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Dell Precision 5550 is the full-on refresh of the Precision 5540 in the same vein as the XPS 15 9500, but performance hasn't really changed

Dell Precision 5550 is the full-on refresh of the Precision 5540 in the same vein as the XPS 15 9500, but performance hasn't really changed (Image source: Dell)
Dell Precision 5550 is the full-on refresh of the Precision 5540 in the same vein as the XPS 15 9500, but performance hasn't really changed (Image source: Dell)
If it's important for your mobile workstation to be as portable and sexy as possible, then go ahead and get the Precision 5550. Otherwise, the older Precision 5540 will be cheaper and perform almost exactly the same.

Announced earlier this year alongside the larger Precision 7550, the Precision 5550 is now available and ready to ship from Dell. It is essentially the workstation version of the latest XPS 15 9500 in the same way that the Razer Blade 15 Studio is the workstation version of the regular Razer Blade 15. Based on our time with the system, however, it's clear that the Precision 5550 series is more of a gen-to-gen chassis refresh than a performance upgrade.

The 2020 Precision 5550 comes with the same Quadro T1000 and T2000 Max-Q GPU options as found on the 2019 Precision 5540 meaning that its graphics rendering potential is pretty much the same as before. CPU options do get an upgrade from last year's 9th gen Core i9-9980HK to this year's 10th gen Core i9-10885H, but we've already proven that these Core i9 CPUs are also essentially identical at worst with just marginal boosts at best.

Since performance remains flat year-over-year, the biggest reasons to buy a Precision 5550 over the older 5540 would be for its new 16:10 display aspect ratio and updated chassis design. The visual changes are significant as detailed in our XPS 15 9500 review, but don't expect it to actually run all that much faster even though it may look sleeker and nicer.

See our full review on the Dell Precision 5550 to learn more about the system and its workstation-specific features.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 08 > Dell Precision 5550 is the full-on refresh of the Precision 5540 in the same vein as the XPS 15 9500, but performance hasn't really changed
Allen Ngo, 2020-08-10 (Update: 2020-08- 7)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.