Battery Life

For battery life testing, we run all laptops at around 100 nits brightness. If you choose to run your LCD at maximum brightness, you may lose anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes depending on the laptop and the display. In the case of the Studio XPS 16, maximum brightness is 280 nits and uses 9W more power, so the impact on battery life is quite significant (see the idle chart below for reference).

We run several different battery life scenarios: Internet surfing (load several webpages using the wireless adapter every minute until the battery dies), DVD playback, x264 playback, and idle (maximum) battery life. For x264 playback, we copy a 720p file to the hard drive and loop playback using Windows Media Player Classic Home Cinema; we will include scores from other laptops, but it's worth noting that we did not have GPU accelerated x264 decoding enabled in previous laptop tests. We have battery life results for Blu-ray playback on laptops that ship to us with a Blu-ray drive. We've also included web surfing results (and DVD for the MacBook Pro) for the latest Apple MacBooks as a point of reference.

Battery Life

Battery Life

Battery Life

Battery Life

Battery Life - Idle

Battery life is nothing special, particularly when compared with similarly equipped notebooks. Purchasing the extended capacity battery does allow you to reach over three hours of battery life, but the same can be said of other notebooks. You can also see what happens if you turn up the display brightness. At maximum brightness sitting at the desktop, you only get 108 minutes of battery life. Perhaps that's just the price we have to pay for the beautiful LCD.

As we've mentioned in the past, Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro provide an almost untouchable amount of battery life. To give you a true apples-to-Apples comparison, we've calculated the amount of battery life you get per Whr (Watt Hour) of battery capacity:

Battery Life

We can only hope that Windows 7 will help improve the battery life situation and level the playing field. However, we also suspect that the hardware manufacturers could be doing a lot more to improve battery life on their laptops. The closest we have come to matching the Minutes/Whr score of the MacBooks was with an ASUS N10JC netbook, which isn't even on the same continent in terms of performance. Apple is getting over six minutes per Whr, and most similarly equipped Vista notebooks are luck to come close to 3 min/Whr. Note that testing a MacBook with Vista using Boot Camp also cut the Apple battery life roughly in half.

General Application Performance Power, Noise, and Temperatures
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  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 07, 2009 - link

    I can't imagine Samsung is going to make a drive for OEMs where they charge $400, and it's so great that people will want one outside of a new system build... but then the price will be $1000 at retail. That's a 250% markup, which just seems too much. If it does happen that way, well, only a crazy person would spend $1000 for a drive that you can get for $400 with a new laptop. I think it will just be a couple months before the drives show up in quantity at retail (under a variety of brand names), and then prices will drop to whatever Dell is charging. 'Course, I could be wrong! (Wouldn't be the first time....) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 07, 2009 - link

    Updated the text for you, regardless. Reply
  • MadBoris - Tuesday, April 07, 2009 - link

    I think it's only fair you didn't dis the drive for the same reason you can't recommend it, that it wasn't tested. So I think the change you made will benefit future readers.

    Although I have made all my points...which outside of testing are just here say.
    You are thinking in terms of markup in your last comment. If it ever comes out in retail it will be close to the performance and compete with the Summit, by then pricing will have to be more competitive than the $999 MSRP of the Summit, as they will compete. Still, the point isn't how much it would be marked up to, the point is how big of discount Dell is providing on this drive when they could charge much much more. It's a steal, but don't tell Dell I told you or it will change. It's like the celery 300a I got for $100 that out performed the fastest $800 chips, it was one of those bargains you come across, but with this one I don't have to do any tweaking.

    In 2 months there has not been any serious testing done on this drive unfortunately so it has been silently waiting for people.
    I consider all canned benchmarks crap when it comes to SSD's, even the best eye of those who follow SSD's can't truly interpret real world performance. Only real world tests and scripts will reveal anything pertinent.

    But here's a couple numbers of canned tests since that is all there is...
    I started a page for it at notebook review, that never took off and
    I stopped supporting a couple months back. Some charts there...
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=3...">http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=3...

    One of the only decent reviews is at RegisterHardware where it got an editors choice...But it's mostly misleading canned tests compared to x-25m and a couple others.
    http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2009/03/17/review_sto...">http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2009/03/17/review_sto...

    I think your text changes did a service to readers, rather than dissing it before you know what it really is.
    Reply
  • Joelist - Sunday, April 05, 2009 - link

    Hi Jared,

    I like you think the Intel is best of breed.

    However, in the name of fairness the 256GB Samsung needs to be tested. I would imagine that if you and Anand contacted Dell and/or Samsung you should be able to get a sample unit for review.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, April 06, 2009 - link

    Anand is the man in charge of SSD testing, so that's his baby. I would guess that after the last SSD Anthology, there are plenty of companies interested in sending him more drives for testing. Samsung will be one of those, certainly, and there will be a follow-up down the road. Given he worked for about two months (more?) on the last article, it might be a while before the situation is clear. FWIW, many people are very happy even with JMicron "garbage" SSDs. Just because a lot of people don't have issues doesn't mean the issues aren't there. A lot of people just don't notice the low level delays. Reply
  • Joelist - Monday, April 06, 2009 - link

    It's good to know Anand will be looking at this SSD in the future, as it's new controller, cache and firmware make it easily the best SSD other than Intel.

    I havetested it in exactly the "stutter" scenario Anand described, and there is no stutter. no hesitation at all. I suspect the new controller plus the large cache are responsible.
    Reply
  • MadBoris - Sunday, April 05, 2009 - link

    "I've updated the text to clarify, but even the Samsung SSDs aren't perfect, as seen here. I stand by the recommendation that if you really want an SSD, read Anand's article and then purchase one on your own. Personally, I wouldn't even consider anything less than the Indilinx options, but I'd try for the Intel models."

    You have no idea what you are missing, but unless you really followed this laptop and the debut of the 256GB SSD, which I did a couple months back, then it's no surprise.

    This new 256GB SSD is not to be confused with prior Samsungs like the 128GB SSD which is utter junk by comparison. This is the new 256GB Samsung SSD, with new controller, and it is a beast! It's MLC, while Intel is faster in certain areas, this is the first SSD I would consider for price/performance/storage.

    People are completely clueless about this 256GB SSD, because it's not in retail channels and yet is available for "only" a $400 upgrade.

    Model: PM800 2.5" 256GB
    Controller: 3C29RBB01-YK40
    Size and power: 2.5", 2.9 oz, 1.1 watts.
    Quoted Specs: Read:200-220 MB/s Write:160-200 MB/s
    Erase cycles: Run to 100GB per second.

    Some buy the cheap Dell laptop to turn around and sell the SSD for $800 - $1000.
    It's a best kept secret for that price/performance which even a lot of laptop reviewers don't seem to know. ;)

    It's not available in retail channels although OCZ is branding off the Samsung tech that lives in this 256GB SSD.

    With all your SSD coverage too bad you guys missed out on this jewel.
    Reply
  • Joelist - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    Hi Jared,

    The Samsung SSD in the Studio XPS is their next gen one, with different firmware and such from the one Anand reviewed. This is the Computerworld review:

    http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?com...">http://www.computerworld.com/action/art...viewArti...

    While I still think Intel SSDs are the best, this one is no slouch. And the next time Anand does SSD reviews he should review this one as well. Just my 2 cents.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    I thought the OCZ Summit was the new Samsung chip and firmware? Reply
  • Joelist - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    The Summit has a Samsung chip, that is true. This SSD is the actual Samsung SSD that they make in partnership with Dell. So it may be the same but may be different.

    As stated,it does not pause or stutter at all. Performance is very smooth and fast.
    Reply

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