Two Notes of Happiness on New Dell Inspiron 15 7000 (7577)

After waiting for almost a year for GPU prices to return to sanity, I gave up waiting for a discrete card I can install in my Luggable PC. I’ve been waiting to get started playing with CUDA-accelerated TensorFlow training and the best way to get an NVIDIA GPU at the moment is to get it inside a laptop. Since it’s not terribly practical (or price effective) for cryptocurrency miners to build huge racks of laptops for mining, the laptop variants of those chips are easier to come by, and at less crazy prices.

The laptop arrived and everything worked as advertised. But two items are worth calling out because they were details not found on a Dell specification sheet. I had my hopes but there’s no way to know until I open it up!

Dell 7577 Happiness

Happiness #1: Memory

Visible in the upper right corner of the picture are the two memory slots on this laptop chassis. Dell only advertised that the machine will come with 8GB of RAM, they did not specify the arrangement. I had expected them to fill up both slots each with an 4GB memory module because that’s usually cheaper for them. The downside of having two 4GB modules is when it comes to upgrade: with only two memory slots, any upgrade means removing an existing module and losing that capacity.

Fortunately, Dell shipped this computer with a single 8GB module, leaving the other slot open for future upgrade. I don’t have to remove any capacity when I upgrade – just plop a new module into that second slot and I’m good to go. This is great news.

Happiness #2: Hardware for 2.5″ Storage Drive

Visible in the lower left corner of the picture is the 2.5″ drive bay. Some configurations of this laptop are sold with a combination of a 2.5″ spinning disk hard drive augmenting the capacity of a small M.2 SSD. This particular model comes with a 256GB M.2 SSD and no hard drive. I had expected the 2.5″ bay to exist in my chassis, but empty. With not just the 2.5″ drive absent but also missing all the support hardware necessary to install one after purchase.

Fortunately, Dell shipped this computer with all the support hardware in place. This includes the metal bracket along with four screws to secure it to the chassis. It also includes the electronic ribbon cable necessary to connect the drive to the motherboard. Both of these items are specific to this laptop chassis and expensive to obtain if they weren’t already included. It’s good to see them present so I don’t have to hunt.

Extra nice touch from Dell: The M3 screws to fasten a 2.5″ drive to the metal bracket is a standard item and easily obtained elsewhere. Given the absence of a 2.5″ drive, I expected I’d have to find standard fasteners on my own. But I don’t need to! The chassis actually has a place to hold these four screws when not in use, and the computer came with these screws, too. This is a feature I’ve only seen before in a premium engineering laptop from their Precision workstation line, never on their consumer Inspiron line.

With these two thoughtful touches, Dell has made me a happy customer. In the near term I’ll install one of my old 2.5″ SSDs for extra storage capacity (and/or Linux dual-boot) and I’ll keep my eyes on DDR4 memory prices for a future memory upgrade.

Battery: Dell 33YDH

Not exactly a note of happiness, but just one bit of trivia I couldn’t find online: the battery module has a designation 33YDH, useful when shopping for a replacement. All batteries have a cycle life – how many times they can be charged and discharged. Some battery types like lithium-ion also have a calendar life. They will degrade over time no matter how much they are (or aren’t) used. So, in a few years, if I like this laptop enough to want to keep using it, I will need to shop for a replacement 33YDH battery.

Dell 33YDH

 

8 thoughts on “Two Notes of Happiness on New Dell Inspiron 15 7000 (7577)

    1. Interesting idea, it didn’t even occur to me to try until I read your comment.

      I only have a cell phone level (15W) USB-C charger and when I plugged it in, I got a dialog box that says: “You have attached a power adapter to a port that does not accept power. Attach a power adapter to your system’s power port.”

      So now we know the answer is “No”, at least for my 7577.

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      1. Dell sells a few machines, like the new XPS 13, that were designed to charge via USB-C. The charger you linked is for them. See the “Designed for” section of the page you linked.

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      2. Sure… and then a bit lower down there is a “Compatibility” section which includes “Inspiron 15 7000 Series (7570)”. All a bit confusing!

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  1. Well, I finally managed to get to a shop in London where they were happy to try it out. So we tried with a 60w charger they had in stock. In the BIOS we got the message that we had attached a power supply inferior to the required 65w. When we booted into Windows there was a message that the computer was charging, but that the supply was not as powerful as it should be and that some power might still be taken from the battery. So the answer seems to be for my Inspiron 15-7580 system is that USB-C charging *does* work, despite there being no mention of it in the Dell specs. 3rd note of happiness fulfilled!

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