Intel Kaby Lake-Y Graphics And Gaming Performance
Next we'll look at a more rigorous CPU workload and a pro-graphics test with Cinebench. This test will push the XPS 13 2-In-1's thermal capacity to its limits, by fully taxing the cores for the duration of the benchmark. And again, since there are no fans (it's a completely silent device), this should give us a good view of how it holds up over extended, heavier rendering workloads specifically.
Dell's XPS 13 2-In-1 isn't designed to be a gaming machine, but that doesn't mean it can't.
This test is far less "bursty" versus the trace-based productivity and content creation workloads of PCMark 8. Cinebench continually stresses the CPU or GPU, in its CPU and OpenGL test modules, respectively, and it does so until the test run is complete. We in fact ran the XPS 13 2-In-1 multiple times through this test, to see if we could saturate its cooling system and thus get the machine to throttle. We saw little, if any, variance in CPU scores and only small variances in the OpenGL GPU test that works Kaby Lake Y's integrated HD 615 graphics engine almost exclusively. Here, Kaby Lake Y and the XPS 13 2-In-1 drop in more middle of the pack, but still manage to compete with 6th generation Core i5 U Series systems just fine.
3DMark Sky Diver and our legacy Far Cry 2 benchmark loop stress the system for even longer periods of time with an even heavier graphics workload than Cinebench OpenGL. In Sky Diver, we have fewer reference points, and though the XPS 13 2-In-1 does drop into the lower quadrant of our test machines, it still maintains competitive performance versus Skylake Core i5-based notebooks. In Far Cry 2, we may be looking at a bit of driver optimization needed as well for this legacy game engine, though Kaby Lake Y and the XPS 13 2-In-1 still hang tough.
More To Come With The XPS 13 2-In-1 And Kaby Lake Y
So, there's a quick and dirty look at Intel's Kaby Lake Y Series Core i7-7Y75 dual core processor for ultralight 2-in-1 devices, in a performance-optimized, passively-cooled mobile platform. What we've gleaned from Dell's ultra-light and flexible hybrid is that, with careful optimization, Kaby Lake-Y doesn't have to perform like an under-powered Core m chip. In fact, in the right design, it can be both completely silent and offer competitive performance to mainstream thin and light notebooks. It's not going to light up the benchmarks, but when you consider the duties of sleek productivity and consumption devices like we typically find in this category of products, it's going to offer the kind of quick burst throughput to get the job done while still feeling responsive and fluid; and it can do so in complete silence.
You can be sure we're digging into battery life next (early indications are encouraging), as well as delving deeper into corner cases of performance, to better understand the subtle nuances of what makes Kaby Lake-Y tick, and what it is and is not capable of. So far, Dell's XPS 13 2-In-1 appears to be a best-of-class example of what OEMs can do with Intel's 4.5 - 7 Watt variant of Kaby Lake. We'll continue to kick the tires, however, and will report back shortly. Stay tuned in the week ahead for our full monty review with the Dell XPS 13 2-In-1. We're just getting warmed up.