Revisiting Dell's XPS 13 Ultrabook, In Full HD

SiSoft SANDRA, ATTO, & Cinebench

We began our testing with SiSoftware's SANDRA, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. We ran four of the built-in subsystem tests that partially comprise the SANDRA suite (CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Memory Bandwidth and Physical Disk Performance). All of the scores reported below were taken with the Dell XPS 13 running at its default settings with full performance mode enabled and the notebook plugged into the AC adapter.

Synthetic General Performance Mertrics

SANDRA CPU Arithmetic and Multimedia Performance

SANDRA Memory and Physical Disk Performance

Interestingly, the XPS 13 benched slightly slower in Sandra's Processor Arithmetic benchmark than last year's model and higher in the Processor Multi-Media test, though it's important to note that differences in score could be attributed to different builds of Sandra. In other words, it's not advised to compared scores from an older version of Sandra to a current one.

Taken on their own merits, the benchmark scores are solid, if not expected. The real treat, however, is the disk performance, courtesy of a fast Samsung solid state drive.

Dell XPS 13 and Asus Zenbook SSD Performance Comparison with ATTO
Out of all the Ultrabooks we've tested, the speedy SSD in the Asus Zenbook still stands as the fastest storage subsystem (in this category) to date. How does Dell compare?

Asus Zenbook UX21

The Zenbook put up hellaciously fast read and write times that are more on par with a desktop SSD than a notebook system.

Dell XPS 13

Dell wasn't able to pluck the performance crown off of Asus, but let's not split hairs here. Both systems top 500MB/s in read performance, resulting in snappy real-world performance and fast boot times. On the write side of the equation, Dell's Ultrabook posted scores in the neighborhood of 260MB/s, whereas the Zenbook was about twice as fast.

Cinebench R11.5 64-bit
3D Rendering Performance

Maxon's Cinebench R11.5 benchmark is based on the company's Cinema 4D software used for 3D content creation and tests both the CPU and GPU in separate benchmark runs. On the CPU side, Cinebench renders a photorealistic 3D scene by tapping into up to 64 processing threads (CPU) to process more than 300,000 total polygons, while the GPU benchmark measures graphics performance by manipulating nearly 1 million polygons and huge amounts of textures.

Among comparable systems, Dell's XPS 13 scored in the top echelon where the top three performers are separated by only by less than half a point. You're not going to dive deep into CAD work on any of these systems, including the XPS 13, but it is nice to see the performance bump compared to last year's model. This year's version benched almost twice as fast in the OpenGL portion of the benchmark.

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