Review: Dell's XPS 15 7590 reaches for 8 cores of CPU power

Dell’s XPS 15 (version 7590) is a test of just how much hardware you can jam into a 4.2-pound laptop. This latest iteration includes up to an 8-core “overclockable” Core i9-9980HK and a discrete GeForce GTX 1650 card. That is a lot of hot hardware in a body arguably not built to handle it. Hardware you’d expect to see in a gaming laptop, not a high-end, thin-and-light workhorse. 

We know why Dell likely did it: to compete with another high-end 15-inch laptop that’s stuffed to the gills, the MacBook Pro 15. That’s not a gaming machine either—both are systems designed for programmers, engineers, content creators, and other computing-intensive professionals. But the sad truth is most consumers will compare the top CPUs in both laptops, and buy the one with the “faster” CPU. So yes, if Apple is going to cross the line with a Core i9, Dell is apparently ready to cross it too, thermal limitations be damned. Our review will see if the XPS 15’s stretch was worth the sacrifice. 

xps 15 7590 2 Gordon Mah Ung

The XPS 15 7590 has been everyone’s go-to 15-inch powerhouse laptop for years, but is this the last stop?

What’s outside: Same as before

First, we’ll start off in the most unremarkable area: the exterior, essentially the same as before, with a carbon fiber keyboard deck, aluminum top and aluminum bottom. Most probably could not tell the difference between old and new except for the relocation of the webcam from the bottom to the top of the screen. So yes, double-chin folks, rejoice.

The biggest change is the processor. While the previous XPS 15 9570 featured an 8th-gen 6-core Core i7, with an optional 6-core Core i9, the newest XPS 15 offers Intel’s newest 9th-gen 8-core Core i9—and not just any 8-core CPU either, but the overclockable Core i9-9980HK.

Graphics bumps upward, too. The previous top GPU was a GeForce GTX 1050 built on the Pascal architecture. The XPS 15 7590 maxes out with a GeForce GTX 1650 built on the newer Turing architecture.

The rest of the specs of our review model turn the dial to 11 as well—bigger, faster, fancier. Here are the details: 

XPS 15 7590 Specs:

CPU: Intel 9th-gen Core i9-9980HK

RAM: 32GB DDR4/2666

Display: 15.6-inch 4K OLED @ 60Hz

GPU: GeForce GTX 1650

Storage: 1GB Samsung NVMe M.2 SSD

Ports: 2 USB Type A, 1 Thunderbolt 3 (4 lane), HDMI 2.0, Analog headphone, SD Card, Noble lock port

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