Preview: Dell Studio XPS 16 (HD4670/Win7) in Review
As Dell presented the brand-new Studio XPS series a few months ago, it was with high expectations on the multimedia bolides. Especially friends of graphic intensive applications and games were all the more disappointed as only an ATI HD 3670 was employed in the beginning. Those who waited will now not be disappointed. Dell refreshes the Studio XPS 16 and gives the laptop an efficient ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4670 graphic card. Here a first pre-sample.
Nothing new has been done to the current models in view of the case, we however had the pleasure of looking closer at a red variation of the Studio XPS 16; the first impressions of the device follows. For detailed information about the case, connections, input devices and display please look at our extensive review of the Dell Studio XPS 16. As to the display, we also were allowed to take pleasure in the 15.6 inch Full HD RGB LED screen in this test sample, which is still looking for its equals in view of color representation.
Our test sample also, however, has something special: For the first time the final version of Windows 7 is used. Following an excerpt of our first results of a very promising couple.
Case & Design
Looking at the configuration alternatives in the online shop, you find yourself quickly relegated to the glorious Dell XPS epoch, where the series was the spearhead, in regards to performance, of Dell’s product range. For instance, you’ll find the state-of-the-art high-performance chips, such as the T9900 CPU with an opulent 3.06 GHz, from Intel among the processors. This is, at the same time, one of the strongest mobile dual core processors available at the moment. Merely the Intel Extreme X9100 chip achieves slightly higher benchmark results with the same clock rate. However, the T9900 has a fixed set multiplicator and is in opposition to the Extreme Chips not overclockable but cheaper to acquire for that.
In this regard, our test sample was satisfied with the P9700 CPU, which is "only" clocked with 2.8 GHz, with a TDP value (Thermal Design Power) of 28W (compare 35W – T9900) but was a bit more modest in view of waste heat and power consumption. Naturally, the "saving champion chips" are available, such as the P7350 CPU with 2.0 GHz from Intel, which we only mention in passing, as the XPS now wants to impress with pure performance.
It gets really enthralling in view of the built-in graphic card. After the HD3670 in the laptop’s first configuration line, a new Mobility Radeon HD 4670 graphic card from AMD/ATI is now used. ATI could catch up to the prevailing domination of Nvidia in the mobile middle class with the HD46x0 series. No, actually, ATI has even accomplished to surpass Nvidia in many benchmarks with its HD4650 and 4670 chips.
The 3DMark2006 comparison already shows evidently in which circumference the performance increase takes place. The overall result could be boosted from just only a bit more than 4000 points in the launch configuration to almost 7000 points - that equals a bonus of more than 60%.
What does the graphic card upgrade mean for the use of the notebook for current games? Well, because the employed Radeon Mobility HD4670 is in the upper middle class (comparison of mobile graphic cards), you can assume an adequate gaming performance even without a closer look at the benchmarks.
First tests confirm this first notion. Thus, the frame rates, for instance, are at insinuation of the horror shooter FEAR2 demo versions and the race game Racedriver GRID in high resolutions or rather detail levels mostly in the area of 30-60 frames per second. However, there were short breakdowns of down to 15 fps noticed, which were subjectively experienced as being very disturbing.
The strategy game Anno 1404, which is also very demanding at high details, supplied an image refresh rate of 20 – 30 fps at a resolution of 1280x1024 and very high details. So the game was playable, but a reduction of the detail level suggests itself for a smoother game enjoyment.
So much for the first impression of the modified Dell Studio XPS 16. A comprehensive review with numerous benchmarks, comparisons of performance between Windows Vista and the new, final version of Windows 7, as well as a closer look at emissions and battery life can soon be found on notebookCheck.net.