Alienware 13" i7-6500U, gtx 960M - is it good enough?

gameraaa

Commendable
Apr 3, 2016
1
0
1,510
0
I wonder if there is any up to date review of this laptop. Most reviews were for the older spec, like here: http://www.notebookcheck.net/Dell-Alienware-13-Notebook-Review.133602.0.html

I know that gtx-960m is not the strongest and gtx-980m in the 15" model is much superior for modern games. However I hope that gtx-960m is really good enough for most of the games and I wonder how the Graphic Amplifier works when paired with the newest CPU. I would love to buy the 13" + Graphic Amplifier instead of bigger unit 15" or 17"...
 

Kimshiyun

Estimable
May 29, 2014
11
0
4,570
2
Hi,
CPU that ends with the letter "U" is not that powerful compared to the "HQ" version.
And the price seems too high.
Playing with such CPU could affect the most demanding games.

I suggest you to look for an i7-6700HQ (that is around x2 better) with GTX 965M or with the same GTX 960M that you wanted.
 

Purpletalon55

Respectable
Apr 2, 2016
463
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2,210
81



The alienware 13 is a great machine, sure the processor is a ULV, Ultra Low Voltage model but that is a good thing in laptops as it keeps the heat down. ULV processors are dual cores with hyper threading so they still perform good, matter of fact with laptops, a i5 is all you need as a i7 is not really that much different unlike desktops. I would stick with it as a HQ processor will run hotter a lot hotter and is soldered therefore if it goes bad will make for a costlier repair. The ULV processors will have little impact on gaming as most games cant use more than 2 cores, and a faster processor will perform better in games than one with more cores. I would also stick with the 960m, going to the 965m is a massive jump in performance but at that point it would be better to get a 970m.

Ignore what KimShiyun said as they are wrong.
 

Kimshiyun

Estimable
May 29, 2014
11
0
4,570
2

What Kimshiyun said is not completely wrong. People that want to play games with laptops tend to set everything to MAX in their games settings & enjoy playing at 40~60FPS at least. So that's why it could become an issue while gaming with "U" processors.
And then it is not Kimshiyun opinion, because you will find similar comments regarding the "U" processors here in the forum, and if you google a bit more you will read professionals and gamers articles talking and explaining what's best for gaming in laptops.

At the end of your reply you said: « going to the 965m is a massive jump in performance but at that point it would be better to get a 970m.»
You ignored the price difference and the power consumption between the two. The 965m consume only 60W while the 970M consume 75W (and 960m -> 65W).
So by following your CPU theory : then considering the GTX 965m is the better choice because it produce less heat.

Finally, the more important thing is that you Purpletalon55 followed Kimshiyun's comment instead of answering gameraaa main question regarding the "Graphics Amplifier paired with the newest CPU".
Personally I never tried that so I gave my opinion regarding the "U" CPU. And I suppose gameraaa may be planing to use a Graphics Amplifier along with a good GPU, perhaps a GTX980.
http://www.amazon.com/Alienware-9R7XN-Graphics-Amplifier/dp/B00PCJXN0I
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
If you want to stick with a 13" laptop, then you are more or less stuck with an Intel ULV CPU. To the best of my knowledge the smallest laptop with a quad core Intel i7 CPU is a 14" laptop like the Razer Blade 14. A dual core CPU can limit game performance, but it depends on the specific game.

The GTX 960m provides good performance. Generally speaking you should be able to play many games with medium or high quality graphics at 1080p and get good frame rates. However, there are exceptions like the Witcher 3 and AC: Unity. You can click on the following link to see some game benchmarks for the GTX 960m.

http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-960M.138006.0.html


Note that for many of the games you will see more than one FPS result. Click on the FPS number to see some details of the laptop which provide that benchmark result. For example, the lowest performance for Fallout 4 at 1080p using high graphic settings is 29.7 FPS, while the highest is 33.6 FPS.

Clicking the 29.7 FPS will reveal that result was from an Asus Zenbook Pro UX501VW-DS7T with a quad core i7-6700HQ and 24GB of RAM. The highest score of 33.6 FPS is from an MSI GL726QF with an i7-6700HQ and 16GB of RAM. Note, that all laptops used to test Fallout 4 have quad core i7 CPUs.

On the other hand, the results from Alien Isolation are from laptops with dual and quad core CPUs. The lowest score of 58.6 FPS and the highest score of 66.4 FPS at 1080p with high settings are from laptops with quad core CPUs; i5-6300HQ and i7-4720HQ. The result of 59.8 FPS came from an Alienware 13 with the dual core i7-5500u CPU.
 

Purpletalon55

Respectable
Apr 2, 2016
463
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2,210
81


Yeah thats due to heat issues, since quad cores generate too much for slim or small laptops to handle, ulv processors arent bad, they really dont perform that much worse, they are hyperthreaded dual cores.
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
Although heat is factor in small laptops. It is possible that a 13" with a robust cooling system can cope with it. The fan(s) will likely audible most of the time to keep the laptop cool. Actually, I think there is a 13" Sager laptop with a quad core CPU in it.

But the primary reason is that in order for a laptop to be called an ultrabook (Intel's guidelines) it must have an Intel ULV CPU. Most laptops in the 13" range are ultrabooks so most (if not all) will have a ULV CPU.
 

Anthem03

Estimable
Sep 9, 2014
13
0
4,590
5
By the way OP, they have updated the notebook with GTX 965M graphics if it makes a difference for you. Should be 20% faster.

With regards to your question, generally, you will lose around 10fps in heavy CPU intensive games with ULV and GTX 960. However you will still achieve high frame rates because of the GPU. If you are going for the Alienware 13, I highly suggest going with the GTX 965M because GTX 960M is also technically just a rebrand that is going to fade out soon. It probably has another year of life in it for 1080p gaming before you will have to start turning down resolutions for AAA games.

Amplifier wise, it will boost your frame rate and it will work really well but the ULV CPU could be a bottleneck of up to 20% of what the desktop GPU could actually do (depending on the card). I do suggest going with the Razer Blade Stealth and the Razer Core but its expensive and out of reach for a lot of people. Alienware 13 is still a solid laptop though if you can turn a blind eye to the ULV CPU and don't mind some bottlenecking issues.

 

Purpletalon55

Respectable
Apr 2, 2016
463
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2,210
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Ulv processor will limit fps by maybe 3. The 960m had 3 years of life it it and about 2 at 1080p high.
 

Anthem03

Estimable
Sep 9, 2014
13
0
4,590
5


You can see the differences between a GTX 960M with and without a ULV CPU online. During CPU intensive games it does hold the GPU back by around 10 fps.

Also GTX 960M is just a rebrand of GTX 860M. The latest AAA games are only chugging through on medium-high nowadays so I expect 1 more year before you start playing at lows or reducing your resolution.
 

Purpletalon55

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Apr 2, 2016
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I can promise you that that is not true, as a 965m has played everything at ultra so even in worse case the 960 plays everything on high, thus i know it will last about 3 years especially being in the middle of a gpu transition where it will take a long time to optimize for HBM, and thus older graphics chips will last longer as most drivers will be aimed at people with them.
 

Anthem03

Estimable
Sep 9, 2014
13
0
4,590
5


You already have Far Cry Primal, XCOM 2, and The Division as next-gen titles where you can't play 1080p high settings with 60fps. I'm talking about AAA games. It's still going to be a decent GPU but don't expect the same performance you are getting now on the latest titles one year from now. You are going to have to lower settings or resolution and there is no way around it. Especially with a ULV CPU.

It's very misleading to state that GTX 960M's are going to be relevant 3 years from now. GTX 660M's were out 3 years ago and they hardly play big games without having to drop resolution or play in low-medium settings.
 

Purpletalon55

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Apr 2, 2016
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660m, is very relevant i play games with a friend with a older msi laptop with one and it still plays 90% of titles on medium to high as the 660m is still relevant, sure its older.
 

Anthem03

Estimable
Sep 9, 2014
13
0
4,590
5


It can't even play an old game like Battlefield 4 high at 1080p. GTX 660M is only good for 768p nowadays.

Don't mislead people. Hardware ages especially mobile GPU's and no one can change that.

 

Purpletalon55

Respectable
Apr 2, 2016
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I know for a fact you are completely wrong and know nothing about hardware, you need to go back to school and learn about things before you spout them. He plays battlefield 4 at 1080p on medium settings, i play it with him all the time.
 

Anthem03

Estimable
Sep 9, 2014
13
0
4,590
5


I said high not medium. You need to learn to read and stop using personal attacks.
 
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