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Dell Precision 3530 (Xeon E-2176M, Quadro P600) Workstation Review

Can't take the heat. The Precision 3530 is the latest entry-level workstation from Dell. Powered by an Nvidia Quadro P600 and a new Xeon CPU from Intel, the Precision 3530 is a capable machine. Heat management and fan noise leave quite a bit to be desired, however.

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Recent years have seen a renewed focus on affordability and consumer choice in the mobile workstation market. While workstation-class notebooks used to be some of the most expensive machines available (and many still are), it seems that companies are trying to offer cheaper options. Enter the Precision 3530. While not necessarily "cheap" by most laptop users' standards, the starting MSRP of USD $949 is a bargain for the workstation market. (For a bit of context, most workstations are priced between $2000-3000 and can run much higher.)

For less than $1000, users can expect a decent amount of power under the hood (Core i5-8300H, Quadro P600), but in typical Dell fashion, there are several configurations available. Our review unit today boasts some of the best specs users can choose: a six-core Intel Xeon E-2176M, an Nvidia Quadro P600, 32 GB of RAM, and a 512 GB PCIe SSD. This bumps the price to $2650 at the time of this writing. We'll see if the upgrades are worth the increased price.

Since the Precision 3530 is essentially just an upgrade of last year's Precision 3520, we will forgo discussion on the size, case, and maintenance options. For details on these factors, please check the review of the Precision 3520. We have posted some photos of the updated motherboard below.

The 3530 competes well against other entry-level and mid-range workstations, including the HP ZBook 15 G4, Lenovo's ThinkPad P52, and the older Precision 3520. We will also compare the Lenovo ThinkPad P52s and Dell Precision 5520 to see if ultrabook-styled workstations can keep up. Let's dive in.

Dell Precision 3530 (Precision 3000 Series)
Processor
Intel Xeon E-2176M, six-core, Coffee Lake
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA Quadro P600 - 4096 MB, Core: 1430 MHz, Memory: 1253 MHz, 4 GB GDDR5, 128-bit, Quadro Desktop/Quadro Notebook Driver Release 390, NVIDIA Optimus
Memory
32768 MB 
, DDR4-2666 / PC4-21300
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 141 PPI, BOE BOE06F1, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel CM246
Storage
SK hynix PC400 512 GB,  GB 
, 475 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Cannon Lake-H/S - cAVS (Audio, Voice, Speech)
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Combo audio in/out, Card Reader: SD/SDHC/SDXC Card Reader, 1 SmartCard, 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor
Networking
Intel Ethernet Connection I219-LM (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Wireless-AC 9560 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.0, LTE
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 24.3 x 376 x 251 ( = 0.96 x 14.8 x 9.88 in)
Battery
92 Wh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD
Additional features
Speakers: 2x 2 Watt, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
2.333 kg ( = 82.29 oz / 5.14 pounds), Power Supply: 546 g ( = 19.26 oz / 1.2 pounds)
Price
2650 USD
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Dell Precision 3520
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
210 MB/s ∼100% +17%
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
186 MB/s ∼89% +4%
Dell Precision 3530
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
179 MB/s ∼85%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52 20MAS03N00
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
169 MB/s ∼80% -6%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
157.5 MB/s ∼75% -12%
Average of class Workstation
  (17.2 - 213, n=48)
132 MB/s ∼63% -26%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
81.39 MB/s ∼39% -55%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
254.5 MB/s ∼100% +27%
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
209.8 MB/s ∼82% +4%
Dell Precision 3530
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
201 MB/s ∼79%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52 20MAS03N00
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
189.2 MB/s ∼74% -6%
Average of class Workstation
  (18.4 - 255, n=48)
169 MB/s ∼66% -16%
Dell Precision 3520
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
119 MB/s ∼47% -41%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
87.75 MB/s ∼34% -56%
Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Dell Precision 3520
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
705 MBit/s ∼100% +4%
Dell Precision 3530
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
680 MBit/s ∼96%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
672 MBit/s ∼95% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52 20MAS03N00
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
629 MBit/s ∼89% -7%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
622 MBit/s ∼88% -9%
Average of class Workstation
  (292 - 705, n=33)
603 MBit/s ∼86% -11%
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
559 MBit/s ∼79% -18%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Dell Precision 3530
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
690 MBit/s ∼100%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52 20MAS03N00
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
662 MBit/s ∼96% -4%
Average of class Workstation
  (83 - 690, n=33)
511 MBit/s ∼74% -26%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
506 (min: 622) MBit/s ∼73% -27%
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
475 MBit/s ∼69% -31%
Dell Precision 3520
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
378 MBit/s ∼55% -45%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
158 MBit/s ∼23% -77%

Display

Subpixel matrix
Subpixel matrix

There are a few display options available ranging from a 1366x768 panel to a FHD touchscreen. The BOE display in our model has a 1920x1080 non-touch panel with a matte finish. PWM is present, just as in the Precision 3520, but shouldn't be distracting.

The weakest point is the screen's low average brightness, which is a disappointing change from last year. At 275 nits, the Precision 3530's screen is about 16% dimmer than the Precision 3520's. In everyday use, this doesn't present much of a problem unless the laptop is used outdoors or in direct sunlight. The backlight is fairly even with a distribution of 85%. Response times are average and in line with similar workstations.

299.4
cd/m²
296.3
cd/m²
273.4
cd/m²
276.1
cd/m²
285.7
cd/m²
265.9
cd/m²
259.7
cd/m²
265.4
cd/m²
253.3
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 299.4 cd/m² Average: 275 cd/m² Minimum: 15.5 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 85 %
Center on Battery: 285.7 cd/m²
Contrast: 922:1 (Black: 0.31 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.84 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2, calibrated: 3.14
ΔE Greyscale 6.5 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
94% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 62% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.383

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Dell Precision 3530
BOE BOE06F1, IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Dell Precision 3520
IPS LED, 15.6, 1920x1080
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
SHP1476, IPS, 15.6, 3840x2160
Lenovo ThinkPad P52 20MAS03N00
N156HCE-EN1, IPS LED, 15.6, 1920x1080
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Lenovo LEN40BD, IPS, 15.6, 3840x2160
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
LG Philips LGD057E, IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Response Times
-6%
-34%
775%
11%
636%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
40.4 (22, 18.4)
48 (24.4, 23.6)
-19%
59.2 (27.6, 31.6)
-47%
39.2 (21.2, 18)
3%
43.2 (24.4, 18.8)
-7%
39.2 (20.4, 18.8)
3%
Response Time Black / White *
34.8 (20.8, 14)
34.4 (17.2, 17.2)
1%
41.6 (26.8, 14.8)
-20%
26 (14.4, 11.6)
25%
18 (13.2, 14.8)
48%
25.6 (14.8, 10.8)
26%
PWM Frequency
1053 (98)
1064 (90)
1%
25250 (50)
2298%
980.4
-7%
20830 (80)
1878%
Screen
6%
14%
11%
13%
10%
Brightness middle
285.7
345
21%
372.4
30%
304
6%
305.5
7%
321
12%
Brightness
275
329
20%
368
34%
293
7%
282
3%
320
16%
Brightness Distribution
85
88
4%
90
6%
88
4%
78
-8%
89
5%
Black Level *
0.31
0.37
-19%
0.48
-55%
0.26
16%
0.24
23%
0.29
6%
Contrast
922
932
1%
776
-16%
1169
27%
1273
38%
1107
20%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.84
5
14%
2.6
55%
4.5
23%
3.51
40%
4.5
23%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
8.76
8
9%
5.6
36%
7.7
12%
7.28
17%
9.5
-8%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
3.14
2.4
24%
3.15
-0%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.5
6.2
5%
3.7
43%
5.2
20%
4
38%
2.9
55%
Gamma
2.383 92%
2.35 94%
2.14 103%
2.26 97%
2.18 101%
2.27 97%
CCT
7176 91%
6702 97%
7096 92%
6789 96%
7291 89%
6519 100%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
62
61.8
0%
63
2%
53.8
-13%
58
-6%
54.2
-13%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
94
94.7
1%
99
5%
90.1
-4%
89
-5%
82.6
-12%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
0% / 3%
-10% / 6%
393% / 175%
12% / 13%
323% / 155%

* ... smaller is better

Color coverage is good, but the Precision 3530 falls short for professional color use. The display covers almost all of the sRGB gamut (94%) but only manages to reproduce 62% of the AdobeRGB gamut. This coverage is a bit higher than the average workstation and should be more than adequate for most users, but photographers, videographers, and others that rely on large color spaces should look elsewhere.

vs. sRGB: 94%
vs. sRGB: 94%
vs. AdobeRGB: 62%
vs. AdobeRGB: 62%

Color accuracy is average. The DeltaE2000 score for colors sits at 5.84, which is decent. Unfortunately, it falls short of professional grade, generally considered to be a DeltaE2000 of 3 or less. The max DeltaE2000 for colors is 8.76, which indicates a fairly tight window of variance. Reds are a bit less accurate than other colors, but not so much so that they adversely affect the display. Calibration brings colors accuracy down to 3.14, which should be good enough for most color work.

Grays tell a similar story with a DeltaE2000 of 6.5. Calibration here helps a lot, dropping the DeltaE2000 score to 1.9 and tightening up the RGB balance quite a bit. Color temperature out of the box is cool at 7176; sharp-eyed users might pick out a slight blue hue on white backgrounds. Again, calibration corrects this and brings it 6661, much closer to the ideal of 6500. Contrast is average and hovers at about 922:1. Blacks look good, but some workstations, like the HP ZBook 15 G4, offer a better overall screen.

ColorChecker
ColorChecker
ColorChecker (calibrated)
ColorChecker (calibrated)
Grayscale
Grayscale
Grayscale (calibrated)
Grayscale (calibrated)
Saturation Sweeps
Saturation Sweeps
Saturation Sweeps (calibrated)
Saturation Sweeps (calibrated)

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
34.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 20.8 ms rise
↘ 14 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 90 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (25.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
40.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 22 ms rise
↘ 18.4 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 47 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (41 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 1053 Hz ≤ 98 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 1053 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 98 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 1053 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8933 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Outdoor use is hindered by the dim backlight. As such, the screen is somewhat visible in shade and all but useless under direct sunlight. Window seats should be avoided. Viewing angles are good. Images and colors remain clear and accurate when viewed off-angle but start to dim at about 60°. The screen suffers very little backlight bleed, primarily along the bottom right corner. The matte finish is a bit grainy, primarily on white backgrounds. This is only visible when sitting close to the screen (8 inches or fewer).

Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors in shade
Outdoors in shade
Minimal backlight bleed along bottom right corner
Minimal backlight bleed along bottom right corner

Performance

The Precision 3530's hardware seems to be at odds with itself. While the Xeon E-2176M is one of the highest-tier CPUs currently on the mobile market, the Nvidia Quadro P600 is designed to keep costs and power draw down. In addition, the CPU is so new that driver issues may be holding it back. As such, the notebook may not be taking full advantage of the hardware available to it. Both components also prove to be too much for the system to handle, as heat and thermal throttling issues persist in heavy use cases.

Note that while HWiNFO64 cannot recognize the name of the CPU, it can detect all 6 cores (12 threads) and all other hardware contained within the CPU.

CPU-Z: CPU
CPU-Z: CPU
CPU-Z: Caches
CPU-Z: Caches
CPU-Z: Mainboard
CPU-Z: Mainboard
CPU-Z: Memory
CPU-Z: Memory
CPU-Z: SPD
CPU-Z: SPD
GPU-Z
GPU-Z
HWiNFO64 v 5.86-3480
HWiNFO64 v 5.86-3480
 

Processor

The Intel Xeon E-2176M is a recent addition to the Xeon family. Based on Intel's Coffee Lake architecture, the six-core hyperthreaded CPU is specially tuned for workstation-class projects and supports the typical workstation features, including ECC RAM. With a base clock of 2.7 GHz and a single-core boost clock of 4.4 GHz, the CPU is poised to blaze through any heavy workloads thrown its way.

Unfortunately, the Precision 3530 is not the best showcase of the new CPU. In Cinebench R15, the CPU puts up impressive multi-core scores... if that's the only test run. In our Cinebench R15 loop, which runs through the multi-core benchmark 50 times the CPU sees a performance drop of 18-20%. The most likely culprit for the throttling is the cooling system, which we will examine closer down below. All said, CPU performance is disappointing and doesn't live up to its full potential.

For more about the Intel Xeon E-2176M, please see our dedicated CPU page here.

Cinebench R10
Cinebench R10
Cinebench R11.5
Cinebench R11.5
Cinebench R15
Cinebench R15
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670680690700710720730740750760770780790800810820830840850860870880890900910920930940950960970Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Asus G703
Intel Core i7-7820HK
185 Points ∼85% +9%
Average Intel Xeon E-2176M
  (169 - 189, n=3)
182 Points ∼83% +8%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
Intel Core i7-8650U
178 Points ∼82% +5%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-52-74DR
Intel Core i7-8750H
177 Points ∼81% +5%
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
Intel Xeon E3-1535M v6
176 Points ∼81% +4%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
170 Points ∼78% +1%
Dell Precision 3530
Intel Xeon E-2176M
169 Points ∼78%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Intel Core i7-8650U
168 Points ∼77% -1%
Eurocom Tornado F5W
Intel Xeon E3-1280 v5
163 Points ∼75% -4%
Average of class Workstation
  (117 - 214, n=80)
155 Points ∼71% -8%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-52-74DR
Intel Core i7-8750H
1090 Points ∼25% +10%
Average Intel Xeon E-2176M
  (987 - 1118, n=3)
1067 Points ∼24% +8%
Dell Precision 3530
Intel Xeon E-2176M
987 Points ∼23%
Asus G703
Intel Core i7-7820HK
932 Points ∼21% -6%
Eurocom Tornado F5W
Intel Xeon E3-1280 v5
815 Points ∼19% -17%
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
Intel Xeon E3-1535M v6
806 Points ∼18% -18%
Average of class Workstation
  (260 - 1623, n=82)
716 Points ∼16% -27%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
Intel Core i7-8650U
675 Points ∼15% -32%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
Intel Core i7-8650U
657 Points ∼15% -33%
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15
Intel Core i7-8650U
649 Points ∼15% -34%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
654 Points ∼15% -34%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Intel Core i7-8650U
647 Points ∼15% -34%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
Asus G703
Intel Core i7-7820HK
2.09 Points ∼86% +2%
Average Intel Xeon E-2176M
  (1.99 - 2.12, n=3)
2.05 Points ∼84% 0%
Dell Precision 3530
Intel Xeon E-2176M
2.04 Points ∼84%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-52-74DR
Intel Core i7-8750H
1.99 Points ∼82% -2%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
1.92 Points ∼79% -6%
Eurocom Tornado F5W
Intel Xeon E3-1280 v5
1.92 Points ∼79% -6%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Intel Core i7-8650U
1.92 Points ∼79% -6%
Average of class Workstation
  (1.09 - 2.43, n=81)
1.677 Points ∼69% -18%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-52-74DR
Intel Core i7-8750H
12.98 Points ∼48% +39%
Average Intel Xeon E-2176M
  (9.32 - 12.4, n=3)
11.3 Points ∼42% +21%
Asus G703
Intel Core i7-7820HK
10.33 Points ∼38% +11%
Dell Precision 3530
Intel Xeon E-2176M
9.32 Points ∼34%
Eurocom Tornado F5W
Intel Xeon E3-1280 v5
8.91 Points ∼33% -4%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
7.89 Points ∼29% -15%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Intel Core i7-8650U
7.01 Points ∼26% -25%
Average of class Workstation
  (2.16 - 17.4, n=99)
6.72 Points ∼25% -28%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single 32Bit
Average Intel Xeon E-2176M
  (6928 - 9142, n=3)
7681 Points ∼71% +11%
Dell Precision 3530
Intel Xeon E-2176M
6928 Points ∼64%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Intel Core i7-8650U
6782 Points ∼63% -2%
Average of class Workstation
  (3094 - 9142, n=84)
5316 Points ∼49% -23%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
Average Intel Xeon E-2176M
  (31923 - 43681, n=3)
35912 Points ∼72% +12%
Dell Precision 3530
Intel Xeon E-2176M
31923 Points ∼64%
Average of class Workstation
  (8373 - 43681, n=85)
19365 Points ∼39% -39%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Intel Core i7-8650U
16227 Points ∼33% -49%
wPrime 2.0x - 1024m
Average of class Workstation
  (98.7 - 1390, n=57)
327 s * ∼4% -82%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
319 s * ∼4% -78%
Eurocom Tornado F5W
Intel Xeon E3-1280 v5
299 s * ∼4% -66%
Dell Precision 3530
Intel Xeon E-2176M
179.63 s * ∼2%
Average Intel Xeon E-2176M
  (147 - 180, n=2)
163 s * ∼2% +9%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - ---
Average of class Workstation
  (-1 - 172530, n=689)
8587 Seconds * ∼38% -1693%
Average Intel Xeon E-2176M
  (8.51 - 10061, n=9)
3114 Seconds * ∼14% -550%
Eurocom Tornado F5W
Intel Xeon E3-1280 v5
527 Seconds * ∼2% -10%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
489 Seconds * ∼2% -2%
Dell Precision 3530
Intel Xeon E-2176M
478.8 Seconds * ∼2%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
13234
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
31923
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
6928
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
113.37 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
9.32 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
2.04 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
144.01 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
987 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
169 Points
Help

System Performance

Even with the CPU throttling we just saw, overall system performance is fairly good. The combination of a strong entry-level GPU and a PCIe drive makes for a snappy system. In PCMark 8 and PCMark 10, the Precision 3530 is able to keep pace with similar workstations. The machine is more than capable of handling standard office tasks and should keep up with light to moderate CAD work.

PCMark 8 Home
PCMark 8 Home
PCMark 8 Work
PCMark 8 Work
PCMark 8 Creative
PCMark 8 Creative
PCMark 10
PCMark 10
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
Quadro M2200, E3-1535M v6, Samsung SSD SM961 1TB M.2 MZVKW1T0HMLH
5423 Points ∼83% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52 20MAS03N00
Quadro P1000, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
5329 Points ∼82% +1%
Dell Precision 3530
Quadro P600, E-2176M, SK hynix PC400 512 GB
5295 Points ∼81%
Average Intel Xeon E-2176M, NVIDIA Quadro P600
 
5295 Points ∼81% 0%
Dell Precision 3520
Quadro M620, 7820HQ, Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK)
5194 Points ∼80% -2%
Average of class Workstation
  (3311 - 5655, n=62)
4762 Points ∼73% -10%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
4291 Points ∼66% -19%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Quadro P500, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
4196 Points ∼64% -21%
Creative Score Accelerated v2
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
Quadro M2200, E3-1535M v6, Samsung SSD SM961 1TB M.2 MZVKW1T0HMLH
5663 Points ∼59% +10%
Dell Precision 3530
Quadro P600, E-2176M, SK hynix PC400 512 GB
5126 Points ∼54%
Average Intel Xeon E-2176M, NVIDIA Quadro P600
 
5126 Points ∼54% 0%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
5086 Points ∼53% -1%
Average of class Workstation
  (2399 - 8015, n=48)
5071 Points ∼53% -1%
Home Score Accelerated v2
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
Quadro M2200, E3-1535M v6, Samsung SSD SM961 1TB M.2 MZVKW1T0HMLH
4375 Points ∼72% +3%
Dell Precision 3530
Quadro P600, E-2176M, SK hynix PC400 512 GB
4233 Points ∼69%
Average Intel Xeon E-2176M, NVIDIA Quadro P600
 
4233 Points ∼69% 0%
Dell Precision 3520
Quadro M620, 7820HQ, Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK)
4183 Points ∼69% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52 20MAS03N00
Quadro P1000, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
3959 Points ∼65% -6%
Average of class Workstation
  (2320 - 5505, n=63)
3939 Points ∼65% -7%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
3504 Points ∼58% -17%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Quadro P500, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
3178 Points ∼52% -25%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
4233 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
5126 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
5295 points
Help

Storage Devices

The SK Hynix drive is a definite improvement over the Toshiba NVMe drive used in the older Precision 3520. Still, the Precision 3530 can't quite keep up with machines running  Samsung's drives. Both the SM961 and PM981 trounce the SK Hynix PC400 in overall drive speed, particularly access times and 4K read and write times. Users can replace the drive and also add a second 2.5" SATA drive.

AS SSD
AS SSD
AS SSD Copy
AS SSD Copy
CrystalDiskMark 5
CrystalDiskMark 5
Dell Precision 3530
SK hynix PC400 512 GB
Dell Precision 3520
Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK)
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
Lenovo ThinkPad P52 20MAS03N00
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
Samsung SSD SM961 1TB M.2 MZVKW1T0HMLH
AS SSD
-31%
29%
34%
26%
35%
Copy Game MB/s
1049.94
746.92
-29%
921.16
-12%
1016.4
-3%
982.38
-6%
Copy Program MB/s
346.12
340.39
-2%
372.79
8%
476.85
38%
325.44
-6%
Copy ISO MB/s
1700.81
1052.86
-38%
1659.32
-2%
1016.4
-40%
1486.12
-13%
Score Total
3013
1646
-45%
3681
22%
4307
43%
4038
34%
4303
43%
Score Write
1138
248
-78%
1379
21%
2079
83%
1468
29%
1472
29%
Score Read
1288
961
-25%
1554
21%
1485
15%
1703
32%
1902
48%
Access Time Write *
0.053
0.034
36%
0.023
57%
0.031
42%
0.04
25%
0.023
57%
Access Time Read *
0.099
0.123
-24%
0.038
62%
0.072
27%
0.04
60%
0.034
66%
4K-64 Write
908.29
134.53
-85%
1054.63
16%
1779.98
96%
1245.29
37%
1136.39
25%
4K-64 Read
993.95
787.91
-21%
1222.65
23%
1203
21%
1523.57
53%
1578.04
59%
4K Write
102.77
93.75
-9%
155.28
51%
121
18%
100.47
-2%
158.04
54%
4K Read
25.98
32.58
25%
51.45
98%
52.62
103%
44.33
71%
51.66
99%
Seq Write
1272.09
201.91
-84%
1694.02
33%
1781.29
40%
1219.9
-4%
1776.51
40%
Seq Read
2682.46
1405.86
-48%
2799.35
4%
2293.89
-14%
1351.25
-50%
2718.57
1%

* ... smaller is better

SK hynix PC400 512 GB
CDM 5/6 Read Seq Q32T1: 3095 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write Seq Q32T1: 1411 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K Q32T1: 404.3 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K Q32T1: 355 MB/s
CDM 5 Read Seq: 1896 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq: 1417 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K: 41.18 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K: 113.6 MB/s

GPU Performance

The Nvidia Quadro P600 sits near the bottom of the Quadro pile, just above the Quadro P500. That said, the P600 still packs a punch. The card is designed to replace last year's Quadro M1200. Performance is thus similar to the M1200 and about the same as the GeForce MX150 or GeForce GTX 960M. The P600 has 4 GB of GDDR5 RAM on a 64-bit bus and 384 CUDA cores, just like the MX150. However, the Quadro is set apart by higher quality silicon (better "binning") and certified Quadro drivers specifically made for professional design and graphical work.

In practice, the Quadro P600 is about twice as fast as the Quadro P500 seen in the ThinkPad P52s, making a GPU upgrade something to consider. The Quadro P1000 offers only about 10-15% better performance, positioning the P600 in a nice entry-level sweet spot. The card should be able to handle most low- to mid-level design and graphical work, but heavier projects may be bottlenecked by the GPU.

For more information on the Nvidia Quadro P600, please see our dedicated GPU page here.

Fire Strike
Fire Strike
Fire Strike Extreme
Fire Strike Extreme
Fire Strike Ultra
Fire Strike Ultra
Time Spy
Time Spy
Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate
Ice Storm Extreme
Ice Storm Extreme
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Combined
Eurocom Tornado F5W
NVIDIA Quadro P5000, E3-1280 v5
10428 Points ∼58% +111%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
NVIDIA Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 7700HQ
9296 Points ∼51% +88%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52 20MAS03N00
NVIDIA Quadro P1000, 8750H
6375 Points ∼35% +29%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6
5312 Points ∼29% +8%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6
5166 Points ∼28% +5%
Dell Precision 3530
NVIDIA Quadro P600, E-2176M
4936 Points ∼27%
Average NVIDIA Quadro P600
  (4821 - 4936, n=2)
4879 Points ∼27% -1%
Average of class Workstation
  (830 - 16418, n=95)
4675 Points ∼26% -5%
Dell Precision 3520
NVIDIA Quadro M620, 7820HQ
3994 Points ∼22% -19%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, 7600U
2912 Points ∼16% -41%
1280x720 Performance GPU
Eurocom Tornado F5W
NVIDIA Quadro P5000, E3-1280 v5
20623 Points ∼40% +339%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
NVIDIA Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 7700HQ
15837 Points ∼31% +237%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52 20MAS03N00
NVIDIA Quadro P1000, 8750H
6115 Points ∼12% +30%
Average of class Workstation
  (841 - 24934, n=95)
5576 Points ∼11% +19%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6
5515 Points ∼11% +17%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6
5105 Points ∼10% +9%
Dell Precision 3530
NVIDIA Quadro P600, E-2176M
4702 Points ∼9%
Average NVIDIA Quadro P600
  (4608 - 4702, n=2)
4655 Points ∼9% -1%
Dell Precision 3520
NVIDIA Quadro M620, 7820HQ
3801 Points ∼7% -19%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, 7600U
2658 Points ∼5% -43%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Eurocom Tornado F5W
NVIDIA Quadro P5000, E3-1280 v5
14990 Points ∼37% +263%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
NVIDIA Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 7700HQ
12312 Points ∼30% +198%
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
NVIDIA Quadro M2200, E3-1535M v6
5786 Points ∼14% +40%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52 20MAS03N00
NVIDIA Quadro P1000, 8750H
4843 Points ∼12% +17%
Average of class Workstation
  (752 - 18390, n=87)
4532 Points ∼11% +10%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6
4165 Points ∼10% +1%
Dell Precision 3530
NVIDIA Quadro P600, E-2176M
4127 Points ∼10%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6
4118 Points ∼10% 0%
Average NVIDIA Quadro P600
  (4039 - 4127, n=2)
4083 Points ∼10% -1%
Dell Precision 3520
NVIDIA Quadro M620, 7820HQ
3204 Points ∼8% -22%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, 7600U
2342 Points ∼6% -43%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
NVIDIA Quadro P500, 8650U
2239 Points ∼6% -46%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Eurocom Tornado F5W
NVIDIA Quadro P5000, E3-1280 v5
102368 Points ∼55% +251%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
NVIDIA Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 7700HQ
74933 Points ∼41% +157%
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
NVIDIA Quadro M2200, E3-1535M v6
37796 Points ∼20% +30%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52 20MAS03N00
NVIDIA Quadro P1000, 8750H
31396 Points ∼17% +8%
Dell Precision 3530
NVIDIA Quadro P600, E-2176M
29178 Points ∼16%
Average of class Workstation
  (5836 - 105184, n=87)
28985 Points ∼16% -1%
Average NVIDIA Quadro P600
  (28736 - 29178, n=2)
28957 Points ∼16% -1%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6
28254 Points ∼15% -3%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6
26860 Points ∼15% -8%
Dell Precision 3520
NVIDIA Quadro M620, 7820HQ
23259 Points ∼13% -20%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, 7600U
13394 Points ∼7% -54%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
NVIDIA Quadro P500, 8650U
12868 Points ∼7% -56%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Graphics
Eurocom Tornado F5W
NVIDIA Quadro P5000, E3-1280 v5
310648 Points ∼43%
Average NVIDIA Quadro P600
 
120898 Points ∼17%
Average of class Workstation
  (20741 - 310648, n=18)
115491 Points ∼16%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6
42129 Points ∼6%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, 7600U
20741 Points ∼3%
3DMark 06 Standard
18112 points
3DMark 11 Performance
5193 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
19813 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
3858 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Gaming is possible, but users should temper expectations. Again, the P600's performance is about on par with the Nvidia GeForce MX150. As such, most modern titles can be played at 1280x720/Low settings. Some games can be pushed to Medium settings and still hit 30 fps or higher, but more demanding titles are out of reach. Casual/competitive titles, like Rocket League, can be played at Full HD, albeit it at Medium/High settings.

BioShock Infinite - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF) (sort by value)
Dell Precision 3520
Quadro M620, 7820HQ, Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK)
35.6 fps ∼13%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
47 fps ∼18%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
113 fps ∼43%
Average NVIDIA Quadro P600
 
41.9 fps ∼16%
Average of class Workstation
  (6 - 129, n=60)
45.9 fps ∼17%
Rise of the Tomb Raider
1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FX AF:16x (sort by value)
Dell Precision 3530
Quadro P600, E-2176M, SK hynix PC400 512 GB
20 fps ∼12%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Quadro P500, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
11 fps ∼7% -45%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
65 fps ∼40% +225%
Average NVIDIA Quadro P600
  (20 - 21, n=2)
20.5 fps ∼13% +3%
Average of class Workstation
  (7.9 - 101, n=33)
39.4 fps ∼24% +97%
1366x768 Medium Preset AF:2x (sort by value)
Dell Precision 3530
Quadro P600, E-2176M, SK hynix PC400 512 GB
45 fps ∼20%
Dell Precision 3520
Quadro M620, 7820HQ, Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK)
36.6 fps ∼16% -19%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Quadro P500, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
26 fps ∼12% -42%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
144 fps ∼64% +220%
Average NVIDIA Quadro P600
  (45 - 46.5, n=2)
45.8 fps ∼20% +2%
Average of class Workstation
  (14 - 210, n=34)
63.4 fps ∼28% +41%
low med. high ultra
The Witcher 3 (2015) 60452514fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 70452320fps
Rocket League (2017) 22011872fps
Middle-earth: Shadow of War (2017) 81322317fps

Stress Test

Stress testing the Precision 3530 confirms our suspicions of throttling. As seen in our Cinebench R15 loop, the CPU cannot maintain its full clock under load for very long. After a short period of boosting to 4.3 GHz, the CPU ratchets back to about 2.2 GHz (500 Mhz below its rated base clock). This throttling is likely to hold temperatures at bay; at the beginning of the test, the CPU rapidly approached Intel's rated thermal limit of 100° C when boosting. After falling back, core temperatures settle to about 74° C. Running Prime95 with FurMark sees a similar story; the CPU swiftly climbs close to 100° C before choking back to about 85° C, resulting in clock speeds falling below its base.

The GPU suffers the same fate as the CPU, although not to as extreme a degree. Performance when running FurMark for an hour is fairly consistent at about 1300 MHz, and temperatures hold steady at 79° C. Unfortunately, adding any CPU load (such as running Prime95 on top of FurMark) sees intermittent spikes in both the GPU's clock speed and temperature. An hour-long play session of The Witcher 3, which fully loads the CPU and GPU with a more realistic level of stress, pushes the GPU past 90° C. Performance again bounces around, spiking between 1570-1600 MHz. This has little effect on real-world frames per second, which stay consistent. All said, the thermal control of the Precision 3530 is limited, and this may result in inconsistent performance over heavy workloads.

Prime95
Prime95
FurMark
FurMark
Prime95 + FurMark
Prime95 + FurMark
The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3
0123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930Tooltip
The Witcher 3 high
CPU Clock (GHz) GPU Clock (MHz) Average CPU Temperature (°C) Average GPU Temperature (°C)
Prime95 Stress 2.2 - 74 -
FurMark Stress 4.2 1300 67 79
Prime95 + FurMark Stress 2.0 1290 85 87
Witcher 3 Stress 4.2 1585 80 91

Emissions

System Noise

Fan Noise profile
Fan Noise profile

The problems with heat management create a ripple effect to other aspects of the notebook. In particular, fan noise suffers. The fan ramps up aggressively even under light work (office work, web browsing, etc.). Under full load, the fan has its work cut out for it. In order to dump all the heat generated by the CPU and GPU, it is forced to spin fast and loud. Noise levels hit just shy of 50 dB(A), and the high pitch of the fan will cut through an office. Dell would have done well to had a second fan to improve both heat and noise management. The ThinkPad P52 and HP ZBook are much quieter. On the plus side, there is no noticeable coil whine or other unwarranted electrical noise.

Noise Level

Idle
28.3 / 28.3 / 28.4 dB(A)
Load
46.2 / 48.6 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   BK Precision 732A (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 28.1 dB(A)
Dell Precision 3530
Quadro P600, E-2176M, SK hynix PC400 512 GB
Dell Precision 3520
Quadro M620, 7820HQ, Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK)
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
Lenovo ThinkPad P52 20MAS03N00
Quadro P1000, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Quadro P500, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
Quadro M2200, E3-1535M v6, Samsung SSD SM961 1TB M.2 MZVKW1T0HMLH
Noise
-3%
-2%
5%
4%
4%
off / environment *
28.1
29.6
-5%
28.7
-2%
29.5
-5%
28.3
-1%
29.5
-5%
Idle Minimum *
28.3
29.6
-5%
28.7
-1%
29.5
-4%
28.3
-0%
29.5
-4%
Idle Average *
28.3
29.6
-5%
32.1
-13%
29.5
-4%
28.3
-0%
29.5
-4%
Idle Maximum *
28.4
31.2
-10%
32.1
-13%
29.5
-4%
29.8
-5%
30
-6%
Load Average *
46.2
43
7%
41.3
11%
34.7
25%
40.6
12%
39.5
15%
Load Maximum *
48.6
46.9
3%
45.5
6%
39.4
19%
40.6
16%
36
26%
Witcher 3 ultra *
45.5
33.1
40.6
39.5

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

Heat Exhaust
Heat Exhaust

Again, the poor heat management of the Precision 3530 rears its ugly head: external temperatures fall far short of the ideal. Heat is mostly contained around the CPU and GPU (along the left side of the notebook). As such, the right side of the keyboard and bottom panel remain cool, even under load, but the left side of the keyboard gets warm to the touch, and the bottom panel gets too hot to hold in a lap. The device cannot move enough heat away from the CPU and GPU to make lap use comfortable.

Max. Load
 42.6 °C
109 F
39.2 °C
103 F
30 °C
86 F
 
 44.8 °C
113 F
39.4 °C
103 F
27.8 °C
82 F
 
 23.4 °C
74 F
23 °C
73 F
23 °C
73 F
 
Maximum: 44.8 °C = 113 F
Average: 32.6 °C = 91 F
31 °C
88 F
38.4 °C
101 F
44.4 °C
112 F
27 °C
81 F
44.2 °C
112 F
56.4 °C
134 F
25.4 °C
78 F
25.6 °C
78 F
28 °C
82 F
Maximum: 56.4 °C = 134 F
Average: 35.6 °C = 96 F
Power Supply (max.)  41 °C = 106 F | Room Temperature 20 °C = 68 F | Fluke 62 Mini
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 32.6 °C / 91 F, compared to the average of 31.2 °C / 88 F for the devices in the class Workstation.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 44.8 °C / 113 F, compared to the average of 37.1 °C / 99 F, ranging from 23 to 69.8 °C for the class Workstation.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 56.4 °C / 134 F, compared to the average of 40.3 °C / 105 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 25.9 °C / 79 F, compared to the device average of 31.2 °C / 88 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 23.4 °C / 74.1 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(+) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28 °C / 82.4 F (+4.6 °C / 8.3 F).
Keyboard, Idle
Keyboard, Idle
Bottom panel, Idle
Bottom panel, Idle
Keyboard, load
Keyboard, load
Bottom panel, load
Bottom panel, load

Speakers

Speaker profile
Speaker profile

The speakers are above average. While bass is anemic, mids and highs are loud and remain clear, even at maximum volume. This makes the Precision 3530 well-tuned for video conferencing and vocal audio. As far as multimedia and music go, the Precision 3530 is disappointing. The weak bass makes the overall profile sound thin. However, this isn't uncommon for workstations. After all, their main purpose is not for media consumption. 

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2037.437.22535.634.13132.836.14032.533.45033.633.96332.332.78031.531.810029.440.112528.844.216029.342.420027.249.225026.959.431526634002660.75002663.163025.36580025.270.4100024.773.3125024.374160023.971.220002466.3250023.663.1315023.763.9400023.562.7500023.463.3630023.366.2800023.265.21000023.360.81250023.159.61600023.166.1SPL36.380.3N2.746.7median 24.3median 63.1Delta1.54.245.64345.638.335.938.336.535.936.535.734.235.735.433.235.433.934.333.936.835.136.846.732.646.753.731.153.758.23058.254.229.154.249.627.649.65427.95457.527.157.556.826.856.866.625.766.668.325.268.366.725.166.765.524.765.56925.16958.824.558.862.524.262.569.223.969.27223.97266.423.866.463.323.763.37123.67166.823.666.869.523.769.566.323.766.379.636.879.646.82.946.8median 65.5median 25.1median 65.55.22.15.2hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseDell Precision 3530Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Dell Precision 3530 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (73.98 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 13.4% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.5% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 1.3% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (5.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (15.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 27% of all tested devices in this class were better, 10% similar, 63% worse
» The best had a delta of 10%, average was 19%, worst was 31%
Compared to all devices tested
» 19% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 77% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Dell Precision 5520 UHD audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (79.57 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 12.8% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (9.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.3% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (12% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (14.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 13% of all tested devices in this class were better, 13% similar, 73% worse
» The best had a delta of 10%, average was 19%, worst was 31%
Compared to all devices tested
» 15% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 81% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The Precision 3530 is fairly power efficient, especially compared to similarly-specced workstations. Under load, the machine pulls about 85 Watts on average, which is about in line with competing devices. Under full load, power draw stays below 92 Watts, which looks significantly better than other workstations on paper. However, keep in mind that the Precision 3530 throttles under load. This may explain the lower power draw compared to other notebooks. The 180 Watt power supply supplies more than enough power for the machine.

Prime95. Note the spike and fall in power draw at the beginning of the test.
Prime95. Note the spike and fall in power draw at the beginning of the test.
The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3
Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.38 / 1.6 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 5.3 / 10.7 / 14.1 Watt
Load midlight 85.4 / 91.9 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Dell Precision 3530
E-2176M, Quadro P600, SK hynix PC400 512 GB, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell Precision 3520
7820HQ, Quadro M620, Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK), IPS LED, 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
E3-1505M v6, Quadro M1200, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e, IPS, 3840x2160, 15.6
Lenovo ThinkPad P52 20MAS03N00
8750H, Quadro P1000, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ, IPS LED, 1920x1080, 15.6
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
8650U, Quadro P500, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR, IPS, 3840x2160, 15.6
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
E3-1535M v6, Quadro M2200, Samsung SSD SM961 1TB M.2 MZVKW1T0HMLH, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Power Consumption
0%
-30%
4%
10%
-13%
Idle Minimum *
5.3
5.8
-9%
8.9
-68%
4.02
24%
5.9
-11%
5.9
-11%
Idle Average *
10.7
10.7
-0%
13.6
-27%
7.2
33%
11.7
-9%
8.9
17%
Idle Maximum *
14.1
13.3
6%
14.1
-0%
11.46
19%
15.6
-11%
12.7
10%
Load Average *
85.4
78.2
8%
100.3
-17%
76.3
11%
63
26%
95.2
-11%
Load Maximum *
91.9
116
-26%
126.3
-37%
154
-68%
63.1
31%
154
-68%
Witcher 3 ultra *
75.5
58.8
22%
100.2
-33%
74
2%
48.4
36%
87.7
-16%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Battery runtimes are one of the high points of the device. The Precision 3530 lasts over 9 hours in our WiFi v1.3 battery test and should easily get through a workday unplugged, so long as work is limited to light web browsing and simple office tasks (word processing, email, etc.). Dell offers a few options for battery capacity, including the same 68 Wh battery used in the older 3520. Runtimes with the smaller battery should be about in line with those of the 3520. Road warriors that need even longer battery life should look to Lenovo and the ThinkPad P52, which topped the Precision 3530 by 78 minutes in the same WiFi battery test.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
18h 48min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
9h 19min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 36min
Dell Precision 3530
E-2176M, Quadro P600, 92 Wh
Dell Precision 3520
7820HQ, Quadro M620, 68 Wh
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
E3-1505M v6, Quadro M1200, 97 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad P52 20MAS03N00
8750H, Quadro P1000, 96 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
8650U, Quadro P500, 80 Wh
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
E3-1535M v6, Quadro M2200, 90 Wh
Battery Runtime
-16%
-42%
10%
21%
5%
Reader / Idle
1128
996
-12%
724
-36%
1519
35%
1031
-9%
1096
-3%
WiFi v1.3
559
455
-19%
254
-55%
637
14%
665
19%
547
-2%
Load
96
79
-18%
61
-36%
79
-18%
146
52%
115
20%

Pros

+ good port selection
+ solid build quality
+ good, responsive keyboard
+ Trackpad and Trackpoint are excellent
+ outstanding battery runtimes

Cons

- inconsistent performance
- poor thermal management
- uncomfortable hot spots on chassis under load
- fan is too aggressive and is loud
- screen is dim

Verdict

In review: Dell Precision 3530. Review unit courtesy of Dell.
In review: Dell Precision 3530. Review unit courtesy of Dell.

The story of the Dell Precision 3530 is one of compromise. Dell has recycled the chassis of the older 3520 but packed in more powerful hardware. This choice plagues the 3530 with similar problems, notably heat and noise management. Just like the 3520, the 3530 has uncomfortably warm hot spots. The fan also ramps up quickly and loudly. Worse yet, the poor heat management results in some severe thermal throttling, limiting CPU performance over heavy loads by up to 20%.

These compromises mar an otherwise great device. The 3530 is built well, has an excellent keyboard, and has a great compliment of ports (including a Thunderbolt 3 port). The screen is about average and should be adequate for non-color dependent professional work. Battery runtimes are excellent.

Despite all these positives, the Precision 3530 ultimately falls flat due to its inconsistent performance. The Xeon CPU and Quadro GPU are just too much for the mediocre heat system. The result is heavy throttling, especially in CPU performance, and a loud and aggressive fan. There are much better options that offer similar (if not better) performance that is much more consistent. HP's Zbook 15 G4 or the Lenovo ThinkPad P52 would be better choices.

Dell Precision 3530 - 08/13/2018 v6
Sam Medley

Chassis
84 / 98 → 85%
Keyboard
88%
Pointing Device
90%
Connectivity
76 / 81 → 94%
Weight
0 / 10-66 → -18%
Battery
Display
86%
Games Performance
83%
Application Performance
90%
Temperature
88 / 95 → 92%
Noise
83 / 90 → 92%
Audio
59%
Camera
44 / 85 → 52%
Average
78%
84%
Workstation - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Dell Precision 3530 (Xeon E-2176M, Quadro P600) Workstation Review
Sam Medley, 2018-08-17 (Update: 2018-08-17)
Sam Medley
Sam Medley - Review Editor - @samuel_medley
I've been a "tech-head" my entire life. After graduating college with a degree in Mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a Systems Analyst for my local school district. I started working with Notebookcheck in October of 2016 and have enjoyed writing news articles and notebook reviews. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I'm not hunched over an electronic device or writing code for a new database, I'm either outside with my family, playing a decade-old video game, or sitting behind a drum set.