Dell XPS 15z General Performance

Given the components, there aren’t many surprises in the performance metrics. The combination of i7-2620M CPU and GT 525M GPU delivers a solid showing. Here’s how things break down, for those that like charts. We’ve highlighted the 15z in bright green, the XPS 15 in black, an AMD A8-3500M in red, and the Toshiba L775D A6-3400M in orange. We’ve also included some results with the XPS 15z running alternate modes in dark green (e.g. using the IGP for PCMark 7 or testing at 1080p at medium details in the games).

PCMark 7 - PCMarks

PCMark 7 - Lightweight

PCMark 7 - Productivity

PCMark 7 - Creativity

PCMark 7 - Entertainment

PCMark 7 - Computation

PCMark 7 - Storage

Starting with PCMark 7, the 15z places about where you’d expect, though it’s interesting to note once again how Intel’s HD 3000—and more importantly Quick Sync—boost performance in several areas to result in a 15% increase in overall performance. NVIDIA’s latest drivers appear to better recognize when to defer to the HD 3000, but we forced all of the tests to run on the GT 525M or the HD 3000 for the above results. As expected, the dual-core CPU generally finishes behind quad-core offerings, and anything with an SSD walks away with the performance crown. We’ll see the SSD factor once more in PCMark Vantage below, while the other benchmarks are CPU-centric.

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

Cinebench R10 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R10 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

x264 HD Benchmark - First Pass

x264 HD Benchmark - Second Pass

Interestingly enough, PCMark Vantage actually puts the 15z ahead of several other systems with quad-core CPUs. Either the test doesn’t scale with more threads as well as the latest iteration, or some driver updates are helping the 15z to surpass the competition—or perhaps a little of both. The single-threaded Cinebench result also confirms that the 2620M is a very fast CPU for lightly threaded workloads, while the remaining multi-threaded tests let the quad-core Sandy Bridge laptops spread their wings.

Futuremark 3DMark 11

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark06

Wrapping up with some synthetic graphics tests, the GT 525M generally comes in just slightly behind the GT 540M but ahead of Llano’s HD 6620G and HD 6520G. AMD’s Radeon HD 6630M, incidentally, tends to offer slightly better performance than the GT 540M, at least when there’s enough CPU performance backing it. We’ll have a closer look at an Intel CPU with the HD 6630M in an upcoming review. So far, there aren’t any surprises—unless you consider the fact that the GT 540M is barely any faster than the GT 525M to be a revelation?

Dell XPS 15z: A Good Copy or a Cheap Clone? Dell XPS 15z Gaming: Another Midrange Mobile GPU
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  • Gazziza - Friday, September 2, 2011 - link

    Agreed here. 16:9 is the worst thing to happen to laptops in the past 2 years and I'm not sure why all the Windows laptops makers have jumped shipped over to the "HD" resolution. The #1 reason I bought the new MBA was because of the 1440x900 resolution.
  • lihtness - Friday, September 2, 2011 - link

    The keyboard layout of dell laptops sucks. With so much real estate available they can do a much better job.
  • bji - Friday, September 2, 2011 - link

    I agree, that is the worst keyboard I have ever seen on a laptop. It doesn't even have dedicated page up/page down/home/end keys. Instead you get 2 inches of speaker grill on either side of the keyboard.

    Absolute, complete, and total design fail.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 2, 2011 - link

    And lifted directly from the Apple MBP keyboard that so many people apparently love. Funny, isn't it?
  • bji - Friday, September 2, 2011 - link

    You know, I had never paid close attention to the Mac laptop keyboards, but now that you mention it, I have taken a closer look and I am really disappointed. I had been thinking about getting a 15 inch Macbook Air when they come out (and assuming that they have Ivy Bridge and are cooler/quieter than the current generation) but suddenly I am given pause.
  • Spivonious - Friday, September 2, 2011 - link

    Why the comment about wanting >400 nits? That seems like it would be way too bright unless you were using it in direct sunlight. I'd rather have lower black levels - 0.5 is pretty bad.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 2, 2011 - link

    Turn the brightness down to 100 nits and the black level is .20. I want 400 nits on the top for when I'm using the laptop outside, on the road, etc. You can always turn a bright display down, but if a display maxes out at 200 or 300 nits there's no way to get 400+ nits out of it.
  • tipoo - Friday, September 2, 2011 - link

    Anyone thinking of buying, there is a 14 inch one coming out before 2012.
  • ptuttle - Friday, September 2, 2011 - link

    Do not buy this thing. I had bought one when it came out and had nothing but issues. The biggest issue is the touchpad. When you try to type anything it jumps the cursor to different locations on the screen and you have to move the cursor and reclick where you were typing. It may not sound that bad, but it does it almost every other word when typing. I was on the phone will Dell Tech Support many times and at first they tried to tell me it was a driver issue so they remotely took over my system and installed a different driver. When that didn't work they finally offered to replace the touchpad because they had a large amount of defective touchpads. I said ok, then they responded by saying they were out of the touchpads and i would have to wait over a month. At this point in time i had the laptop for about 3 months so i coulnd't get a normal refund. I demanded to speak to a supervisor and i explained my issues with them. After 3 weeks of dealing with them they finally let me return the laptop for a full refund, and i ordered a HP Envy 17, which ended up having a lot more in it for less money. (there is a 30% off coupon floating around) So buyer Beware....
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 2, 2011 - link

    In the words of Jobs: you're holding it wrong! ;-)

    Actually, I've played around with the touchpad sensitivity, and I don't find it much worse than other touchpads I've used. It's a bit larger than most laptops, and if you brush it you can accidentally "click". Options you might consider are turning off "tap to click", decreasing the sensitivity, or just plugging in an external mouse if you have to and turn off the touchpad.

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