MacBook Pro vs Dell XPS 13

  francesco_zoso 15:39 28 Dec 2017

Hi all, I'm currently facing the hardest question: 'Which laptop should I buy?'.

I'm undecided between two models:

  • 2017 Dell XPS 13'', intel i7 8th gen (8550U), 16GB RAM, 512 GB SSD
  • 2017 MacBook Pro 13'', intel i5 7th gen, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD

Same exact price for both (1550€).

My gut feeling, also driven by personal taste (and probably market), would lead me to pick up the Mac. But I'm still considering the dell, cause I recognize that on the paper it looks more performing.

About the requirements: I'm a physicist, and about to start to write my PhD thesis, therefore the use would be mainly:

  • A lot of tying (LaTeX) … ok, no big deal I know.
  • Running some simulations on Matlab
  • Data analysis on Matlab/Mathematica (time to times with big sets of data)
  • Plots and graphics (both 2D and 3D) for figures editing

However, let me also say that I'm interested in the field of Data analysis, and Data Visualization, so I might end up dealing with a lot of graphics design tasks in the near future (in one year from now).

What would you guys chose?

I'm mostly worried by the difference in the processor: 8th gen i7 vs. 7th gen i5, although Macs are generally more widely used in the graphics field (as far as I know).

Thanks in advance!


  wee eddie 19:38 28 Dec 2017

The software you plan to run should really be the deciding factor

  HondaMan 19:48 28 Dec 2017

Agree with WE on this. You should also check out what the course planners advise as they are in the best position to make informed judgements about hardware

  francesco_zoso 20:09 28 Dec 2017

Yes, i know it always depends on the use you’te going to do with the laptop. That’s why I specified it would be mainly Matlab (data analysis) + Inkscape/Blender (3D graphics) + LaTex (text editing). The rest would be normal usage am due some easy video editing.

How do I know on which platform a certain software runs best??

  Govan1x 20:50 28 Dec 2017


You have already posted this on 3 different Forums why not just stay with them.

You also have it posted on two forums on here as well.

  Menzie 23:58 28 Dec 2017

Your heart (gut) is with Apple so you should go with that.

The two platforms are difficult to compare because the way Mac OS and Windows work are completely different. Apple's current design reminds me of systems like the Amiga and Atari ST in that the hardware and software are designed to work in unison.

If all the applications you will be using are available then go for it.

At the end of the day neither of those CPUS are slouches.

  Secret-Squirrel 10:15 29 Dec 2017

How do I know on which platform a certain software runs best??

It's not the platform so much but the hardware that determines software performance. Like I said yesterday, the Dell's faster quad-core CPU will perform much better for programs that have multi-core support (like MATLAB and Blender). The Dell's 16GB will also help a great deal with memory-hungry 3D-rendering programs such as Blender.

I see that you've indicated that you're a Windows 7 user. Do you have any Mac OS experience?

Are you still not concerned about the Mac's tiny (non upgradeable) hard drive?

My gut feeling, also driven by personal taste (and probably market)...........

What does that mean exactly? Are you hoping to impress your friends and peers? They may be dazzled by its sexy Apple logo but less impressed at its performance.

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