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
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  • tipoo - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Oh goodness, I must be blind. Nevermind me!
  • ckryan - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    I'm more than a little disheartened at the state of Windows laptops. Especially Dell. Dell is in the best position to really make the defacto Win 7 standard, but can't seem to get it quite right. I'm going to stick with my Latitude D620 for a little while longer. It's really not that nice. Adding an SSD helped. But it's indestructible for a plastic laptop, has good battery life, and I can get anything I need on Ebay if I run into any issues. The screen is terrible, but having a docking bay makes up for it. Plus, I can get a new screen on ebay too. Newer dell laptops may have a lot going for them in some respects, but they can't eschew the commodity label. In most cases, a commodity with not so hot battery life.
  • plewis00 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    That Latitude D620 is a metal-encased computer, the lid is magnesium alloy and the base chassis and internal structure is cast-magnesium - that's why it has almost zero flex. The D-series of Latitude laptops (and the Inspiron series that was based on it) had a brilliantly well-built (mechanically at least) design. And I agree, this should be the standard for all laptops.

    I like the hardware in the new XPS 15 but the first thing I thought when I saw it was I really didn't like the design - it's too thick and retro-looking. Not everyone wants Alienware/stealth designs that's a given but I don't know anyone who really liked the look of the new XPS series - despite the fact the M15x (R2) is 4kg+ it is still a lot better looking than the XPS 15. The Studio XPS 16 was and still is from a looks point of view a great design - shame they didn't consider getting heat out of it at all... This is all a shame because the hardware in the XPS 15 is amazing, and if it wasn't the fact I'd be paying the best part of £1000 for a machine I didn't really like the look of, I'd have put my money down and ordered one.
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Once you get a good coating of dust and daily grime in there, you can kiss this sucker goodbye.
  • ZENDUDE - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    If I wanted a device dedicated to watching Blu-Ray movies, a 16:9 screen is great.

    However, if I wanted a laptop for general use it is a negative.
    Vertical space is very important as well to minimize the need to scroll up and down.
    The 16:9 loses about 10% of the vertical space vs 16:10 wide screen laptops.
  • beginner99 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link


    16:9 on laptops is just plain retarded. Doesn't make any sense for me. Laptops are used for web-browsing mainly and work. 16:9 only is useful for movies and gaming.
    Actually for browsing 5:4 would be ideal but 16:10 is a fair compromise at least at somewhat higher resolutions.

    The laptop I would want would need16:10, mate and reasonable resolution. That basically limits my choices to 2000$+ professional offerings... it's ridiculous.
  • rscoot - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    I think MSI has a couple of laptops with 1650x1080 screens, but you aren't going to find 1900x1200 anymore unless you buy a 17" MBP.
  • erple2 - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    That's not true. But you are limited to 17+" laptops (HP's EliteBook, Dell's Precision line, Lenovo's Thinkpad line)
  • passive - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Maybe I will be able to get a better deal!

    I've been looking for a laptop to use when I'm working from home, that will also handle light multimedia duties and occasional gaming, without feeling like it's going to break in half whenever I pick it up. My wife has a MacBook Pro, so the Envy would just be a little too close, and it's more expensive.

    I had also decided I wasn't upgrading my laptop again until I could get a decent screen, so I'm really glad the 1080p lives up to my hopes.

    This is exactly the laptop I've been waiting for. Now I just need to decide whether to wait longer in the hopes that all your bitching about a laptop that's not targeted at what you want will bring the price down.
  • cknobman - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    No tech sites every did a formal review of the Sony CW series that was refreshed in January. That laptop was possibly one of the best buys of the year and makes like these Dell and Asus offerings look like poop.

    Sony Vaio CW Series Model: VPCCW26FX
    Color: Pearly White or Black
    Intel Core i5-520M/2.4 GHz
    Display 14" 1600x900
    4GB DDR3/ 500 GB HD
    MSRP: $899

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