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The Dell Precision 5530 is a Quadro powered workstation in the body of an XPS 9570

By Brian O'Cralley , last updated on July 27, 2018

The Precision 5530 workstation that Dell revealed last month is now available for purchase. If it looks familiar, that’s because it is almost identical to the Dell XPS 15 9570, although the Nvidia GeForce graphics have been replaced with Nvidia Quadro, and a Xeon CPU has been added to the lineup.

Dell claims that this is the smallest 15.6-inch workstation they’ve ever made, which is no great surprise given the XPS chassis that it is fitted into. The dimensions are 357 x 235 x 16.8 mm (14.06 x 9.27 x 0.66 inches) and the weight is 1.78 kg (3.93 pounds).

There are five 8th generation Intel Core processors to choose from:

  • i5-8300H 2.3/4.0 GHz 4C/8T
  • i5-8400H 2.5/4.1 GHz 4C/8T
  • i7-8750H 2.6/4.3 GHz 6C/12T
  • Xeon E-2176M 2.7/4.4 GHz 6C/12T
  • i9-8950HK 2.9/4.6 GHz 6C/12T

If you’re selecting a workstation with a Quadro GPU, then the i7, the Xeon, and the i9 are the only options worth considering. The Xeon is also the only one with support for ECC memory. If you select the Xeon then you must pay extra for the Workstation version of Windows. Graphical processing is provided via 4 GB workstation variants of the P1000 and P2000, the latter of which is more powerful than the GTX 1050 Ti in the XPS 15.

If portability isn’t a key driver, then slimness can be a negative for workstations. The first indication of this is the maximum 32 GB of RAM, courtesy of only two SODIMM slots compared to the usual four. Heat — or the inability to control it — is the other key way that a thin design could be a downside. While we don’t have any information for the Precision 5530, the XPS 15 9570 was said to not be designed for the CPU and GPU to both be under full load at the same time, a scenario that is more likely for a workstation than a consumer model.

The Dell Precision 5530 uses the slim XPS 15 body

Both display options use IGZO4 panels rather than the more prevalent IPS models. One is FullHD 1920 x 1080 with a reported 72 percent color gamut, and the other is UHD/4K 3840 x 2160 with coverage of 100 percent of the AdobeRGB standard. We don’t know why the FullHD screen doesn’t specify sRGB, AdobeRGB, or NTSC. IGZO panels can have ghosting issue due to pixel response times, but this isn’t likely to be a problem for the Precision 5530 since you aren’t likely to buy a Quadro system with gaming in mind.

Storage options are tied to battery capacity. If you want the largest 97 Wh battery, then you are restricted to only using a SATA or NVMe M.2 SSD, but if you select the smaller 56 Wh battery then space is opened up to allow a 2.5-inch hard drive. You need to decide whether battery life or storage capacity is more important for you.

Wireless is courtesy of an Intel 9265 2×2 802.11ac with Bluetooth 5.0 or a Dell 1820 2×2 802.11ac with Bluetooth 5.0. Ports include 2 x USB3, 1 x Thunderbolt 3, 1 x HDMI, SD card reader, and a 3.5 mm jack. Operating system options from the factory include Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Pro for Workstations, Ubuntu 16.04 SP1, and Red Hat 7.5.

The Dell Precision 5530 is now listed on Dell’s website starting at US$1529 for the base model. It’s also available on Amazon. Expect to pay upwards of US$2500 for one with a Xeon, 16 GB of RAM, and a Quadro P2000.

The Dell Precision 5530 has FullHD or UHD/4k IGZO4 display options

I started tinkering around with notebooks years ago. This included testing various Linux distributions for compatibility and opening them up to upgrade components, repaste heatsinks, or fix solder connections. While I appreciate the sleek designs and ultraportable advantages of sealed chassis with custom components, I lament the decline in user upgradeability and reparability over time.

5 Comments

  1. Domenico Caterino

    May 30, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Thanks for the article, i´m emailng Dell costumer service to have more precise info about the displays.
    But is there any benchmark around that shows that P2000 is actually more powerful than the 1050ti? Can't find much about it :/

    • Brian O'Cralley

      June 3, 2018 at 4:20 am

      The two cards are hard to compare because they don't tend to be benchmarked together, and people use a different set of benchmarks for GTX cards vs Quadro cards. You might be able to find a common workload benchmark used for both cards and compare between multiple reviews. However, in lieu of easy to find benchmarks when making that statement, we simply compared the specifications and used factors such as higher cuda core count and larger memory bandwidth etc to justify the claim of more powerful.

  2. SIMON J WEAVER

    May 31, 2018 at 5:31 am

    First of all the XPS 15" says it has "i9-8950HK"

    Dell says the 5530 has an "Intel Core i9-8950H, Six Core 2.90GHz, 4.60GHz Turbo, 12MB 45W" when you buy it

    The service manual says it's an "i9-8950HK"

    My invoice says "Intel Core i9-8950H"

    Which is it!!! The K just means unlocked for overclocking, so either they are being more conservative for the business line (vs the consumer model in the same chassis) or it's a mistake.

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 31, 2018 at 11:37 am

      There's no 8950H, so it should be the K.

    • Domenico Caterino

      May 31, 2018 at 12:38 pm

      Ok, that must be annoying ._.
      So you bought the 5530?
      If yes, would you share some thoughts on thermal conditions? You know, what temperature it reaches on heavy loads and that stuff

      That would be very helpful as, currently, there is not much to find online. Thanks

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