Notebookcheck

Dell Inspiron 17 7746 (2015) Notebook Review

Sebastian Jentsch, Tanja Hinum (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 06/09/2015

All hat and no cattle? Dell's heavyweight 17-inch machine with a classy aluminum casing looks good and provokes envious glances on the desk. However, Dell is restrained in terms of hardware. Nevertheless, will the luxury Inspiron prove to be a rounded bundle?

Dell Inspiron 17 7000 - Luxury all-rounder for demanding customers?
Dell Inspiron 17 7000 - Luxury all-rounder for demanding customers?

For the original German review, see here.

Dell divides its Inspiron consumer models into three series, the 3000 (value), the 5000 (standard) and 7000 (performance) devices. The 17-inch Inspiron 17 7000 therefore has to fulfill a high claim. Based on low-voltage components, also found in slim 13-inch laptops, Intel's Core i5-5200U SoC seems a bit undersized. Perhaps the Boost can benefit from the massive cooling performance of the bulky aluminum chassis? Or does the manufacturer completely omit a fan? That would be a real sensation.

The competition is found in the 1000 Euros (~$1123) price range. A viewing angle stable IPS screen with a Full HD resolution is also a must at this price just like a mid-range or, even better, premium-line graphics card. Acer's Aspire V Nitro 7-791G steps into this breach with a GeForce GTX 960M and standard-voltage Core i5 (starts at 950 Euros/~$1067). Asus' N751JK is pricier, only has a GTX 850M but is shipped with an external subwoofer with the corresponding rich surround sound. We are presently testing the latest version of the N751JX-T4056H with a GeForce GTX 950M. Lenovo's IdeaPad Y70-70 Touch (starts at 1100 Euros/~$1235) sports a GTX 860M and looks like a gaming laptop. Buyers who prefer AMD GPUs will find the fitting model in Toshiba's Satellite S70-B-106 (Radeon R9 M265X).

We excluded HP's Envy 17-k203ng (Broadwell) right from the outset because the manufacturer only installs a viewing angle dependent TN screen, which is no longer contemporary.

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Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863 (Inspiron 17 Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce 845M - 2048 MB, Core: 1071 MHz, Memory: 1253 MHz, GDDR5, 344.32, Optimus HD Graphics 5500
Memory
8192 MB 
, single-channel Samsung DDR3
Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel, 10 finger multitouch, AUO119D B173HTN Dell P/N: MM77H, IPS, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Broadwell-U PCH-LP (Premium)
Storage
Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive, 1000 GB 
, 5400 rpm
Soundcard
Intel Broadwell PCH-LP - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
4 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: combo jack, Card Reader: SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMS, MS Pro, MSXC, MS
Networking
Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000/2500/5000MBit/s), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 (a/b/g/h/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 4.0
Optical drive
HL-DT-ST DVD+-RW GU90N
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 28 x 412 x 269 ( = 1.1 x 16.22 x 10.59 in)
Battery
58 Wh Lithium-Ion, F7HVR 14.8 V
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD 1280x720
Additional features
Speakers: stereo, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
3.285 kg ( = 115.88 oz / 7.24 pounds), Power Supply: 460 g ( = 16.23 oz / 1.01 pounds)
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

Maintenance and replacing the battery are no problem
Maintenance and replacing the battery are no problem
Vent below the hinge
Vent below the hinge

"Never change a winning team?" - The manufacturer sticks to the design and looks of the Inspiron 7737 (2013). We are dealing with an identical chassis; interfaces, internal construction and materials have not changed since 2013. That seems strange at first, but Apple also follows this policy for its Air and MacBook Pro models. Unfortunately, Dell has not managed to eliminate the primary weak point, the stability of the base, which is not very impressive.

Both the lid and chassis are comprised of a solid piece of aluminum (underside and upper side). The edges have been beveled and polished to a high finish, which creates the high-quality impression. Dell opted for an end-to-end hinge that is also made of aluminum, but which is not solid (aluminum cover). It has a very firm grip on the lid and the display barely rocks. The fit of the hinge is so tight that we had to hold down the base when opening the laptop.

All silver anodized aluminum surfaces are sleek but fairly slip-proof. The advantage over a polished/brushed finish is the fingerprint resistance.

The stiffness of the 17-inch Inspiron does not correspond to the material quality. The chassis can be warped with only one hand. It obviously twists when both hands are used, and we noticed play in the gaps on the underside. That is different with the lid, which seems to be made of one piece. Even pressure on the center (Dell logo) has no effect.

None of the competitors is a match for the materials and looks of the 7000 lineup. Asus' N751JK comes very close with its silver aluminum B cover, but its quality is higher owing to the base's better stability.

Connectivity

The number of interfaces is limited for a laptop of this size. The distribution seems practical for desktop use, at least in most cases. Unwieldy cables, such as HDMI, Ethernet or USB 3.0, can be routed to the rear. Rear-sided ports would be more convenient under certain circumstances, but none of the competitors offer that, either. The spacing between the USB ports is very tight, and bigger flash drives or adapters (e.g. dongles) might collide.

90 watt power supply
90-watt power supply
Webcam 1.280 x 720 pixels
Webcam 1280 x 720 pixels
Intense noise, pale colors
Intense noise, pale colors
Reference EOS 1100D
Reference EOS 1100D
Reference EOS 1100D
Reference EOS 1100D

Communication

Wireless connections are established via Intel's Wireless AC-7265 that is connected with two antennas. Unfortunately, the range issues of the N-7260 adapter in the precursor still exist. The laptop did not find a signal 15 meters (~49 feet) outside of the building. The other review samples did not have this problem; many models even found a limited connectivity at 45 meters (~148 feet, non-standardized test). The full signal was available at a distance of 3 and 10 meters (~10 and 33 feet) from the AC router. The poor wireless connection might be related to the Inspiron's aluminum casing. The antennas would be shielded if they were in the lid. Since this has not changed, the successor has also inherited this shortcoming. Realtek's RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN Controller and the Bluetooth 4.0 module finish off the bundle.

Accessories

Just a warranty booklet and quick start guide are in the box besides the 90-watt power supply. Of the preloaded software, only the 12-month trial version of McAfee LiveSafe is worth mentioning. Windows DVDs are not in the box. The user should therefore create recovery DVDs via Dell's Backup & Recovery tool to be on the safe side in case of a hard drive malfunction.

Maintenance


At first glance, accessing the hardware only seems possible from the underside. The battery, HDD and two RAM bars are under two covers. The keyboard has to be removed first to access the fan and Wi-Fi module. Only savvy tinkerers should attempt this since scratching is inevitable. The plastic underside can be removed after releasing the three screws under the keyboard.

Webcam

The HD camera is quite inappropriate for a laptop of this price range. The poor image quality does not even correspond to the average of our webcam samples taken with laptops. The photos with a maximum 1280x720 pixels are very noisy, the colors look pale and unnatural, and focus is only impeccable in the center area (fish-eye).

Warranty

The 12-month warranty (collect and return service) is typical for Dell. An upgrade to a two-year on-site service costs 129 Euros (~$145), for example. A two-year warranty is included in the price of competitors from Asus, Toshiba, Lenovo and Acer.

Input Devices

The keyboard with the isolated keys in the 17-inch device benefits from the generous layout with separated arrow keys and a standard-sized number pad. That is basically it. Prolific writers will not be happy with the keys because their drop is too short and is accompanied by an unclear pressure point and slight yielding in the center area. This rocking leads to a spongy stroke in the middle and a shaky stroke on the right over the optical drive.

The backlight helps prevent typos in low light or darkness. Unfortunately, the light shines through the transparent letters, and thus the lettering is difficult to see in bright daylight even when the light is disabled.

Touchpad

The ClickPad with its big, matte surface and medium drop appealed to us more. The pad does not have dedicated mouse keys, but it detects clicks according to where the finger presses the ClickPad's surface. Unfortunately, the pad has some play; it lowers marginally when a finger is placed on it, and the underlying button with a short pressure point is pressed beyond that point. The feedback is an audible click when triggered.

Touchscreen

The touchscreen, in an edge-to-edge design, has a homogeneous surface that reaches up to the edge. A rubber lip envelops this surface. A hard plastic panel covers the image-rendering screen with a visible gap (approx. 2 mm/~0.08 in). It protects the screen against pressure marks and detects the fingers' position. The surface implements inputs quickly, and fingers leave only a few marks on the sleek surface.

Poor feedback: soft, sometimes spongy stroke...
Poor feedback: soft, sometimes spongy stroke...
...alongside a short key drop.
...alongside a short key drop.
ClickPad: sufficient drop...
ClickPad: sufficient drop...
...but loose suspension
...but loose suspension

Display

Touchscreen with "space"
Touchscreen with "space"

The 17.3-inch screen's resolution of 1920x1080 pixels is not particularly high. That only equals 127 ppi in a 17-inch device. An eye can just barely see the single pixels with effort (0.2 mm). The multi-touch screen supports ten fingers, and comes from AUO (model: AUO119D B173HTN). It is an IPS display with a glossy surface, which is common for touchscreens.

233
cd/m²
214
cd/m²
208
cd/m²
210
cd/m²
233
cd/m²
216
cd/m²
208
cd/m²
225
cd/m²
207
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
AUO119D B173HTN Dell P/N: MM77H
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 233 cd/m² Average: 217.1 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 89 %
Center on Battery: 233 cd/m²
Contrast: 685:1 (Black: 0.34 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 8.99 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 11.09 | 0.64-98 Ø6.3
94% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 61% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.14
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
Lenovo Y70-70 Touch
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
Screen
6%
5%
21%
19%
Brightness middle
233
347
49%
312
34%
344.8
48%
347
49%
Brightness
217
306
41%
293
35%
332
53%
326
50%
Brightness Distribution
89
76
-15%
84
-6%
84
-6%
90
1%
Black Level *
0.34
0.68
-100%
0.4
-18%
0.4
-18%
0.409
-20%
Contrast
685
510
-26%
780
14%
862
26%
848
24%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
8.99
6.45
28%
10.84
-21%
6.81
24%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
11.09
3.39
69%
11.2
-1%
7.27
34%
Gamma
2.14 103%
2.3 96%
2.68 82%
2.4 92%
CCT
8524 76%
7038 92%
14583 45%
7546 86%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
61
64
5%
61
0%
57
-7%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
94

* ... smaller is better

With an average contrast of 685:1 and a below-average brightness, the screen does not look very good compared with its competitors. However, we are talking about very slight differences here. Apart from the poor brightness, the differences to the other laptops are slight. The Aspire V Nitro as well as the Asus N751 both have a brighter IPS screen and have better, i.e. lower, DeltaE rates. The DeltaE indicates the accuracy of color reproduction, in this case in relation to the sRGB reference. Does turquoise look exactly as defined by the sRGB color palette? The DeltaE target is less than 3, and except for the N751 all review samples in the chart are more or less far from that.

IPS screens usually fail in the AdobeRGB space. However, sRGB is covered by 94%, which is a fairly good rate. CalMAN shows that the 7746 is not suitable for photo and image editing due to a heavy bluish cast, and the high DeltaE shift distorts colors. A bluish cast is rare in IPS screens, but not impossible. Calibration largely eliminates the bluish cast.

94% sRGB color space
94% sRGB color space
61% AdobeRGB color space
61% AdobeRGB color space
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale

The 7746 is not as enjoyable outside of the building or office. That is due to the surface's intense reflections. Even when the Inspiron is used in the shade, the brightness and contrast are too low for adequate legibility.

Limited suitability...
Limited suitability...
... für Einsätze draußen.
...for outdoor use.
Intense reflections on the touchscreen
Intense reflections on the touchscreen

The viewing angles are very wide, and consequently users can deviate from the axis and still see true colors, text and outlines when looking from the sides. Colors invert only when looking from below.

Viewing angles: Dell Inspiron 17 7000 (7746-3863) 17.3", 1920 x 1080, multitouch
Viewing angles: Dell Inspiron 17 7000 (7746-3863) 17.3", 1920 x 1080, multi-touch

Performance

Being the top model, the Inspiron 17 not only sports the processor-integrated HD Graphics 5500, but also a dedicated GeForce GT 845M. This accelerator is a member of the lower mid-range and should cope with most up-to-date games using reduced settings. The memory configuration is generous; the manufacturer installs 8 GB of RAM (two DIMMs, 2x 4 GB). However, a 1000 GB hard drive in the form of Seagate's Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM014 is installed and not an SSD.

System info GPU-Z Geforce 845M
System info GPU-Z HD Graphics 5500
System info CPU-Z CPU
System info CPU-Z Mainboard
System info CPU-Z Memory
System info CPU-Z Cache
Latency Monitor: irregularities, notification
Latency Monitor: irregularities
System information: Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863

Processor

Cinebench R15 @2.5 GHz stable
Cinebench R15 @2.5 GHz stable

Our review sample obviously is at a disadvantage with its 15-watt SoC. At first glance, the Cinebench scores look abysmal, especially when we keep in mind that it is a heavy, big 17-inch machine from which the buyer expects a certain amount of high performance. However, these scores were expected from a Broadwell 5200U. The dual-core chip has to compete with quad-core, 47-watt standard mobile processors, which is impossible for a 15-watt chip.

Compared with other notebooks sporting the same processor, the 5200U is on a normal level. It is disappointing that the Boost apparently cannot benefit at all from the aluminum chassis' high cooling capacities. The light, slim ZenBook UX303LA (premium, 13-inch) as well as HP's Pavilion 17-f217ng (budget, 17-inch) achieve exactly the same Cinebench scores.

Cinebench R15 multi CPU ran stably at 2.5 GHz, which is owed to the permanent utilization of the Turbo range. 2.7 GHz were possible in the single test (one core). 2.5 GHz are also reached in battery mode; the benchmark scores were identical.

Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1.21 Points ∼50%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
1.48 Points ∼61% +22%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
1.49 Points ∼61% +23%
Lenovo Y70-70 Touch
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
1.56 Points ∼64% +29%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
1.13 Points ∼46% -7%
HP Pavilion 17-f217ng
GeForce 830M, 5200U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541075A9E680
1.26 Points ∼52% +4%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
1.18 Points ∼48% -2%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
2.84 Points ∼8%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
6.55 Points ∼20% +131%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
6.02 Points ∼18% +112%
Lenovo Y70-70 Touch
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
6.34 Points ∼19% +123%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
7.03 Points ∼21% +148%
HP Pavilion 17-f217ng
GeForce 830M, 5200U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541075A9E680
2.81 Points ∼8% -1%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
2.82 Points ∼8% -1%
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
107 Points ∼49%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
116 Points ∼53% +8%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
131 Points ∼60% +22%
Lenovo Y70-70 Touch
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
137 Points ∼63% +28%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
133 Points ∼61% +24%
HP Pavilion 17-f217ng
GeForce 830M, 5200U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541075A9E680
108 Points ∼50% +1%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
109 Points ∼50% +2%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
259 Points ∼6%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
499 Points ∼11% +93%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
566 Points ∼13% +119%
Lenovo Y70-70 Touch
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
576 Points ∼13% +122%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
643 Points ∼15% +148%
HP Pavilion 17-f217ng
GeForce 830M, 5200U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541075A9E680
260 Points ∼6% 0%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
258 Points ∼6% 0%
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
5924
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
8577
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
3702
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
37.19 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.84 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.21 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
41.32 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
259 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
107 Points
Help

System Performance

Does the weak ULV SoC have an impact on application performance? We find out with the PCMark benchmarks. Our review sample is in fact in the last place here. The differences, however, vary significantly depending on the device. The equally priced Asus N751JK only has an edge of 8 - 12% in PCMark 8, which is just due to the SanDisk SSD. PCMark 7, which responds more sensitively to SSDs, recorded differences of up to 200%. Comparisons are still best with the Satellite S70-B, which is based on a conventional hard drive like our review sample.

In total, the performance is practical for use as an office and entertainment machine as long as the user does not want to turn the Inspiron 17 into a workstation or gamer.

PCMark 7
Productivity (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1566 Points ∼14%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
1792 Points ∼16% +14%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
4753 Points ∼44% +204%
Score (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
3605 Points ∼39%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
5266 Points ∼58% +46%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
3349 Points ∼37% -7%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
5669 Points ∼62% +57%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
4001 Points ∼61%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
4312 Points ∼66% +8%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
4492 Points ∼69% +12%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
2960 Points ∼49%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
3328 Points ∼55% +12%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
3889 Points ∼64% +31%
PCMark 7 Score
3605 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2960 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4001 points
Help

Storage Device

The read and write rates of Seagate's hard drive with a gross capacity of 1000 GB is on par with most other spinning HDDs, but its average is slightly worse than that of the norm. SSD-based systems are faster than hard disks in the benchmarks. However, we have to point out that the SSD models of every competitor that we have tested are considerably more expensive than the Inspiron 17. The Seagate ST1000LM014 is a so-called solid-state hybrid drive (SSHD) with a dedicated SSD cache (8 GB MLC-NAND) where the HDD can store frequently used file blocks for fast access. The system and programs load almost as fast as if an SSD were installed. Copying or installations do not benefit from it, though.

Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
Lenovo Y70-70 Touch
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
HD Tune Access Time
--- *
18.1
17.9
1%
18.2
-1%
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
13728%
41%
40%
12665%
Write 4k QD32
0.706
145
20438%
1.055
49%
0.927
31%
250
35311%
Read 4k QD32
0.791
333
41999%
0.85
7%
1.014
28%
179.9
22643%
Write 4k
0.699
74
10487%
1.049
50%
1.154
65%
71.25
10093%
Read 4k
0.371
31
8256%
0.448
21%
0.322
-13%
24.72
6563%
Write Seq
117.6
253
115%
95.28
-19%
81.53
-31%
351.2
199%
Read Seq
38.9
455
1070%
93.36
140%
100.1
157%
498.1
1180%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
13728% / 13728%
21% / 36%
20% / 34%
12665% / 12665%

* ... smaller is better

Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
Transfer Rate Minimum: 40.6 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 111.8 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 89.6 MB/s
Access Time: 18.1 ms
Burst Rate: 150.4 MB/s
CPU Usage: 6.2 %

Graphics Card

The GeForce GT 845M GPU is not installed often, and has 2048 MB of GDDR5 video memory in our case. The GTX 850M with twice as many pipelines (640) but a clock of only 876 MHz (specs by Nvidia) is more popular among manufacturers. The Maxwell architecture as well as the 128-bit memory interface is identical, though. All details about the GeForce 845M can be found in the data sheet.

Asus' N751JK makes clear why at least a GTX 850M is the better choice for performance fans or gamers. This mid-range graphics cards achieves 49 to 76% more in the 3DMark benchmarks. The GTX 960M in the Aspire Nitro lives up to its gaming label and doubles the scores (+105%).

Nvidia's GPU Boost 2.0 enables scaling the performance up to 1150 MHz in Dell's laptop - and that even under stress and in battery mode (energy-saving settings "off").

3DMark - 1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
7519 Points ∼12%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
13223 Points ∼21% +76%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
10337 Points ∼17% +37%
Lenovo Y70-70 Touch
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
14085 Points ∼23% +87%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
15434 Points ∼25% +105%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
3019 Points ∼9%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
4495 Points ∼13% +49%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
2896 Points ∼8% -4%
Lenovo Y70-70 Touch
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
5069 Points ∼14% +68%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
5410 Points ∼15% +79%
3DMark 11 Performance
3019 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
36859 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
7519 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
2113 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Images are rendered smoothly on the screen, but high details are often not possible in the HD resolution (1366x768 pixels). Exceptions are Thief and Evolve. It seems as if the ULV CPU limits the game. We find significantly better frame rates in laptops based on an 840M (even DDR3) and an i5-4210 (TDP: 47 watts), e.g. Acer Aspire V17 Nitro VN7-791G-50MV. The 840M performs 12 to 33% better in CPU-driven games with the standard-voltage SoC. It is either a tiebreak or an evident plus for standard-voltage in more basic games, such as Tomb Raider. We faded in MSI's GP70-2PEi545 to illustrate how even an 840M calculates approximately 4% faster when fused with a 47-watt CPU.

Crysis 3
1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:2xSM AF:16x (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
6.3 fps ∼5%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
9.8 fps ∼8% +56%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
20.9 fps ∼17% +232%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
6.9 fps ∼6% +10%
1366x768 High Preset AA:FX AF:16x (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
18.9 fps ∼14%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
25.1 fps ∼18% +33%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
53.8 fps ∼39% +185%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
18.2 fps ∼13% -4%
1366x768 Medium Preset AF:16x (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
29.4 fps ∼17%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
40.4 fps ∼23% +37%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
78.8 fps ∼45% +168%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
24.7 fps ∼14% -16%
1024x768 Low Preset (sort by value)
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
125 fps ∼70%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
42.2 fps ∼24%
Tomb Raider
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:FX AF:16x (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
14.8 fps ∼5%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
22.9 fps ∼8% +55%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
49.1 fps ∼18% +232%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro VN7-791G-50MV
GeForce 840M, 4210H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
18.1 fps ∼7% +22%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
17.5 fps ∼6% +18%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
16.9 fps ∼6% +14%
1366x768 High Preset AA:FX AF:8x (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
36.7 fps ∼7%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
51.6 fps ∼10% +41%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
111.4 fps ∼22% +204%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro VN7-791G-50MV
GeForce 840M, 4210H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
37 fps ∼7% +1%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
36.4 fps ∼7% -1%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
32.9 fps ∼6% -10%
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX AF:4x (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
47.3 fps ∼8%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
74.6 fps ∼13% +58%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
170 fps ∼30% +259%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro VN7-791G-50MV
GeForce 840M, 4210H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
68.2 fps ∼12% +44%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
66.5 fps ∼12% +41%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
65.8 fps ∼12% +39%
1024x768 Low Preset (sort by value)
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
282.2 fps ∼45%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro VN7-791G-50MV
GeForce 840M, 4210H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
143.4 fps ∼23%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
137.3 fps ∼22%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
141.6 fps ∼23%
BioShock Infinite
1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF) (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
13.9 fps ∼5%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
18.9 fps ∼7% +36%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
44.8 fps ∼17% +222%
Lenovo ThinkPad S5 Yoga 15 20DQ0038GE
GeForce 840M, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
14.1 fps ∼5% +1%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro VN7-791G-50MV
GeForce 840M, 4210H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
14.7 fps ∼6% +6%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
14.4 fps ∼5% +4%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
14.8 fps ∼6% +6%
1366x768 High Preset (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
39.3 fps ∼10%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
54.3 fps ∼14% +38%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
115.7 fps ∼30% +194%
Lenovo ThinkPad S5 Yoga 15 20DQ0038GE
GeForce 840M, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
40 fps ∼10% +2%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro VN7-791G-50MV
GeForce 840M, 4210H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
43.8 fps ∼11% +11%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
42.1 fps ∼11% +7%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
43.7 fps ∼11% +11%
1366x768 Medium Preset (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
42.7 fps ∼10%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
63.8 fps ∼15% +49%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
131.3 fps ∼31% +207%
Lenovo ThinkPad S5 Yoga 15 20DQ0038GE
GeForce 840M, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
49 fps ∼12% +15%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro VN7-791G-50MV
GeForce 840M, 4210H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
53.5 fps ∼13% +25%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
51.7 fps ∼12% +21%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
54 fps ∼13% +26%
1280x720 Very Low Preset (sort by value)
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
187.3 fps ∼41%
Lenovo ThinkPad S5 Yoga 15 20DQ0038GE
GeForce 840M, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
84 fps ∼19%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro VN7-791G-50MV
GeForce 840M, 4210H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
98.5 fps ∼22%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
88.3 fps ∼20%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
98 fps ∼22%
Dota 2
1920x1080 High / On, Render Quality: 100 % (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
28 fps ∼23%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
43.7 fps ∼36% +56%
Lenovo Y70-70 Touch
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
107 fps ∼89% +282%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
36 fps ∼30% +29%
1366x768 Medium / On, Render Quality: 70 % (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
61.5 fps ∼51%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
83.1 fps ∼69% +35%
Lenovo Y70-70 Touch
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
120 fps ∼100% +95%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
85 fps ∼71% +38%
1024x768 Low / Off, Render Quality: 40 % (sort by value)
Lenovo Y70-70 Touch
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
120 fps ∼83%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
104.6 fps ∼72%
Battlefield 4
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
10.9 fps ∼5%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
16.5 fps ∼8% +51%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
33.4 fps ∼17% +206%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
11.2 fps ∼6% +3%
1366x768 High Preset (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
27.1 fps ∼14%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
42.7 fps ∼21% +58%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
81.2 fps ∼41% +200%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
30.6 fps ∼15% +13%
1366x768 Medium Preset (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
37 fps ∼19%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
63.3 fps ∼32% +71%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
110.8 fps ∼55% +199%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
47.4 fps ∼24% +28%
1024x768 Low Preset (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
56.4 fps ∼28%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
158.4 fps ∼79% +181%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
69.6 fps ∼35% +23%
Thief
1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FXAA & High SS AF:8x (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
8.3 fps ∼6%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
4.1 fps ∼3% -51%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
12.9 fps ∼9% +55%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro VN7-791G-50MV
GeForce 840M, 4210H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
10 fps ∼7% +20%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
9.6 fps ∼7% +16%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
9.3 fps ∼7% +12%
1366x768 High Preset AA:FXAA & Low SS AF:4x (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
17.3 fps ∼12%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
6.8 fps ∼5% -61%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
25.7 fps ∼18% +49%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro VN7-791G-50MV
GeForce 840M, 4210H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
21.4 fps ∼15% +24%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
20.6 fps ∼14% +19%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
20.3 fps ∼14% +17%
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
20.1 fps ∼14%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
7.9 fps ∼5% -61%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
30 fps ∼20% +49%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro VN7-791G-50MV
GeForce 840M, 4210H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
26.7 fps ∼18% +33%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
25.8 fps ∼17% +28%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
25.5 fps ∼17% +27%
1024x768 Very Low Preset (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
31.3 fps ∼21%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
15.9 fps ∼11% -49%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro VN7-791G-50MV
GeForce 840M, 4210H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
35.1 fps ∼23% +12%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
40.6 fps ∼27% +30%
MSI GP70-2PEi545
GeForce 840M, 4200H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
35.2 fps ∼23% +12%
Sims 4
1920x1080 Ultra Preset (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
26.3 fps ∼16%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
41.6 fps ∼26% +58%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
33.7 fps ∼21% +28%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
70.8 fps ∼44% +169%
1920x1080 High Preset (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
30.7 fps ∼18%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
49.8 fps ∼29% +62%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
36.3 fps ∼21% +18%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
81.4 fps ∼47% +165%
1366x768 Medium Preset (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
56.2 fps ∼31%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
87 fps ∼47% +55%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
81.7 fps ∼44% +45%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
140.6 fps ∼76% +150%
1024x768 Low Preset (sort by value)
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
160.1 fps ∼80%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
180.6 fps ∼91%
Fifa 15
1920x1080 High Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
41.2 fps ∼14%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
97 fps ∼33% +135%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
46 fps ∼15% +12%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
130.4 fps ∼44% +217%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
50.5 fps ∼17% +23%
1366x768 High Preset AA:2x MS (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
64.1 fps ∼18%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
135 fps ∼38% +111%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
76.8 fps ∼21% +20%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
186 fps ∼52% +190%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
74.9 fps ∼21% +17%
1280x720 Low Preset (sort by value)
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
182.1 fps ∼40%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
224.5 fps ∼50%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
81.4 fps ∼18%
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
1920x1080 Ultra Preset (HD Package) (sort by value)
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
19.5 fps ∼12%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
6.6 fps ∼4%
1920x1080 High Preset (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
22.4 fps ∼12%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
27.6 fps ∼15% +23%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
14.3 fps ∼8% -36%
1344x756 Medium Preset (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
41.2 fps ∼20%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
53.3 fps ∼25% +29%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
26.5 fps ∼13% -36%
1280x720 Lowest Preset (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
58.4 fps ∼22%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
74.51 fps ∼28% +28%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
40.2 fps ∼15% -31%
Alien: Isolation
1920x1080 Ultra, On, Shadow Map 2048, HDAO AA:2x SM AF:16x (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
27.4 fps ∼12%
1920x1080 High, On, Shadow Map 1536, Standard SSAO AA:FX AF:8x (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
33.8 fps ∼11%
1366x768 Medium, On (AA & SSAO Off), Shadow Map 1024 AF:4x (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
68.5 fps ∼22%
F1 2014
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
48 fps ∼40%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
62 fps ∼52% +29%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
35 fps ∼29% -27%
1920x1080 High Preset (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
62 fps ∼47%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
101 fps ∼76% +63%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
59 fps ∼44% -5%
1366x768 Medium Preset (sort by value)
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
113 fps ∼85%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
73 fps ∼55%
1024x768 Ultra Low Preset (sort by value)
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
135 fps ∼100%
Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro VN7-571G-56NX
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
96 fps ∼71%
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
1920x1080 Extra / On (Cache Shadow Maps Off), 2x Supersampling AA:2x SM (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
12.8 fps ∼17%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
20.9 fps ∼27% +63%
1920x1080 High / On (Cache Shadow Maps Off) AA:FX (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
20.1 fps ∼16%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
38.6 fps ∼31% +92%
1366x768 Normal / On (Cache Shadow Maps Off) (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
30.1 fps ∼16%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
55.1 fps ∼28% +83%
1024x768 Low / Off (Shader Preload On) (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
50.4 fps ∼20%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
99.2 fps ∼40% +97%
Dragon Age: Inquisition
1920x1080 Ultra Graphics Quality AA:2x MS (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
12.7 fps ∼7%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
3.4 fps ∼2% -73%
1920x1080 High Graphics Quality (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
19 fps ∼11%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
5 fps ∼3% -74%
1366x768 Medium Graphics Quality (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
27 fps ∼14%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
16.3 fps ∼8% -40%
1024x768 Low Graphics Quality (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
31.5 fps ∼11%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
50.9 fps ∼19% +62%
Evolve
1920x1080 Very High Graphics Quality AA:1TX SM (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
10.1 fps ∼6%
Lenovo ThinkPad S5 Yoga 15 20DQ0038GE
GeForce 840M, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
10.7 fps ∼6% +6%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro VN7-791G-50MV
GeForce 840M, 4210H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
11.4 fps ∼6% +13%
1920x1080 High Graphics Quality AA:FX (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
10.3 fps ∼5%
Lenovo ThinkPad S5 Yoga 15 20DQ0038GE
GeForce 840M, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
13 fps ∼7% +26%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro VN7-791G-50MV
GeForce 840M, 4210H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
13.7 fps ∼7% +33%
1366x768 Medium Graphics Quality (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
20 fps ∼9%
Lenovo ThinkPad S5 Yoga 15 20DQ0038GE
GeForce 840M, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
24.2 fps ∼11% +21%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro VN7-791G-50MV
GeForce 840M, 4210H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
26.6 fps ∼12% +33%
1024x768 Low Graphics Quality (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
27.2 fps ∼10%
Lenovo ThinkPad S5 Yoga 15 20DQ0038GE
GeForce 840M, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
35 fps ∼13% +29%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro VN7-791G-50MV
GeForce 840M, 4210H, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
36.4 fps ∼13% +34%
Battlefield Hardline
1920x1080 Ultra Graphics Quality (DX11) AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
9.3 fps ∼5%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
30.8 fps ∼17% +231%
1920x1080 High Graphics Quality (DX11) (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
14 fps ∼7%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
48.6 fps ∼25% +247%
1366x768 Medium Graphics Quality (DX11) (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
32.2 fps ∼16%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
104 fps ∼53% +223%
1024x768 Low Graphics Quality (DX11) (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
50.7 fps ∼26%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
145.5 fps ∼73% +187%
low med. high ultra
Crysis 3 (2013) 29.418.96.3fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 47.336.714.8fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 42.739.313.9fps
Dota 2 (2013) 61.528fps
Battlefield 4 (2013) 56.43727.110.9fps
Thief (2014) 31.320.117.38.3fps
Sims 4 (2014) 56.230.726.3fps
Fifa 15 (2014) 64.141.2fps
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (2014) 58.441.222.4fps
Alien: Isolation (2014) 68.533.827.4fps
F1 2014 (2014) 6248fps
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (2014) 50.430.120.112.8fps
Dragon Age: Inquisition (2014) 31.5271912.7fps
Evolve (2015) 27.22010.310.1fps
Battlefield Hardline (2015) 50.732.2149.3fps

Emissions

System Noise

The 15-watt Broadwell quad-core gives hope for low emissions. The chart with the competitors does not show the opposite, but the Inspiron 17 is not quieter than systems based on a 47-watt SoC, either. Asus' N751JK (SSD) remains even quieter in the stress test, and it has the lowest level while idling.

However: The powerful Aspire V Nitro 7-791G with a graphics card twice as fast is 19% louder during normal load, for example in computer games. The same is true for the Satellite S70-B-106 (14%).

Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
Lenovo Y70-70 Touch
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
Noise
4%
-3%
6%
-4%
off / environment *
Idle Minimum *
31.6
31.6
-0%
32
-1%
31
2%
29.6
6%
Idle Average *
33.3
31.8
5%
32
4%
31
7%
32.1
4%
Idle Maximum *
33.3
31.8
5%
33.8
-2%
31
7%
35.4
-6%
Load Average *
39.9
39
2%
45.6
-14%
39.1
2%
47.3
-19%
Load Maximum *
45.4
42
7%
46.3
-2%
39.7
13%
48.1
-6%

* ... smaller is better

Noise Level

Idle
31.6 / 33.3 / 33.3 dB(A)
HDD
31.6 dB(A)
DVD
36.6 / dB(A)
Load
39.9 / 45.4 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test Prime95 and Furmark 1 hour
Stress test Prime95 and Furmark 1 hour

The temperatures are more in favor of the review sample. Our Inspiron 17 7746 did not even reach 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit, hot spot) in the stress test. Some competitors present as much as 52 degrees (125.6 Fahrenheit). The most powerful laptop, the Aspire V Nitro 7-791G, is again most affected here. The gaming machine also gets 3 to 6 degrees (~5 to 10 Fahrenheit) warmer in idle mode. However, overall, it cannot be said that the surfaces of any of the comparison devices get too warm. 17-inch devices are not made for use on the lap anyway, making waste heat fairly secondary.

The temperatures are on a very agreeable level when idle and during low load with a maximum average of 25 degrees (77 Fahrenheit) on the upper side. A feature of aluminum bases is the very even distribution of heat over both the upper side and underside.

This looks different with the inner temperatures. The waste heat of the SoC and graphics card has a direct impact on the performance. The frequency of the CPU and GPU increases or decreases as soon as certain temperatures are reached according to how the manufacturer sets the temp-tables.

The CPU and GPU performed the stress test with almost stable performance. The 845M always clocked at 1150 MHz (stable), and the CPU remained at 2.5 GHz (multi-core load). That is clearly over the 2.2 GHz default clock rate, and we can thus speak of a full Turbo utilization at all times. That would be an important statement in a slim 13-inch device, but it is compulsory for the cooling system of a 17-inch, aluminum machine.

Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
Lenovo Y70-70 Touch
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
Heat
6%
-18%
-6%
-17%
Maximum Upper Side *
41.1
38.1
7%
50
-22%
46.8
-14%
49.6
-21%
Maximum Bottom *
44.1
41.3
6%
52.6
-19%
43.7
1%
51.7
-17%
Idle Upper Side *
26.9
26
3%
30.5
-13%
28.2
-5%
29.5
-10%
Idle Bottom *
27.6
25
9%
32
-16%
29.3
-6%
33
-20%

* ... smaller is better

Noise Level

Idle
31.6 / 33.3 / 33.3 dB(A)
HDD
31.6 dB(A)
DVD
36.6 / dB(A)
Load
39.9 / 45.4 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)
Max. Load
 39.5 °C
103 F
41.1 °C
106 F
26 °C
79 F
 
 33.1 °C
92 F
39.6 °C
103 F
25.5 °C
78 F
 
 26 °C
79 F
24.5 °C
76 F
27.5 °C
82 F
 
Maximum: 41.1 °C = 106 F
Average: 31.4 °C = 89 F
24.3 °C
76 F
44.1 °C
111 F
44 °C
111 F
26 °C
79 F
33.2 °C
92 F
30.2 °C
86 F
28.6 °C
83 F
25.8 °C
78 F
25.1 °C
77 F
Maximum: 44.1 °C = 111 F
Average: 31.3 °C = 88 F
Power Supply (max.)  49.1 °C = 120 F | Room Temperature 21.3 °C = 70 F | Voltcraft IR-360
(+) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 31.4 °C / 89 F, compared to the average of 30.9 °C / 88 F for the devices in the class Multimedia.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 41.1 °C / 106 F, compared to the average of 36.5 °C / 98 F, ranging from 21.1 to 71 °C for the class Multimedia.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 44.1 °C / 111 F, compared to the average of 38.8 °C / 102 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 25.3 °C / 78 F, compared to the device average of 30.9 °C / 88 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 27.5 °C / 81.5 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(±) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 29.1 °C / 84.4 F (+1.6 °C / 2.9 F).

Speakers

Dual-array microphone beside the webcam
Dual-array microphone beside the webcam

The speakers are found under the wrist rest, and they radiate their sound on the tabletop. The presets in Dell's Audio render the sound as if it were being played in a confined space. The presets in MaxxSense do not seem right for classic music. In any case, the MaxxAudioPro provides settings for bass, treble, stereo, volume and more. New setting or presets are very audible; we cannot deny that the speakers have an acceptable sound spectrum.

Despite MaxxBass, the low ranges are neglected. We would have expected more from a 17-inch laptop with a multimedia claim. The sound in games, movies or music is not bad, but we would have hoped for a bit more bang. The volume is relatively high, but not deafening. At least there is no scratching or distortions at maximum level.

Recordings made with the integrated dual-array microphone, located to the right and left of the webcam, sound hollow and tinny. The recordings were best at a distance of 50 centimeters (~20 in), but the hollow sound impression unfortunately remained at a slightly improved level no matter what microphone preset we used.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The Broadwell ULV platform shines with low consumption rates that might be record-breaking? Not quite. Some 47-watt competitors can undercut the idle power consumption. However, the differences are marginal, and are within the range of measurement tolerances. It is thus not always the case that devices based on standard-voltage provoke higher idle energy. Lenovo's Y70-70 Touch, using 37 watts when idle, is a big exception.

As expected, the power consumption under load markedly climbs with 55 to 71 watts. It, however, remains clearly below that of the 47-watt competitors (N751JK max. 90 watts, Satellite S70-B max. 82 watts, Aspire V Nitro max. 105 watts). That is not surprising since the review sample sports the weakest hardware.

The stress test involves multi-core load, and the 47-watt TDP of the competitors is just as important as the stronger GPU solutions, such as the GTX 960M that needs 60 watts by itself. The included 90-watt power supply has more than enough power reserves and does not get unduly warm reaching 49 degrees Celsius (120.2 Fahrenheit).

Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
GeForce 845M, 5200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
Asus N751JK-T4144H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4710HQ, SanDisk X300s SD7SB3Q-128G
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Radeon R9 M265X, 4700HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
Lenovo Y70-70 Touch
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
Power Consumption
-21%
-5%
-52%
-23%
Idle Minimum *
7.5
8.4
-12%
7.4
1%
6.5
13%
5.8
23%
Idle Average *
12.8
13.3
-4%
11.7
9%
12.7
1%
13.1
-2%
Idle Maximum *
13.4
13.8
-3%
12
10%
36.8
-175%
14.5
-8%
Load Average *
55
86.7
-58%
70.7
-29%
88.2
-60%
98
-78%
Load Maximum *
71.1
90
-27%
81.7
-15%
100.5
-41%
104.9
-48%

* ... smaller is better

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.5 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 7.5 / 12.8 / 13.4 Watt
Load midlight 55 / 71.1 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 960

Battery Runtime

Over six hours in the Wi-Fi test (v1.3) sounds awesome for a 17-inch laptop. The competitors do not achieve that. Asus' N751JK still fares the best with five hours, which is exactly the average of 17-inch multimedia laptops that we have tested in the past 12 months. A script simulates opening websites with and without multimedia content in the Wi-Fi test. The former Wi-Fi test is not totally comparable, but very similar in terms of the load scenario.

The Inspiron 17 can deliver ten hours in idle mode. None of the competitors manage that, either. Lenovo's Y70-70 Touch is most enduring, but shuts down two hours sooner than our review sample. The Inspiron needs a good 3.5 hours to fully recharge a depleted battery. That is a relatively short and appropriate time for the 58 Wh lithium-ion battery.

Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
624 min ∼INF%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
356 min ∼INF%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
461 min ∼INF%
Lenovo Y70-70 Touch
505 min ∼INF%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
min ∼NAN%
WiFi v1.3 (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
376 min ∼184%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
204 min ∼100%
Load (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863
153 min ∼INF%
Asus N751JK-T4144H
42 min ∼INF%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
53 min ∼INF%
Lenovo Y70-70 Touch
min ∼NAN%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
min ∼NAN%
WiFi (sort by value)
Asus N751JK-T4144H
298 min ∼116%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
209 min ∼81%
Lenovo Y70-70 Touch
258 min ∼100%
Gaming (sort by value)
Asus N751JK-T4144H
47 min ∼100%
H.264 (sort by value)
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
185 min ∼100%
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
10h 24min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
6h 16min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 33min

Pros

+ Pleasant feel, hard surfaces
+ Viewing angle stable touchscreen
+ Full Turbo utilization
+ Maintenance possible
+ Low emissions
+ Low power consumption
+ Long battery life for 17 inches
+ Satisfactory speakers

Cons

- Pliable base unit
- Unsuitable for outdoors
- Spongy input devices
- Limited gaming due to ULV SoC
- Very inferior webcam
- Reverberant microphone recordings

Verdict

Dell Inspiron 17 7000 (7746-3863). Test model courtesy of Dell Germany
Dell Inspiron 17 7000 (7746-3863). Test model courtesy of Dell Germany

Buyers of all genders will gladly put this on their tabletop: A classy, pleasant-to-touch, high-quality, 17-inch laptop with a high-contrast, Full HD screen and generously sized input devices. The 7746 has apparently done everything right for a place on the desk. The cool and fingerprint-free casing looks good under the hands. Unfortunately, the input devices disappoint particularly in office use; the feedback is weak and the adjective "shaky" comes to mind.

Users with expectations of stability will also be disappointed. Dell does not achieve the rigidness of a MacBook or ZenBook aluminum unibody, although the chassis is made of one piece of metal (plastic underside with cover).

As to the FHD screen, the 7746 offers a middling contrast and wide viewing angles. Unfortunately, the brightness sets standards in the below average range. However, that is of no consequence in view of the reflective touchscreen's poor outdoor suitability. The competitors, some with a matte IPS screen, provide better equipment here.

A fly in the ointment is the SoC's low computing power compared with the 47-watt chips in similarly priced competitors. We particularly ascertained performance losses in some games, which were sometimes below the performance of an 840M alongside a standard-voltage CPU. The performance is more than satisfactory outside the gaming world. However, it is ultimately disappointing that a heavy, bulky 17-inch laptop does not have more power under its hood than a light, slim 13-inch device based on the same 15-watt SoC. Waiving performance would still have been tolerable had Dell at least implemented weighty advantages in other aspects. That is not the case apart from the battery life, load power consumption and low waste heat.

The competitors offer more performance for the money, in particular for games. Acer's Aspire V Nitro 7-791G pleases the gaming community with a GeForce GTX 960M, standard-voltage Core i5 and a brighter, higher contrast screen (starts at 950 Euros/~$1067). Asus' N751JK is pricier, but also has better gaming performance with its GTX 850M. Besides that, the external subwoofer adds surround sound. We are currently testing the newest N751JX-T4056H version with a GeForce GTX 950M.

Lenovo's IdeaPad Y70-70 Touch (starts at 1100 Euros/~$1235) with a GTX 860M is a genuine gaming laptop. However, the casing has some weak points, and the limited CPU Turbo utilization is not particularly attractive for gamers. A GPU alternative from AMD is found in Toshiba's Satellite S70-B-106 (Radeon R9 M265X). This 17-inch machine scored a lower rating in total, though.

We would recommend a configuration of Acer's Aspire V Nitro 7-791G to gaming fans, and multimedia fans should stick to Asus' N751JK or the latest N751JX.

Dell Inspiron 17 7746-3863 - 06/03/2015 v4(old)
Sebastian Jentsch

Chassis
82 / 98 → 84%
Keyboard
67%
Pointing Device
83%
Connectivity
63 / 81 → 78%
Weight
55 / 20-67 → 74%
Battery
89%
Display
78%
Games Performance
81 / 85 → 95%
Application Performance
75 / 92 → 82%
Temperature
90%
Noise
81 / 95 → 85%
Audio
50%
Camera
35 / 85 → 41%
Average
71%
78%
Multimedia - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Dell Inspiron 17 7746 (2015) Notebook Review
Sebastian Jentsch, 2015-06- 9 (Update: 2018-05-15)