranty (yeah slickdeals!) and they will replace it on site. woohoo! But it is really sensitive to shock. Unlike (sigh) my older M140.

    Also, it was cool to hear from Milad, the gamer from Iran!

    Keep it up!

    TG

  15. milad
    July 8, 2008 | 10:04 am

    Dear Jonathan,

    Thanks a lot for the reply. I finally got myself an XPS 1530, since the MSI gx700 simply looked too Cheap to me. The following are the specs:

    Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 (2.5GHz/800MHz FSB, 6MB Cache)
    3GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz
    256MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT
    Windows Vista business
    360GB 5400 RPM SATA Hard Drive
    6 cell battery
    Made in Irland

    The graphics are definitely great on this system. I had no problems running “call of duty 4″, “Grid” and “Crisis” at maximum resolution. The screen has also gotten much better compared to inspron 6400.

    I could say the only downsides are:
    1. Speakers. They are in one word terrible! While this system is supposed to replace Desktops, I’m really amazed by how poor the sound quality is. Forget about listenning to music loud, or watching DVD with some friends. You will need external speakers for that purpose. I got myself and A4Tech one on the second day.

    2. The Pad is too small and not sensitive enough. The pad I had on the inspiron 6400 one was much better.

    Anyhow, In my opinion this is the best laptop I could find in the market. Regarding the problems I mentioned above, I guess the amazing design covers’em all. So guys, go get yourselves an XPS plus a good speaker and a mouse. You’ll be happy 😉

  16. Vin
    July 10, 2008 | 12:31 pm

    Hey,

    I’ve been using an XPS 1530 for several months now similarly configured except for 4GB RAM instead of 3GB, T7700 instead of T7500 and a 200GB 7200RPM instead of the 250 5400 RPM Hard Drive.

    I agree with all that you’ve said.. excellent value for money compared to the Macbook Pro (bought this Dell instead), aesthetically pleasing, with an excellent screen and great build quality.

    With regards to the audio quality, as an average user I can hardly notice the difference. Perhaps not as great as it could have been, but certainly enough for normal every-day use (itunes, movies, etc..) I have headphones that I use for when I really want that extra oomph, but no complaints..

    I too definitely recommend the 9-cell battery if you can afford the extra cost – Well worth it IMHO, especially when using WiFi.

    Overall, an excellent choice for use as both a desktop replacement as well as a portable laptop. Oh – and a great review too!

  17. Jonathan
    July 10, 2008 | 12:52 pm

    Hi guys, thanks for all the comments!

    I just wanted to clarify my issues with the audio, since audio seems to be a key commenting point. The built in speakers aren’t the greatest, sounding tinny like most laptop speakers do, but if you plug in anything external they should sound great. I run a 5.1 system and its terrific. Headphones are also great. I haven’t had an opportunity to try bluetooth headphones, though I’d like to.

    My main problem arises from the fact that you cannot monitor a recording in realtime. For instance, if you speak into a microphone while recording, you cannot hear the output without first stopping the recording. Or if you’re recording a guitar, you can’t add effects and listen to it while you play. It sounds like a half-duplex sound card issue, but I don’t think its possible they’re still putting half duplex cards in laptops???

    The other issue is that I must have an IRQ conflict, because often times when I am downloading something, it will interfere with local audio playback. Sometimes even the mouse or other things can interfere. I think this is a Vista issue though and I still haven’t taken the time to diagnose it.

    Cheers

  18. cazzbar
    July 11, 2008 | 7:03 am

    I’ve always built my own desktop PCs, with the last one being about 6 months ago after spending around £1200…Two months ago I bought my first laptop (XPS 1530) for £640 and absolutely love it, so much so I haven’t turned my desktop PC on since!

    I was originally concerned about the screen as it’s incredibly reflective. With the default brightness being very low all I could see on the screen was my face! Terrible really, but once I found I could hit Function and UpArrow to increase the brightness it was a totally different beast. My face disappeared and the wonderfully clear glossy and colourful screen came to life! This advice should have been clearly stuck on the box as the machine was almost going straight back to Dell!

    The ability to link it up to televisions and projectors via HDMI is a great feature. Watching BBC iPlayer fullscreen is almost as good as digital TV (after adjusting the colours, as there’s way too much red by default)

    The inbuilt speakers are a joke, like listening to the tinny overflow from someone’s walkman, but the rest of the machine is so good you can easily forgive it. Standard corded headphones are great, although beware with bluetooth headphones as they have an inherent digital delay, so lip syncing with video will always be a problem.

    I’ve had no problems with WiFi and Vista, it auto-detects my router, one click with a password and you’re in. And it remembers this connection everytime you switch the machine on, if you want. So you’re browsing the net in about 60 seconds from when you open the lid.

    I will definitely buy the 9 cell battery at some time because although you can get a couple of hours out of the 6 cell battery, it’s over before you know it. And the point of a laptop is you’re mobile, even if you’re at home! You don’t want to be tied to a power source all the time.

  19. Jonathan
    August 11, 2008 | 10:13 am

    A little update on the batteries – I’ve got a business trip coming up, so it occurred to me maybe it would be nice to get a spare 9 cell just so I would have all the power I could ever want. Well, they’re going for $309 on Dell’s site. Moral of the story?

    BUY ALL THE BATTERIES YOU NEED WHEN YOU ORDER THE LAPTOP!

  20. Mike Wilkerson - 2GuysTalking
    August 25, 2008 | 11:04 am

    An outstanding review, that really does better service for the “normal people that buy laptops” rather than the high-end, here are the tech details” that often have no explanation whatsoever for us that aren’t in the know.

    I ordered my XPS and it will be here TOMORROW!

    This far out, how do you feel about your XPS purchase? Did it hold the value?

    Also, one of our long-time sponsors, Acoustica, has a product that you might like called “Mixcraft”. The playback/monitoring option you were talking about in your review is one of the MANY reasons we use Mixcraft. Email me your address and I’ll send you out a complimentary copy. It’s great stuff and if you’re recording things regularly, you’ll be happy to have it.

    Look for more as well as a review and continual update on my life, with my new XPS coming up soon!

    Cheers!

  21. Jonathan
    August 25, 2008 | 11:27 am

    Hi Mike, thanks for the compliment! =)

    I’d have to say at this point that I’m still happy with my 1530 hardware… it’s just Vista that has me second guessing. I just wrote a post about it actually – mostly about my issues with Vista.

    Thanks for the tip on Mixcraft!

  22. Agatha
    August 26, 2008 | 3:16 am

    Jonathan, really nice review. I had trouble with choosing my notebook and now I know, that I choose XPS 1530 :-)).

  23. Alex R
    August 28, 2008 | 7:00 am

    Hey Jonathan,

    A really nice round-up of the laptop. I’ve been looking at getting something along the same spec as the Macbook Pro. I bought a 15″ MBP a few months ago but sent it back as I really couldn’t work with such a low resolution screen.

    The M1530 seems to have everything I want spec wise. The same configuration but with a 1920×1200 WUXGA screen comes in at £799.01 compared to £1330 I paid for the MBP.

    The one thing I wanted to ask was about OS X. Have you tried to ‘fix’ the audio and network driver issues? I’m really looking to get this laptop ASAP but without the ability to run a fully functional version of OS X, I may have to hold out a little longer.

    Again, excellent write up.

    Alex Rs last blog post..Cunard Building

  24. Jonathan
    August 28, 2008 | 7:19 am

    Hi Alex,

    I agree with you.. the macbook pro is (or was, when I was pricing them) priced way out of line with similar spec’d machines running Windows.

    RE: OSX, I haven’t taken the time to try to fix it yet, however checkout this wiki: http://wiki.osx86project.org/wiki/index.php/HCL_10.5.2/Portables#XPS_M1530

    It looks as if someone else has managed to get it functional. Let me know if it works out for you!

  25. Alex R
    August 28, 2008 | 7:24 am

    Thanks for that Jonathan!

    I did in fact just order one, awaiting confirmation of the order right now.

    The spec that I ordered:

    Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor T8100 (2.10 GHz, 800 MHz FSB, 3 MB L2 cache)
    4096MB 667MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM [2×2048]
    NVIDIA® GeForce™ Go 8600M GT with 256MB dedicated graphic memory
    250GB (5400RPM) SATA Hard Drive

    The CPU is a touch under the MBP that I had, but that shouldn’t account for much. I also went for the 9-Cell battery too, which was a free upgrade. £879 in total.

    Now I need to find the cash to pay for it… :)

    Alex Rs last blog post..Cunard Building

  26. stefan asseg
    September 16, 2008 | 2:04 am

    hi,

    does the xps 1530 allow you to use your external monitor via vga and the projector via hdmi at the same time?

    thanks in advance!

    best,
    stefan

  27. Jonathan
    September 17, 2008 | 8:50 am

    Hi Stefan,

    I remember that I tried this one time, but I can’t quite remember what the result was. I know I could use both at the same time; but I don’t think I was able to use the laptop’s monitor at the same time. IE, it wouldn’t allow me three separate displays. It might allow me three displays, but one would be a mirrored. I know it will allow the use of both outputs at the same time though.

  28. stefan asseg
    September 17, 2008 | 9:04 am

    @jonathan: thank you very much, thats just perfect. will buy it. get your percentage from dell 😉

  29. Angelo Beltran
    October 14, 2008 | 8:21 am

    Hi! I bought my XPS1530 a couple of weeks ago and have the same SOUND “CRACKLING” PROBLEM when running cpu intensive applications like Photoshop and Illustrator. I tried re-installing my sound drivers and problem is still there. Were you able to fix your sound issue?

  30. Jonathan
    October 14, 2008 | 8:30 am

    Hi Angelo, I haven’t completely solved that particular sound problem, though things have improved since I killed Vista’s fancy GUI features. See here for more info: http://jonathanboettcher.com/my-new-laptop-from-1998-running-vista/

    It’s not pretty but it helped… and things are much faster now.

  31. Angelo Beltran
    October 14, 2008 | 5:41 pm

    ok back to the sound “stuttering” problem.

    Here’s what I tried last night. First I uninstalled the Creative’s Sound Blaster software bundle. That didn’t help. Then I re-installed the SigmaTEL audio driver again. This didn’t help. Then I went into MSCONFIG and disabled ALL non-Microsoft services. Rebooted it.

    NO MORE SOUND STUTTERING!

    I then re-enabled the services one at a time and rebooting in-between to single out the culprit.

    NADA-ZILCH.

    I ended up re-enabling every service and the stuttering sound problem never returned. Odd.

    Could it be that my SigmaTEL sound driver re-install finally fixed it? That it wasn’t getting installed properly with all the non-MS services running the background? Or did I reset something?

    I’ll keep you posted.

  32. Jonathan
    October 15, 2008 | 8:10 am

    Very interesting… I’ll have to give that a shot myself.

    I’ve still got a recurring issue with some sort of IRQ conflict (=BSOD) which frequently occurs when resuming from hibernation. I wonder if there is a chance it is related to the SigmaTEL issue? hmm…

  33. Saara from Sweden
    October 25, 2008 | 8:49 am

    Thanks for the great review! I just got my xps1530, almost two weeks early (I ordered it last Sunday and I got it allready on Thursday, amazing how fast it went) and it´s better than I dared to expect. There´s one thing I wonder about though: my hard drive makes this crackling noise when I´m doing something a bit more demanding than just surfing (installing something, using 3D-planning programs etc). The noise is not strong, typing sounds more, but I´m used to silent laptops.

    I haven´t heard thet sound since I started using laptops (my old desktop sounded like that), the only sound on my previous laptops is the fan.

    Do you get this noise (is the computer build that way that the hd makes this noise) or have I got a faulty one?

    Thanks again!

  34. Jonathan
    October 25, 2008 | 9:29 am

    Hello Saara from Sweden!

    I’m not exactly sure what you mean by a “crackling noise”… my hd does make some sounds, but they’re typically the spinning type of sounds, not really crackling. When I do something intensive it sometimes sounds like it’s on the runway, trying to take off, but I don’t recall it crackling.

    On a side note though, sometimes it will randomly beep at me, for no reason at all. Just a single beeeeep, and then it’s done. Strange. I haven’t associated the beep with anything in particular yet. Just before the beep there is a single click as well.

    If you’ve heard that sound on other computers before, chances are it’s ok, but if you concerned about it you might want to call Dell on it quick, seeing as you’re still inside 30 days.

  35. Huy Tran
    November 12, 2008 | 2:35 pm

    Hi,

    Would you please let me know, is this a good deal?

    Dell XPS 1530 (Red), Vista home pre.
    T9300; 4GB Ram, 320 GB 7200 RPM, Bluetooth, 1920, 1920×1200,9 cell battery, integrated sound blaster,
    Belkin notebook sleeve.

    Price: 1587 CDN (before tax).

    Thank you.

  36. milad
    November 30, 2008 | 9:57 am

    Hi,

    I got a bit of problem here with my graphic card driver (have an XPS 1530 with a 8600m vga, my OS is 32 bit windows vista business). Last week I downloaded the latest version of VGA driver from dell.com (version: 7.15.11.7644 A3) and installed it on my system. Now, watching DVDs is one of the things I do a lot. I use both Jet audio and power DVD for DVD playing. The problem is that since the upgrade everytime I run a dvd the screen starts blinking every second on both of’em which is pretty annoying.

    Has anyone else here experienced the same issue? Any light you could shed on this would be very appreciated.

    peace :)

  37. john
    February 10, 2009 | 7:18 pm

    “When will Microsoft come out with a slimmer OS? LOL.”

    it’s called Windows 7! Running it on my 1530 and it’s working great.

  38. Jonathan
    February 11, 2009 | 8:58 am

    You’re running Windows 7? Cool! I assume that’s the beta version – had any problems at all? I’m curious because I’ve tentatively slated time next month to wipe my computer and reinstall Vista. However, if the beta is somewhat stable, I suppose it might be fun to give that a shot… ?