Dell XPS 13 (2017) With Kaby Lake R Review: Faster, Better Than Ever

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Dell's XPS 13 (Late 2017) Performance: PCMark And 3DMark

We continued our performance evaluation of the new XPS 13 with a couple of benchmarks from Futuremark—PCMark 8 and 3DMark. By running these benchmarks, we are able to paint a more complete picture of the XPS 13's performance, evaluating both how it fares with productivity workloads, and when it comes to graphics, with an emphasis on gaming. Of course, this is not a gaming laptop, but many ultrabooks are capable of light game play. Hey, we all need to blow off some steam every once in a while, right?

PCMark 8 Benchmarks

We selected three tests from the PCMark 8 benchmark suite: Home, Storage, and Work. Futuremark recently improved all three tests with PCMark 8 version 2 that offers a nice swath of mixed-media workloads, from document editing, to video conferencing and video editing. We selected the Open CL "Accelerated" options for both the Home and Work modules, which lets the benchmark take advantage of current generation integrate CPU/GPU engines to accelerate some aspects of processing.

Dell XPS 13 Late 2017 PCMark 8

We are starting to sense a theme here. Outfitted with a shiny new quad-core processor that can zoom to 4.0GHz, 16GB of DDR4-2133 RAM, and a speedy PCIe-based NVMe SSD, the XPS 13 again took the top spot with the fastest Work Accelerated and Home Accelerated scores we have seen from an ultrabook so far. The Storage score did not set a record, but the XPS 13 is one of just a small handful of ultrabooks to score higher than 5,000 in this part of the benchmark.

Futremark 3DMark Benchmarks

Futuremark’s well-known 3DMark benchmark suite features tests aimed at different types of computing devices. We opted for the Cloud Gate and Sky Diver tests here, for which we have plenty of comparison data, but also as light-duty 3D graphics and gaming benchmarks that are well-targeted for thin and light laptops. Sky Diver is a bit more strenuous, but still well within the limits of our test group.

Dell XPS 13 Late 2017 3DMark Cloud Gate
Dell XPS 13 Late 2017 3DMark Sky Diver

In our final set of benchmarks, the XPS 13 leads the pack one final time in Cloud Gate, and trails only HP's Spectre x360 15 in Sky Diver—no surprise there since HP's system is running on a discrete GPU. What is interesting is that the integrated Intel UHD 620 in the Core i7-8550U is the same as the regular Intel HD 620 graphics. However, the added muscle that Intel's 8th generation Core architecture flexes helps the XPS 13 skip ahead of other ultrabooks, and by a wide margin.

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