If Batman shows up to battle Thanos in the next Avengers movie, it wouldn't be any more surprising than Intel partnering with long-time rival AMD to produce a CPU. In January, the companies shocked the tech industry when they announced Kaby Lake-G, an Intel processor which features integrated AMD Radeon graphics.
We've just run our full suite of performance tests on the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1, the first Kaby Lake-G laptop, and found both significant graphics might and impressive processing power. Our full review of the laptop, which will include the results from our battery test, will go live later today, but here's what we've learned so far.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Dell XPS 15 2-in-1||Category Average|
|Budget Gaming Test||44 fps||39 fps|
|3DMark Fire Strike||6,271||1,723|
Our top-of-the line, $2,549 XPS 15 2-in-1 has a 4K display, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and a Core i7-8705G CPU which has a base frequency of 3.1-GHz, but can boost itself up as high as 4.1-GHz as needed. This 65-watt processor has four physical cores and eight threads, along with a generous 8MB of cache memory. That compares favorably to other Intel 8th Gen Core laptop CPUs, which max out at just 15 watts.
The laptop's CPU has both Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics and Intel's own HD Graphics 630 GPUs. When it's performing demanding tasks, the AMD GPU kicks in, but for lesser workloads, the more power efficient Intel graphics processor takes over.
The XPS 15 2-in-1 is clearly targeted at creative professionals and, with Kaby Lake-G on board, this laptop can crunch video better than almost any computer we've tested. The system took just 14 minutes and 20 seconds to convert a 12-minute, 4K video to 1080p using Handbrake. That time creams the 22:05 premium laptop category average and is the fourth fastest time we've ever recorded.
Only the Asus Strix GL702ZC (9:15), which has a desktop-class AMD Ryzen 7 Processor and the PowerSpec 1510 (14:10) and 1710 (14:10), which both have GTX 1070 graphics cards, were faster. The Microsoft Surface Book 2, which has a GTX 1060 GPU and a Core i7-8550U CPU, finished in a modest 23 minutes.
If you need to crunch spreadsheets, the XPS 15 2-in-1's Kaby Lake-G processor has you covered. The laptop took just 58 seconds to match 65,000 names with their addresses in Excel 2016. That time is significantly faster than both the 1:41 category average and the Microsoft Surface Book 2's time of 1:30. In fact, the Strix GL702ZC is the only laptop that has finished the test faster, completing it in just 33 seconds.
Overall Processing Power
On Geekbench 4, a synthetic test that measures overall performance, the XPS 15 2-in-1 scored an impressive mark of 15,040, handily besting the category average (9,820), the Surface Book 2 (12,505) and Lenovo's Yoga 720 (11,951), which has a Core i7-7700HQ CPU and GTX 1050 graphics. However, the 15-inch MacBook Pro (15,170) was a few points ahead.
Dell doesn't market the XPS 15 2-in-1 as a gaming laptop, but the Radeon graphics in Kaby Lake-G make it fast enough to compete with a budget gaming laptop that has Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics. When we ran Rise of the Tomb Raider at 1080p with high presets and SMAA anti-aliasing, Dell's laptop achieved a strong rate of 44 fps. That's about on par with our budget gaming laptop category average (45 fps) and better than the Yoga 720 (39 fps).
However, you should not expect to play demanding games at high settings. When we turned the effects up to "very high" in Rise of the Tomb Raider, the frame-rate dropped to an unplayable 18 fps.
Overall Graphics Performance
On 3DMark Fire Strike, a synthetic test which measures overall graphics prowess, the XPS 15 2-in-1 scored 6,271. That number is nearly four times the category average (1,723) and well ahead of the Yoga 720 (5,284). However, the Surface Book 2 and its GTX 1060 GPU reached 8,579.
The XPS 15 2-in-1 packs the speed of a budget gaming laptop into a lightweight, convertible chassis. The Kaby Lake-G processor has more processing power than the Intel 8th Gen "Kaby Lake-R" processors that most 2-in-1s have, along with enough graphics oomph to match or exceed a budget gaming laptop.
To fully evaluate this new processor platform, we need to complete our battery tests. In theory, having Radeon graphics built into the CPU will provide better battery life than you'd get from a laptop with discrete graphics. Stay tuned for our full review of the XPS 15 2-in-1, which will publish later today.
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