Frank Azor: "Don't hold your breath" for a 13-inch XPS 2-in-1 with a dedicated GPU
The Dell XPS line has long been a gold standard among premium Windows notebooks, and with good reason. The XPS 13, in particular, has been a hit among critics and consumers alike since its release five years ago, and the convertible variant coasted on the coattails of the brand upon release last year. With the release of the Kaby Lake G powered XPS 15 2-in-1 and the excellent graphical performance it offers (for a convertible), the question on some mind’s is whether or not Dell has any plans to use a dedicated GPU in its smaller brother. According to Frank Azor, the go-to guru for all things Dell, it’s not likely to happen anytime soon.
Azor responded to a question on Twitter asking about a possible design update for the XPS 13 2-in-1 that includes a dGPU by simply saying, “Don’t hold your breath.” That’s a shame, as other similarly-sized notebooks have managed to accomplish that feat. Most notably, Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 packs an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, although the dGPU is only usable when the device is attached to the keyboard dock. Even a lesser solution (like an MX150) would vastly improve the graphical performance of the XPS 13 2-in-1, which uses the paltry Intel HD Graphics 615.
That said, the goal of the XPS 13 2-in-1 was never performance. While the standard XPS 13 has always used Intel’s 15-25 W U-series ultrabook CPUs, the 2-in-1 model opted for 4.5 W Core M processors in favor of energy efficiency and silent operation. Adding a dedicated GPU would require active cooling, which would partially defeat the purpose of the device. Dell didn’t set out to make a blend of power and portability with the XPS 13 2-in-1; that’s what the XPS 15 line is for, and the XPS 15 9575 succeeded in that regard.
So no, a dedicated GPU won’t be making its way to the Dell’s 13-inch XPS convertible, but that was never Dell’s goal in the first place. However, if you really want to do graphically intensive work on the XPS 13 9365 2-in-1, there’s always the Thunderbolt 3 port; you could feasibly connect an eGPU to the machine. Just don’t complain to Frank Azor when your GPU bottlenecks.