To test performance I’ve run PC Mark 05 and our own in house Photoshop Elements and Virtual Dub tests. It was no great surprise to see the D630 performing very well, edging the Lenovo 3000 N200 in most tests and comparing favourably to the high performing Acer Aspire 5920.
Moreover, comparing the PC Mark scores for the D630 and the D620 gives some indication of the improvement in speed to found when using the new Santa Rosa CPUs and chipsets. In the tests the D630 shows a significant improvement over the D620, and though some of that performance may be taken up by the increased overheads of running Vista, it’s still a good sign.
To test battery life we’re still relying on subjective testing since our previous testing benchmark, MobileMark, has yet to be updated for Vista and as such cannot be used. For this testing the notebook was operated in normal working conditions for word processing and internet browsing, with the wireless enabled and screen brightness set to high.
With the extended battery, performance was very impressive, with the D630 managing an impressive five hours in total. Dell claim up to nine hours is possible with all power saving possibilities utilised – i.e. lowest brightness, no wireless, Ethernet and so on – and though this is a tad fanciful one could easily imagine getting at least another hour or so by reducing the brightness considerably and not listening to Test Match Special over the Internet like I did.
Battery life with the primary 6-cell battery was fairly standard stuff, and you can expect between two to three hours battery depending on how you use the notebook. This is perfectly sufficient, and you always have the option of carrying both batteries with you. Were one to carry both, and be more vigilant in saving power, one could certainly get near to a whole working day of use, which could be invaluable.
It is facts like these that make the D630 a dependable work companion. As with any business orientated notebook the D630 won’t immediately excite, but if you have to rely on it every single day then you won’t be disappointed. It does everything you want, and makes getting the job done as painless as possible. The only fly in the ointment at this stage is that Dell still doesn’t support vPro, which comes under Intel’s Centrino Pro moniker. This is because it’s not an open platform, and Dell have been reluctant to support it because of this – a great irony considering its years of ignoring AMD altogether. However there are plans to release a Centrino Pro edition of the D630 in the future, which will certainly please companies that have gone down the vPro route.
Dell’s Latitude D620 was already a great notebook, and the D630 simply builds on that by adding the latest processing technology. It still strikes a near perfect balance between usability, portability, performance and price, and as such deserves all the plaudits it receives.