Benchmarks And Conclusion
For this first look, we ran synthetic and gaming benchmarks using PCMark 8, 3DMark Fire Strike, GFXBench and Unigine Valley, as well as Bioshock Infinite and Metro: Last Light Redux. I kept the system plugged into the wall for each test except GFXBench's battery benchmark, which naturally required me to unplug the power cable.
I'm making some comparisons to a couple of other gaming laptops in the lab. This isn't to imply that they all address the same target market, but rather they're what we have on-hand, yielding performance baselines.
Synthetic Benchmark - PCMark 8
Compared to our tests of the Lenovo Y700-15-Touch and Acer Predator 15, Dell's Inspiron 15 7559 appears significantly slower (Lenovo achieved a score of 3608 and the Acer pushed as high as 3802). Both systems benefit from faster CPUs, storage devices and more RAM. Of course, they also cost more. So it's not surprising that they outrun Dell's model.
Synthetic Benchmark - 3DMark Fire Strike
The Dell's results in 3DMark Fire Strike were also considerably lower. Lenovo and Dell utilize the same GeForce GTX 960M module with 640 CUDA cores attached to 4GB of GDDR5 over a 128-bit bus. But the Y700-15-Touch scored 4118, nearly doubling the Inspiron 15's outcome. This indicates that the CPU is likely a significant bottleneck. Acer's Predator 15 and its powerful GeForce GTX 980M blew both systems out of the water.
Syntehtic Benchmark - GFXBench
GFXBench's built-in battery test estimated that Dell's power source would last short of four hours while running the light gaming workload. The Dell demonstrates notably better battery life than Lenovo, but Acer's Predator 15 more than doubles its results.
What's interesting is that Acer's performance during the test also drops below the other systems, even though it uses faster hardware. It's probable that the Predator is throttling, but we're not sure why.
Synthetic Benchmark - Unigine Valley
The results I generated in Unigine Valley were strange. I tested at 1080p using Ultra, High and Medium presets. However, the Medium setting yielded the lowest average frame rate. Dell's Inspiron was plugged into the wall, sitting on a flat surface and the benchmark was executed immediately after firing up the program.
Surprised by the outcome, I ran the tests again with a momentary pause to change the preset between runs. The results didn't change, though. It appears that something else is bottlenecking performance (the CPU?).
Gaming Benchmark - Bioshock Infinite
Bioshock Infinite ran well on this laptop, achieving playable frame rates even with maxed-out settings. The minimum frame rate was rather low though, which is another sign that the CPU could be getting in the GPU's way.
Gaming Benchmark - Metro: Last Light Redux
Metro: Last Light Redux also produced strange results. Using the built-in benchmark, I set up three test profiles that were the same, but with different quality and tessellation settings. Each profile was configured to run the test three times and then average the results. The profiles were then queued in the program, and run consecutively while the system was charging on a flat surface.
Although the Medium preset scored the highest frame rate, it was only marginally smoother than the Very High preset. Oddly, the High settings resulted in the lowest performance, even though it's less taxing than Very High.
Overall, the Dell Inspiron 15 7559 performed well in all of the tests except Unigine Valley. Its hardware is more than capable of playing modern games at 1080p using demanding detail settings. Its low price, performance and battery life make it an excellent system for mobile gaming. Easy access to the platform's internals is a treat for PC enthusiasts who want to upgrade their hardware and clean out dusty fans.