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Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - The hardware: graphics and gaming - IT tutorials, reviews and articles
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DELL VENUE 8 PRO FULL REVIEW

A full 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet with active stylus for less than 14 ounces

By Maxime Abbey - First published on 04-13-2014 on Arachnosoft

Introduction and buyer's background
Technical specifications
Build quality, design, dimensions
Software ergonomics: Introduction
Software ergonomics: Windows Modern UI (codenamed "Metro")
Software ergonomics: Windows Classical Desktop
Hardware design: physical buttons
Hardware design: the connectors
The hardware: display/screen, ambient light sensor, gyroscope...
The hardware: performance/CPU/RAM, responsiveness
The hardware: internal and external storage
The hardware: graphics and gaming

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On a such-sized device, you'll not expect to find a gaming graphics card: here, you'll only find an integrated Intel HD Graphics chipset, Bay Trail generation (without any matching number), which is actually a crippled-down version of the Intel HD Graphics 4000 series.

The Intel HD Graphics Bay Trail GPU from the Dell Venue 8 Pro is approximately 4 times less powerful than the "full" Intel HD Graphics 4000 chipset it's based on, a chipset you can find, say, on 2013-generation ultrabooks.

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - The hardware: graphics and gaming

Given that the performance of these 4000 series is, itself, roughly equivalent to the performance of a 7/8 years old dedicated graphics card, like the NVIDIA 7600 GT/8600 GT or ATI X800 XT/X1650 XT series, imagine now what could be this processing process divided by 4, and you'll obtain (approximately) the performance index of the Dell Venue 8 Pro's GPU. If you compare this chipset to the competition, it would be an equivalent of an AMD Radeon HD 6310 integrated GPU; what you can read on NotebookCheck's review or VideoCardBenchmark.net's chart.

In real life, you'll have to put these results in perspective: for multimedia use, this GPU, along with the CPU, will be more than able to decode Full HD 1080p videos in Blu-ray quality without any hassle. And so will be any task outside heavy 3D processing (modeling, games).

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - The hardware: graphics and gaming

The HD Graphics GPU requires a small part of the system RAM to work, like any other GPU integrated into the CPU or motherboard.

By default, the GPU seems to use 105 MB of memory; it can use up to 1 GB when needed, like when playing games. This memory allocation is automatically managed by the system.

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - The hardware: graphics and gaming

Gaming

To measure the performance of this tablet on your favorite games, you'll have to know how much performance you'll want to consider a game to be "playable" on it; some people will not consider a game to be playable below 30 FPS, or with below-average detail levels.

If you're willing to accept some restrictions on your video game settings to play them on the Dell Venue 8 Pro, you should actually appreciate what you'll get.

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - The hardware: graphics and gaming

I'm an enthusiast of older PC video games from the 80s and 90s, as well as console emulators. As a result, I tested some titles like DOOM (1994), Duke Nukem 3D (1996), or the SCUMMVM-based games (including titles from LucasArts like of The Tentacle, The Secret of Monkey Island, those from Sierra like King's Quest, those from Westwood Studios like the Legend of Kyrandia series...):

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - The hardware: graphics and gaming

Not surprisingly, all these titles run perfectly on the Dell Venue 8 Pro, without any compromise on graphics quality or smoothness. Rather logical for games released more than 15 years ago, even in "remastered" editions.

Same results for most software emulating game consoles from the same era, which run perfectly; here is a screenshot from the Project64 Nintendo 64 emulator, running at 50 fps:

Dell Venue 8 Pro full review - The hardware: graphics and gaming

Regarding more recent titles, many reviews and tests have been made from players all around the world, on this particular tablet or its competitors based on the same hardware (like the Asus Transformer T100). Pierre Lecourt, founder of the famous French Blogeee and MiniMachines.net websites, released many reviews of games running on the Asus T100.

Among the most frequently reviewed games, are those from the list below. Most should run on the Venue 8 Pro with graphic details set on a minimum to average level:

  • World of Warcraft (2005)
  • GTA San Andreas
  • Burnout Paradise
  • Trackmania Nations Forever (2008)
  • Trackmania 2 Canyon
  • Torchlight 2 (2012)
  • StarCraft 2 (2013)
  • World of Tanks
  • The Cave
  • Dust An Elysian Tail
  • Trine
  • League of Legends
  • Team Fortress II
  • Batman Arkham Asylum
  • Rayman Origins
  • Diablo III
  • FIFA 14

For more information, I strongly encourage you to check Pierre Lecourt's excellent Asus Transformer T100 review and his gaming videos (in French).

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The hardware: Photo, video and audio
The hardware: wireless networking
The hardware: battery life and cooling
Extended features - Wireless video display on external monitor (Miracast)
Extended features - The active digitizer/stylus: description and design
Extended features - The active digitizer/stylus: technical review
Conclusion, pros and cons

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