Vostro V131: Let’s See the Benchmarks

Most of what we have to benchmark is part of a well-trodden path. Basically, we’re having yet another go at a midrange dual-core i5 with a hard drive. The Intel i5-2410M has been a very popular SKU among OEMs, and while the new i5-2430M is set to replace it the outgoing model is only 100MHz slower—less than a 4% difference in most cases. We’ve got the i5-2430M in the recently reviewed XPS 14z, so you can see how the two CPUs compare. Also note how the i5-2520M in the K53E compares, with an 8% higher base clock, 10% higher maximum Turbo Boost, and an 8% faster GPU clock.

PCMark 7 - PCMarks

PCMark 7 - Lightweight

PCMark 7 - Productivity

PCMark 7 - Entertainment

PCMark 7 - Creativity

PCMark 7 - Computation

PCMark 7 - Storage

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

Cinebench R10 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R10 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

x264 HD Benchmark - First Pass

x264 HD Benchmark - Second Pass

As expected, the 8-10% theoretical performance difference between the i5-2410M and the i5-2430M and i5-2520M basically gets lost in the noise with PCMark 7 when we measure actual performance. A far bigger differentiator is the presence (or lack) of an SSD, as well as the specific brand of hard drive. The ASUS K53E has a somewhat slower 5400RPM drive, while the only laptop in these charts with an SSD is the ASUS UX21E; the SSD enables the ultrabook to run away with the PCMark 7 results.

Outside of PCMark, the results fall pretty much where you’d expect based on clock speeds. All of the dual-core Sandy Bridge mobile processors are plenty fast for most tasks; it’s only in computationally intensive scenarios like video transcoding, 3D rendering, or complex scientific modeling that the dual-core parts start to struggle. If you need to do any of the tasks we just listed, a quad-core processor will definitely pay dividends.

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark06

This isn’t a gaming laptop—by any stretch of the imagination—and we’ve already looked at Intel’s HD 3000 performance several times. The i5-2410M has the HD 3000 clocked a bit lower than the i5-2520M or i7 quad-core models, but if the 10% performance increase offered by the higher clocks on the quad-core chips is the difference between “too slow” and “good enough”, I’ve got some beachfront property I’m willing to sell cheap. If you want graphics performance for gaming, grab something with a GT 525M or above (or HD 6630M or above) and you should be set. We won’t bother with any gaming tests, as 3DMark already tells us enough: this is the same HD 3000, and it will be sufficient for running some titles at 1366x768 and low detail, but anything more and you’ll want a discrete GPU (or Llano). But then, most businesses aren't worried about their employees playing games on their laptops, are they?

A Closer Look at the Vostro V131 Battery Life, Power, Temperatures, and Noise
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  • Luke2.0 - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link

    Uh, could you guys review ASUS' N55 ?

    The one with the new i7-2670QM, a 1080p 15.6-incher and, well, an external subwoofer.

    Thank you in advance.
    Reply
  • gostan - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link

    STOP MISGUIDING YOUR READERS! Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link

    RTFA. With the 4-cell battery it's .83" thick. OMG, that's 0.03" thicker than ultrabook spec! What's this world coming to? Reply
  • juampavalverde - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link

    It's amazing how the big players in the market are not paying attention to the NEED in the business sector for good quality displays. As latitude d620, i am uber happy with the relatively snappy performance and high quality of my thinkpad t60 (core duo yonah, 2 gb ddr2, 14" 1400x1050 display) and i really do not understand why they are shipping new laptops with this awful screens, poor for productivity, when even 1280x800 is a lot more comfortable to work than a 1366x768, and its not about consumer laptops, business laptops are getting these ugly displays too! Reply
  • jiffylube1024 - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link

    The Vostro V131 delivers on the promise of the V13 and V130 that preceeded it, with little to no compromises (I don't consider a lack of DVD drive a compromise in late 2011). The V13 was weak on processing power (1.3 GHz ULV Core 2 Duo), and lacked an HDMI port. The V130 added a more powerful but still underperforming CPU (1.33 GHz Nehalem ULV that turbo's up to 1.86 GHz) but had horrid battery life.

    The V131 delivers a lot of value for the money: 2x USB 3.0 ports, amazing battery life, backlit keyboard, 2.1+ GHz Sandy Bridge CPU (finally! No more compromise on speed!).

    Yes, there is still a lot of plastic on this laptop, and the screen isn't fantastic - it's a mediocre TN film that at least has a matte finish like the rest of the Vostro series. Still, you can literally buy two of these with 3-year warranties for the price of one Macbook Air. Adding an SSD is incredibly easy - just one screw. I do worry about breaking the plastic tabs with repeated removing of the cover, but as long as you go slowly and around in a circle one tab at a time, it's pretty quick and painless.

    I got one for my wife and she loves it -- all the power of her Vostro 3450 but a pound less and barely any perceptible screen size difference.

    I do wish Dell would put a 1400x900 option on this model -- I'd buy it in a heartbeat. Dell is usually a cut above when it comes to putting higher res screen options.

    All in all, I've been wanting to get my wife a 4lb (or less) laptop on a budget for awhile now, and this one delivers.
    Reply
  • OS - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link


    I have a Vostro V3550 and it has similar problems to those noted here, the chassis is build rather poorly, it flexes alot and the screen sucks despite being matte. Washed out colors and bad contrast.

    Whats sad is my previous laptop was an Acer Aspire 5534, and oddly it had richer colors and contrast and the chassis was more rigid.
    That's kind of sad when the budget leader has better qualities than a supposed business line.
    Yes it was glossy vs matte, but being matte alone is not really useful if every other aspect of the screen sucks.

    That said the feature set of the vostro is great, usb 3.0, eSATA, bluetooth 3.0, HDMI and sandy bridge. Great features and performance.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link

    You might want to check if Intel's "Display Power Saving Technology" is enabled; that will futz with contrast and backlight intensity in order to save power. The result is that it makes washed out colors of poor TN panels look even worse, unfortunately, while providing perhaps 5-10% more battery life. It's for this reason that I disable the feature on any IGP-equipped laptops. Reply
  • 86waterpumper - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link

    Man I am on the fence about this one...the price isn't too bad for the specs, but everyone keeps trash talking the screen. Is it really THAT bad. I mean that much worse than any other typical crap tn panel? Reply
  • agent2099 - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link

    Dell does not give you a Windows 7 disc with this correct. So if you upgrade the hdd to an ssd how are you supposed to reinstall windows on it? Reply
  • OS - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link

    MS has a bootable USB/ISO tool, you can even use it to load win8 developer

    the win7 ISOs are generally uncontrolled, you can find it on google search and reuse the key on the bottom of the laptop.
    Reply

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