Dell Studio XPS 16: the Eyes Have It

by Jarred Walton on 4/2/2009 6:00 PM EST
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  • bowerfind - Thursday, September 10, 2009 - link

    In your review of the Dell XPS16 Studio notebook, the RGB LED 1080p was highly recommended. Dell offers both a 15.6" and a 16.0" edge to edge glass screen. Dell assures me that both of these displays are of equal quality. Which of these 2 displays was examined in your review and do you agree that they are both of equal quality? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, September 10, 2009 - link

    The display tested was a 1080p 16.0" model, so I don't know about the 15.6" LCD. Reply
  • arst - Saturday, August 01, 2009 - link

    just want to know is there any gamut data between 13~14 inch display laptop? this article show only 15 inch upper laptops.. Reply
  • tOM Trottier - Monday, August 03, 2009 - link

    Alas, this doesn't cover the wide gamut laptop screens from Sony (on Vaio AW series) nor Lenovo (Thinkpads with "Flexview"). The Sony, in particular, is supposed to have about ~136% of Adobe RBG gamut.

    tOM
    Reply
  • arst - Monday, August 03, 2009 - link

    thx for reply
    alright, I think i should give up to choose 13~14 inch screen laptoop
    does anyone know any good 15 inch one?
    Reply
  • griddley - Sunday, July 12, 2009 - link

    Hmmm.. looks like this thread could be dead. But thought I'd ask anyway: Anyone get this sxps 16 with the 1G GPU option? I am concerned about an increase in system noise over the 3670.
    I want to replace a first-gen xps whose fans run all. the. time. (and I clean them regularly!)
    Reply
  • mlarma - Wednesday, April 22, 2009 - link

    I got one from the Dell outlet store. Let me say that these things are hot tamales there and you'll need to keep tapping refresh or whatever on the filter for the laptop type and when you see one add it to the cart then decide if it is what you want. If not, remove it. Took me an hour of hitting refresh to get the following for $1269:

    Studio XPS 16
    - T9550 (2.66GHz, 6MB Cache, 1067MHz)
    - 4GB (2x2GB DDR3, 1067MHz)
    - 500GB 7200RPM drive (with fall sensor)
    - DVD-RW
    - 1920x1080 screen (this of course was a must have)
    - 5100 wifi card option
    - Bluetooth
    - 2.0MP Camera with facial recognition
    - 6 cell battery
    - Vista Ultimate 64-bit/SP1
    - Standard 1 year warranty, on-site after on-phone diag

    I'm super stoked. Plan on having dual boot with Linux and Vista. I've toyed with a few Linux flavors. Anyone with one of these laptops have a preference?
    Reply
  • CStyles357 - Tuesday, April 21, 2009 - link

    This should have been compared with the HP HDX 16-1140US Notebook PC - $1,149.99
    Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 2.4GHz Dual-Core X64-Bit Mobile Processor
    4GB DDR2-800 (2x 2GB) PC2-6400 (400MHz) Cas 5 Latency, 5-5-5-15 Timing Memory Max up to 8GB
    Seagate Momentus ST9500325AS 500GB, 5400RPM, 8MB Cache, SATA 3.0Gb/s
    HardDrive w/HP ProtectSmart HD Protection
    Sony NEC Optiarc AD-7543A LightScribe Super Multi 8X DVD+R/RW
    w/Double Layer Support Multimedia Drive
    Samsung 16.0" WSXGA + High-Definition HP Ultra BrightView Infinity Widescreen Display (1920x1080)
    NVIDIA GeForce Go 9600M GT Graphics w/2302MB Shared Video Memory
    (500MHz DDR2 GPU Clock, 512MB, 128Bit, 65nm), DirectX 10, HD Pure Video,
    128bit FP – Graphics Processing Unit
    Realtek RTL8168/8111 Integrated 10/100/1000Mbps BASE-T Ethernet LAN
    Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n integrated WLAN
    Intel WiFi Link 5100AGN w/Bluetooth 2.0 Wireless Technology
    5-in-1 integrated Digital Media Reader
    Altec Lansing Dolby Home Theater Speakers w/Sub-Woofer & Integrated Digital Microphone
    HP Imprint Finish with Integrated 1.3 Megapixel Webcam & Fingerprint Reader
    3 USB 2.0 ports + 1 eSATA/USB port

    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, April 14, 2009 - link

    Thanks again for including "lower/higher is better" in the display portion of the review. Makes browsing that section much easier for some of us.

    I did have a question as to why it seems the Apple products only show up in the benchmarks they do well at (typically the battery life). Where is the x264 benchmark and the rest? I know some of the benchmarks may not have Mac OS compatibility but is just seems like they are only in benchmarks they do well at.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 16, 2009 - link

    Well, I didn't test the MacBooks - that's Anand - and the different OS severely limits the amount of comparing we can do. Playing DVDs or surfing the 'net isn't all that different on OS X, Linux, etc. so we can compare that aspect. Worth note is that MacBook battery life under Vista drops in half... driver problem, or the underlying OS? You decide. Reply
  • MadBoris - Monday, April 06, 2009 - link

    So with this review getting the juices flowing, and the aformentioned sale coming tomorrow I started reminding myself why I want this Lappy.

    Here is a rundown on why I decided on this lappy as my next lappy purchase, in no particular order:

    * 64 Bit OS standard, everything works w/ 64 bit.
    * 1920x1080 with RGBLED in a 16" screen.
    * Blu Ray drive option, 1080p natively supported.
    * 2.1 speakers with built in subwoofer, impressive for a laptop.
    * Sturdy construction, no flex in chassis or keyboard.
    * CPU using 1066 FSB rather than 800.
    * 4GB DD3
    * Firewire port
    * Full digital HDMI
    * Display port
    * eSata port
    * 3 powered USB's(optionally powered when PC is off).
    * Backlit keyboard with good key orientation, size and sensitivity.
    * Synaptics touchpad, nicely textured, with multitouch support.
    * 500 GB 7200 RPM drive or great 256GB SSD upgrade.
    * Webcam built in for video conferencing.
    * Facial recognition software for security, it's a cool tech toy atleast.
    * Included Lojack for a year, at least used to be offered.

    All for a good price IMO.

    The only big drawbacks:
    * While beautiful black obsidian and leather, it's a finger print magnet.
    * Gets hot when it's being stressed hard, even to the touch below the touchpad.
    * 3670 GPU not a ATI 4xxx. But if it had more GPU there would be no reason to get any of Dells XPS laptops for gaming. I have a gaming machine, I don't do laptop gaming.
    * Battery 6 cell life is under 2 hours. But getting a seperate 9 cell for $80 fixes that issue.
    * Viewing angles on TN panel, but it's a lappy like others.
    * Built in TV tuner not available in USA, :sad:.

    None of those drawbacks are showstoppers for me, all of the positive features it comes with make up for it easily.
    Reply
  • MadBoris - Monday, April 06, 2009 - link

    Sales have not been seen on this laptop since a couple days back but...

    Just a heads up, a new 2 day sale on the XPS 16 starts tomorrow. Who knows, this may be the one that has me pull the trigger.

    Specifics unknown, but I imagine it will be like the $363 off from the other day.

    Starts 6AM, April 7th.

    http://www.dell.com/xpsevent">http://www.dell.com/xpsevent
    Reply
  • charleski - Monday, April 06, 2009 - link

    Nice gamut, but a TN panel means the gamma of the display will visibly vary with viewing angle. This makes is unsuitable for serious photo editing or any application that requires accurate colours and tones unless you take pains to maintain a consistent view angle. Still, probably no worse than a MacBook Pro.

    Since a high-gamut display is really only of any use to people running colour-managed applications, the large gamut is actually a disadvantage to those who just want to run apps, and movies may appear to be over-saturated.
    Reply
  • MadBoris - Monday, April 06, 2009 - link

    Yep, that is a problem, people get the over saturated impression. It's too vivid.

    Reminds me of when people go from CRT to LCD/Plasma. It looks really over bright and over saturated but most techies have become accustomed to that now and forgot what that transition was like. But now going from CCFL to RGBLED takes it up another notch.

    Problem is source material like movies that are post processed to look a little more vibrant on CRT TV's really look over saturated and even unnatural on the RGBLED. But given enough time the eyes and mind will become accustomed to it even if it's a bit unnatural. The RGBLED is just a bit too vibrant for some.
    Reply
  • CSMR - Saturday, April 04, 2009 - link

    This monitor has displayport and hdmi output.
    That's a point that deserves more attention IMO, since notebooks with dual digital video outputs are very rare indeed.

    One question I would have is can they both be adapted to DVI, just because displayport is not common yet. If it can't be adapted, that limits dual-display options but is still better than nothing!
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, April 05, 2009 - link

    The laptop didn't include any adapters for DisplayPort to DVI or HDMI to DVI, so I couldn't verify this aspect of the laptop. Dual digital outputs is great, I agree. Of course, if you have to use DisplayPort without an adapter, I think you might be limited to Dell LCDs for the time being. Reply
  • cvt - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    Jarred,

    I have one of these notebooks, similar spec except with the hotter T9550.
    Originally it came with the 320gb 7200rpm HDD, I have since changed it to a 80gb Intel X25-M.
    The heat in the palmrest and touchpad areas of the notebook are noticably cooler. The rest of the notebook, including keyboard and base are basically unchanged. The next stage I went through was undervolting the CPU. I was able to shave 0.275v off and remain completely stable. Heat overall dropped, but not dramatically. Same can be said about battery life, without timing it, I haven't noticed any major improvement, 15min max. Even after these steps It is still noticably warmer than any of my previous notebooks (recent, D820, D830, E6500). Taking into account the hardware, and changed I made, all things are pointing to the GPU being the cause of heat.
    Admitadely I have no solid data to go off, but current observation leans that way.
    Reply
  • Slappi - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    I have been an Anandtech reader since the start but your ATI bias is getting too obvious to ignore.

    Please don't go the way of TH.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    Bias against ATI or for ATI?

    In the case of desktops, we've been recommending plenty of ATI cards. If it's not clear from this review, I *don't* like the idea of ATI mobile GPUs if you're concerned with driver updates. NVIDIA only provides quarterly reference drivers for laptops, but that's better than not getting any support other than the manufacturer.

    From a performance standpoint, the ATI HD 3670 is better than the GeForce 9600M and lower (8700M and lower), but the 8800M/9800M/GTX 280M are all substantially faster. If you only need moderate performance, and you don't care a lot about gaming, I'm perfectly fine with running ATI GPUs in a laptop. I'd even go so far as to say my experience with ATI drivers has been better than NVIDIA drivers in terms of compatibility, just as long as you're not running CrossFire. That the August 2008 drivers Dell incorrectly installed (unless the driver version just showed up wrong) ran Far Cry 2, Fallout 3, etc. without any noticeable issues is a lot better than I would expect.

    Going forward, I've got the first high-end ATI GPU in a laptop that I've seen in over two years right now, which I'm excited to test, but it's a 4870X2 CrossFire solution so I'm *really* worried about drivers - and I say that after having seen way too many issues with NVIDIA's earlier SLI laptop drivers. Anyway, the last high-end ATI mobile GPU I tested was a Mobility X1800 in an Alienware, and that review never saw the light of day because of other laptop problems.

    If anyone is biased against ATI, I'd say it's the notebook manufacturers, who have begun to stay away from ATI options for the most part. I can find dozens of 8800M, 9800M, and now GTX 280M laptops for purchase from a variety of sources. How many 3850/3870 laptops are out there? None from Dell, HP, Gateway, etc. A quick search only finds one online. Heck, http://ati.amd.com/products/hd3000partnersproducts...">even AMD doesn't even list any 3800 series partner laptops! (I couldn't find any list for 4600 or 4800 either.)

    Personally, I try to be as impartial as possible in my reviews, and I'm at a loss as to what bias there was in this article. Discussing the lack of reference drivers from the GPU manufacturer isn't bias, it's a fact. If you want to point out specifics other than that, however, I'm open to listen to where I've been overly harsh.
    Reply
  • Pirks - Saturday, April 04, 2009 - link

    Alienware M17 has ATI 3870 (or two of them in CF) inside. AWESOME notebook for gaming, and only $1400 - best bang for buck gaming wise you could find. Reply
  • Nfarce - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    I have a 3 year old 17" Inspiron E1705 and still love it. When new, it played older DX9 games like Return to Castle Wolfenstein pretty well with a 2.0GHz Centrino and ATi X1400.

    It has the glossy screen which really helps increase the contrast appearance and really doesn't affect me because I don't use the laptop outside or next to a window. Yes, fingerprints and smudges are an issue even being as careful as possible. However, it's a small price to pay for a better picture IMO. I just don't like the "matte" screen on my Sammy 22" LCD on a gaming rig - and I think that is even harder to clean and get smudges off. Something about the grooves or something in the cover.

    Finally, what's up with all these new weird LCD screen sizes these days? I use a 15.4" laptop for work and it's just too small by itself when not connected to a docking station with a monitor. And then we have the new 23" LCDs out now, and the 25.5" LCDs...
    Reply
  • Digobick - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    Is the 9-cell battery removable (meaning, can you take it off if you don't think you'll need it)?

    Also, have you weighed the laptop with the 9-cell battery installed? I'm curious to know how much it weighs with both the 9- and 6-cell batteries installed.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    The 9-cell battery weighs a bit more than the 6-cell, probably .2 or .3 pounds. I don't have a scale that can measure such weights accurately, unfortunately, so I use the manufacturer specifications.

    As for the first question, the 9-cell battery is a replacement for the 6-cell; you can only use one or the other. The 9-cell is larger and raises the back of the laptop, with a .5 to 1 inch protrusion on the bottom where the 6-cell battery is flat.
    Reply
  • andrezunido - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    Would it be possible to have the figures for the macbook pro 15'' color gamut to compare with the Dell XPS 16? Reply
  • jabber - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    You could at least have wiped the laptop down before taking the pics!

    That just looks sloppy. Yo did get a cloth after all.

    Unless of course it was a scratched/battered review model.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    Actually, it isn't messy at all and those aren't scratches... at least not on the laptop. That's just a reflection of the white paper I have around my photography area. The laptop surface is extremely reflective, so I'm happy it's just reflecting paper and not my face, camera, etc. Reply
  • jabber - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    Hmmmmmmm still looks like the blue haze of greasy fingerprints round the edges.

    Just doesnt look right to me.

    Please can we ditch glossy plastics now?
    Reply
  • ksherman - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    Apple stopped offering the choice on the MacBook Pro (and now indeed all their current computers/displays) back in November. It SUCKS. At least its a sheet of glass (supposedly) not a glossy coating. Reply
  • Pirks - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    ksherman, check your facts before posting please. This is from www.apple.com online store:

    MacBook Pro comes with a high-resolution 1920x1200 pixel LED-backlit display. Choose a standard glossy display that lets you view graphics, photos, and videos with richer color and deeper blacks, or an optional antiglare display.

    MacBook Pro 17-inch Hi-Resolution Glossy Widescreen Display
    MacBook Pro 17-inch Hi-Resolution Antiglare Widescreen Display [Add $50.00]

    See, Apple still offers antigare option no matter what you say.
    Reply
  • erple2 - Tuesday, April 07, 2009 - link

    Both of you are simultaneously right and wrong. The 17" Macbook Pro can be had with a either a glossy or non-glossy screen. The 15" Macbook Pro comes only with a glossy screen. Reply
  • baadcatj - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    Hey Jarred, following the link, Dell still has the $343 off special with the upgraded panel, but it looks like they changed it as it doesn't include the upgraded cpu - unless I missed something; If it is still available with the processor upgrade, will you please let me know what I'm doing wrong?
    Thx & great job on the article :-)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    My guess is that Dell realized their mistake and changed the CPU out. I know when I first looked it was a T9550... unless I was seeing things? :-) Reply
  • Joelist - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    It is definitely not one of the JMicron crap jobs.

    I have one of these with the SSD and the T9550. It is VERY fast, and the SSD even makes it run a lot cooler than expected. There is no stuttering and everything is super responsive.

    Remember that any Dell SSD will be Samsung, as the two are strategic partners on the SSD front.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    I've updated the text to clarify, but even the Samsung SSDs aren't perfect, http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=35...">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. Reply
  • MadBoris - Sunday, April 05, 2009 - link

    "(Note: one reader indicates the SSD uses a Samsung controller, which is better than the JMicron options. However, Samsung SSDs are still prone to degradation over time.)"

    I guess you are unaware how folks out there have stumbled on how badly Intel X25-m's degrade. There has been several forums where users have come across it and have noticed really bad drops in the Intels but here's pcperspectives test as one example.
    http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=669">http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=669

    Running the right or wrong benchies on the Intel can make it look great or horrible. X25-m is still nice but it has some serious issues too that the Samsung 256GB doesn't have.

    Quote from pcper on the intel x25-m "Once internal fragmentation reached an arbitrary threshold (somewhere around 40 MB/sec average write speed), the drive would seem to just give up on ‘adapting’ its way back to solid performance. In absence of the mechanism that normally tries to get the drive back to 100%, large writes do little to help, and small writes only compound the issue by causing further fragmentation. In several tests our write speeds dropped to 25-30 MB/s and simply refused to recover on their own, even with several successive passes of HDTach as well as any other application we could find to write a solid file across the entire drive."

    Although Anand did find a test to show the new OCZ's (similar but different to this samsung) to have degradation, while the Intel didn't. More thorough testing shows the Samsung never degrades to the levels that x-25m can and do, so Samsungs new MLC controller is superior in that regard.
    Reply
  • MadBoris - Sunday, April 05, 2009 - link

    So it appears the X-25m issue maybe corrected by a new upcoming firmware, although that doesn't diminish the shining quality/price of this 256GB SSD. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, April 05, 2009 - link

    Again, I still stand by my statement: if you want an SSD, but one on your own, when and if the price is right. If the $400 Samsung SSD is great, it will still be great when it's available and tested separately at retail. It will probably also cost less than $400 at that point. If you can't or won't wait, certainly a 256GB SSD is a nice upgrade that provides sufficient storage while also boosting speed and reducing temperatures. It's still a very high-end option, and it's new enough that I would personally hold off pending further testing.

    The X25-M has been beat on as hard as any SSD out there, and the performance degradation issue only occurred (as far as I'm aware) after specific artificially produced read/write patterns. Intel has said they will fix the issue, and I don't doubt their claim. It appears they may have already done so. Will the Samsung avoid similar issues under artificial test conditions? Maybe, maybe not. It's not in enough hands at present to say with certainty that it's the best option, and waiting a month or two shouldn't hurt.
    Reply
  • MadBoris - Monday, April 06, 2009 - link

    "Again, I still stand by my statement: if you want an SSD, but one on your own, when and if the price is right. If the $400 Samsung SSD is great, it will still be great when it's available and tested separately at retail. It will probably also cost less than $400 at that point."

    I don't know of any plans at this point to go retail on this drive, at least their wasn't recently. That is why OCZ licensed it from Samsung along with it being just for OEM channels like Apple, Dell, HP etc. The Summit will go for $999 and you somehow don't realize what a value this Samsung drive is at a $400 upgrade. That's ok, you obviously haven't seen it tested, can't hold it against you except you are leading people away from it without knowing it's quality. Which is why some of us spoke up I think. No way it would come to retail for less, if it ever was available.

    Like you said, SSD's are Anand's baby and until you see the new 256GB Samsung tested, you won't realize it is a next gen MLC drive (far different than the Sammy 128, OCZ apex 256, or G.skill 256). I don't hold it against you to not know it is above the crowd until it is tested, but I do think you are assuming it's in the group of crap SSD's by recommending people pass on this steal. Maybe if Anand tests it you guys will realize it is by far one of the best price/performance SSD's around, unfortunately it's only with a new PC. It may not dethrone the X-25M but it doesn't need to even though it out performs it in certain aspects, I don't need an Intel Extreme CPU either for 5% performance increase.

    Thanks for the review, I was just trying to let you know there is something that slipped under your radar. Hopefully some readers catch on to this if they order this laptop to know that the $325 - $400 Samsung 256GB upgrade is a steal compared to a Summit 256 @ $999 or a Intel 160 X-25M at $800. This is the same drive that is a $825 upgrade in MAC Book, and probably worth it. You'll need to see it tested because I followed this drive since it silently came on the scene in February, people are slow to catch on to it being a great SSD upgrade and that it's a steal for price/perf/capacity.

    Good review otherwise, I think this laptop is on of the best all around laptop, if not the best IMO, on the market right now. There are better gaming laptops but this just does everything right on so many all-around levels while keeping pricing reasonable for my needs. I'll be buying it soon, along with the Samsung 256GB SSD. ;)
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, April 06, 2009 - link

    The value of the drive drops due to the hassle of buying it in a Dell, buying another drive, swapping the two, then selling the Dell just to get the SSD. Reply
  • Joelist - Monday, April 06, 2009 - link

    I don't see why the value drops. This is a superb laptop, and getting the SSD at 256GB for only $300 extra makes it even better. Reply
  • 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
  • RU482 - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    ANy idea what the make/model of the LCD panel? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    See the test system page. It looks like a Seiko Epson M077D€160HT according to ASTRA32, but that may or may not be correct. Reply
  • rudy - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    The specs for all the machines would be really important here. And they should be included. Why is something like the macbook air which is no where near as powerful even in such a line up? If it is then why aren't other notebooks which pack battery life of an entire day put in there? Reply
  • rudy - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    You cannot seriously tell me that the best battery life per watt hour notebook running windows is an alienware seriously... Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    Look at the specifics of that Alienware. It's running with the X3100 IGP instead of the discrete GPU. That's why I harp on the need for every other laptop to allow such functionality.

    As for the remaining laptops, they're all in previous reviews on our site, under the Mobile tab. I just don't think it's necessary to include all 15 or whatever notebook configs in each review. I suppose I can post links to the config pages for reference, though.

    As for the MacBook Air, performance isn't super high, but it still has a reasonable Core 2 Duo CPU and I believe NVIDIA IGP, which means performance isn't exactly terrible. There are other notebooks in those charts that aren't particularly high-end as well.
    Reply
  • rudy - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    The keypad missing on this 16 inch model is a real downer. The space is there I think. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    It's possible to fit in a keypad, but then the rest of the keyboard isn't centered. I have a 15.4" notebook I'm testing with a number keypad and overall I prefer the XPS 16 layout. Then again, that may have more to do with the keyboard on that other laptop simply being super flimsy.... Anyway, the XPS M1730 is still my favorite laptop keyboard, as it's the best of both worlds. It *should* be able to fit on the Studio XPS 16, but for whatever reason Dell didn't go that route. Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    Yeah, good job Jarred Walton; you included 3D Mark results, and not just some of them, frickin' ALL of them... lol. I guess Dereck and Anand could learn a thing or two from you. (That last sentence is said partially sarcastic and no disrespect is meant.) I added that cause that sentence kinda makes me sound like a prick, which I'm not. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    My laptop tests have always included them, but I *really* don't put much stock in 3DMark. I include them simply because they're easy enough to run. Start, walk away, come back in a while and collect the results. I wish more of the game tests were that easy. :) Reply
  • Wesleyrpg - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    Nice review jarred,

    i been looking at one of these to replace my XPS m1530, but am concerned that the 3670 is weaker than my 8600mGT in the gaming departmrnt....i'm an AVID WoW player, so which do you think will perform better in WoW?

    Also.....those 3dmark scores, were there done in the displays natural resolution or 3dmarks default resolution?

    Thanks and keep up the good work
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    All 3DMark scores are at the standard 3DMark resolution, so I connect an external LCD where necessary (i.e. laptops with 1280x800 LCDs can't run 1280x1024 in 3DMark06 and Vantage). So the scores are definitely apples-to-apples in that department.

    I don't know what WoW is really like in terms of GPU needs, but the HD 3670 should be faster than the 8600M GT by a fair margin. If you need more power, though, Gateway's P-7808u FX should do the trick (review in progress), and MSI's GT627 is even more powerful in the GPU department (9800M GT). The only caveat is that neither LCD is anywhere near as good as the Studio XPS 16, and I really dislike the MSI keyboard (it's flimsy).
    Reply
  • jiggpig - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    You should add the lenovo x200 or x300 to the battery life charts, I bet they could challenge the macbooks in battery life/battery size charts. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    I would if Lenovo would send me a laptop to test. I've heard good things from some people, and I would love to verify the results. Without doing the testing myself, however, I can't come to any firm conclusion. (What brightness level do they test at? What's the test like? That sort of stuff can make a difference.) Reply
  • erple2 - Tuesday, April 07, 2009 - link

    Also, I see that you've posted the minutes/WHr results for the Apple notebooks. However, what are the "at the wall" measurements for power consumption?

    Is it that OSX is that much stronger optimized for low power usage? I wonder if there would be any difference running Linux vs. Vista vs. OSX on the same laptop (granted, you'd have to run them all on a Macbook I suppose to get that result) at least for power consumption, and wall outlet consumption.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    Which GPU does it have in it? Sometimes you list the HD4670 and sometimes you say HD4650??? Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    I meant HD3670 and HD3650... ah typing mistakes that are made significant by barely different product naming schemes. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    Sorry about that... it's an HD 3670, but somehow in the process of writing I started saying 3650. The two chips are the same, other than clock speeds, but I'm not sure on the clocks for the 3650. Anyway, the incorrect part numbers have been corrected. Thanks! Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    "This will allow us to provide an apples-to-apples comparison with other laptops while also showing the performance range you can expect by lowering or increasing the resolution."

    YAY anandtech! Good job, now if only you would do this on every single review that has anything to with GPU's. Oh, I'm not done with the article yet, but if there aren't 3D Mark scores, there should be.
    Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Friday, April 03, 2009 - link

    Yes, because 3DMark scores are SO indicative of real-world performance.
    [/sarcasm]
    Reply
  • cheetah2k - Saturday, April 04, 2009 - link

    It would be nice to see 3Dmark06 scores across the whole Dell range in these reviews, including the hefty XPS1730.

    For those wanting to know, an XPS1730 with 2 x 8800GTX in Sli gets 11,490 marks in 1280x1024 with a T9300 CPU @ 2.5Ghz
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, April 05, 2009 - link

    I don't have updated scores with new drivers, but you can see the http://www.anandtech.com/mobile/showdoc.aspx?i=324...">original XPS M1730 3DMark scores - including scores with the CPU overclocked. I didn't have 3DMark Vantage at the time, so those scores are also missing. Basically, the scores are relatively close to the Clevo D901C laptop. Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    I have a Dell Studio 15 Series laptop T8100 320GB HDD X3100GMA... it's okay for the most part; wish it had some kind of useable graphics, but I couldn't afford the upgrade. Anyway, the slot loading DVD drive is a pain in the but! It quirks out sometimes when you hit eject and just keeps trying to eject the disc even if it's already out until you restart the whole thing; one time even after doing that it just wouldn't take discs for like 5 days at all. Then randomly it started working again. Not to mention if it ever DOES fail I'm gonna have to pay more for the replacement than I would if it was a standard cd tray drive; I REALLY don't like that choice of DVD drives.

    Also, on a 16" 16:9 Chassis they really should include a keyboard that has a dedicated num pad. Asus includes a full numpad on their 15.6" 16:9 chassis. On that note though, the keyboard on my Studio 15 is well laid out and pleasant to type on.
    Reply
  • QChronoD - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    Where the measurements for the screen done with the out-of-the-box settings, or was it calibrated first? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    Calibrated. As best as I can tell, there's no truly reliable way of testing the color accuracy without calibrating. I tried to do it in the past, but I became suspect of my results. Besides, if you need accurate colors there's generally no way around hardware calibration utilities. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    Windows Vista Hope Premium? :0) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    Truth in advertising? :-D Reply
  • Lingyis - Monday, May 03, 2010 - link

    bad news--i was just gonna get one of these babies and Dell told me Studio XPS 16 no longer comes with an RGB LED option.

    i want a good laptop display--i'm deciding between the Studio XPS with a regular WLED vs the Precision M4500. The precision M6500 appears to have RGB LED but it's 17 inches which is too big.

    so what to go for--the RGBLED-less Studio XPS or the Precision M4500?
    Reply
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