Dell XPS L501x Application Performance

PCMark loves SSDs, so the performance of the L501x isn't going to break any records there. Actually, the i5-460M processor is pretty common as well, striking a balance between price and performance. Clocked at 2.53GHz with only a 2.80GHz Turbo Boost available, it's slightly slower than the i5-540M (lower Turbo) but as an OEM part the prices are probably far more attractive. Despite the return to the "pure" XPS name, the new XPS line essentially continues from where the Studio XPS left off. These are good multimedia platforms with mainstream gaming performance, suitable for all but the most demanding users.

Here's how the L501x compares to several other recently reviewed laptops. We've chosen to highlight two other laptops for comparison: the ASUS N82Jv and the Toshiba A660D. The N82Jv is a good all-around laptop with a similar size and performance while the A660D represents the high-water mark for current AMD Danube platforms. Actually, that's not entirely true—AMD has faster mobile parts available—but the A660D is at least in the same price range as the base XPS L501x. We've also got results from the latest MacBook Pro 13 in our charts, but we really need a comparison with the MBP15 (under Windows) to be fair, so we won't make too much of the MBP13 here.

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

Futuremark PCMark05

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

Video Encoding - x264

Video Encoding - x264

General performance is right where we'd expect it for the CPU, GPU, and HDD combination. The L501x trails the N82Jv slightly in PCMark Vantage but reasserts itself in the CPU intensive CINEBENCH and x264 testing. The higher base clock speed also puts it within striking distance of the i7-720QM in multi-threaded tasks, so unless you really need every last ounce of multi-core power the dual-core i5-460M is a compelling alternative—and don't forget the loss of Optimus (and the price increase) that comes with moving to Clarksfield processors. As a balanced platform, Arrandale is very difficult to beat, and AMD will need its Bulldozer/Llana mobile offerings before it can go toe-to-toe with Intel laptops.

Up Close and Personal with the Dell XPS L501x Dell XPS L501x Gaming and Graphics Performance
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • Goblerone - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Still waiting for clarification for why the GTX 580 review compared against reference clocked competitor cards whereas the Radeon 6870 review compared against factory overclocked cards.

    Cool thanks!
  • The_Assimilator - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Maybe because there weren't any overclocked GTX 580s available at launch? And please, stop with the whining about the comparisons.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Because everyone complained about the use of an overclocked card so Ryan and Anand chose to not use any overclocked cards in future comparisons. I thought that was pretty clear, in light of all the complaining that occurred, and the overclocked results for 6850 are available. Besides, GTX 580 is going up against 6900 next month or whenever, and that will be the real comparison.

    As I see it, imagine NVIDIA came out with GTX 560 right now, instead of AMD with the 6800. Imagine AMD's partners had a ton of highly overclocked 5870 parts and we put one in as a reference point for what the competition could do. Then we concluded that the GTX 560 was still a good card and worth purchasing, based on power and performance and price, but that the overclocked 5870 was highly competitive. That's basically what happened in reverse, and I'm still surprised at how upset people got.

    But this is neither the time nor the place for that discussion so I'd appreciate it if we could avoid bringing up separate articles that have nothing to do with this review.

    Or if you want another example, imagine I reviewed an ASUS laptop, and in the conclusion I put the whole package into the grand scheme of the market. What if I then said that while the performance was good, other factors were so neglected that need work. Or what if I discussed something like a MacBook, Envy, etc. in a review of a Dell laptop? The horror!

    Personally, I view my job as a journalist/hardware reviewer to be one of coming up with the best recommendations, regardless of manufacturer. If HP suddenly priced the Envy 14 at $850 just to compete with the L501x, but it was a limited time offer, I'd still happily mention the option in my review. Giving more detail and points of reference has never been a bad thing to me (unless it gets to the point where my graphs become unwieldy of course). That's my two cents, for what it's worth.
  • Evil_Sheep - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Actually the Envy 14 was dropped to $850 about a week ago in a limited time deal (already expired), only available through Logicbuy. It was actually a $400 off coupon on any config over $1250, which meant some decent specs as well.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see more offers like this from HP in the future to keep them competitive, especially after disappointments like the loss of the Radiance panel and, on the Beats edition, the removal of the included headphones.
  • khimera2000 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Isint this already covered??? its like beeting a dead horse for a week strait. they goofed, and now there doing there best to make up for it. thats all i need.
  • erple2 - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    I'm also waiting for clarification about the global economic recovery plan put forth by the G20 Summit meeting in S. Korea!
  • a1trips - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    I didn't weigh into the debate earlier but i would tend to support your position that all information must be given the reader on the assumption that they are mature adults who can make up their own minds.

    I still don't see what the hullabaloo was about regarding the overclocked card and i thought those who didn't care were in the majority, but that's just my take.

  • Osamede - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Let's face it Dell still doesnt get it. Shipping a 15" unit with a 6 cell battery that isnt going to last all that long is no good. And the "option" of a 9-cell that sticks out like a sore thumb is just outdated.

    I'm no Apple fan but at least they understand that a quality laptop is one that doesnt leave you worrying about your battery AND doesnt have huge lumps sticking out of it.

    In any case this 15" brick unit is a sideshow and is no change really, as Dell has always had 15" units with a decent screen that were ugly like this one.

    The real point where we will know that PC makers are actually interested in upping their game is when they start producing lightweight laptops at 13" or 14" that have top notch screens. At that point we can discuss. But really only Sony is making a play there. The rest are jokers, Dell included.
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    There are plenty of users for whom 3-4 hours of battery life is plenty, as they use the system mostly as a DTR and not on the go. No point in making the system large enough to hold the 9 cell battery when a large number of users don't need that capacity.

    Better battery life by default in Windows would be nice, but if it is a choice between having all the varied hardware available and better battery life tweaks I would definitely take the hardware choices. I also don't consider Apple's integrated battery to be at all an option.
  • pieterjan - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    This thing must be the ugliest notebook Dell ever pooped out. Okay, it has some aluminum panels, but so do street poles.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now