Dell Studio 14z Application Performance

You can read about our testing setup and the other laptops used in our previous MSI X610 review. The Studio 14z is more expensive than the Gateway NV52 and NV58, MSI X610, and pretty much any netbook out there. However, it has more in common with such laptops than it does with higher performance notebooks so we will compare the 14z with those systems. Here's the tested configuration of the Studio 14z.

Dell Studio 14z Test System
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo P8600
(2.40GHz, 45nm, 3MB shared L2, 1066FSB)
Memory 1GB Onboard plus
1x2048MB Hyundai PC3-8500 @ DDR3-1066 7-7-7-20
(Hyundai Electronics HMT125S6BFR8C-G7)
Graphics Integrated GeForce 9400M
Driver version 179.62
16 SPs; 450/1100 Core/Shader Clocks
Display 14.0" Glossy LED Backlit WXGA (1366x768)
Seiko Epson D229J 140AT
Hard Drive WD Scorpio Blue 320GB 5400RPM 8MB
Optical Drive N/A
Battery 8-Cell 14.8V, 4.84Ah, 71.63Wh
Operating System Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit
Price Price as configured: $1019 (with $159 instant rebate)

We will start our performance comparison with general application testing, including PCMark, CINEBENCH, and video encoding tests. As usual, we will include detailed PCMark05/PCMark Vantage results where applicable so you can see the individual test scores.

Futuremark PCMark05

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

Video Encoding - DivX

Video Encoding - x264

Video Encoding - x264

And what should come as no surprise, the Dell Studio 14z places at the top of all of our application benchmarks. Our test system includes a Core 2 Duo P8600, which is faster than any of the other laptop processors. That alone is enough to account for the above charts. Obviously, the 14z isn't going to be able to compete with faster notebooks in terms of raw performance, but it doesn't need to. It provides plenty of performance and as we will see shortly, it still offers good battery life and you get a lightweight chassis.

Dell Studio 14z Overview Dell Studio 14z Gaming and Graphics Performance


View All Comments

  • Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, October 22, 2009 - link

    Newegg has a notebook for $399 right now. Please explain how you justify twice the price. A slightly faster processor, slightly more battery life. Big whoop. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, October 22, 2009 - link

    It helps to link to what you're talking about, or at least mention the name. Let's assume you're looking at the">Acer Aspire AS5517-5671, which currently sells for $400.

    1) 15.6" vs. 14.0"
    2) 6.0 lbs. vs. 4.6 lbs.
    3) AMD Athlon 64 TF-20 (1.6GHz) vs. Core 2 Duo P8600 (2.4GHz)
    4) DDR2 vs. DDR3
    5) 160GB HDD vs. 320GB HDD
    6) "Up to" 2.4 hours vs. 4.5 hours (measured)

    When you combine all of those areas, plus chassis design, the Studio 14z is clearly superior to this particular $400 laptop in every way. Does that mean it's worth the extra money? You'll have to decide that. Keep in mind that the Gateway NV52 (benchmarked in this article) is going to be at least 30% faster CPU than the $400 Acer (2.1GHz vs. 1.6GHz), and the 14z with P8600 is almost twice as fast.

    If all you need is a basic laptop and you want to save money, sure, go for a cheap $400-$500 laptop. Don't expect top performance or battery life, and you won't be disappointed. Unfortunately, don't expect top quality either (but it's possible you'll still get a notebook that doesn't have any issues).
  • JimmyJimmington - Friday, October 23, 2009 - link

    Also a different GPU, no wireless N, no blue tooth, no esata, no 1600x900 resolution screen.

    My question would be, if all you care about is saving money, why not go with a $150 netbook refurb? It would certainly be lighter and have more battery life. And if you drop it and it breaks you don't have to feel so bad because you can just go out and buy a new one :D
  • hybrid2d4x4 - Thursday, October 22, 2009 - link

    Thanks for the excellent review, Jarred. I really like how you included the POST times, calling out Dell on glossy finish+screen and LCD quality and also adding FPS bars at the native res. One minor request for future reviews of laptops that are obviously unable to handle top-end games: throw in a Source-based game (or some other older engine) for comparison to show what the cutoff seems to be for what kind of game it actually CAN play well with med/high settings at the native res.

    On the POST issue, I wonder if there's something about the GF9400 that makes it POST slowly. My Gigabyte 9400-based mobo takes around 10s as well. I know it's not a vendor-specific issue since a Dell Mini 9 I've had my hands on did it in probably under 5s and booted to XP desktop in exactly 25s (8B SSD, uninstalled factory bloatware). I wonder if the Zotac and Asus 9400 boards also POST slowly...
  • jasperjones - Wednesday, October 21, 2009 - link

    very nice review. the comparison you make to the macbook is well-balanced. and i agree that it is a viable--although more expensive--alternative.

    macs tend to be a good deal shortly after their model refresh (since apple tends to keep prices fixed until the next refresh). my problem with macs is that i don't like os x. basically, i run linux or windows as my main os on a mac. given the hint in a comment that anand might review the new macbook, one thing i'd really like to see on anandtech would be benches and battery performance under operating systems other than os x (yeah, i know linux is gonna suck battery-wise but win 7 might be an interesting option).
  • Kishkumen - Wednesday, October 21, 2009 - link

    If only it didn't have a glossy screen (or rather had a matte option) I'd be the proud owner of one of these otherwise cool, little laptops.... Reply
  • Pirks - Tuesday, October 20, 2009 - link

    You were putting MacBooks there always, in the relative battery life graphs, but now you don't? Did you get enough hate mail from wintrolls or what? Death threats maybe? ;)

    Also, do you intend to do a review of the new $999 MacBook they just released? Mighty sweet machine, could you touch it up and pass your thoughts you know? I'd be VERY interested, thanks!
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, October 20, 2009 - link

    Honestly, I removed the Mac from the graphs more because I know that the testing wasn't entirely Apples to apples. Different browser and web pages mean the Mac may have gotten a boost. Still, when a MacBook can last 3.1 hours with a 45Wh battery on our heaviest load (downloading files, playing a movie, and surfing the web) while a Windows laptop with similar specs can only get 4.5 hours at idle using a 74Wh battery, it's clear that OS X remains better optimized. Reply
  • DominionSeraph - Wednesday, October 21, 2009 - link

    I can't wrap my head around the MacBook run times under OS X. I mean, it ain't like there are magically more c and p states available under OS X. And in your OS Mobility roundup you ran Vista in Power Saving mode -- I know that on my desktop that locks my X2 5200+ into its lowest p-state. If that's applicable to the AMD laptops, then the differences can't be explained by Microsoft OS idle processes causing blips to full-throttle.

    Could you test the MacBook with a MS OS, locked to the lowest SpeedStep setting using RMClock (or the like)? And then try @ max undervolt whilst still locked at idle?

    If max undervolt while locked to lowest frequency can't match OS X at stock settings, I think my head will explode.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 21, 2009 - link

    I can ask Anand to give it a shot... I think he's working on some MacBook articles already so it's definitely something to investigate. But don't discount the possibility that Windows (especially Vista) is preventing the CPU (and peripherals) from entering minimum C-states for long periods of time. Windows seems to constantly "ping" HDDs and other devices to make sure they're still around or something. LOL Reply

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