Dell is updating its XPS 13 thin-and-light notebook with a new model that… looks exactly the same as the last model. But under the hood, Dell is swapping out the 7th-gen Intel Core processors with new 8th-gen chips. Well, mostly.

That means you get quad-core processors for the same price (and with about the same energy efficiency) as the older dual-core chips. Dell says the XPS 13 can get up to 22 hours of battery life (under ideal/unrealistic settings — Dell says to expect around 8 – 13 hours of video playback time or web surfing, depending on how your laptop is configured).

The new Dell XPS 13 laptop with a Kaby Lake-R processor will be available starting September 12th.

That’s the price for a model with a full HD display and a Core i5 processor. Quad HD screens, touchscreens, and Core i7 chips are also options.

Another option? You’ll still be able to buy an XPS 13 with a Core i3 processor. But since Intel hasn’t introduced any 8th-gen Core i3 chips yet, if you choose the Core i3 version you’ll get a laptop with a 7th-gen “Kaby Lake” chip.

If you do opt for one of the models with an 8th-gen Intel Core chip, you may notice that it scores a little better on benchmarks than many other laptops with the same chips. That’s because Dell is taking advantage of an option that Intel offers to configure the TDP higher than the usual 15 watts in order to boost CPU frequencies a bit.

Dell already did something similar with the Kaby Lake Y-series chips in its XPS 13 convertible, and is using a similar method to boost the Core i5-8250U and Core i7-8550U chips in the new XPS 13 laptop to more than 20 watts.

The latest Dell XPS 13 laptop will have the same starting price of $800 as previous models.

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7 replies on “Dell gives its XPS 13 laptops a Kaby Lake-R upgrade”

  1. No news about updating the XPS 15? Since the XPS 15 already has quad cpu but with 35 watt TDP replacing it with this 15 watt TDP 8th gen cpu would be an upgrade to battery life.

    1. Just battery life and possibly heat, but not performance, the i7-8550U is slightly faster in benchmarks than the i5-6300HQ but still less powerful than the i5-7300hq so it would be a downgrade especially for anyone with a i7 xps 15 since that model has 4C/8T already. Perhaps the xps15 will be updated once the real coffee lake is released.

      1. well some would argue that the cooling solution isn’t enough to run the i7-7300hq without throttling anyways, so a 15 watt TDP 4C/8T would have more room for the dynamic boost which would probably be on par performance wise at the full throttle top end real world performance while still giving better battery life when just browsing or doing word/excel chores. Also for some the i7-8550u would be enough power cpu wise will giving more gpu power from a dedicated gtx 1050 gpu than the XPS 13 can provide.

        1. Of course it would have better thermal behaviour with a 15w vs 35w cpu but it remains to be seen what dell does and I would imagine they would stick to a 35w cpu (coffee lake). Personally would love to see a U series xps 15 with better thermals since like you said, this could give more power to the gpu, Wonder if a U series xps 15 would work with a gtx 1060 or if the tdp is too much.

    2. I’m thinking the same thing as I’m using the 9550 with an core i5-6300hq. My computer mostly sits idle for coding, so I don’t mind “downgrade” a little bit to get more battery life, but I won’t trade for the smaller screen.

  2. Shame Dell has updated the design a bit, and all black model would have been great. Will be either a choice between the XPS, new Kabylake-R envy 13 or the updated lenovo 920. The Envy 13 with the mx150 though does seem promising bit worried on the thermals on that one.

  3. This is a minor upgrade so there’s still only two lanes of PCI-E for thunderbolt right? Shame, but I suppose a quad core CPU’s enough incentive for me to trade in my 9350.

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