Dell XPS-15 L521X

Dell XPS-15 L521X
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About the Dell XPS-15 L521X
The Dell XPS-15 L521X was introduced in 2012 but is still a usable computer today because it was so far ahead of its time. It had unrealized speed and was held back only by a sluggish hard drive. Replacing the hard drive with a solid-state drive releases the L521X's full potential and makes it fast enough to compete with much newer hardware.

XPS stands for Xtreme Performance System, which is Dell's premium line of computers. They're high-end machines made from better materials than Inspirons, Latitudes, and much better materials than the plastic junk you see for sale today at big box stores. Unlike a Chromebook, the L521X is a real computer and can run pretty much any Windows 10 software with or without Internet access. The L521X is the last model of the XPS-15 line to have an Ethernet port and an optical (CD/DVD) drive. The extra weight means that it does not officially qualify as an "ultrabook."

Central Processing Unit (CPU)
It contains an Intel Core i7 third generation (Ivy Bridge) processor with 16GB of RAM.

Networking
It has a gigabit Ethernet port in addition to an upgraded Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 802.11a/g/n wireless networking and Bluetooth card. .

Optical Drive
The CD/DVD drive in the L521X does not have a moving tray. It's a slot on the side of the laptop. To eject a disk run Windows Explorer, right-click the drive, and select Eject.

Screen
It has a beautiful high-resolution 1920 x 1080 pixel WUXGA Full HD screen with a Gorilla Glass coating that's very difficult to crack or scratch. It has HDMI and Mini-Display ports that allow you to use external monitors, projectors, and televisions.

Body and Keyboard
It has a very attractive brushed aluminum body with a black palmrest and keyboard. It was designed to compete with the MacBook Pro.

Gaming
It has an Nvidia GeForce GT 630M GPU and can run games but some of today's games are incredibly resource-intensive and it wasn't designed for those. The Nvidia GeForce Experience program scans your system for games and chooses the optimal settings for them. The Nvidia GPU can get hot when working hard so a cooling pad is highly recommended for any sort of resource-intensive gaming. It also has an energy-efficient Intel HD Graphics 4000 for day-to-day use. Nvidia Optimus technology switches from one GPU to the other automatically depending on what you're doing.

Windows 10
It has Windows 10 Home with all Windows Updates installed. Windows is activated and the license (product key) will work should you ever need to reinstall it.

Other Features
  • brushed aluminum chassis
  • silicone palm rest
  • stereo speakers
  • backlit keyboard with no numeric keypad
  • Cypress multi-gesture touchpad with pinch-to-zoom and scrolling
  • three USB 3.0 ports
  • mini-DisplayPort
  • HDMI port
  • optical drive (slot-load 8X DVD and Blu-ray)
  • battery indicator lights
  • Intel Centrino 802.11a/b/g/n wireless card
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • 1.3MP webcam
  • 8-cell Li-ion battery (64WHh)
  • RJ-45 (Ethernet 10/100/1000)
  • Headphone / Mic Input Jacks
  • 9-in-1 Multimedia Card Reader
  • weight: 5.9 lbs.
  • dimensions: 14.6 x 9.8 x 0.91 inches

* When it was released, the Dell XPS-15 L521X was configured with Intel Smart Response Technology, a design based on a 32GB mSATA solid-state-drive (SSD) used only for file caching in combination with a traditional 2.5" SATA hard disk drive (HDD) used as the Windows system drive. It's easy to replace the hard drive with an SSD and you'll see ones configured that way for sale on eBay. For optimal performance, however, it's necessary to switch the SATA mode from Intel Smart Response Technology to the faster AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) mode. That's less easy.

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