Gaming Comparison

Our graphics testing for the XPS 15 2-in-1 falls into two categories—notebook and desktop. While it is most appropriate to compare only the notebooks, we also wanted to take a look at the relative comparison of the XPS 15 2-in-1 to the Hades Canyon NUC, which we previously compared to desktop-level hardware due to its relative performance.

Notebook Comparison

First off, we are comparing the Core i5-8250U and NVIDIA MX150-equipped Acer Swift 3, and the Microsoft Surace Book 2 with a Core i7-8600U and NVIDIA GTX 1050 to the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1. We are taking a look at a variety of games, tested at 1080p.

  • Dirt Rally
    • 1920×1080
    • High Settings, 4X AA
  • Far Cry 5
    • 1920×1080
    • Low Settings
  • Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
    • 1920×1080
    • Low Settings
    • DX 12 Mode
  • Doom (2016)
    • 1920×1080
    • Vulkan API
    • Medium Settings, FXAA

In all of our game testing, the Dell XPS 15 with Vega M GL graphics is neck and neck with the Surface Book 2, slightly beating it in most tests. The biggest performance gap is a 5% advantage in FPS to the XPS 15 2-in-1 in Dirt Rally.

Hades Canyon NUC Comparison

Despite both being in the same "Kaby Lake-G" family, there are a multitude of differences between the Core i7-8705G found in the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the Core i7-8809G found in the Hades Canyon NUC.

In addition to the over 50W of TDP difference, the Vega M GL graphics in the i7-8705G contains four fewer compute units than the Vega M GH Graphics in the Core i7-8809G. This, combined with lower clock speeds for both the CPU and GPU on the XPS 15 2-in-1 should provide for a sizable performance gap.

  • Assassin's Creed: Origins
    • 1920×1080
    • Ultra High Preset 
  • Civilization VI
    • 1920×1080
    • Ultra Presets
    • 8X MSAA
  • Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
    • 1920×1080
    • DX12
    • Extreme Preset
  • Far Cry 5
    • 1920×1080
    • Ultra Preset
  • Grand Theft Auto V
    • 1920×1080
    • Very High graphical settings
    • 4X AA

Considering the specification differences between the two processors, the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 manages to still provide impressive graphics performance considering its size. Even with the 30-40% performance gap between the NUC and XPS 15 2-in-1, this testing shows that with some tuning of game settings, you should be able to run almost any modern game with a frame rate of at least 30FPS at 1080p.

Thermal Testing

In order to test thermal throttling in gaming scenarios, we run a 45-minute loop of Dirt Rally. Average FPS is measured during the first and last benchmark runs.

As we can see here, there is no performance degradation caused over time due to thermal constraints while gaming on the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1.

After the 45 minutes of gameplay, we also measured the temperature of the XPS 15 2-in-1 with a thermal camera. Despite the hottest point of the notebook being upwards of 50C, the bottom of the notebook that would potentially make contact with the user's legs was still cool to the touch, which is very unusual for a notebook.

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