Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook Review

Gaming Performance

Ultrabooks aren't really built for gaming, but you know what they say about all work and no play. Even though the Z835-P330 is rocking integrated graphics, we ran a couple of low level game tests to see what it's capable of.

Far Cry 2 and Left 4 Dead 2
DirectX 10 Gaming Performance

FarCry 2

Like the original, FarCry 2 is one of the more visually impressive games to be released on the PC to date. Courtesy of the Dunia game engine developed by Ubisoft, FarCry 2's game-play is enhanced by advanced environment physics, destructible terrain, high resolution textures, complex shaders, realistic dynamic lighting, and motion-captured animations. We benchmarked the test systems in this article with the FarCry 2 benchmark tool using one of the built-in demo runs recorded in the "Ranch" map.

Just like Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen), Dell's Inspiron 14z has game. The same isn't true for most Ultrabooks up to this point, but as component prices and power come down, it's finally feasible to squeeze a discrete GPU into the mix and still stay under Intel's soft $1,000 ceiling. The Radeon HD 7570M GPU is relatively mediocre by desktop standards, but in a thin and light machine only pushing a 1366x768 resolution (at its native resolution, the Inspiron 14z benched 34.57fps in Far Cry 2), it provides plenty of pixel pushing power.


Aliens vs Predator
DirectX 11 Gaming Performance

Aliens vs Predator

The Aliens vs Predator benchmark makes use of the advanced Tessellation, screen space ambient occlusion and high-quality shadow features, available with DirectX 11. We kept things low-key in this benchmark run, dialing down the settings to Low and disabling AA and AF.

Far Cry 2 showed us the Inspiron 14z has the moxie to deliver playable framerates in older titles, but what about today's DirectX 11 games? The Radeon HD 7570M is, after all, a DX11-capable GPU, but that doesn't necessarily mean the system as a whole can play modern titles. Or does it? Well, not only does the Inspiron 14z have enough muscle to punch through more demanding titles, but it can do so at its native resolution.

We did end up dialing down the settings to "Low" quality and turned off both AA and AF, but at the same time, we left Hardware Tessellation enabled. The takeaway here is that the Inspiron 14z can handle new and old games as long as you're not trying to push the envelope with graphics intensive effects and settings.

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