System Performance

Along with 8th Generation processor-equipped ASUS ZenBook 3 Deluxe, we also have a unique opportunity for comparison here. Since Dell did a mid-lifecycle update for the previous generation XPS 13 with 8th generation processors, we can compare how the new chassis design found on the XPS 13 9370 effects performance.

Additionally, we are comparing the XPS 13 9370 to a Ryzen 5 2500U-equipped HP Envy x360, and a previous generation quad-core Intel mobile processor.

Our results in Cinebench R15 were quite surprising. While the Single threaded score saw a modest 3% performance boost from the previous generation XPS 13, the new XPS 13 far and away wins the multi-threaded test.

The XPS 13 sees a 17% boost in performance compared to previous highest score belonging to the ASUS ZenBook 3 Deluxe. 

Like Cinebench, X264 encoding in Handbrake shows a healthy performance advantage for the XPS 13 9370. with CPU-based encoding taking 11% less time than the previous XPS 13 and Quick Sync encoding taking 14% less time.

PCMark 8 is a benchmarking suite that aims to emulate several different usage scenarios ranging from basic productivity to mixed workloads with light gaming and to applications for creative professionals like photo and video editing. While the "conventional" tests are running applications as you'd expect, the "accelerated" versions add OpenCL acceleration and use the available GPU devices for some operations.

PCMark 8 shows a very close comparison between the XPS 13 9370 and the ASUS ZenBook 3 Deluxe for the top performing 8th generation-equipped notebooks. Both machines fall short when compared to the Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming in the "Accelerated" tests. However, keep in mind that this is due to the Inspiron 15 Gaming using a significantly faster  NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti GPU compared to the Intel UHD 620 graphics found in the Dell and ASUS machines.

Overall, I am very impressed with the performance gain Dell has managed with the XPS 13 9370 versus the last generation XPS 13. We aren't quite sure if this is due to more aggressive frequency scaling, better cooling, or a combination of the two, but we plan to dig into that in a later article directly comparing the two notebooks in various performance scenarios.

Storage Performance

Storage performance of the Toshiba XG5 found in our Dell XPS 13 9370 is a bit odd. While ATTO registered read speeds of just under 3 GB/s, the maximum sequential writes seem to be limited to 500 MB/s. In our own testing of the 1TB XG5, we saw that the controller is capable of much higher write speeds.

It seems likely that Dell is limiting the write speeds on the XG5 SSD, likely due to power draw concerns. Even though I didn't notice any slowdown in actually using the XPS 13, this limitation which you can't seem to disable and also occurs on A/C power is disappointing to see in a flagship notebook in this price range.

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