SP Notebook Reviews 2016: (UPDATED) Performance Comparison and Shootout Chart

In this performance shootout, we have compiled a summary of the performance indicators of ALL windows laptops offered by SP this year.

Without further ado, lets take a look at our summary of performance indicators for laptops.


This year, we noticed that the prices of SSD’s have become cheap enough to be used on many laptops. The speed advantages that only an SSD can provide has convinced us that it is best for students to buy a laptop with an SSD, because:

  1. Where a Hard drive may take 2 minutes to turn on the computer, an SSD can usually load the same thing in the matter of seconds, and
  2. External HDD’s are now readily available and cheap to put your less important files in. 256GB of storage space is actually sufficient for most users. Further, since SP is giving a 1TB external hard drive as well, why not put it to good use to store your personal stuff as well? 😉

Further, we feel that 8GB of ram should be the new minimum requirement for laptops as ram is important when multitasking between many apss (e.g. switching between many chrome tabs, powerpoint, and maybe that game you’re running in the background 😛 )

Thus, to pass our general work performance test this year, the laptop must be equipped with an SSD and have at least 8GB of ram.q.jpg

As you can see, many of the laptops offered by SP this year actually passes this rather stringent test. Take note that this test is not a good benchmark for graphics performance during games/graphics intensive apps, since having  good graphics performance depends mainly on your graphics card.

Their is nothing wrong with getting a laptop with a HDD actually. These laptops have been marked as yellow in the above sheet. Yes, HDD’s do offer more storage space and you don’t have to carry an additional hard drive around at times. BUT, the performance tradeoff will be very huge. Just take a look at this video below, which shows you how much faster an SSD can load windows and your apps, compared to the traditional HDD>


However, with that said, we don’t recommend that people buy the Dell Latitude E5570 at all, since it has only a HDD, and a very marginal graphics card in a rather heavy package. This is the reason why it is the only laptop in this test that we have decided to mark it in Red. :/


In this sheet, we have compiled benchmarks from various sources, so that you get an accurate idea of the graphics performance that each laptop model offered by SP would provide.

We have used benchmarking test results from videocardbenchmark.net and 3D mark 2013 (Firestrike) scores to let you have a rough idea of how powerful the graphics card in each other notebooks are, as well as let you compare them fairly. Furthermore, we have included Frame rate performance (FPS) of 2 popular games- F1 2014 (at ultra Settings) and Battlefield 4 (at high settings), so you will know exactly how good the laptop is at in doing your graphics-intensive apps work in poly (or your games) 😛

This year, we have decided that to pass our GPU Gaming performance test, laptops must be able to run F1 2014 with at least 29FPS average on ultra setting. 29 FPS is roughly the frame rate that most people would accept as fairly playable when playing a game. Furthermore, the user can turn down the graphics settings in future games released in the next few years, since new games released every year have the tendancy to require an even more beefier graphics card to give you an improved game experience.

Users who buy laptops with marginal graphics card may be able to play current games at low/medium settings, but what about games released over the next 1 or 2 years? These users would quickly get frustrated at the absymal performance of the GPU built into their laptops. And laptops usually cannot have their GPU’s upgraded!

Without further ado, lets take a look at the results of our GPU & Gaming performance tests:SPNotebook reviews2.jpg

As we can see, all laptops running the standard Intel HD graphics 520 would fail to pass our tests since they are not really built to handle gaming.

To our surprise, the Intel IRIS Graphics 540, which is only found in certain laptops with the special core i7 processor (Intel Core i7 6560u), such as the Dell Ultrabook XPS 13, is actually able to come close to (and in certain cases, beat!) the Nvida GeForce 930m, which we considered as a pretty good graphics card. This means that graphics intensive apps and games should be able to run well.

However, we could not find proper gaming FPS benchmarks for this graphics card so we would like to suggest that users only expect the graphics performance of the Intel IRIS graphics card to be roughly the same as the Nvida 930m (or slightly better at most). This is because many apps and games are optimized to run on Nvida and AMD dedicated graphics card, which would give those graphics cards a slight edge when pitted against this intel graphics card.

With that said however, we are confident that the Intel IRIS 540 Graphics card would offer better performance than the laptops running the NVIDA Quaddro “Workstation-Class” graphics card.


What is disappointing is that the Dell Latitude E5570, which at first glance has a dedicated graphics card, is actually containing a very poor performing graphics card! This graphics card would use more battery from the laptop, but only provide a maximum of 30% increase in gaming benchmark performance! In the real world, it only provided about 15% increase in gaming performance compared to the Intel HD Graphics rivals. This is really horrible performance for a dedicated graphics card (compared to the other SP models) and we suggest that SP Students look at other laptop models if they want to game (or in this case, buy a decent laptop!)

Update: According to Ren Jie (who has commented on the review of the above laptop model), The laptop is actually coming with a AMD R7 M370, and not the much slower AMD R7 M360 that is indicated onthe SP Website and Brochures. If this is true, then this laptop is actually a good performer for its price! Just take note it only comes with a hd ready screen and does not have an SSHD. Our reviews have been updated. Thanks for reading!


Overall, We are happy to say that most of the models offered by SP this year actually are good buys for a student as they have priced their laptops rather competitively.

The Lenovo Yoga 700 and Asus X550 (2016 Edition) have both won our Editors choice award in the ultrabook and notebook category for this year, since they have very competitive pricing and are confident that these laptop models would provide very good performance which would suit most of the polytechnic users.

However, we still encourage SP students to take a look at what outside vendors have to offer as well, especially during the upcoming IT Show held from 10-13 march! This will present you with more opportunities to see if other laptops available in the market would  suit your needs/wants from a computing device better, so that you would not regret buying a certain computing model shortly after purchasing it.

And with this post, we have finished our 14 part series of SP Notebook Reviews for year 2016.


I would like to Thank you for reading SP Notebook reviews. We hope that that our web page has been useful for you. Do share this page with your friends, feel free to leave a comment, and we wish you all the best in your next 3 years in poly! 🙂

Cheers and have fun!


Chief Editor of SP Notebook Reviews and Aaron Tech Tips



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