"The Dell G5 Gaming Desktop offers solid 1080p PC gaming in a surprisingly small package."
Affordable starting price
Accessible front connections
All configurations come with an SSD
Fan noise can be loud
A bit difficult to update
The medium-sized tower is the goldilocks of the desktops. The size offers enough space for handicrafts and upgrades without completely stressing your desk surface.
However, Dell's G5 gaming desktop takes a different approach. The $ 589 system is not for modders and home improvement. It is for the person who wants to get into PC games easily. If you are, you may be surprised at what this little desktop can do.
The pedestrian aesthetic of the G5 hardly differentiates it from the sea of black PC boxes that are common in office environments, but the understated appearance of this desktop obscures performance. The device features a rectangular black box design with a metal construction and a tempered glass window to give it a more modern look. It feels much more robust than it would assume due to its small size.
The only notable design element on this PC is the plastic front panel, which is defined by a series of striped lines in a hatch pattern and a very light blue glowing LED strip that appears diagonally to the center on the front.
The G5 has the same glass and metal aquarium-like construction as larger medium-sized towers such as HP's Omen Obelisk, Digital Storms Lynx or Origin PC & # 39; s Neuron, and offers only one single-sided tempered glass window instead of two Attempted to keep costs at bay as necessary as the G5's small volume means everything is packed with little space to arouse visual interest on the opposite side of the case.
Another difference between the G5 and its larger competitors is size. Although the 11.45 x 12.12 x 6.65-inch G5 is only about 2 inches shorter and less deep than the 17.1 x 14.1 x 6.5-inch HP Omen Obelisk, the volume of the Dell Desktops impressive 25% smaller. At this size, it's still not quite as compact as small form factor PCs like the Intel Hades Canyon NUC, but the G5 can still be used where most medium-sized towers can't, making it a win for small dorms makes.
The G5 offers similar performance in a smaller footprint than more powerful rigs.
The small size means that the G5 can only hold one graphics card and not dual graphics support for many of its premium competitors. However, with updated configurations and a comparison of apples to apples with a single GPU build, you still get similar performance from the G5 in a smaller footprint than with more powerful rigs.
Easily accessible ports are located vertically on the right edge of the front. In addition to three USB-A ports, there is also a modern USB-C port for all your peripheral devices. The ports are sparser on the back. You will find six USB-A ports – four USB 3.1 and two USB 2.0 ports – as well as an Ethernet socket and audio ports on the motherboard.
Concessions and compromises
The G5 desktop has a lot to offer. For a basic price of $ 589, you get a very powerful casual gaming system. Our Intel Core i7-9700 test device is coupled with GeForce GTX 1660 graphics, making it a solid system for office tasks, internet surfing, media consumption and 1080p games.
In addition, the G5's discrete GPU is versatile enough for occasional creative work. Therefore, this desktop is a good buy for students who may need to fix photos, create graphics, or edit videos.
All configurations of the G5 are equipped with an NVMe solid-state drive, which ensures consistently fast performance. While you'll get a larger SSD with updated configurations, the base model combines its modest 128 GB of solid-state storage with a larger 1 TB hard drive – albeit at a slower 5400 rpm speed – to process your files.
Although the G5 can accommodate a full-length M.2 2280 SSD, our test device is equipped with a shorter 512 GB drive with 2230 lengths from Toshiba. If you need more space, there are two empty bays to add 2.5-inch drives at the top and a 3.5-inch slot at the front.
The fixtures are neatly organized, which is a necessity given the see-through glass window, but the LED lighting still feels primitive compared to the advanced options of the Digital Storm Lynx. Access to the internals is relatively easy.
The G5 desktop is limited to just two fans and no liquid cooling, so the system hums a little louder than the competition.
The metal thumbscrews on the back make opening the window glass a tool-free job, but I found the screw holes a bit tight – maybe Dell has allowed more tolerance in the design of the G5 to keep costs down. The challenge for modders is to find parts that fit into the small space of the PC. Dell uses a custom motherboard with an Intel H370 chipset in the G5 to take advantage of the little available internal storage space.
Our device is equipped with two 16 GB RAM modules, with two empty slots for a total of 64 GB of memory and an x1 and an x4 slot to add additional cards. Due to the larger volume and the dependence on more standard components, both the Omen Obelisk from HP and the Lynx from Digital Storm are easier to update and modify for experienced enthusiasts.
This small device also lacks liquid cooling. The cooling takes place via two internal 80 mm fans. Given the powerful components inside, especially if you have an improved construction, make sure the vents are not clogged with dust to ensure maximum airflow. With the G5 desktop limited to just two fans and no liquid cooling, the system buzzes a bit louder than competing medium-sized towers that need more fans, like Falcon Northwest's Talon 20th Anniversary Edition. There is also a 460 W power supply.
Faster than expected
Despite some upgrade challenges due to the limited interior space of the G5, you will still find plenty of performance with this device. It may not be the Alienware Aurora's powerhouse, but if you play most of your games at 1080p resolution, the G5 will perform satisfactorily.
The 8-core Intel Core i7-9700 processor with 8 threads on the G5 scored 1,255 points and 7,120 points, respectively, in Geekbench 5's single-core and multi-core benchmarks. These synthetic values give the G5 a similar performance as the Zenbook Pro Duo from Asus, which is equipped with a mobile Core i9-9980HK silicon.
The Alienware Aurora R10 equipped with Ryzen 9 3950X achieved a similar single-core result for comparison, but surpassed the G5 with almost 14,000 points in the multi-core test. The fast performance of the G5 is also supported by a relatively fast solid-state drive, which facilitates quick access to and transfer of files.
While not the fastest drive we've tested, the 512 GB Toshiba M.2 2230 SSD is a slim performer in our SSD performance benchmark and video encoding tests.
When tested with the synthetic 3DMark graphics benchmark, the G5 achieved 6,825 points in the time spy test. The desktop-class graphics surpass the 3,000-point mark achieved with the G5 gaming laptop from Dell, which is equipped with mobile GTX 1650 graphics. Still, the performance of the G5 desktop GPU is about half that of the Nvidia flagship RTX 2080 Ti graphics card in the same test.
Given the GPU's performance, we expect most 1080p games to perform well.
The GTX 1660 was able to keep up in our gaming tests and delivered well over 60 frames per second for popular titles like Fortnite, Assassins Creed Odyssey, Civilization VI and Battlefield V when played at 1080p, even when played at a higher game.
With less graphics intensive titles like Civilization VI and Fortnite, the GTX 1660 graphics could achieve an average performance of over 90-95 FPS in 1440p resolutions. Titles like Battlefield V and Assassins Creed Odyssey, which are more graphics-intensive, show signs of stuttering at 2K resolution with skipped frames and delays, but even with updated game settings, you still get between 50 and 60 FPS.
Given the performance of the GPU, we expect most games to perform well at 1080p, while less intense games should get by at 1440p.
Weighted by bloating
Although Dell couldn't add much more hardware due to the limited size of the G5, the company had more room for software upgrades. Some of the preinstalled programs, such as the Alienware Command Center, are useful for monitoring system performance, but other titles have strained the system.
I found the system to be more responsive when I uninstalled the pre-installed McAfee security suite, and Candy Crush seemed to be a pointless addition to a desktop meant for serious gamers. In addition to these titles, you will also find VPN software, Dropbox and Netflix, so the value varies depending on the use.
Despite the configuration that supports high-end PC gaming silicon options, the G5 is a PC that is not suitable for gaming enthusiasts. From its affordable price to its compact footprint, casual gamers who aren't too keen on opening their desktops to tinker with PC components will love the G5.
Modders cannot add liquid jets or more advanced custom cooling solutions to improve the additional performance of this rig. However, if you are looking for a PC that meets your requirements today, the G5 is the one for you.
Is there a better alternative?
HP's Omen Obelisk is a very capable challenger of our $ 1,169 Dell G5 desktop test configuration, which is available at a competitive price of $ 799. Like the G5 desktop, the Omen obelisk is available in a variety of configurations, rounded off with RTX 2080 graphics. However, the Omen Obelisk is a PC that is likely to grow with you as it is based on more standard components and a slightly larger case design, making upgrades easier to do.
The Digital Storm Lynx costs from $ 699, and a configuration with Intel Core i7-9700F, GTX 1650 graphics, 8 GB RAM and 240 GB costs $ 999. Like the Omen obelisk, the Lynx also benefits from a larger case design, making upgrades less difficult than the G5 desktop. With a more sophisticated RGB lighting system, more cooling fans, and liquid-cooled CPU options, the Lynx is also more aesthetic than the G5. And with the ability to add a second graphics card, the Lynx may be a smarter buy for modders who aren't afraid to dig into their rigs.
How long it will take?
Players who want to play at 1080p should be happy with the G5 for at least a few years. Given that upgrades can be a bigger challenge in the more compact case design, this rig may not be the most future-proof desktop design on the market today. While the G5 definitely offers a lot for your money today, especially for college students and beginners. Just don't expect major upgrades to the G5 in the future as your requirements grow.
As is typical for most consumer PCs, the G5 comes with a one-year standard warranty for parts and labor. Dell also offers a range of warranty upgrades that extend coverage to four years, provide additional protection against accidental damage, or both. Dell's premium Premium Support Plus plan, which provides four years of insurance coverage and accidental protection, increases the cost of your purchase by $ 309, or just less than half the price of the basic G5 configuration.
Should you buy it
Yes. Characterized by its compact size, solid performance and affordable price, the G5 is a solid gaming desktop for students and beginners on a budget. The compact housing design also makes the G5 ideal for smaller rooms such as dormitories and bedroom offices.