Dell XPS 15 Touch Screen Laptop Review

Gaming Benchmarks

This is where things get really interesting. It's worth reiterating that Dell isn't pitching the XPS 15 Touch as a gaming laptop, though we can't ignore that it has a discrete GeForce GT 750M GPU. The primary reason it's there is to drive the QHD+ (3200x1800) display without any performance hiccups along the way, though as a bonus, it affords users the ability to do more than just casual gaming.

Futuremark 3DMark 11
Simulated Gaming Performance

As a synthetic gaming benchmark, 3DMark 11 puts extra emphasis on your system’s handling of DirectX 11. However, 3DMark 11 measures more than just the graphics card’s performance; the processor has a definite influence on the score. As a result, this benchmark is a good way to get a feel for how well the system can handle gaming and general computing tasks.

Dell's XPS 15 Touch fell squarely in the middle of our 3DMark 11 benchmark run, though there's an explanation that goes along with that ranking. Compared to the crop of Ultrabooks we've reviewed, the XPS 15 Touch not only tops them all in 3DMark 11, it soundly beats them. We didn't even bother posting laptop scores of below 1,000 because it makes our graph look funky, so what we have is mostly a comparison of gaming laptops.

With that in mind, the XPS 15 Touch impressively carves out a space in the middle ground, standing on the shoulders of previous generation laptops built specifically for gaming and resting within arm's reach of systems with strong GPUs. The lone exception is Dell's Alienware M17x, a powerfully equipped single-GPU gaming system that's in a class of its own.

Futuremark 3DMark Cloud Gate
Simulated Gaming Performance

3DMark is the flagship benchmark in Futuremark’s catalog. As a result, it is a popular choice for testing all types of computers. Recognizing the technology differences between different types of PCs are significant, 3DMark has a separate test suite for each device category. The Cloud Gate test is aimed at entry-level PCs and laptops. It has two subtests: a processor-intensive physics test and two graphics tests. Cloud Gate uses a DirectX 11 engine but the graphics are designed to be compatible with DirectX 10 systems. We ran the test suite at its default 1280 x 720 resolution and at default rendering quality settings. It’s important to remember that 3DMark Cloud Gate scores aren’t comparable to scores from other categories such as 3DMark Fire Strike (gaming PCs) or Ice Storm (smartphones and tablets).

Futuremark's 3DMark Cloud Gate benchmark is a newer piece of software that wasn't available when we reviewed the gaming laptops that appear elsewhere in this review. That's okay because this gives us an opportunity to put into graph what we mentioned before, which is that the XPS 15 Touch is able to trounce traditional Ultrabooks in gaming performance. No Ultrabook we've reviewed has even come close, with Dell's rig posting a score that's more than twice as high.

Far Cry 2
DX10 Gaming Performance

Far Cry 2 uses high-quality texture, complex shaders, and dynamic lighting to create a realistic environment. Using the game’s built-in benchmark, we can get a better look at a system’s performance with DirectX 10 level gaming graphics.

As dated as Far Cry 2 is at this point, we still use it to measure system performance both because we have a large database of configurations to compare scores with and also because systems with integrated graphics still struggle with it. That obviously isn't an issue for the XPS 15 Touch with its discrete GeForce GT 750M GPU, which pulled way out ahead.

Of course, it would be a shame to run anything on this laptop at 1280x720, and when we cranked the resolution up to 1920x1080 and turned on 4xAA, framerates dipped in half to 54.03fps. Compared to dedicated gaming laptops with single GPU configurations, the XPS 15 Touch falls in about the middle, right behind a pair of Alienware systems. That's a good showing for a system that offers gaming performance as an afterthought.

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