Lots has been happening in the laptop space lately. We’ve gotten updates for practically every MacBook, including a brand-new 16” Pro model, and plenty of improvements from all kinds of manufacturers, such as the super solid Dell XPS 17.
To help find the better laptop for video editing, we have Tom from The Tech Chap performing a series of tests that should put things into perspective for those of you who are currently in the market for a new video editing mobile workstation.
Let’s start with the specs! The MacBook Pro here has a 2.4GHz Intel Core i9 8-core processor, 16GB RAM, and the AMD Radeon Pro 5600M GPU with 8GB HBM2 memory. It also costs $3,500.
The Dell XPS 17 has 2.3GHz Intel Core i7 8-core processor, 16GB RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q with 6GB GDDR6 memory. That came out to a total of $2,850. There is also the stellar XPS 15, but the extra screen real estate of the 17 is nicer and comes matches up closer to the 16” MacBook Pro.
Speaking of the extra size of the screen, the Dell XPS weighs in a bit heavier than the 4.3 lb MacBook. The XPS 17 with 56 Wh batttery is 4.65 lb and while the 97 Wh battery is a massive 5.5 lb.
Considering the MacBook squeezed in a 99 Wh battery and still weighs less this is a consideration if you intend to move around with the laptop. Just to sit on a desk you might not mind the weight.
Both do offer their brand’s excellent build quality. The computers actually look very similar. They even both have fingerprint sensors, though only the Dell has face unlock.
Port selection is almost the same, with both sporting four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack. I think the Dell wins with a built-in SD card reader, something I sorely miss having on a MacBook.
For video editing, a key spec will be the display. Apple has been pushing towards DCI-P3, and it excels here with 98% coverage of the space versus 92% from the XPS 17. The Dell targets Adobe RGB, where it hits 99% against the MacBook’s 88%.
There are a few other differences, though noticeably the XPS 17 is a true 4K display and a touchscreen. It also has DisplayHDR 500 and Dolby Vision HDR, which can be very helpful while Apple has not yet enabled true HDR support. The MacBook is still solid, just doesn’t have those added features.
Onto benchmarks! The Dell has a more powerful setup, starring the latest 10th-generation processors. The MacBook Pro sticks with a 9th-generation chip. For graphics the XPS has a very nice RTX 2060, but the MacBook is able to offer the latest Radeon 5600M with HBM2 memory.
In Cinebench R20, the XPS 17 is about 5% faster. In Geekbench 5, single-core performance is similar, but the Dell takes the lead in multi-core by about 17.5%. This could impact your editing speeds.
Graphics performance is something else. The RTX 2060 excels in the tests, delivering performance in OpenCL about 80% better than the Radeon in the MacBook. Interestingly, the MacBook won in the UNIGINE Valley test, with 72 fps against 62 fps. And then in Novabench the Dell took a 42% lead.
Testing specific to video editing relies on a standard 10-minute 4K export from Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve. For Premiere, the XPS 17 was more than twice as fast. DaVinci showed a much closer fight though the XPS 17 did squeak out a win.
Finally, a critical spec for people who actually want to use their laptop on the go is battery life. The MacBook is the clear winner. A larger battery combined with a lower resolution screen means it’ll last much longer in real-world use. It’s about 8.5 hours versus 6 hours.
If you simply need the speed the Dell XPS 17 is a clear winner, especially if Premiere is your go-to NLE. Also, both have varying prices depending on your exact configuration, but Apple seems to be a bit more expensive. If you have reasons to go Apple, then it is still a great option. If you just want pure power the Dell is a tempting offering.
[source: The Tech Chap]
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