Dell XPS 18 Portable All-In-One Desktop Review

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PCMark & 3DMark Tests

To kick things off we fired up Futuremark's system performance benchmark, PCMark Vantage. This synthetic benchmark suite simulates a range of real-world scenarios and workloads, stressing various system subsets in the process. Everything you'd want to do with your PC -- watching HD movies, music compression, image editing, gaming, and so forth -- is represented here.  Also, most of the tests are multi-threaded, making this a good indicator of all-around performance.

Futuremark PCMark Vantage
Simulated Application Performance

Two all-in-one systems stand out among the crowd in our PCMark 7 test and both are from Dell, the XPS One 27 and the XPS 18 reviewed here. Dell's XPS 18 relies on integrated graphics and a less robust processor than the XPS One 27, but in terms of all around computing performance, which is what PCMark 7 purports to measure, the impact is minimal, coming down to just a few hundred points.

Interestingly, both of those systems also rely on mechanical hard drive storage flanked by an mSATA solid state drive (SSD) for faster access to the most frequently used files. It's a cost-effective solution that's able to offer SSD-like speeds in many instances but with greater capacity per dollar.

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage
Synthetic DirectX Gaming

The latest version of Futuremark's synthetic 3D gaming benchmark, 3DMark Vantage, is specifically bound to Windows Vista-based systems because it uses some advanced visual technologies that are only available with DirectX 10, which isn't available on previous versions of Windows.  3DMark Vantage isn't simply a port of 3DMark06 to DirectX 10 though.  With this latest version of the benchmark, Futuremark has incorporated two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, in addition to support for the latest PC hardware.  We tested the graphics cards here with 3DMark Vantage's Performance preset option, which uses a resolution of 1280x1024

Focusing on GPU performance, as Futuremark's 3DMark Vantage does, highlights the XPS 18's ineffectual prowess as a dedicated gaming machine, though things are not as bad as you might think. Despite the lack of a discrete GPU, the XPS 18's integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 put up a respectable showing in 3DMark Vantage, especially compared to some of last year's all-in-one machines, including HP's TouchSmart system with Radeon graphics.

3DMark 11 casts a more realistic light on what to expect from real-world gaming performance from modern titles. The XPS 18's score of 620 sits pretty low on the totem pole, though once again it still outpaced HP's TouchSmart system. We'll look at some specific game benchmarks in a bit, but it's already apparent that this isn't a system for diehard gamers. It can, however, handle some light gaming duties.

Curiosity got the better of us so we decided to run the XPS 18 through 3DMark 11's Extreme run to see if it could handle it. When the dust settled, the XPS 18 emerged with a score of 208, which isn't fantastic in the grand scheme of things, but respectable for what this system is.

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