Since most of the notebooks we review aren’t oriented towards gaming, we decided to take a bit of a unique approach in testing the gaming performance of the Inspiron 15 Gaming.
In recent years, NVIDIA has shifted from creating mobile-only GPUs and have instead started offering full desktop-level GPUs for OEMs to integrate into their mobile products. The 1050 Ti found in the Inspiron 15 is no different.
|GTX 1050 Ti (Desktop)||GTX 1050 Ti (Mobile)|
|Rated Base Clock Speed||1290 MHz||1493 MHz|
|Rated Boost Clock Speed||1392 MHz||1620 MHz|
|Frame Buffer||4 GB||4 GB|
As you can see, the desktop and mobile variants of the GTX 1050 Ti share a lot of similarities. Specifications like CUDA cores, texture units, and ROPS are identical on the GP107 GPUs with one small difference — clock speed. The GTX 1050 Ti product offered for notebooks actually has a significantly higher rated base and boost clock than the desktop counterpart. However, as we have seen in the past with NVIDIA’s GPU Boost technologies, the clock speeds are a minimum expected rate, and the actual clock speed will vary depending on the thermal implementation.
In order to test the relative performance between these two nearly identical GTX 1050 Ti GPUs, we decided to build a price competitive gaming desktop as a point of comparison.
|Desktop Comparison System|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-7500|
|Motherboard||MSI B250 Gaming M3|
|Memory||Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR-2400|
|Graphics Card||EVGA Geforce GTX 1050 Ti SSC|
|Storage||Samsung 850 EVO 250GB|
|Case||Corsair Carbide Series 200R|
|Power Supply||EVGA 80+ BRONZE 500W Power Supply|
|Display||ASUS VS228T-P 1080p 21.5"|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
For just under $900 (compared to the $850 of our Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming), we were able to spec out a full i5-7500 based desktop with a GTX 1050 Ti, a Windows 10 license, and a low-end 1080p monitor. Note: this system is mostly based around parts we already had in the office, so it may not be the most ideal build for the budget, but it serves our illustrative purposes here well for testing.
Taking a look at our gaming benchmark results, we see a bit of a mixed bag. While Rise of the Tomb Raider and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided both are within 15% of each other, we see a much bigger performance gap on both Hitman and GTA V.
This performance delta is likely due to differences in CPU performance between the two platforms we are testing with. While every other component is nearly identical, the CPU is the biggest area of difference between our Inspiron 15, and our 1050 Ti desktop. The Core i5-7300HQ is certainly no slouch as far as mobile processors go, but the desktop i5-7500 has a clock speed advantage of 900MHz at the base frequency and 300MHz at boost frequencies. For some games, this won’t matter a whole lot, but for CPU intensive games like Hitman running in DX12 mode and GTA V, the difference is evident.
That’s not to say that the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming isn’t a great performing gaming notebook. We were able to run some of the most demanding PC titles at the native 1080p resolution on at least High image quality settings. You might have to turn some settings a bit further down to hit 60FPS as personal preference may dictate, but all of the games we tested were very playable, and I have no complaints with gaming performance at 1080p. If you are looking to run at higher than 1080p resolution on an external monitor however, the GTX 1050 Ti on both mobile and desktop isn’t quite enough horsepower.