Dell XPS 15 (9560) Review: More Performance, Same Killer Good Looks

Dell XPS 15 (9560): General Compute Benchmarks

Before we jump into the gaming benchmarks, we want to establish a baseline comparison to other systems in typical ultrabook workloads. As we alluded to last year, the XPS 15 is a bit of an odd duck in regards to classification. It's more than an ultrabook, but not quite a purebred gaming machine. As such, we will be testing it against different groups of computers, depending on the test.

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark
Javascript Processing Performance
Up first is the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark. According to the SunSpider website:

This benchmark tests the core JavaScript language only, not the DOM or other browser APIs. It is designed to compare different versions of the same browser, and different browsers to each other. Unlike many widely available JavaScript benchmarks, this test is real-world, balanced and statistically sound.

We should note that this is more of a platform test, in that different browsers with different OS types can and do affect scores. We tested the XPS 15 (9560) with Microsoft's Edge browser.
dell xps 15 9560 bench sunspider
This year's XPS 15 tops the chart with the best JavaScript performance we've seen on an ultrabook. This is, of course, largely thanks to the quad-core i7-7700HQ belted down inside, which slightly out paces last year's Core i7-6700HQ.

PCMark 8 Benchmarks
Productivity and System Level Benchmarking
Moving on, PCMark 8 v2 is the latest version in Futuremark’s series of popular PC benchmarking tools. It is designed to test the performance of all types of systems, from tablets to desktops. PCMark 8 offers five separate benchmark tests--plus battery life testing for mobile platforms—to help consumers find the devices that offer the right combination of efficiency and performance for their particular use case.

This latest version of the suite improves the Home and Work benchmarks with new tests using popular open source applications for image processing, video editing and spreadsheets. These are trace-based tests and a wide variety of workloads have also been added to the Work benchmark to better reflect the way PCs are used in enterprise environments.

We tested three of the benchmark modules: Home, Work and Storage...
dell xps 15 9560 bench pcmark8
Once again, we find the new XPS 15 at the top of the pack. This is our first ultrabook to break 5,000 points in both Work Accelerated and Storage workloads, with only Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Yoga topping 5,000 points in Storage previously. The XPS 15 9560 is a machine that gets work done, without question.

Cinebench R11.5
3D Rendering On The CPU And GPU
Cinebench R11.5 is a 3D rendering performance test based on Cinema 4D from Maxon. Cinema 4D is a 3D rendering and animation suite used by animation houses and producers like Sony Animation and many others. It's very demanding of processor resources and is an excellent gauge of computational throughput.

This is a multi-threaded, multi-processor aware benchmark that renders a photorealistic 3D scene (from the viral "No Keyframes" animation by AixSponza). This scene makes use of various algorithms to stress all available processor cores. The rate at which each test system was able to render the entire scene is represented in the graph below.
dell xps 15 9560 bench cinebench
Alright, clearly pitting the XPS 15 against other mortal ultrabooks just isn't fair. While the quad core advantage is still holding strong, last year's XPS 15 had its strong OpenGL lead closed in on by dual core and integrated graphics solutions as Skylake developed and Kaby Lake was introduced. The XPS 15 (9560) strikes out ahead once again with excellent scores.

No, instead we find the XPS 15 sitting comfortably grouped with gaming machines. True, it does come in at the bottom of the pack for OpenGL, but its CPU score actually comes out ahead. There's certainly potential here to pair this with a Thunderbolt 3 graphics card dock, such as the Razer Core, for even more power.

Let's dig deeper into the XPS 15's graphics performance, shall we?

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