Help me to choose between MacBook Pro 2020 or XPS 2020

Hi All,

Please help me to choose between XPS or MBP.
Currently I am looking for 13 inch laptop with 32GB RAM, minimum storage 512GB SSD and 10th Gen intel I7 with some dedicated graphics card. I would be using the Laptop for below activities and will change it to dual boot with Linux.

  1. Programming/Web development.
  3. Machine learning/ AI
  4. Occasional Gaming.

Is 32GB RAM is too much to go for or 16GB would be enough. I want my purchase to futureproof for minimum 5 years.

I would appreciate your help.

Edit:Guys…thank you all for your valuable opinion, suggestions and recommendation..To be honest now I am truly torn between 13 and 15 inch in both XPS and MBP. Now I am waiting for any sweet EOFY deal to buy though…


  • +27

    Is there much gaming to be had on OSX? That's the first alarm bell I saw.

    • +13

      A lot of popular games are on macOS, yes. But the performance is worse, and mac GPUs suck too.

    • You can dual boot Linux or Windows on Mac

      • +6

        Nah dual booting Linux on modern Macs with the T2 chip isn't really possible

        • -1

          As long as you don't have secure boot enabled it should work

    • +1

      I am not a hard core gamer mostly I play FIFA, but thanks for your input

    • Not sure about the 13 macbook, but the new 16" has pretty ace graphics for what it is. In Windows running on Bootcamp with the latest drivers from, I can get constant 60fps 1080p on ultra settings in Doom Eternal. Just make sure you get the 8gb VRAM option for those sweet textures.

      • +12

        I can get constant 60fps 1080p on ultra settings in Doom Eternal.

        No offence but I have a spare PC that's coming up to 11 years old now, with the newest part of it being an RX 580 4GB graphics card, and even that can manage 60 FPS at 1920x1080 with everything on Ultra in Doom Eternal. That's hardly a taxing benchmark.

        • +2

          Yeah i mean it’s no gaming powerhouse, but that’s not what you buy it for really. I do a lot of video/photo editing on-location and for that it’s perfect. I feel ya re the spare PC situation. I hve an old pc/ hackintosh with 2500k cpu and gtx970, but having 1080p gaming as a bonus in a laptop i bought for work is cool.

          • @eggboi: If you like MacOS but still want to game, just bootcamp with an eGPU. It even works with a nvidia eGPU.

            • @lunchbox99: EGPU presents its own issues though, but it is a valid option.

          • @eggboi: $3799 for a laptop with a 4GB graphics card isn’t exactly that great in terms of gaming. Even with bootcamp, you need to decide whether to split the internal SSD or dongle it to use an external SSD.

            OP mentioned MBP 13, which has Intel integrated graphics. For someone who knows bootcamp setup, spinning it to talk about MBP 16 is sugarcoating MBP 13 too much.

            Forget 1080p gaming on MBP13. Another OZBer kept asking me about playing GTA V on a Mac with Intel Graphics UHD 615. Despite telling him that it is not a good idea (720p lowest details is probably still not going to be smooth), he still wants to know whether it is possible. I am going to try it with my dated MBP 13 inch with intel UHD 650 Iris graphics (even that is going to struggle big time).

    • +10

      Why do you have so many? did they break? jks

      • +15

        except for throttling issues and stupid butterfly keyboards in the last iterations

        Microsoft Surface said Hello!

        • +4

          Apple doesn't make laptops with butterfly mechanism anymore. All scissors now (same as on magic keyboard).

          • +6

            @corvusman: After persevering through what, 3 iterations? Before admitting they had a shit design and scrapping it entirely.

          • @corvusman:

            stupid butterfly keyboards in the last iterations

  • +3

    you'll save money on the xps, just depends if you rather windows + linux or mac + linux.. the mac trackpads are superior though

    • OP can just Bootcamp into Windows on the Mac.

      • +2

        Windows runs poorly on the new MB16 (and most likely new MB13) since all the Mac OS software based undervolting is disabled and not cannot be re-enabled due to apples hardware restrictions. This causes the performance to drop significantly and the system to run hot and throttle. Also battery life is crap and the system runs hot constantly due to always using dGPU.

  • +3

    Well MBP13 doesn't have dedicated graphics.

    • +4

      Thanks for the info. I can not think for a such premium product, why they are not including dedicated graphics card.

      • +16

        Because, Apple.

        • Very few 13" ultrabooks have gpu, simply due to thermal constraints of such a small device. I believe the blade stealth is the only one but even that suffers from overheating issues.

      • +4

        Depending on your application, a dedicated graphics card is not always a plus. If you're not gaming at all, dedicated graphics just add cost, weight, and size. You machine learning may use GPU, so that might be a consideration too.

        It's worth pointing out that neither of these laptops have dedicated graphics - they both have the same integrated Intel Iris graphics.

  • +1

    will change it to dual boot with Linux

    Are people still doing this? I thought everyone decided it was too much of a PITA and if it was really necessary and a virtual machine was the way to go.

    If you really need a linux-like system the stick to the macbook.

    • +1

      This. VM.

    • Kind of old school…but yeah you are right about VMs…

    • IDK about newer machines, but there is a significant performance difference on my computer between VM and boot camp partition.

      • IDK about newer machines

        There's probably still a significant difference, compared to native hardware vs VM, but the convenience of not rebooting makes any difference tolerable.

    • I do. But I will accept the my use-case is much different from many peoples.

      • What's your use-case?

    • +2

      Windows also now has 'Windows Subsystem for Linux', which I find incredibly useful for accessing typical Linux features where I'm required to use Windows (work).

      • yeah WSL has come a fair way in the past year or two

      • This is my strategy as well. XPS 15, Windows 10 as the main OS, WSL for any linux based work or dev tools.

  • +9

    I am looking for 13 inch laptop … some dedicated graphics card

    Neither MacBook Pro 13 nor Dell XPS 13 have dedicated graphics, Intel Iris Plus in there might not be good enough for "occasional gaming", depending on what games are you playing.

    However choosing between MBP and XPS — wouldn't it be depending on whether you are more comfortable with Windows or macOS? Also note that XPS 13's RAM is soldered on so not upgradable. If you need 32GB you'll need to get it upfront, which is expensive.

    • Thnaks mate..any other laptop brand you recommend

      • If you really want to save money and don't mind a not-so-amazing trackpad, the Lenovo deals that pop up on here are pretty good. If you're happy to hum and ha between brands and aren't sure what you need, get a decent spec Lenovo, then either love it, or you will soon know exactly what you want if it starts giving you the shits haha.

      • +8

        If you've got the cash, such that money is no object:

        • The new Surface Book 3 with Intel® Core™ i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q Design w/4GB GDDR5, 32GB RAM, 512 NVMe SSD

        On a more serious note, you want the device to last five years, sure that's kind of achievable but with the 13" form factor it might be a bit of a big ask if it is to be a daily driver with heavy workload of your description above. I'll probably look for a device with the 6-cores i7-10710U (as you only consider intel), and a dedicated graphics, which often only appears in > or = 14" form factors.

        However, if you would actually consider AMD options, the ASUS Zephyrus G14 (Ryzen 9 4900HS, RTX 2060) is actually quite suitable to the workload you described. You can find some performance comparison here with regards to code compile and MATLAB: (RRP$2799

        • Are you sold on the 13 inch form factor. I used an XPS 13 2 in 1 for a month before changing to an XPS 15. Screen is just too small for me on the 13 inch (especially if you are opting for the 4K touchscreen) so I ended up not using it (only working on connected monitor).

          Just spend some time with one first to make sure it's what you want.

          • @Abaddon: You'll also have the advantage of a GPU for building AI models. Mine is a couple of years old now, so it only has a GTX 1050, but it's much faster than the CPU for the task.

  • +1

    MBP - $$$$ - Lot more for Ded graphics - good resale value (if nothing fancy does not come out in a couple of years) - consider $$$ for Mac specific apps outside standard applications

    XPS - $$~ - cheaper add-ons - average resale value - can move on to another model in some years without losing too much in terms of cost of ownership

    • I do have a Dell Latitude is at the end of it slife cycle…so hunting for a good laptop with higher specs so that it won't be out dated in 1 or 2 years and can cope up with my work without any hassle

  • +1

    how much priority is machine learning? you want a dedicated nvidia card for that, which rules out the macs, and maybe the dells?

    in my company (AI related) most people use thinkpads, but the actual developers seem to all have windows gaming laptops/desktops for the gpus. running windows/linux by personal preference, but everyone has to dip into linux at some point
    and my covid home system is a pretty budget asus gaming laptop, with a decent gpu. not the best build quality, but is about as good as my office desktop, with some upgradability.

    for other stuff, macs are pretty nice to live with though, but i think machine learning might be flawed even on the 16inch with the dedicated AMD cards

    • in my company (AI related) most people use thinkpads, but the actual developers seem to all have windows gaming laptops/desktops for the gpus

      Surely anything heavy duty is done in the cloud these days …

      • Surely anything heavy duty is done in the cloud these days …

        Maybe, but I never mentioned anything heavy duty?

        And if you could really do all your development in the cloud and never need to run anything locally, might as well get chromebook and work on a hosted vm or something

        • might as well get chromebook

          In general yes, but chromebooks are probably too low spec and often don't have nice screens.

          My point was that a medium spec laptop is probably more than enough. I think he might be overestimating his requirements for MATLAB and ai (on a laptop).

          On the other hand, if the OP was doing app development a top of the line laptop might be more warranted.

    • Thanks for your feedback, currently I am just a starter in the ML/AI field. I want to buy a laptop which I am going to use for next 5 years minimum…thats the idea. So down the line my laptop should not be obsolete in terms of specs.

    • Wouldn't it depend on the library? Surely OP could just get a MBP or XPS 13 and get an accelerator stick like Coral or Compute stick?

      Yes, nVidia GPUs would be much more powerful, but he was saying he's just starting out.

      Of course, the fact that OP wants occasional gaming too definitely rules both the base options out.

      • Not about power, but that the common platforms (eg tensorflow, pytorch) seem to be built specifically with nvidias own parallel computing software, and subsequently hardware.
        I only discovered that there would be an issue with AMD cards a week ago when looking at macbook pros on sale, and didn't look into it much further once I saw mention of compatibility issues and workaround. Hard enough getting things working without that.

        This doesn't actually mean you need a gpu though, cpu still does everything and is even easier to set up, but is way slower. If there's not much heavy work, then a bit of occasional cloud is probably fine. And if there's too much heavy work, then a laptop gpu might be limiting anyway, and cloud could still also work (although my co prefers chunky gpus on the local network).

        Just about how much flexibility is desired when starting out, knowing that this will come up sooner or later with ML anyway.
        And that if a dedicated gpu is desired specifically for this (and not just gaming) then it might need to be an nvidia.

  • +1

    As others have said, if you're training machine learning models on your laptop then you need a high end GPU. Unless this is a daily part of your work I would suggest you just provision a GPU-heavy VPS on AWS or otherwise rent time on a machine to do that. And if it is a daily part of your work then you probably need a dedicated machine for it.

    Saying that, I trained an RNN on a macbook air a couple of years ago. Took a few days but it worked ;).

    Re: programming and web development, as a mac user and web developer the choice is pretty clear to me. If you're working in the windows/microsoft ecosystem, .NET etc, then you'll be better off with a windows PC. Otherwise, you can not go past the simplicity of having a Unix terminal baked into the OS, and although I don't have much experience with it, WSL is not really a good enough replacement yet from what I have read.

    • Thank, exploring now some gaming laptops as you mentioned

    • WSL works pretty well for any of the dev tools I've thrown at it. Certainly easier than a dual boot and less taxing than a VM.

      Good to have the option of Powershell and Unix terminal available.

  • +2

    They Ryzen 4800HS might be worth considering as a starting point.

  • Mac or something other than dell XPS 13, never had good experience with them and Apple is often the better choice in terms of future proofing. A friends 10+ year old macbook air had battery issues and they replaced it for $150. Works like new.

  • +2
    Programming/Web development.
    Machine learning/ AI
    Occasional Gaming.

    Mac OS isn't going to be useful when it comes to gaming or machine learning software.

    You'll need dual Boot Camp partitions for Windows/Mac OS at a minimum if you really don't want to be restricted in your choice of software.

    • Thanks….I am confused right now with all the feedback and pointers.Need to find a good deal though to change my mind

      • +4

        If you can wait I recommend waiting for the Amd Ryzen 7 4800 or better yet the Amd Ryzen 9 4900hs laptops, they will blow everything out of the water

    • +1

      What’s wrong with running Python on Macs? Or what other machine learning software will the OP use ?

      • +1

        python is fine, issue is that nvidia is crushing amd for machine learning on gpu, and macs use amd
        everyone uses CUDA, which nvidia makes

        i think it would make little to no difference if you dont have a dedicated gpu anyway. ie you can still run tensorflow, but not tensorflow-gpu

  • +1

    I just purchased a Mac for the apps and tools and I virtualise windows using vmware Fusion to access the stuff that just runs better on Windows. This is the best of both worlds in my opinion.

    • You bought Macbook air or Macbook pro? Would you mind to share the specs of your MAC?

  • +2

    Others have made good points above, so just my 2c. Macs last forever. I have just finished my master's using my 5 - 7 year old MBP and it still is going strong. I replaced the HDD with an SSD last year but that is not an option on newer models. I'd say you still have a solid 5 years of using it if you bought a mac though.

    • Thanks mate for your info.

    • +4

      Macs last forever

      If by Macs you mean '3rd Generation MacBook Pros' then I wholeheartedly agree, but using that 7 year old design as an estimation of quality for their current line is ridiculous. The 4th gen Pros are known for trackpad issues, poor thermal design and of course the notorious Butterfly Keyboard, as well as other design choices that can cause serious damage with mistreatment. Supposedly this has been resolved in 5th gen and it does seem promising (currently using the 2019 16" MPB) but without waiting a while longer, you're taking a gamble.

  • Those activities don't really sound like 'on the road' kind of work, so why the 13" XPS requirement?
    I honestly could not imagine doing much web design on a 13" display for long, gaming would be crazy, and even MATLAB often wants just a bit more screen real-estate (like more than one monitor.. larger than 13")

    I think performance for buck, you'd be better looking at something like the Dell G5 or G7 range.
    Build quality might not be fully up there with the XPS, but you're also not paying the premium for it, and I'm confident that the build specs' of a G5/G7 would last 5 years.

    • are right, Laptop would be used at home.Exploring now Dell G series…

  • Go with the XPS, generally, you pay a premium for Apple laptops when all the software these days are cross-platform unless you are still using something like final cut. From the sounds of things, you will end up running some version of Linux natively which is what I had to do when I was doing my engineering degree. In that case, I would go for the XPS, partition off the hard drive and re-install a fresh version of windows 10 (Removes the Dell BS bloatware they put on laptops too) then keep the second partition for Linux flavours I remember we used Mint to program boards using C++.

    The only issue I have though is you are getting a 13" which is useless, you are better off with a thin/light 15" something like a Gigabyte Areo or similar are quite a good balance of being portable and having a big enough screen to work on

    • Thats a good point…

  • +4

    Can't understand with what your going to be using it for you want a 13 inch screen? And you'll be better off with a Windows machine/Matlab. And look at something with the AMD 4000 series processors instead. Forget Apple.

  • Unless you literally need it now, I'd wait for the tax-time deals and just find something with a decent dedicated GPU.

    • Waiting for EOFY deal though…

  • Check out the ports

    Someone posted here last week they were shocked that 2020 MacBook Pro doesnt have any USB ports

    • +3

      They haven't had USB A ports for years now. Only USB C

    • +1

      The base MBP has 2 USB - C and the higher spec MBP has 4.

  • I bought an XPS 9550 (i7/16GB) in 2016 and am still currently using it for software development. I've only got Kubuntu installed on it. I absolutely love the keyboard and screen (4k touch) on the XPS.

    • -1

      How many times did the battery get replaced for swelling?

      • +1


      • +1

        I also have a 9550 (coincidentally the same specs and also kubuntu) but my battery did have to get replaced :( I was out of warrenty but Dell were absolutely awesome about it. Shipped the parts to a local dealer and had a guy out to do it on my kitchen table like 2 days later, they replaced like half the laptop just to be safe in case the swelling had dammaged anything. So ended up pretty happy

      • Got the wifi, battery and touchpad replaced within a year of my 9360 in 2017.

        This was the second xps I had, as I returned the first one due to a coil whine issue;

        Not the issues you expect from a top of the range $2.5k laptop I guess

  • +1

    If you are considering getting the Macbook Pro 13 and expecting to run Windows in Bootcamp well than this may not be a smart move.
    Windows runs poorly on the new MB16(and most likely new MB13) since all the Mac OS software based CPU undervolting which they have been using to enable high performance is disabled in Windows and cannot be re-enabled due to apples hardware restrictions. This causes the performance to drop significantly and the system to run hot and throttle.

    Under windows you are more likely to get better performance from the Dell XPS.

  • +1

    I really like my XPS 2020, very fast, excellent screen and good battery life. I've got an eGPU paired with it for an awesome gaming setup. BTW, you can get an extra 5% off on the dell website (even on sale items) with the code "EPP5".

    • Yours 13 or 15 XPS?

      • 13", but new 15" looks awesome

    • What is your egpu setup? Been wanting to do the same but seems they are so cost inefficient and take a severe performance hit.

      • +1

        The performance hit isn't too bad with an external display, I've got a Razer Core X with a Rx 5700xt. Paired with Lg 27GL850 monitor

  • +1

    I’m a mac user. For your requirement keep these in mind and make your choice.

    If you keep adding hardware your laptop will be too bulky to carry and will consume lot of power and will be always hot. Look into getting a decently specification laptop with expandability. I see you have listed ML and occasional gaming as a requirement. If you’re not going to do that on the move, invest in an external GPU.
    16GB is enough normally. But If the tasks you do currently consume about 70-80% of 16GB (u know this better than us), then may be 32GB… But this will he a hefty upgrade.
    Is there a specific reason you want 512GB? Why I ask is, the more data you keep locally the more you have to invest on backup and restore strategies. (time machine/ cloud/ photos, etc)

    • No specific reason for 512 GB, I don't have any specific reservation but mostly with 32 GB RAM, 1TB/2TB is default..

  • +3

    MBP uses a 25w i7 chip which will be faster than the 15w used in the xps. This will mean faster pure CPU performance, and the GPU is better than in the Xps13.

    The MBP will let you configure up to a 4tb add if you can afford it.

    However you have the ability to chose a 4k touchscreen in the xps at the expense of battery life. It is smaller and lighter than the MBP.

    If you can afford it, I'd suggest a Surface Book 3. Same CPU as the XPS, but a NVIDIA 1650 Max Q in the base, fantastic keyboard & trackpad (judging by the previous 2 versions) fantastic high res touchscreen, great battery life, optional pen. 1.6kg (300g heavier than your suggestions). The GPU will let you do some moderately serious gaming, and will blow away the MBP in this regard (though will be slightly slower in pure CPU work).

    The downside is they are virtually unrepairable, and even changing the battery may pretty much be impossible. Get the extended warranty on it as they aren't the most reliable things. It is also ridiculously expensive (get 10% off as student through MS education store). It's not small either. People knock the hinge and the gap, but I haven't found it a problem in long term use (SB1&2). It does not have thunderbolt.

    Both windows laptops here have windows hello which is awesome, and wifi 6.

    I personally wish MS would build the same computer without the detaching tablet portion, and just have a screen that bends back like the Yoga series.

    • I don't like the Detach and attach design..of Surface series…spec wise it is good…

    • I'm pretty sure Dell uses the 25W configuration on their XPS line up. That processor can be customised by manufacturer up to 25w base tdp. Whereas the MacBook Pro uses custom 28w processors too.

      • +1

        You are correct. The Dell uses a Core i7-1065G7, which normally runs at 15w, but Dell has specified a 25w minimum. I think the clock speed is still 1.3-3.9ghz. The MBP uses a i7-1068NG7 which is 28W and runs 2.3-4.1ghz. My guess is the MBP should still be faster for both CPU and GPU intensive work (assuming they have a decent thermal design) in their native OS.

        It will be interesting to see what TPD they have put on the SB3 (the SB2 was 25w), and their thermal design.

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