Dell XPS 12 (2016) Review: Core m-Powered 2-in-1 Laptop Convertible

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Graphics Testing: Cinebench, 3DMark Cloud Gate, Far Cry 2

Ultra-portable, 2-in-1 devices aren’t generally meant for serious gaming or graphics work, but it doesn’t hurt to know how they would handle a little gaming during some downtime, so we have a few graphics related benchmark results to share for you here...

Cinebench R11.5
3D Rendering On The CPU and GPU

Based on Maxon Cinema 4D software, this test uses a 3D scene and polygon and texture manipulation to assess GPU and CPU performance. We run the Main Processor Performance (CPU) test, which builds a still scene containing about 2,000 objects, for total polygon count above 300,000, and the OpenGL tests which runs on the GPU. Cinebench displays its results in points.

xps 12 cinebench chart

The XPS 12 fared quite well here, even outranking some lower-powered Ultrabooks. Though the Core M is based on Intel's latest Skylake microarchitecture, the chips are designed to fit in a low power envelope, so whacking all of the cores with a sustained load like Cinebench results in lower overall frequencies over time due to throttling, versus higher-powered parts which have a larger thermal envelope to work with. This isn't an issue for short, bursty workloads, like web browsing or typical Microsoft Office tasks, but rendering is a different story.

3DMark Cloud Gate
Synthetic DirectX Gaming and Graphics Testing

The 3DMark suite breaks its tests down by computer type. Fire Strike, for example, is aimed at high-end gaming desktops. Cloud Gate, on the other hand, is designed for typical notebooks. As with 3DMark 11, the GPU plays a large role in results, which are measured in points. Higher is better.

xps 12 3dmark cloud gate chart

The integrated Intel HD 515 graphics engine built into the XPS 12's Core M processor was never meant to muscle through serious games, but we can't help but be impressed by its performance here given its low power envelope. 

Far Cry 2
DX10 Gaming Performance

When it comes to lush vegetation in a steaming, sinister jungle, no one pulls it off quite like Ubisoft does in its Far Cry series. Far Cry 2 uses high-quality textures, complex shaders, and dynamic lighting to create a realistic environment. The game’s built-in benchmark gives us a good look at a system’s performance with DirectX 10.

xps 12 far cry 2 chart

Impressively, the XPS 12 did manage to average a score north of 30 frames per second in our Far Cry 2 test, albeit at a resolution far lower than native. Still, if you don't mind running titles at lower resolutions and with details cranked down a bit, quite a few older games like this one would be playable. 

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