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March 6, 2018

Dell’s latest Inspiron notebook packs in AMD’s Ryzen APU with Vega graphics

by John_A

Nvidia and AMD continue to duke it out in the GPU wars. While things are a bit theoretical in the desktop thanks to cryptocurrency miners buying up all available inventory, the impact is becoming very real in mobile computing. Nvidia has had success with pushing its faster GPUs into thinner chassis, and AMD is making its own mark there as well. Now, Dell is quietly expanding its own line with one of AMD’s most recent mobile efforts.

Specifically, we’re talking about the mashup of AMD’s Ryzen CPU and its Radeon Vega graphics chips. AMD has four such chips available, ranging in power from the lower-end Ryzen 3 2200U and 2300U quad-core and single-threaded options, up to the highest-end Ryzen 5 2500U and Ryzen 7 2700U versions with four cores and eight threads. Dell’s first offering using these chips is its Inspiron 17 5000, which offer a choice between the Ryzen 3 2200U and the Ryzen 5 2500U.

So, what does that mean in terms of actual performance? When equipped in one of the first machines to ship with the Ryzen 5 2500U, the HP Envy x360 15, the AMD chip provides slightly less CPU performance than the Intel eighth-generation Core i5-8250U processor in Geekbench 4 and Cinebench R15. In graphics performance, the Ryzen 5 2500U benefitted significantly from its Vega 8 GPU, significantly outperforming integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics and coming in below the Acer Swift 3 equipped with the discrete Nvidia MX150 GPU.

That means that the Dell Inspiron 17 will provide a good platform for entry-level gaming, able to run some older titles at 1080p as long as you turn down the graphics detail and to run less-demanding recent titles like eSports and the like. At the same time, the notebook should provide better performance in creative apps like image and video editing than you’ll get with machines that rely solely on Intel’s integrated GPU.

Pricing on the Inspiron 17 5000 starts at $680 for an AMD Ryzen 3 2200U with Radeon Vega3 graphics, 8GB of DDR4-2400MHz RAM, and a 1TB 5400 RPM SATA hard disk drive (HDD). That runs all the way up to $1,040 for an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U with Radeon Vega8 graphics, 16GB of DDR4-2400MHz RAM, and a 2TB 5400 RPM SATA HDD. You’ll also get a 17-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 or 130PPI) display, a tray-loading DVD reader/writer, and a slew of ports including two USB-A 3.1 ports, one USB-A 2.0 port, and a full-size HDMI connection.

You can order an Inspiron 17 5000 today and it should arrive around the middle of March 2018. If you’re looking for a notebook with solid processor performance and improved graphics performance, than Dell’s use of AMD’s latest round in the GPU wars offers up a solid option.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Intel’s Radeon-backed ‘Hades Canyon’ mini PC runs games at 1080p, Ultra graphics
  • Intel promises its new CPUs will match Nvidia’s potent GTX 1060, thanks to AMD
  • Lenovo’s updated ThinkPads include T480s with Nvidia MX150, affordable X-Series
  • Intel’s chip-packing Radeon graphics slips a brief tease just before CES 2018
  • Acer’s new laptops include a liquid-cooled 2-in-1, $250 fanless Chromebook

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