Performance and Benchmarks
The Dell Latitude 6430u really shines when it comes to performance. Equipped with a third generation Intel i5-3427u quad-core 1.8 GHz processor and 8GB of RAM the Dell Latitude is able to take on most computing functions with relative ease. The machine was able to juggle several programs easily, even running multiple video streams without any noticeable decline in performance. In fact, the Dell fared so well that it ran just as smoothly with multiple programs in the background as it did with only a single program active.
The true limiting factor for this device is its integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics. Without a dedicated graphics card the Dell Latitude 6430u is not suited to handle graphically intense PC functions, such as demanding games or video editing software. However, the Dell Latitude 6430u is a device built for productivity not media management (as evident by its limited display), which makes the integrated graphics card an understandable concession.
Similar too many other ultrabooks on the market the Latitude 6430u offers Solid State Drive (SSD) storage. Equipped with a 128GB SSD the Latitude 6430u provides quick data retrieval and lighting fast boot-up times, making the device a great choice on the go. While the SSD is refreshingly fast, the 128GB drive is admittedly rather small. To make matters worse the SD card reader is optional, meaning users will have to pay if they want the additional storage option. Luckily with cloud storage and external hard drives there are other work around to the limited storage.
Our Dell Latitude 6430u review unit had the following configuration:
- Windows 8 Pro 64-bit
- 14″ Anti-Glare LED Backlit 1366 x 768
- 1.8 GHz Intel Core i5-3427u dual-core processor (3MB cache, up to 2.8 GHz Turbo Frequency)
- Intel HD 4000 Graphics
- 8GB of DDR3
- 128 GB SSD
- 802.11a/g Wi-Fi
- External Optical Drive
- Lithium Ion 60Whr Battery
- Dimensions: 13.31″ x 9.04″ x 0.82″
- Weight: 3.91 lbs.
- Limited 3yr Warranty
- MSRP: $1,500
wPrime processor comparisons (lower score means better performance):
PCMark 7 is a newer benchmark and measures overall systems performance (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark 11 is a benchmark that measures overall graphic card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
Crystal DiskMark storage drive performance test:
Heat and Noise
The Dell Latitude 6430u actually produces more noise than expected. It’s not overtly loud, but when putting the machine through the paces (benchmarks and stress tests) the fan, which is located at the back end of the chassis, became clearly audible. While the fan can prove to be a slight annoyance, it at least manages to keep the machine cool and comfortable, even when the notebook was pushed to its limits. Ambient background noise will easily drown out the sound of this device, but in silence the faint hum of the machine is noticeable.
To test battery life we used our new PowerMark benchmark in balanced mode. The test consists of a combination of automated web browsing, word processing, gaming and video playback workloads. The test is far more strenuous than our previous test, measuring the machine under a litany of scenarios to better simulate real life use. With the test being far more demanding the scores are understandably lower than our previous benchmark.
PowerMark battery life test results (higher scores mean better life):
In our tests the Dell Latitude 6430u ran for 3 hours 55 minutes before shutting down after reaching 5 percent battery reserve. The 4 hour test roughly equates to more than 6 hours of real time use. It’s not the longest lasting ultrabook on the market, but this machine still manages to offer impressive battery life and it helps to bolster the device’s already impressive portability.