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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  • barnett25 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    I HATE buttonless trackpads. I personally don't like to use chiclet keyboards. I need an optical drive.

    I can appreciate your opinion, but I would not buy your laptop.
  • Mayu - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    how does Lenovo Y560 (i7 740QM, 8gb, 5730 1 gb graphics card etc) stand against this laptop ?
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    CPU is faster (you can get 740QM with the L501x if you want, though), and the 5730 is definitely faster than 420M. However, the Y560 doesn't have any switchable graphics and that quad-core CPU will kill battery life. If you want to go that route, I imagine the L501x with the GT 435M and i7-740QM will be about the same performance. Then it comes down to the other stuff. The speakers are still way better on this laptop I'm sure, the LCD is definitely better as well (Lenovo only has a 768p panel), and Dell gives USB 3.0 ports. Aesthetically, that's your call. I think the IdeaPads generally look ugly, but reading the comments what I like isn't necessarily the same as what others like.
  • ratlas - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Why does the CPUID Hardware Monitor screen cap show an 15 540 when this review machine is said to have an 15 460?
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Maybe HWMonitor apparently doesn't know about the i5-460M. It's clocked at the same base clock as the 540M, but the 540M has higher Turbo modes. CPU-Z shows the correct CPU, as does Astra32, but I don't know how HWMonitor identifies CPUs.
  • douglaswilliams - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    It looks like a child's toy. Unlike the awesome sleek M1330 (and its big brothers).
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Problem is M1330 had a pretty pathetic GPU in there, even back in the day. 420M isn't the be-all, end-all of mobile GPUs, but it's at least enough for medium 768p gaming. If you value thin, ultimately you're going to have to give up GPU power (and probably CPU as well). Not that everyone needs a fast GPU, and Sandy Bridge will make dGPUs even less of a need, but for gaming I still think the best IGP is inadequate.
  • Dug - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    To an extent. Even the Envy and Acer 4820tg is only 1.1" thick and has a better video card than the Dell which is .5" thicker. Even the Envy 17" is only 1.3" and has a 5850.

    I hope Sandy Bridge and maybe a 6 series AMD will allow for easier cooling and hopefully thinner designs.
  • Evil_Sheep - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    eh as a former M1330 owner i wouldn't describe it as either awesome or sleek, it's actually a bit chintzy but it gets the job done.

    I don't think many will find the XPS 15 lust-worthy but it's hardly ugly: it seems conservatively tasteful and at least it avoids last year's horrid trend of shiny black plastic, the bland Inspiron grey/black plastic, and the latest fad which is light silver/black + island keyboard since seems everyone wants to be a Macbook these days.
  • MacTheSpoon - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Any chance you could run that volume test on some Macbook Pros, to compare them with the Dell XPS? The speakers on my MBP 2007 are a pet peeve; they're so quiet I have to use Audio Hijack to get the volume up sufficiently. I'm curious how the new unibodies sound.

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