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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  • jigglywiggly - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link

    I don't really like the vostro series, they skimp on all the little things and they added up.
    For my vostro 1310, the power plug solder is messed up so you have to keep plugging it in, this is a common issue, and I rma'd the laptop 3 times and they never fixed it. Actually I lied, I never had this problem to begin with but I got it with an RMA. I RMA'd because of the gpu overheating on any 3d games, they never fixed that either. What they did do was change the whole body though, they did fix my mouseclick problem though.

    Screen is crap, but that's expected. I had to fix the overheating issue my self. There isn't enough pressure on the gpu. So I stuck a bunch of ram sinks on the heatpipe, and then put one in a place where the plastic of the case would force more pressure on the GPU. This fixed my issue.

    Still... I don't like the vostro line, or atleast the 1310. The latitiude series is lovely though, love the d630.
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link

    But that's a vostro 1310, not a 131 so the story isn't really relevant in the great scheme of things. I don't judge every model of Hp just because one is faulty (Envy 13 runs cool and quiet compared to 15/17) Reply
  • Samus - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link

    Cheap plastic crap. Better off with a HP DM1z for half the price and double the quality (and battery life) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link

    Don't make me laugh, Samus. We liked the dm1z quite a bit, but it's hardly "double the quality" -- it's a predominantly plastic laptop, with consumer level support no less. http://www.anandtech.com/show/4187/

    As for battery life (and what the heck, performance as well), "double the battery life" apparently means that the Vostro V131 offers 5% (idle), 10% (Internet), and 23% (H.264) better battery life. And the lowly i5-2410M in the Vostro is both faster in graphics and three or four times faster in CPU intensive workloads. The dm1z does have slightly better relative battery life in several areas, but even then it's at most 12.5% better than the V131:
    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/436?vs=335

    If you've ever supported the PCs even at a small company, you'll find that anyone over 40 that isn't a computer geek will likely complain about laptop screens smaller than 14" and running at more than 1280x800 resolution. An 11.6" 1366x768 display will get both complaints, and trying to type on an 11.6" laptop on a regular basis will not be a happy experience for a large number of users.

    As an accessory laptop/netbook, the dm1z is awesome -- far better than any Atom-based laptop for sure! But business people do work on laptops (presumably), and improved multimedia abilities at the cost of general performance is a poor tradeoff, even if the price is only $450 instead of $600. The dm1z isn't a bad laptop, but for a business I'd take the Vostro V131 in a heartbeat.
    Reply
  • Samus - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link

    Since you're die hard set on the (un)fact the any Vostro is a 'business' class laptop, and we're not basing things purely on price and durability (which is why I brought up the DM1z) then you'd be quite crass to purchase a Dell Vostro over a Lenovo Thinkpad T-series, such as the T410 you guys reviewed last year (which can now be had for the same $800 as this Vostro) or Dell's own Latitude series, which is maybe 20% more expensive, but often can be found on sale quite comparably to this price.

    I just think calling a Vostro product 'business class' is an oxymoron. Vostro, after all, started a Dell's cheapest, lowest quality home-only product line. Look at the legendarily unreliable Vostro 1500/1600 series laptops which chronically overheat, have an awful power plug that I constantly see broken, and the keyboard feels like your typing on play-dough.

    Dell has an interesting product model. Interesting, because all of their basic product lines are about the same price, but vary vastly in quality and support.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, October 29, 2011 - link

    The class of support is really what makes this a business laptop. Take that away and you're right: go buy something else. If you read the conclusion, you'll see I said the exact same thing as you're suggesting: were I the person in charge of IT purchases, I'd still push for Latitudes because the $200 to $500 you might save over the lifetime of a laptop isn't worth the loss in quality.

    Also, I wouldn't say their products are "all about the same price"; there's overlap with Insprion and Vostro, XPS and Latitude, and Alienware and Precision. If you look at Vostro and Latitude, the cheapest Latitudes also overlap Vostro, but specs take a hit. Spend the same amount of money and Vostro will give you a faster CPU, more RAM, and more storage (with lesser build quality).

    If we take the V131 here for instance, even without a sale price you can buy that for $800 with 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, and i5-2430M processor. For Latitude, if you want 13.3" you'd have to get the E6320. The cheapest E6320 currently has a $450 "sale", but it will still cost $960 ($1000 with Windows 7 Pro). It also has an i3-2330M, 2GB RAM, 250GB 5400RPM HDD, no webcam, and a 3-cell battery--but it does have a 3-year support contract. So $200 extra for build quality and a longer support contract but you lose performance in every other area. Upgrade to similar components as the Vostro and it will cost you over $1300.

    As far as the power plugs, all of the Dell laptops I've seen in the last couple of years from the lowly Inspirons up through the most expensive Precision models have the same power connector. I haven't had problems with them getting broken if you're careful, but it can certainly happen. Luckily, Dell power bricks are ubiquitous so pricing isn't too bad if you have to buy a new one.

    So that's what I'm saying: Vostro gives you business support on a laptop that looks like a business laptop (even it it's built more like a consumer laptop). You can get that for around $650 with reasonable components. It's not perfect, but it's a lot more affordable than higher quality business laptops.
    Reply
  • Taft12 - Saturday, October 29, 2011 - link

    Jarred already pointed out what makes a business-class laptop, but in extreme conciseness for the benefit of all reading this post (and especially you Samus), if the laptop manufacturer will send a tech to your location to repair a hardware problem, you are using a business laptop. If not, you are using a consumer laptop

    This is truly the only distinction between the 2.
    Reply
  • jahlive2 - Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - link

    Funny that ppl are still praising the D630 (i still have it myself)
    It still works with just a few problems.
    The cpu always get;s quite hot (around 95C) under load ofc
    Noiselevel is moderate but not rly silent.
    The intel wireless NIC driver sometimes doesn't let the laptop go in sleep mode, and maybe once every 6 months, i experience a blue screen..other thn that. Rly not bad
    Reply
  • aznofazns - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link

    I am so weary of manufacturers using these subpar LCD panels in laptops. I hate to say it, but Dell should take a leaf out of Apple's book here.

    By the way, clockspeeds on page 1 are incorrect.
    Reply
  • aznofazns - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link

    By this way, this is coming from someone using a Dell E4310. The LCD is pure sh*t. Tilting it 15 degrees forward or back inverts the colors to hell. It's such a glaring flaw that the awesome build quality and solid performance aren't enough to make up for it. Reply

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