System Performance

When we reviewed the XPS 13 2-in-1 back in November, it was the first device we had tested which featured the new 10 nm Intel Ice Lake platform. At that time, Dell had also recently refreshed the XPS 13, but had outfitted it with the older 14 nm Comet Lake platform. For the all-new XPS 13, Dell has now brought parity to their lineup with Ice Lake here as well, with the improvements that platform brings, especially to the graphics side.

Dell offers three processor options. The least-expensive offering is the Core i3-1005G1, the mid-tier outfitted with the Core i5-1035G1, and the top-tier offering the Core i7-1065G7. Our review unit features the Core i7 model, as Dell wanted to put its best foot forward.

On the memory side, Dell’s spec sheet shows a 4 GB base, although thankfully that is nowhere to be found on their Dell.com site, at least for the USA. Thanks to the move to LPDDR4X with Ice Lake, Dell now offers up to 32 GB of memory on the XPS 13. Storage is all PCIe x4 NVMe, with 256 GB as the base, and a 2 TB maximum.

To see how the XPS 13 performs, we have run it through our newly updated laptop suite. Please not that if a graph does not contain a specific older device, that means that the test has not been run on it. Since the laptops are returned to the manufacturer after review, we cannot do any regression testing for the most part. If you’d like to compare the XPS 13 to any other laptop we have tested, please refer to our Online Bench.

PCMark

PCMark 10 - Essentials

PCMark 10 - Productivity

PCMark 10 - Digital Content Creation

PCMark 10 - Overall

UL’s PCMark 10 is a whole-system benchmark, testing everything from CPU performance to app loading time. The Overall score consists of three categories, each featuring their own unique sub-tests. Overall the XPS 13 scored right in the same ballpark as other Ice Lake notebooks, although was slightly down in the Productivity tests, but slightly ahead in the other two.

Cinebench

Cinebench R20 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R20 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench, based on Maxon’s Cinema 4D rendering, allows tests of both single-threaded and multi-threaded runs, making it one of the more popular tests for overall computational performance. The XPS 13 does well compared to other Ice Lake equipped notebooks, although with AMD offering up to 8 cores in the same 15-Watt TDP, Intel falls behind in the multi-threaded run.

Handbrake

Handbrake Transcoding (Software)

Handbrake Transcoding (Hardware)

In our Handbrake encoding test, we transcode a 1080p movie to 720p using both software and hardware encoders. Software encoders utilize the CPU, and are generally the preferred method for optimal quality, whereas hardware encoders leverage the media blocks, which in this case is Intel’s QuickSync, for a much faster encode. As we will see more in the thermals section, Dell limits the XPS 13 to a 15-Watt TDP even in its maximum performance mode, where some other manufacturers will allow for higher than listed TDP, up to 20 Watts or so, and as such, the XPS 13 falls a bit behind other Ice Lake notebooks in this test which is TDP limited.

7-Zip

7-Zip Compression

7-Zip Decompression

The popular file compression and decompression tool 7-Zip includes a built-in benchmark, and once again the XPS 13 slots right into where other Ice Lake notebooks fit.

Web Tests

Web performance is a function of not only the CPU performance, but also the browser’s scripting engine, and as such we have standardized on the Microsoft Edge browser. Microsoft has now transitioned their browser to the open-source Chromium project. Due to this, we have reset our web tests to use the new Chromium based Edge and taken the opportunity to decommission some of the older tests. We will now focus on Speedometer 2.0 and WebXPRT 3.

Speedometer 2.0

WebXPRT 3

The XPS 13 again slots right in where you would expect for an i7-1065G7 based system.

Storage Performance

Dell offers from 256 GB to 2 TB of PCIe storage, and the review unit was outfitted with the Intel 600p 512 GB drive. We are transitioning to the PCMark 10 storage benchmark, which uses test traces of actual common workloads, such as booting Windows, and many of the Adobe applications, and as such should be a much better indicator of drive performance than just maximum transfer rates.

PCMark 10 System Drive Benchmark Bandwidth

PCMark 10 System Drive Benchmark Average Access Time

PCMark 10 System Drive Benchmark Score

The Intel 600p performs quite well, with good access times and solid bandwidth. Surprisingly, it can’t quite match the excellent performance we saw from the SK Hynix 2230 form factor SSD in the Surface Laptop 3, but almost matches it.

Design GPU Performance
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  • Deicidium369 - Friday, July 17, 2020 - link

    Leaks from Lenovo show Tiger Lake Core i7-1165G7 (not even the top end part) obviously besting the ancient Vega (AMD's choice) and equaling the MX350 - and with only 4 cores only being outran by 17% - double the cores for 17% lead - and when you factor in the flagging GPU - what's the Renoir's advantage again? Reply
  • gescom - Friday, July 17, 2020 - link

    Huh, let's wait for amd 5x00 cezanne, shall we? Reply
  • Deicidium369 - Friday, July 17, 2020 - link

    Ice Lake is almost a year old. Comparing the latest AMD with an almost year old design should be a win for the newer part. the most appropriate comparison is 2020 vs 2020. That would be Tiger Lake Reply
  • gescom - Friday, July 17, 2020 - link

    Tiger Lake Q4 2020 vs
    amd cezanne Q1 2021.
    Reply
  • s.yu - Saturday, July 18, 2020 - link

    You think it's the effort? So they haven't been putting all their effort into 10nm?
    ...ok?
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Friday, July 17, 2020 - link

    As always for a Deicidium post about AMD, Lots Of Citations Needed.

    "Problem with AMD is they are still trying to get Skylake levels of performance"
    - They already matched that clock-for-clock with Raven Ridge (at lower clocks, hence lower overall performance), and they have now exceeded it with Renoir.

    "Intel has well moved on from that architecture"
    - Not really. I'd accept this if they had Sunny Cove or better across most of their range, but they absolutely do not - not even in notebooks, let alone the entire market.

    Tiger Lake looks like it'll be a good release, when it arrives in quantity. Problem is that we're talking about today, not Jam Tomorrow.
    Reply
  • Santoval - Friday, July 17, 2020 - link

    It is still unclear if Tiger Lake will be a high volume release or a low volume release that will need to be released along perhaps Rocket Lake-U/Y, rehashing the way Ice Lake was released along with Comet Lake-U/Y. It should be higher volume than Ice Lake but maybe not high enough to fully supply the U/Y market on its own. Reply
  • Deicidium369 - Friday, July 17, 2020 - link

    Well Ice Lake shipped in greater numbers than all of the Ryzen Mobile - so high volume is a relative term. Ice Lake was going to be low volume and relatively niche. Tiger Lake is high volume (not high volume like the Ice Lake SP Xeon) compared to Ice Lake U.

    I was surprised to see the 1065G7 in an Inspiron class machine at Dell - I had thought it was only the XPS class machines.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Monday, July 20, 2020 - link

    @Deicidium - Of course it shipped in greater numbers than Ryzen Mobile! Intel are ~35X the size of AMD - you'd kind of hope they'd be shipping products in larger absolute numbers. I was talking about Sunny Cove as a proportion of Intel's product range, and I was pretty damn clear about that. It's telling that you flipped metrics under discussion to suit your argument.

    "Ice Lake was going to be low volume and relatively niche" - says who? Why? To what end? You're pointing to the results of a sub-par product launch (by Intel's historically high standards) and claiming it was the plan all along. It's just like the AMD fanbois who used to laud the FX 9590's 5Ghz clock speed as if it was an achievement, rather than the best they could salvage from what they had.

    You said Intel have "moved on" from Skylake. That's untrue and will remain the case until Rocket Lake, Ice Lake SP and Tiger Lake are out. At that point in time (and not before) Intel will be fully competitive in all areas on a technical level. I'm genuinely interested to see how Sunny Cove on 14nm looks - there's no reason to believe it won't be solidly competitive with AMD on performance, but power draw and die size might not be quite so flattering.
    Reply
  • Santoval - Friday, July 17, 2020 - link

    "Problem with AMD is they are still trying to get Skylake levels of performance, but Intel has well moved on from that architecture. Intel is solid as they come in ultralights/ultrabooks."

    That's a very bizarre statement for quite a few reasons :
    1. AMD are not targeting Skylake performance levels. When they designed the original Zen they had in mind Cannon Lake - level performance (Intel semi-released a single semi-disabled Cannon Lake 2-core Core i3 in low volume and now they trying to pretend they never did) and when they designed Zen 2 (according to CTO Mark Papermaster) they were targeting it against Ice Lake - not knowing it would be limited to 4-core low power parts. AMD never had Skylake in mind because they never expected Intel would be stuck so many years with it.

    2. Intel have not "well" moved on from Skylake at all. They *just* did, at the beginning of the year (still in low volume, hence the dual release with Comet Lake-U/Y, which was the bulk of the release), with low power 4-core mobile parts and they are *still* stuck with it in the form of Comet Lake. Until Comet Lake is replaced by Rocket Lake Intel are still stuck with Skylake, still fabbing and releasing CPUs with an μarch they have been using, reusing and re-reusing and re-re-reusing since 2015. In which parallel universe would that be regarded as "well moved on from that architecture"?
    Reply

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