Dell Precision 5560 Review

Dell Precision 5560 Review

Dell Precision 5560

A new powerhouse among light laptop workstations
PROS
When compared to other mobile workstations, quite small and lightweight.
Elegant touch screen with a high resolution and 16:10 aspect ratio Sturdy aluminum and magnesium construction Thunderbolt 4 ports and an SD card slot included
Outstanding performance across multiple threads for such a compact workstation
CONS
Expensive and lacking in port space (USB-A and HDMI dongle included)
No option for an OLED screen

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

DELL PRECISION 5560 SPECS

Laptop ClassDesktop Replacement, Workstation
ProcessorIntel Core i7-11850H
Processor Speed2.5 GHz
RAM (as Tested)32 GB
Boot Drive TypeSSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested)2 TB
Screen Size15.6 inches
Native Display Resolution3840 by 2400
Touch ScreenYes
Panel TechnologyIPS
Variable Refresh SupportNone
Screen Refresh Rate60 Hz
Graphics ProcessorNvidia RTX A2000
Graphics Memory4 GB
Wireless NetworkingBluetooth, 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6)
Dimensions (HWD)0.73 by 13.6 by 9.1 inches
Weight4.3 lbs
Operating SystemWindows 10 Pro
Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes)9:55

You need the Precision 7560 if you want to chew through big datasets or tackle enormous CGI rendering assignments with the best 15.6-inch mobile workstation that Dell has to offer. But what if you’d prefer something that weighs less than that 5.42-pound behemoth and is a tiny bit easier to transport? The beautiful XPS 15 (9510) chassis is the foundation for Dell’s Precision 5560, which has a starting price of $1,839 and a final price of $4,195 after being tested. The Precision 5560 weighs only 4.3 pounds. However, in comparison to its competitor, the HP ZBook Firefly 15 G8, it has more processing cores and quicker graphics. Although it cannot match the peak capability of the 7560 (for example, its maximum RAM capacity is only 64 gigabytes instead of 128 gigabytes), In the category of portable lightweight workstations, our Editors’ Choice award now goes to the slimmer Precision rather than the Firefly.

Approximately One and a Half Steps Further Up the Ladder

The Precision 5560, just like any other genuine workstation, has received certification from independent software vendors (ISV) for use with specialized applications. It is best suited for 2D or light 3D computer-aided design (CAD), rather than strenuous 3D rendering, virtual reality, or data science as the 7560 and its fellow flagships are, but it outperforms the ZBook Firefly 15 by offering an eight-core versus quad-core processor and an Nvidia RTX A2000 professional GPU that is three steps above the Nvidia T500 in the HP. Both of these features put it ahead of the ZBook Firefly 15.

Because of its potency, there will, of course, be a cost. The lowest model of the Dell 5560 costs $1,839, but it only has an Intel Core i5 CPU and mediocre integrated graphics (we won’t even use the term “workstation” to describe a PC that doesn’t have a discrete GPU). An eight-core, 2.5GHz (4.8GHz turbo) Core i7-11850H processor, the 4GB RTX A2000, 32GB of memory, a 2TB PCI Express Gen 4 solid-state drive, and the finest available display—an IPS touch screen with a slightly taller 16:10 aspect ratio rather than the familiar 16:9 aspect ratio and 3,840-by-2,400-pixel resolution—were all included in our test unit, which had a price tag of $4,195. The maximum resolution available for the Firefly is 1,920 by 1,080 pixels, while the normal resolution for the panel is 1,920 by 1,200 pixels.

Dell Precision 5560 Review

Despite the fact that I was unable to configure a Precision 5560 online with either an Intel Core i9-11950H or Xeon W-11955M processor at the time of this writing in the middle of November 2021, the product specifications sheet for the Precision 5560 from Dell state that these CPUs are available to purchase separately. Having two M.2 slots enables a storage capacity of up to 4 terabytes. When you hold the screen corners or press the keyboard deck, there is no bend in the display.

The 5560 is constructed out of an aluminum and magnesium alloy, and it has dimensions of 0.73 by 13.6 by 9.1 inches. This makes it marginally more compact than the HP ZBook Firefly 15 G8, although it is also slightly heavier (0.76 by 14.2 by 9.2 inches and 3.74 pounds). In order to provide a point of reference, the dimensions of the Precision 7560 are 1.08 inches tall, 14.2 inches wide, and 9.5 inches deep. With Windows Hello, you may bypass the need for passwords thanks to the inclusion of a face recognition webcam as well as a fingerprint reader incorporated into the power button.

The Precision 5560, much like its sister the XPS 15, has only three USB Type-C ports: one USB-C 3.2 port on the right side of the device, and two Thunderbolt 4 ports on the left side of the device. The power supply has a USB-C connector, and Dell includes a small USB-C dongle that has one USB Type-A port and one HDMI video output in addition to the adapter’s USB-C connector.

In addition, there is a slot for an SD card as well as an audio jack on the right side, and a slot for a security lock on the left side. Wireless connections are handled via Wi-Fi 6 (not 6E), as well as Bluetooth.

A Film That Is Worth Watching

The 5560 does not provide a choice for an OLED display as the XPS 15 does, but if you go with the touch screen that has a resolution of 3,840 by 2,400, you won’t even miss it: The high-resolution panel has great brightness and contrast (rated at 500 nits and 1,600:1 respectively), and it is enveloped in among of the tiniest bezels available (Dell cites a screen-to-body ratio of 92 percent).

Wide viewing angles are available, but there may be some reflections on the touch glass when viewed from extreme perspectives. The minute details are quite crisp. The colors really pop on white backdrops, and the hues have a stunning depth and richness to them. The only thing I have a problem with is that I wish the screen slanted back a little further than it does.

Side-slit speakers produce sound that is both loud and clean, with surprisingly powerful bass and no harshness or distortion even when the volume is turned up to its maximum level. It is not difficult to distinguish overlapping traces. A software called Dell Optimizer includes a toggle for fake 3D audio as well as options for conference calls that accommodate a quiet room, a noisy office, or numerous voices. The webcam has a resolution of 720p, which is standard, and there is no privacy shutter; however, it records photos that are reasonably well-lit, vivid, and devoid of noise and static.

Dell Precision 5560 Review

The backlit keyboard commits the HP faux pas of arranging the cursor arrow keys in a row, with half-sized up and down arrows stacked between left and right. Additionally, the Fn key must be used in conjunction with the arrow keys in order to access Page Up and Page Down, despite the fact that there are actual Home and End keys. Rather than having a quick typing sensation, it has more of a flat and shallow feel to it, but with a little bit of experience, you can keep up a good pace.

The touchpad is huge, has a smooth surface for gliding and tapping, and requires only a little bit of pressure for a quiet click; however, it does not have any buttons, not even the middle button that is utilized by many ISV applications. (Windows treats a tap with two fingers as a right click and a tap with three fingers as a center click by default; however, you can change this setting.) The laptop workstations offered by Dell do not have a keyboard pointing stick, in contrast to those offered by Lenovo and HP.

Test System Configurations

PROCESSORGRAPHICSRAMSTORAGE
Dell Precision 5560Intel Core i7-11850H (2.5GHz)Nvidia RTX A2000 (4GB)32GB RAM2TB SSD
Dell Precision 7560Intel Core i7-11850H (2.5GHz)Nvidia RTX A4000 (8GB)32GB RAM2TB SSD
HP ZBook Fury 15 G8Intel Core i9-11950H (2.6GHz)Nvidia RTX A5000 (16GB, Max-Q)32GB RAM1TB SSD
HP ZBook Power G8Intel Core i7-11850H (2.5GHz)Nvidia RTX A2000 (4GB)64GB RAM2TB SSD
Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2Intel Core i9-11950H (2.6GHz)Nvidia RTX A5000 (16GB, Max-Q)32GB RAM1TB SSD

The aforementioned Dell Optimizer software has the ability to fine-tune performance settings for individual applications, prioritize network bandwidth for videoconferences, and use the webcam as a proximity sensor to lock the workstation when you leave and awaken it when you return. All of these features can be found in the previous paragraph. Other additions to the Windows 10 Pro preload include Dell PremierColor, which allows you to choose vibrant, low-blue-light, SD or HD video, internet (sRGB), photo (Adobe RGB), or cinema (DCI-P3) color gamuts; and Dell Power Manager, which monitors battery health and allows you to choose cooling settings based on your tolerance for fan noise. During testing, I was offered the update to Windows 11. I used the Ultra Performance option for all of our benchmarks, with the exception of our battery test, which I performed using the Optimized mode.

Workstations of Differing Thicknesses Are Put to the Test Using the Precision 5560

I evaluated the Precision 5560 alongside four other mobile workstations with a screen size of 15.6 inches to compile our benchmark tables. Unfortunately, our new testing protocol hasn’t been finished on its lightweight competition, the HP ZBook Firefly. However, the HP ZBook Power G8, which is that company’s most affordable entry and is similarly equipped to the 5560, is its most direct competitor.

The other three, namely the Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2, the Dell Precision 7560, and the HP ZBook Fury 15 G8, are flagship versions that weigh more and cost more than the others. In the table that follows, you will find an outline of the quintet’s fundamental characteristics.

Examinations of Productivity

The primary benchmark that is used in UL’s PCMark 10 mimics a wide range of real-world productivity and content-creation processes. This benchmark is used to measure overall performance for office-centric operations such as word processing, spreadsheet editing, web surfing, and video conferencing. In addition, the Full System Drive test from PCMark 10 is carried out so that we may evaluate the load time and throughput of a laptop’s storage. (To learn more about how we evaluate laptops, go here.)

In order to evaluate how well a personal computer can handle tasks that need a lot of processing power, three benchmarks concentrate on the CPU and make use of all of the cores and threads it has. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 mimics popular applications such as PDF rendering, speech recognition, and machine learning using the company’s Cinema 4D engine. Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5.4 Pro, on the other hand, renders a complicated scenario using the company’s Geekbench 5.4 Pro software. In the end, we convert a video clip that is 12 minutes long from a 4K resolution to a 1080p resolution using the open-source video transcoder HandBrake 1.4. (lower times are better).

Dell Precision 5560 Review

Our final productivity test is workstation manufacturer Puget Systems’ PugetBench for Photoshop. This test employs the Creative Cloud version 22 of Adobe’s well-known image editor to evaluate a personal computer’s performance for content production and multimedia application use. It is an automated extension that executes a variety of general and GPU-accelerated Photoshop tasks such as opening, rotating, resizing, and saving an image as well as applying masks, gradient fills, and filters. These tasks can be carried out in a variety of ways depending on the user’s preferences.

A PCMark 10 score of 4,000 points is regarded by us as indicative of great productivity for Microsoft Office or Google Workspace; yet, these computers are only idling when they are performing their duties in Word and PowerPoint. During our CPU testing, the Core i7 processor in the Precision 5560 held its own against Core i9 processors, and overall, this computer is an excellent option for performing intensive Photoshop work.

Examinations of Graphics

We evaluate the graphics capabilities of Windows personal computers by running two DirectX 12 game simulations developed by UL’s 3DMark: Night Raid (a more basic simulation that is appropriate for laptops with integrated graphics) and Time Spy (more demanding, suitable for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs).

We also conduct two tests from the cross-platform GPU benchmark known as GFXBench 5, which challenges both low-level routines like as texturing and high-level visual rendering similar to that of a game. Both the 1440p Aztec Ruins and the 1080p Car Chase tests exercise graphics and compute shaders by making use of the OpenGL programming interface and, in the case of the Car Chase test, hardware tessellation. These tests are produced offscreen to suit differing display resolutions. The higher the frame rate in terms of frames per second (fps), the better.

The RTX A2000, which is the most powerful graphics card available for the 5560, is just Nvidia’s fourth fastest professional GPU; yet, it performed significantly better in the Dell than it did in the ZBook Power G8. CAD and CGI designers, as well as gamers who play after hours, will be content with it, even if it won’t necessarily excite them.

Workstation-Particular Examinations

We simulate workstation applications by running two more apps simultaneously. The first of these is called Blender, and it is a free and open-source 3D modeling, animation, simulation, and compositing software suite. We time how long it takes its built-in Cycles path tracer to render two photo-realistic scenes of BMW vehicles, one using the system’s central processing unit (CPU), and one using the graphics processing unit (GPU) (lower times are better).

Rendering, rotating, and zooming in and out of solid and wireframe models utilizing viewsets from major independent software vendor (ISV) applications is what SPECviewperf 2020 does for our workstations. This test could be considered our most critical one. The tests for 1080p resolution are carried out using the Creo CAD platform from PTC, the Maya modeling and simulation tools from Autodesk for cinema, television, and gaming, and the SolidWorks 3D rendering package from Dassault Systemes. It’s always better when there are more frames per second.

Dell Precision 5560 Review
The minimized footprint, borders and bezels all add up to an enhanced viewing experience.

Congratulations are in order for Dell; the Precision 5560 triumphed over the ZBook Power, and the Precision 7560, which featured a Core i7 processor and an RTX 4000 graphics card, competed successfully against the ZBook Fury and the ThinkPad, which each featured Core i9 processors and RTX 5000 graphics cards. The 5560 does not make any claims to being the industry’s most powerful mobile workstation, but it is an extremely capable piece of hardware.

Tests on the Display and the Battery

Playing a locally saved 720p video clip (the open-source Blender movie Tears of Steel) for an extended period of time with the display brightness set to 50 percent and the audio volume set to 100 percent is how we test the battery life of laptops. Before beginning the test, we check that the battery has a full charge and turn off Wi-Fi as well as the illumination on the keyboard.

We also make use of a Datacolor SpyderX Elite monitor calibration sensor and its Windows software in order to evaluate the color saturation of a laptop screen. This involves determining what percentage of the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 color gamuts or palettes the display is capable of displaying, as well as the display’s peak and 50 percent brightness levels measured in nits (candelas per square meter).

The battery life of the Precision 5560 was demonstrated to be in excess of what was required (laptop workstations spend more time on AC power than general-purpose notebooks or ultraportables). And both the brightness and color coverage of its display were exceptional, making it a worthy competitor to the luxurious DreamColor panel found in the HP Fury 15.

Dell Precision 5560Dell Precision 5000 5560Dell Precision 7000 7560Dell XPS 17 9710
Computer Memory Size16 GB16 GB32 GB16 GB
CPU ModelIntel Core i9Core i7 FamilyCore i7 FamilyCore i7 Family
CPU Model ManufacturerIntelIntelIntelIntel
CPU Speed2.60 GHz2.5 GHz2.5 GHz4.6 GHz
Display Resolution Maximum1920 x 1200 pixels1920 x 1200 pixels1920×1080 pixels3840 x 2400 pixels
Screen Size15.6 inches15.6 inches15.6 inches17 inches
Graphics CoprocessorNVIDIA RTX A2000 w/4GBNVIDIA T1200NVIDIA T1200NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050
Hard Disk DescriptionSSDFlash Memory Solid StateFlash Memory Solid StateSSD
Hard Disk Size1 TB512 GB512 GB512 GB
Hardware PlatformPCPCPCPC
Human Interface InputMicrophoneTouchscreen
Operating SystemWindows 10 ProWindows 10 ProWindows 10 ProWindows 11 Home
Processor Count8118
RAM TypeDDR4 SDRAMDDR4 SDRAMDDR4 SDRAMDDR4 SDRAM
Wireless Communication StandardInfraredBluetooth, 802.11axBluetooth, 802.11axBluetooth
Wireless Communication TechnologyirWi-Fi, BluetoothWi-Fi, BluetoothBluetooth, Wi-Fi

Not the Quickest, but Among the Best in Its Class

It would be wonderful if the Dell Precision 5560 had two or three extra ports, but other than that, it is an excellent mobile workstation and easily deserves the Editors’ Choice title. Its performance is only a step behind that of bulkier flagships, but it comes in a package that is substantially thinner and lighter, and it has one of the most gorgeous panels currently available on a laptop. It’s a winner, much like the XPS 15 that it’s modeled after.

Dell Precision 5560 Review

Dell Precision 5560

A new powerhouse among light laptop workstations
PROS
When compared to other mobile workstations, quite small and lightweight.
Elegant touch screen with a high resolution and 16:10 aspect ratio Sturdy aluminum and magnesium construction Thunderbolt 4 ports and an SD card slot included
Outstanding performance across multiple threads for such a compact workstation
CONS
Expensive and lacking in port space (USB-A and HDMI dongle included)
No option for an OLED screen


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