System Performance

When we reviewed the XPS 13 2-in-1 back in November, it was the first device we had tested which featured the new 10 nm Intel Ice Lake platform. At that time, Dell had also recently refreshed the XPS 13, but had outfitted it with the older 14 nm Comet Lake platform. For the all-new XPS 13, Dell has now brought parity to their lineup with Ice Lake here as well, with the improvements that platform brings, especially to the graphics side.

Dell offers three processor options. The least-expensive offering is the Core i3-1005G1, the mid-tier outfitted with the Core i5-1035G1, and the top-tier offering the Core i7-1065G7. Our review unit features the Core i7 model, as Dell wanted to put its best foot forward.

On the memory side, Dell’s spec sheet shows a 4 GB base, although thankfully that is nowhere to be found on their site, at least for the USA. Thanks to the move to LPDDR4X with Ice Lake, Dell now offers up to 32 GB of memory on the XPS 13. Storage is all PCIe x4 NVMe, with 256 GB as the base, and a 2 TB maximum.

To see how the XPS 13 performs, we have run it through our newly updated laptop suite. Please not that if a graph does not contain a specific older device, that means that the test has not been run on it. Since the laptops are returned to the manufacturer after review, we cannot do any regression testing for the most part. If you’d like to compare the XPS 13 to any other laptop we have tested, please refer to our Online Bench.


PCMark 10 - Essentials

PCMark 10 - Productivity

PCMark 10 - Digital Content Creation

PCMark 10 - Overall

UL’s PCMark 10 is a whole-system benchmark, testing everything from CPU performance to app loading time. The Overall score consists of three categories, each featuring their own unique sub-tests. Overall the XPS 13 scored right in the same ballpark as other Ice Lake notebooks, although was slightly down in the Productivity tests, but slightly ahead in the other two.


Cinebench R20 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R20 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench, based on Maxon’s Cinema 4D rendering, allows tests of both single-threaded and multi-threaded runs, making it one of the more popular tests for overall computational performance. The XPS 13 does well compared to other Ice Lake equipped notebooks, although with AMD offering up to 8 cores in the same 15-Watt TDP, Intel falls behind in the multi-threaded run.


Handbrake Transcoding (Software)

Handbrake Transcoding (Hardware)

In our Handbrake encoding test, we transcode a 1080p movie to 720p using both software and hardware encoders. Software encoders utilize the CPU, and are generally the preferred method for optimal quality, whereas hardware encoders leverage the media blocks, which in this case is Intel’s QuickSync, for a much faster encode. As we will see more in the thermals section, Dell limits the XPS 13 to a 15-Watt TDP even in its maximum performance mode, where some other manufacturers will allow for higher than listed TDP, up to 20 Watts or so, and as such, the XPS 13 falls a bit behind other Ice Lake notebooks in this test which is TDP limited.


7-Zip Compression

7-Zip Decompression

The popular file compression and decompression tool 7-Zip includes a built-in benchmark, and once again the XPS 13 slots right into where other Ice Lake notebooks fit.

Web Tests

Web performance is a function of not only the CPU performance, but also the browser’s scripting engine, and as such we have standardized on the Microsoft Edge browser. Microsoft has now transitioned their browser to the open-source Chromium project. Due to this, we have reset our web tests to use the new Chromium based Edge and taken the opportunity to decommission some of the older tests. We will now focus on Speedometer 2.0 and WebXPRT 3.

Speedometer 2.0


The XPS 13 again slots right in where you would expect for an i7-1065G7 based system.

Storage Performance

Dell offers from 256 GB to 2 TB of PCIe storage, and the review unit was outfitted with the Intel 600p 512 GB drive. We are transitioning to the PCMark 10 storage benchmark, which uses test traces of actual common workloads, such as booting Windows, and many of the Adobe applications, and as such should be a much better indicator of drive performance than just maximum transfer rates.

PCMark 10 System Drive Benchmark Bandwidth

PCMark 10 System Drive Benchmark Average Access Time

PCMark 10 System Drive Benchmark Score

The Intel 600p performs quite well, with good access times and solid bandwidth. Surprisingly, it can’t quite match the excellent performance we saw from the SK Hynix 2230 form factor SSD in the Surface Laptop 3, but almost matches it.

Design GPU Performance
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  • sorten - Thursday, July 16, 2020 - link

    eek: Here's a review comparing a $600 Acer laptop with the 4700u (not AMD's top mobile CPU) against an XPS 13 with the Intel 1065G7, and it's not pretty. Tiger Lake is supposed to have a massively improved GPU (Intel's new Xe brand), but we don't know much about the CPU side yet.
  • Deicidium369 - Thursday, July 16, 2020 - link

    The CPU side of Tiger Lake - 4 cores is 17% slower than AMD Renoir 8 cores. Xe LP (the 96 EU iGPU in Tiger Lake) is equal to the MX350 from Nvidia.
  • Santoval - Friday, July 17, 2020 - link

    According to unverified leaks. I await for actual performance values, while being skeptical that Intel managed to raise the IPC (and/or clocks) of Tiger Lake so much over Ice Lake (I obviously refer to the CPU block, not the iGPU block; I have no doubt that Xe will outperform AMD's Vega iGPUs - that is AMD's choice for having a 3-year old GPU design compete against Intel's latest and greatest Xe GPU, in an act of apparent self-sabotage).
  • gescom - Friday, July 17, 2020 - link

    Lenovo ThinkPad T14s: AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 4750U leaves Intel in the dust.
  • Jorgp2 - Thursday, July 16, 2020 - link

    Again why are shilling?

    Who thinks a craptop vs an Ultrabook is a valid comparison.
  • Lord of the Bored - Friday, July 17, 2020 - link

    I think the point is that the AMD processor being used in the craptop is kinda wrecking Intel's "solid" and "competitive" offerings.
  • PeterCollier - Friday, July 17, 2020 - link

    So AMD catches up with Intel after Intel falls behind by 4 years with their 10nm process. Big __ deal.
  • Korguz - Friday, July 17, 2020 - link

    the bigger deal, intel STILL hasn't regained its lead during the same timeframe.
  • Spunjji - Friday, July 17, 2020 - link

    @Jorgp2 It's kind of funny that your argument is "It's okay for Ultrabooks to be slower than craptops". The comparison is not only valid, it's *damning*. There shouldn't be any reason why you can get that performance from a junk notebook but not in the #1 Ultrabook design.
  • Jorgp2 - Friday, July 17, 2020 - link

    Because you're comparing a $300 craptop to an Ultrabook.

    Of course the craptop is going to be cheaper.

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