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Dell XPS 17 battery drain issue fixed on latest production batches

Dell XPS 17 battery drain issue fixed on latest production batches (Image source: Dell)
Dell XPS 17 battery drain issue fixed on latest production batches (Image source: Dell)
We retest the XPS 17 to confirm the fixes that Dell has in place. The laptop will now properly draw 130 W from its adapter instead of only 100 W to mitigate the battery draining issue on earlier production units.

When the XPS 17 launched in July, we noticed unusual power consumption behavior where the system would draw a maximum of only 100 W from the outlet even though its AC adapter was rated for 130 W. This resulted in a steady battery drain of about 20 percent per hour when running demanding loads like gaming on mains because the system needed additional power from the battery to augment the 100 W draw from the outlet. The manufacturer eventually acknowledged the problem for existing owners and proceeded to fix it at a production level for future owners.

Dell was kind enough to send us a second XPS 17 unit equipped with the same Core i7-10875H CPU, GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU, and 2400p touchscreen to retest and confirm the power consumption fix. Indeed, our new numbers are now more in line with what we were expecting from the first unit back in July as shown by the table below.

XPS 17 9700 (July)XPS 17 9700 (September)
Load Average (3DMark 06)104.7 W120.6 W
Witcher 3 Ultra99.2 W113.4 W
Load Maximum107.6 W133.7 W

Keep in mind that the charging rate will still slow to a crawl when running stressful loads which Dell says is a normal consequence for having a small and portable AC adapter. In fact, when idling on Witcher 3 for about two hours, we noticed the battery capacity dropping just slightly from 100 percent to 95 percent but thankfully not any further. The same would occur when running Prime95 and FurMark and also on the recently reviewed Precision 5750 as well. Laptops from other manufacturers with the RTX 2060 GPU tend to ship with larger and more capable AC adapters of 150 W or greater to maintain a more consistent charge rate regardless of load.

Frame rate stability has also been fixed on the newer unit. Idling on Witcher 3 for an hour would result in stable frame rates whereas our first unit back in July would experience periodic dips to as low as 10 FPS.

If you're an early adopter of an RTX 2060-powered XPS 17, then Dell may replace your motherboard free-of-charge. If you're in the market for a new XPS 17 from Dell.com, then you can be sure that it won't be having any of the charging problems we encountered a couple of months ago.

Power consumption when running 3DMark 06
Power consumption when running 3DMark 06
Power consumption when running Witcher 3 at 1080p Ultra settings
Power consumption when running Witcher 3 at 1080p Ultra settings
Prime95 initiated at 10s mark. Consumption would spike to 133.5 W compared to only 108.9 W on the older July model
Prime95 initiated at 10s mark. Consumption would spike to 133.5 W compared to only 108.9 W on the older July model
Prime95+FurMark initiated at 10s mark. Consumption would spike to 133.7 W to make full use of the 130 W AC adapter
Prime95+FurMark initiated at 10s mark. Consumption would spike to 133.7 W to make full use of the 130 W AC adapter

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 09 > Dell XPS 17 battery drain issue fixed on latest production batches
Allen Ngo, 2020-09- 8 (Update: 2020-09- 9)
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.