- Build quality, Case and design and looks
- Keyboard and Trackpad
- Sound and Speakers
- General subjective performance experience
- Gaming Performance
- Test methods and drivers
- Synthetic 3D benchmarks
- Summarized gaming performance
- Crysis 3
- Bioshock Infinite
- Civilization : Beyond Earth
- Total War : Attila
- Metro : Last Light
- Battlefield 4 Campaign
- Alien : Isolation
- World of Warships
- World of Tanks
- Elite : Dangerous
- Shadow Of Mordor
- Dragon Age : Inquisition
- Ashes Of Singularity
- Anno 2205
- Thermals, Throttling & Noise handling
- Screen / Screen quality
- Overlocking GTX 970M 3GB GDDR5
- Competing gaming laptops / alternatives
++ Main reason to consider:
Best performance/price ratio under $800 with no big disadavantages
-- Main reason to avoid:
Lacking feature set (mDP, Thunderbolt, speakers) and not-as-good-as-other IPS display
+ Powerful but less power hungry Skylake I5-6300HQ
+ GTX 960M 4GB version, not 2GB. Useful in some games/applications (Adobe Photoshop/Premiere/After Effects)
+ Thermals are very good with no throttling effectively, while gaming or Furmark+Prime95
+ 1080p IPS display isn't great, but still good with good contrast and viewing angles. No-PWM or very high frequency, which is very good
+ Very quiet under light load and not too noisy anyway
+ Solid, simple and stylish enough looks (to my eyes)
+ Chassis is firm, including the bottom and keyboard surface
+ M.2 + 2.5" storage options
+ Very good battery performance for low/normal loads, of up to 10 hours for very low loads (like reading on "power saver" mode)
+ 256GB SSD version for the same price, for those who want it and not the 1TB SSHD version
+ The Wifi 802.11ac card
- Speakers are not that bad, but the overall final experience is definitely mediocre for me, unless there is some software issues I'm not aware of. The 2.1 system lack in clarity, bass, and accuracy, except mids and maybe low-mids. Also, not that powerful
- Only 3xUSB 3.0 ports, no USB 3.1 or Thunderbolt 3, no mDP. Not a huge deal, thanks the lower price and no real eGPU options currently
- Display outer lid will yield under pressure - make sure there is some protection if you are the rough/tough traveling kind of person
- 1080p IPS display quality is not low, but not as good as you'd expect from an IPS - colors are somewhat missing and inaccurate, viewing angles are good, but could be better. *However*, seems like buying directly from Dell will get you the better display (maybe even from Amazon now)
- M.2 connection is Sata 3, not PCIe
- DDR3L and not DDR4 - currently not a real disadvantage for gamers
- Reviews of an I7 version show higher temps around the mid-left parts of the keyboards
So, what Dell’s cooked for us with the new Insiron 15 7559/i7559? The starting price, including discounts (which were there from the start) is around $780-$800 before taxes (and before reward points from Dell). For that price the 7559 includes an shiny I5-6300HQ 4C/4T, 1x8GB DDR3L RAM, GTX 960M 4GB, 1080p IPS non-touch matte display and 1TB SSHD or 256GB SSD. I got the SSD version simply because it was easier for me to get it.
The 7559 is an interesting proposition because for this price, the specs are at least as good as the competitors for gaming performance. The Skylake I5, as far as we know, is as powerful for gaming as an I7 – including DX12 big name Ashes of Singularity – but requires less power and produces less heat, so this is a good CPU and no reason to go for an I7 for gaming at this point and with such a GPU. Add to that the IPS display, GTX 960M 4GB, supposedly good cooling system that throws air from three sides and you got yourself a good gaming laptop, barely matched by the others. The new VN7-592G and Lenovo Y700 currently go for at least $150-$200 more and deliver the same gaming performance, at most.
What, then, should we actually ‘worry’ about? Well, no USB 3.1 / TB3 and maybe screen, keyboard and speakers quality. The 7559 also uses a DDR3L instead of the newer DDR4, but it probably won’t have effect on gaming too much unless they are RAM bound – a place a game developer shouldn’t get to in the first place on a reasonable hardware, barring iGPUs. Ofcourse, a DDR4 will be great for APU based systems in the future, but that’s not our case. Benchmarks supports the above words. Read more here and here and google it.
So, the Dell Inspiron 15 7559 makes for a good competitor and lets see how it actually fares in this review!
|Model||Dell Inspiron 15 7559|
|Price||As tested, $800|
|CPU||Intel Skylake I5-6300HQ, 4C/4T, 2.3-3.2GHZ, 6MB cache|
|GPU||Nvidia Geforce GTX 960M 4GB GDDR5, GM107 (Maxwell I), 640 shaders, core@1097MHZ, GDDR5@1252MHZ, 128-bit bus|
|Motherboard / Chipset||DELL 0H87XC / Intel HM170 (Skylake PCH-H)
4xPCI Express x1, 1xPCI Express x8, 1xPCI Express x16
|RAM||Hynix 1x8GB DDR3@1600MHZ HMT41GS6BFR8A-PB|
|Storage||HDD : None
SSD: SanDisk Z400s M.2 2280 256GB
M.2 : total 1xSata 3.0
|LCD Panel||In review: 1080p IPS : BOE [Unknown Model: BOE062F], NV15N41 [DELL P/N: YHDGT]
|Weight / Dimensions||2.57kg (~5.67 Lbs.)
383 x 265 x 25.3 mm
15.08" x 10.43" x 0.996"
(w x d x h)
|Keyboard||White backlit (3 levels including off)|
|Connection Ports||right side: card reader, 1xHDMI, 1xUSB 3.0 powered, RJ-45, 1xLexington key
Left: audio out/microphone, 2xUSB3.0, power
|WiFi / Ethernet||WiFi: Intel(R) Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165
Ethernet: RealTek Semiconductor RTL8168/8111 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC
|Speakers / Audio||2.1 speakers
Intel Skylake PCH-H - High Definition Audio Controller. Realtek?
|Bios / EC version (test unit)||1.0.3 /|
The Dell 7559 chassis is reasonably firm and at least on par with the competition. The keyboard’s surface won’t easily yield under pressture, nor the other parts around the keyboard surface. Same goes to thr chassis’ bottom. The display panel outer lid and bezel are not as firm and will yield under pressure – I would make sure there is some protection if I were carrying it in a beg, for example (unlike my Dell Latitude E7440). Hinges feel good, but I can’t really know how well they are built.
The chassis itself is not composed of a lot of dust-inviting gaps. The touchpad surface has a very small space between it and the chassis – less than many other laptops I’ve used.
so, bottom line, the 7559 feels very firm, but the screen’s panel protection plastic should have been better. Also, the weight is distributed well for use on the laps and the 7559 won’t easily slip.
The Dell Inspiron 15 7559 looks actually quite simple but nice. Black smooth chassis with textured surface area. A bit of red for the speakers grill and ventilation holes. Smooth outer lid. The frame doesn’t look too big thanks to the shape of the edges, as is common in our age. Simple and nice.
I don’t know what is the problem with the images and why they look so bad, but I’m getting better (and maybe getting a better camera).
Maintenance and inner parts
Maintenance complexity is easy if you want to just to add/change RAM, M.2/2.5″ SSD. There is only one screw that prevents one from reaching the juicy inners of the 7559. The Wifi card is also revealed and so are the fans, if needed to be cleaned.
I didn’t take too deep pictures of the inner parts nor did I disassembled the 7559, because the full 7559 service manual is already available from Dell which is great. Let’s look at the cooling system now:
The cooling system is composed of two fans and three ventilation holes. The GPU and CPU share three heatpipes, two of them are connected to two cooling plates and one heatpipe to the another, side plate. Cool air is sucked from below and spitted out to the rear and left (your left when facing the screen), which makes for a more efficient cooling then in many other laptops for the same price. The temperatures results are in coordination with it.
Connection ports selection rather basic with HDMI 1.4, 3xUSB 3.0 as well as the usual stuff like RJ-45 LAN connection. So, no highlights here. No Thunderbolt 3 nor even a USB 3.1.
Keyboard. Well, the 7559 keyboard reminds me the first Y50’s keyboard – the keys travel depth, feedback and resistance are something around mediocre-average with some variation between the keys. Dell could improve each one of these parameters to make the keyboard a lot better, but the combination of all these makes a not-very-good experience. The keys located more to the left were better in these aspects, however. I wonder how good is the Y700 and VN7-592G keyboards.
UPDATE: Maybe I was too hard on the 7559 keyboard and I should clarify. It’s not a bad keyboard, but it lacks the feeling of a high quality keyboard. The keys do have acceptable feedback, but with the low resistance, travel depth and the additional experience variation between the keys, my bottom line experience is mediocre. It might be different for others, but I’m pretty sure it’s not a good keyboard.
Keys’ texture is nice actually and they are well spaced. The keyboard is also backlit, which is helpful (but not unique). Moreover, the keyboard’s surface does not yield under pressure really, which is good. A small effort and the keyboard be good :\
Touchpad. The rather big touchpad is good with a nice texture and no yield under pressure.
A little disappointment. The 2.0 speakers sound is a little hollow and/or ‘boxy’ with audio all over the place. The speakers also obviously need an equalizer tuning, but it is not enough. There is some strength and richness in the mids and maybe low-mids (in songs like this the singer’s voice sounds rich to some degree), if I hear (and interpret) correctly. The subwoofer adds a little lows, but they are not of quality and it also scrambles the sound of the 2.0 speakers, I feel.
I feel that the 2.0 speakers are much better than the added “0.1” subwoofer. When listening closer to the 2.0 speakers, the music sound a lot better and unlike my previous assessment, the richer sound comes from them. Even though, the 2.0 speakers have a weakness I can’t exactly put my ears on. First, when volume goes a little up, there is some unwanted extra artifact sound like the power is too much, but more than that, I really feel that the sound gets messy and sometimes “all over the place” (I know I said it), at least in the highs and high-mids and especially when the audio gets a little more powerful, and that’s without all the software “enhancers”. Also, it sounds to me like the speakers have some problem handling a complex sound – they lose their grip and destroy the sound. Anyway, the real lows are not good.
Adding bass via the Equalizer or the “Maxx” audio software might help a bit, but barely not enough to save the situation and it always feels like it’s hard to keep the balance. I’ve tried few equalizer presets to no avail. I don’t know if my subjective experience matches objective measurements, but I’m pretty sure the speakers are not good and the music shouldn’t sound like that. Try the Equalizer presets (The “Youtube Music” was good to me) and other options, maybe you’ll find what it is you are seeking for.
I’d turn off the subwoofer, if I were me.
Playing with the equalizer, it also seemed to me like it is hard to catch all the audio angles at once.
Request: Please let me know if your experience is different. I’m not sure if I did something wrong.
UPDATE: I wondered if there is any relation to the Intel drivers issues, but I realized the problems had relation to the HWInfo trying to read Dell’s custom sensors.
This Dell Inspiron 15 7559 version comes with the Sandisk Z400 256GB SSD drive which makes it relatively snappy. I’ve added PCMark 8 Storage benchmark, but generally it performed well in the everyday tasks I fired at it. I’ll add some benchmarks later.
There were problems with some software running on the HD530, like LibreOffice 5.3 going blank (see picture) – but that’s common in other laptops too (like the E7450 my sister has).
Added CPU-Z and GPU-Z screenshots.
The I5-6300HQ is locked for manipulation via Intel’s XTU.
3DMark performance – link to source:
Octane V2 benchmarks (Chrome)
Sandisk Z400 SSD AS-SSD and ATTO
The new iteration of Total War : Rome II, Attila is a much more demanding game and FPSs are much lower.
Metro : Last Light is a very demanding game with AO and tessellation taking a lot of the GPU juice. It might be a matter of optimization too.
The new title from the series of “World of [some gun]” herladed by the popular World of Tanks.
The benchmark consisted on a traveling inside and out the Cleve Hub space port which is a taxing graphical environment compared to this game.
The new Dota2. The characteristics of CPU and GPU usage are strange. Both are underutilized, so something is bottlenecking. But moreover, it doesn’t seem right that the CPU is so stressed in this game, especially since in many points in the game there isn’t a lot of action/effects. I suspect that the new Dota 2 engine is already being readies to Vulkan API and we are seeing here, actually, the different way things are working with Vulkan. We’ll see how my bet pan out.
The new Ashes of Singularity benchmark. I’m adding this although the game is in pre-beta stage and performance varies between updates (numbers changed even when I run a small update)
Anyway, currently DX12 code path in AoS has no advantage in terms of FPS with Nvidia card. We already know this is not the case with AMD GCN GPUs, though – read. It seems that the game is probably GPU-bound and not CPU-bound too, otherwise we would see probably differences with DX12, even slight, but there are other viable reasons too.
Games’ version: 0.62.14002
Some strange behavior again, the CPU is downclocking considerably. It can be fixed with Throttestop (currently using 8.00 beta4) – simply set the multiplier to above the base clocks and hit “turn on” – the result will be maximal clocks.
It is the same in Ashes of Singularity.
About the numbers. The tests show higher results then notebookcheck GTX 960M tests, but it might be a result of some kind of throttling in this particular case/test. Moreover, the computerbase.de tests GTX 750 Ti results for Anno 2205 with Ultra High preset but with “very High” shader and AAx2 instead of AAx8 are lower then my GTX 960M results by quite a bit (see) – and remember we are talking a desktop CPU which is far less limited.
Added CPU usage levels. You can see that the CPU handles the situation well even with Ultra High settings.
As described before, the GPU and CPU both have three connected cooling systems and heatpipes. Cool air sucked from the bottom of the machine (hence, it’s important to keep its bottom above the sitting surface) and is thrown from the rear and side ventilation holes.
1. Idle, power saver mode
2. Gaming : Crysis 3 gameplay. “very high” settings with SMAAx2 For Crysis 3, “High performance” power mode.
3. Prime95 torture test. “High performance” power mode.
4. Prime95 + Furmark on 1366×768 test, AAx2. “High performance” power mode.
You can see that thermals are very good even with Prime95 + Furmark. The new Skylake I5 is really a smash. I’m saying it in light of the noise levels an fan speed while running these applications.
Even under full load, the heat could barely be felt from the chassis or at least I didn’t feel anything too much. Generally, the cooling system is doing a very good job here. The keyboard warms a little but not much.
UPDATE (thanks Cedric!) : According to notebookcheck test, the keyboard does get hotter around the area between middle-right of the keyboard. They do use an I7 version, and also have an HDD inside, which adds a little more.
Throttling is not a problem with the Dell Inspiron 7559 I5 version. Even Prime95 torture test + Furmark couldn’t make it throttle a bit and the GPU was running at full speed.
The GPU has two exhaustion holes with two sets of cooling fins, as mentioned before. This seems an efficient cooling for the GPU.
However, there was a phenomenon in some games in which the CPU would downclock heavily with no visible temperature o TDP problems. I’ve seen it before in the MSI GT72 and other laptops and have no clue why it is so, but using ThrottleStop 8.00 and setting the multiplier to some level above the base level, solves it and the clocks remain on the maximal level. Recorded Ashes of Singularity levels:
Under Prime95 + Furmark, the fan speed was moderate-high, but not the highest. I guess that it would go to the highest speed possible in the I7 version case.
Crysis 3 resulting in lower temps and only moderate and even low-moderate fan speed/noise subjectively. That’s in a quiet night.
Working/idling results in a very low operation noise and essentially close to silent under library level operation, let’s say.
The Dell Inspiron 15 7559 comes with a non-touch non-glare 1080p IPS display. The model is unknown to me, but HWInfo provided this information : BOE [Unknown Model: BOE062F], NV15N41 [DELL P/N: YHDGT]. That’s a BOE panel I haven’t seen before and here is the specifications page on panelook – according to the specifications, it is a 45% NTSC display and indeed, this is what we get.
Some 7559 users report that they have recieved a different panel model or Dell have replaced their panel to the 156WF6 (not sure what is the exact model), which could be better in terms of colors. Trying to figure out if it has any relation to where you are getting the laptop from, I’ll update.
UPDATE: Seems like more than enough people who have recently ordered directly from Dell have received the more favorable display, so consider getting the laptop from Dell (with the usual coupons and stuff, it should cost around the same)
Both subjectively and by measurements, the colors are lacking. I compared it to my Dell Latitude E7440 (LG LP140WF1-SPU1, I think) and the colors are obviously not there. There is also small but noticeable color distortion, mostly vertical, but it’s not too bad and also apparent in other models/laptops and I wouldn’t consider it a threat to the eyes too much. Also, contrast remains high both vertically and horizontally. Maximal brightness is more than sufficient for office use, but may lack in more well sunny lit environments.
Also, I’m not sure about this, but I think it might be lacking in clarity – maybe related to the pixel configuration or panel’s technology. Not sure if I’m right, though.
Bottom line, this is a good display, but not in IPS level terms, but still – people should be satisfied with it for most uses.
The numbers for the 7559 are very high for low work loads like reading/writing and are good even for 1080p youtube movies with around 6 hours of watch with “power saver” mode. I know the numbers look odd, but check Amazon’s user reviews
Used MSI Afterburner to overclock the GTX 960M:
- +135MHZ for the GPU core
I only tested the stability with the overclocked core. The core remained at around 1337MHZ in Anno 2205 on Ultra High preset with AAx2. It will boost performance in some cases, but the GTX 960M is limited, even with core and memory overclocking.
- Intel iGPU driver + LibreOffice 5.3 issue – Office will go blank for a moment when typing. That’s a documented problem and I had no other issues with the iGPU. Saw this problem with other laptops too.
- Acer VN7-592G 15.6″ : I7-6700HQ/I5-6300HQ, 8GB DDR4, 1TB SSHD, 1080p IPS, GTX 960M. If it’s as good as the vn7-591G, then the keyboard should be better then the 7559’s keyboard, but thermals worse. The big advantage is probably the Thunderbolt 3 port which gives it an edge over the rest of the competition and I would consider the VN7-592G the main competitor with current prices, thanks to the TB3, but that’s probably not a huge deal, because you can get a laptop like the 7559 now and resell it for $150 less, to get one of the newer laptops with TB3 or Oculink a year, year and half into what is called “the future” – this will be around the difference in price between the two.
- Lenovo Y700 15.6″ – I5/I7 Skylake, 8-16GB DDR4, 1TB SSHD/SSD, 1080p IPS, GTX 960M. Currently overpriced. Connection ports are lacking, but they added an M.2 slot over the Y50.
- Clevo new 15.6″ mmidrange proposition like this. Overpriced to my taste
- For $750, the Toshiba S55 with a Skylake I7, GTX 950M DDR3, 8GB RAM, 1080p display (IPS?)
You can get really a lot better then the GTX 960M + I5/I7, usually. I guess the Alienware 15 R2 will be available for like $800-$900 refurbished soon, from Dell. It remains to be seen how good are the competitors in terms of feature set and thermals. I guess quite a few people will prefer a VN7-592G or Y700 given they have as good thermals, but better keyboard and speakers. The Lenovo Y50 had mediocre keyboard, so let’s wait and see how this unfolds.
If you want more performance then this, I’d consider go with a GTX 970M or, maybe better, get some laptop with a Thunderbolt 3 connection port in order to have an eGPU in the future, but this future is not clear currently.
So, what do we make of the Dell Inspiron 15 7559? It is currently has the highest gaming performance/price ratio under $900-$1000, also thanks to Skylake I5. The Skylake I5 is a powerful yet less power hungry and throttling prone than the I7 and unlike previous I5 mobile CPUs, it has 4 cores, not 2, which makes it a lot more powerful for 3D and gaming too. The GTX 960M 4GB has a 2GB advantage over some of the other laptops from previous generations, at least for photo/video editing and in some specific games (just maybe). The thermals are very good with no visible throttling or temperature/TDP issues with the GTX 960M core running at 1080-1200MHZ in all cases and there is a GPU overclocking room too. It is also not too noisy under high load and pretty quiet under low load/idling.
The M.2 + 2.5″ Sata connection ports are good enough and though the M.2 Sata SSDs will be slower than the newer NVMe/PCIe M.2 drives, it should be more than fast enough for the usual usage case and suffice for the coming years. 802.11ac WiFi card is included.
Battery performance is very good for low/normal loads like reading or working with Wifi on and browsing the web. 1080p@30FPS Youtube videos will play for 5-6 hours easily and 1080p@60FPS could run ~3.5-4 hours, according to my tests and even more than that with an external monitor.
But, the 7559 has some drawbacks. The mediocre keyboard (reminds me the same experience from the first Y50), the low quality speakers (or I’m really doing something wrong, but it shouldn’t be that hard), no USB 3.1 (useful) nor Thunderbolt 3 (but not a big issue). The M.2 connection is a Sata 3.0 port, not PCIe which shouldn’t really be a problem for most as Sata 3.0 SSDs are really fast for the usual user, but it might be a problem for some. The DDR3L is more than sufficient for gaming currently and probably in the near future too, so that’s not a big issue, but it might be useful for other uses for some.
The keyboard issue is the most annoying in my opinion. It remains to be seen how is the competition doing, but the previous generation VN7-591G had a better keyboard (the Y50 didn’t).
So, bottom line, this is probably my recommended system for gamers for around $800 currently, but you might find yourself not liking the keyboar and/or looking for external speakers, so I’d also suggest waiting for some VN7-592G review (update: here) and then a some discount, because for around $100 more, it might be worth it just for the keyboard, speakers and Thunderbolt3.
UPDATE: VN7-592G review is here and the conclusion is that it has better display overall, better speakers, better keyboard (all noticeable) and better feature set (M.2 PCIe, Thunderbolt 3 USB-C), but the 7559 is considerably cheaper at $760 (and same gaming performance), has much better thermals and lower noise, much better battery performance and more appealing default storage device (SSHD/SSD vs 5400RPM HDD in the VN7-592G). So, it is really a matter of thinking what you prefer. For some, the keyboard is a no-issue, speakers are not that important (like, for me) and display is also not an issue because they use an external monitor or because it can be replaced.
UPDATE 2: Seems like buying directly from Dell will get you the more favorable display (very similar or identical to the VN7’s) – at least sometimes – and it might just be that Amazon also sells now that version, at least with the 1TB SSHD model.
Weigh the advantages and disadvantages and make a choice.