Laptop Dell G5 Review Gaming Laptop Benchmarks. The Dell G5 is a well priced gaming laptop from their new G series, so let’s take a look at what you get and help you decide if The Dell G5 is the laptop you should consider buying.
Let’s start by checking out the specs of this unit, as there are a few options available with this model. There’s an Intel i7-8750H CPU here which has 6 cores and can turbo up to 4.1GHz in single core workloads. In my unit there’s 16GB of DDR4 memory running at 2,666MHz in dual channel, but the two slots can support up to 32GB.
Dell G5 Review
For storage there’s a 256GB M.2 SATA SSD installed but it supports NVMe if you want to upgrade, and a 1TB 5,400RPM hard drive installed.
For the graphics there’s an Nvidia 1060 Max-Q which powers the 15.6 inch 1080p 60Hz IPS panel, and we’ll see how this performs soon in the benchmarks. For the network connectivity there’s a gigabit ethernet port, support for 802.11ac WiFi, as well as Bluetooth version 5.0. The lid and interior are both a matte black aluminium, and overall the body of the laptop felt nice and solid, but it’s also available in red and black instead. There aren’t any sharp edges and overall the build quality seems pretty solid.
The physical dimensions of the laptop are 38.9cm in width, 27.4cm in depth, and 2.5cm in height, so not exactly thin for a laptop with Max-Q graphics. The starting weight for the lowest specced model is listed at 2.65kg, and mine weighed a bit more than this, probably due to the additional 1TB hard drive. With the 180 watt power brick and cable for charging, the total weight increases to 3.5kg, so it’s a bit heavy compared to other laptops I’ve looked at in this size with similar specs.
As mentioned the screen here is a 15.6 inch 60Hz 1080p IPS panel, no G-Sync available here though. I found the viewing angles to be pretty good, images are still perfectly clear even on sharp angles but there was a bit less brightness when not looking front on. I’ve also measured the current colour gamut using the Spyder 5 Pro, and my results returned 62% of sRGB, 44% of NTSC and 46% of AdobeRGB, so it’s not that great, definitely fine for gaming but for professional content creation you might want to look elsewhere.
I’ve performed my usual backlight bleed test on the display, which involves having the laptop show a black screen in a dark room to help emphasize any bleeding. I then take a long exposure photo to display any bleed, so this is a worst case scenario test. There’s some minor imperfections that the camera was able to pick up, however to my eyes I wasn’t able to see anything, even in a dark room it looked good to me, but this will of course vary between laptops.
While moving the display there was some flex, although it wasn’t too bad, it’s probably just due to the single hinge being found in the middle of the lid. It can also be opened easily with one finger, demonstrating a fairly even weight distribution. Above the display in the center is a 720p camera. The camera doesn’t look too bad with some decent lighting, still a bit grainy though.
The microphone doesn’t sound that great, but you’ll be able to judge both for yourself. There’s no keyboard backlighting at all in this unit, however the Dell website does note that backlighting is optional. Despite there being no backlighting in my unit the letters were painted on and still red, this made it quite difficult to see the keys in a dark room, white lettering would have made that easier.
Overall the keyboard was alright to type with, there’s some good spacing between the keys and the only issue I had was with the small arrow keys. The key presses felt a little clicky, here’s how they sound to try and give you an idea. There was almost no keyboard flex, even while pushing down fairly hard, it was quite solid.
The touchpad was alright for the most part, but a little annoying. I found if I barely touch it, it would press down slightly and sometimes register a click, but this wasn’t the proper mouse click, I could push harder to make it do the actual click. I don’t know if I’m explaining that well, but basically while moving my fingers around it felt like I was sometimes clicking when I wasn’t, not really a deal breaker given you’ll likely be using a mouse for games anyway, and I’m not sure if this was just an issue with this unit.
Moving onto the I/O on the left there’s a Noble lock slot, the power input, gigabit ethernet port, USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A port, and 2-in-1 card slot which supports both SD and Micro SD cards. On the right there’s a 3.5mm audio combo jack, two USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports, USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support, and HDMI 2.0 port. There’s nothing on the back other than these vents for air exhaust, and the same design on the front, and this is where the two speakers are found, on the left and right sides.
The speakers sound alright for laptop speakers, there’s not really any bass but they sound quite clear even at high volume. Up on the lid there’s a red Dell logo in the center, the same red found on the keyboard keys and on the trim around the touchpad. Fingerprints show up but they aren’t too obvious on the matte finish, and they’re fairly easy to wipe off. Underneath there’s some air intakes towards the back to keep everything cool, as well as some rubber feet that run along the back and front and do a good job at stopping the laptop from easily moving around while in use.
The laptop can be opened up easily with a phillips head screwdriver, there’s just one screw to remove to open the panel. Inside we can see that it’s pretty easy to access the components, the 2.5” drive bay and single M.2 slot are found on the left along with the WiFi card, while the two RAM slots are found in the middle. Powering the laptop is a 4 cell 56 Watt hour battery, and with a full charge and just watching YouTube videos with the screen on half brightness, keyboard lighting off and background apps disabled, I was able to use it for 5 hours and 9 minutes, a pretty good result.
The laptop was using the Intel integrated graphics in this test thanks to Nvidia Optimus. While playing the Witcher 3 with medium settings and Nvidia’s battery boost set to 30 FPS the battery lasted for 1 hour and 37 minutes, however it was only able to run the game between 13-21 frames per second as it was current limit throttling, I assume the battery wasn’t able to provide adequate power but in any case I’d definitely recommend playing while plugged in for best performance unless you’re playing less demanding games.
Overall the battery life was quite good, many more expensive gaming laptops with similar specs I’ve tested have easily had half as much battery life. Thermal testing was completed with an ambient room temperature of 18 degrees celcius, it’s getting cold here as winter has just started, so expect warmer temperatures in a warmer environment. At idle both the CPU and GPU were quite warm at around 50 degrees celsius.
While playing PUBG at default settings the temperatures rise as shown by the green bar, but they’re not too bad. If we apply a -0.150v undervolt to the CPU the temperatures drop back a bit, as shown in the orange, and we’ll see how this affected clock speeds in the next graph. The full load stress test was tested with Aida64 and the Heaven benchmark running at the same time with the fans running at default speeds, I wasn’t able to easily max them out so haven’t tested that.
Even with the undervolting applied the CPU and GPU temperatures stayed the same, however the clock speeds do change. As we can see here, the stress test without undervolting is again shown in red, and then with undervolting in purple. Out of the box the CPU was power limit throttling in this test, so although the temperatures were the same with undervolting, we’re able to remove the power limit throttling that was taking place and get a 500MHz boost on all CPU cores.
While gaming the CPU clock speeds didn’t change much with or without the undervolt, there was no thermal or power throttling taking place so I’m not too sure why the full 3.9GHz all core turbo speed wasn’t the average.
These are the clock speeds I got while just running CPU only stress tests without any GPU load. I was still seeing power limit throttling on the CPU without the undervolting under full CPU only load. I attempted GPU undervolting, but I was still seeing the same performance and temperatures as without it.
As for the external temperatures where you’ll actually be putting your hands, at idle the body of the laptop is sitting in the low 30s, so it’s quite cool. While gaming this increases to the mid 40s and is warmest in the center, but it still wasn’t too bad to the touch, and I saw a very similar result while running the stress tests, just a little warmer, however the wrist rests and left and right sides of the keyboard stayed fairly cool in comparison.
As for the fan noise produced by the laptop, I’ll let you have a listen to some of these tests. At idle I could only just hear the fan, and running the CPU and GPU stress tests was about the same as playing an actual game. Running the CPU stress test only with no GPU workload does however result in lower fan speeds. Overall the total system volume is perhaps just a little under most other gaming laptops I’ve tested, maybe because of the Max-Q graphics. I’ll also note that there was no noticeable coil whine while testing in my unit.
Dell G5 Benchmarks
Finally let’s take a look at some benchmarks, we’ll first cover some real world gaming benchmarks followed by tests with various benchmarking tools. All tests were run at 1080p with the latest Nvidia drivers and Windows updates to date installed.
Starting out with Fortnite we’re getting really nice results, even with max settings the 1% lows are above the 60Hz refresh rate of the display, but keep in mind that this can vary quite a bit as the game greatly depends on what’s going on and what other players are doing, basically take these results with a grain of salt.
Overwatch was tested playing with the bots, and again we’re getting really nice results for this laptop, with 1% lows well above what the display can output at max settings. As usual CS:GO was averaging well above what the refresh rate of the display could output, the 1% lows drop quite a bit due to the smokes in this benchmark test, but even with medium settings the 1% lows were still above the display’s refresh rate at 1080p.
PUBG was tested using the replay feature, but again take the results with a grain of salt, as like Fortnite it will depend on what’s going on in the game, so the results can vary quite a lot, as shown by the 1% lows which are quite a bit lower than the averages. Despite this the results are still fairly good and the game played well.
I’ve tested Far Cry 5 with the built in benchmark, even at max settings we’re averaging above 60 FPS and the 1% lows aren’t too far behind the average frame rates here, so again it’s going quite well. Assassin’s Creed Origins was also tested with the built in benchmark and the results were similar, in that the 1% lows also weren’t too far behind the averages, which is ideally what you want to see.
Dota 2 was tested using a fairly intensive replay, so this should be a worst case scenario, realistically you’ll probably get better results than this while actually playing, and even in this intensive test we’re always averaging above 60 FPS regardless of setting level.
Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the built in benchmark and we’re getting pretty high frame rates at all setting levels. Despite the 1% lows being a bit further away from the averages they’re still a fair bit higher than the 60Hz refresh rate of the G5 anyway.
Battlefield 1 was also going quite well, even during intense fights the dips weren’t too bad, as shown by the 1% lows which again even at max settings are higher than the screen’s refresh rate so it felt quite smooth. The witcher 3 doesn’t really need a high frame rate to play, and even on ultra settings it played nicely, although you can boost the frame rate quite a bit by stepping down even just one level from ultra. Rise of the tomb raider was tested with the built in benchmark, and we’re able to average above 60 FPS even with max settings.
Ghost recon is a fairly resource intensive game, and was again tested with the built in benchmark. Although ultra settings are quite low, this is always the case in this game. At high settings we were just able to reach a 60 FPS average.
Watchdogs 2 is another fairly resource intensive game, but is another that I personally think doesn’t need a high frame rate to play. I can play this with 40 FPS averages no problem as long as the 1% lows aren’t too low, at ultra we can see the 1% lows are fairly low so the dips were a bit noticeable, it played well at very high or below though. DOOM was tested using vulkan, and again to me it felt really smooth even during large fights, almost averaging 100 FPS even at max settings.
Now onto the benchmarking tools, I’ve tested Heaven, Valley, and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike, Timespy, and VRMark from 3DMark:
In general the Nvidia 1060 is a great option for 1080p 60 FPS gaming with good settings, and the Max-Q 1060 is generally only around 10% slower than the regular 1060 based on my own previous testing as it’s clocked lower, so I think it’s still going to give you pretty good results in gaming, and as we’ve seen we’re getting pretty good results in all of these games on the G5.
It’s also important to keep in mind these results are with the top end G5, it’s also available with 1050 or 1050Ti graphics, with single channel memory, and with the 4 core i5-8300H CPU, so expect lower results with a lower specced model. As for overclocking, the 8750H CPU can’t be overclocked, but I was able to increase the GPU core clock of the 1060. Although I tried applying a 200MHz increase we can see here that it only rose about 136MHz on average due to the power limit being reached.
With both CPU undervolting and GPU overclocking applied we get a little boost in games, but not really enough of a difference to justify retesting all of the games, just a few frames per second here and there. I’ve just quickly got some CPU benchmarks here, and we can see that it’s a decent step up from the 7th generation as we’ve got two extra cores with slightly faster single threaded clock speeds, and we can see there’s a nice boost with the undervolt applied, but I plan on comparing this more in a dedicated future comparison video.
In Crystal Disk Mark the 256GB M.2 SATA SSD was getting above 500MB/s in sequential reads and about 470MB/s in sequential writes, so pretty typical for a SATA based SSD, but it’s worth remembering the laptop does support faster NVMe storage too.
The 1TB hard drive was getting above 120MB/s in both, so quite good for a 5,400RPM drive. I’ve tested the SD slot using a V90 rated card to remove the card as a bottleneck and the read and write speeds of the slot don’t seem to be very good. As for the price the G5 with these exact specs comes in at around $2,200 AUD here in Australia at the time of recording, or about $1,150 USD in the US when on sale, but this will differ based on the selected configuration, as this is the top end model in the G5 series.
Overall I think the price is pretty good, it’s not too much more than the older Dell 7577 and yet has a better CPU, I’ll be making a comparison video between the two in the future so be sure to subscribe for that one. So what did you guys think of the G5 gaming laptop from Dell?
For the price I think it’s pretty good, especially considering you’re getting the latest Intel 8th gen Coffee Lake 6 core i7-8750H CPU. As you’ve seen it can basically play all modern games at 1080p with decent settings no problem thanks to the 1060 Max-Q graphics.
The battery life was quite good, although not great for playing mid to high end games, and the Thunderbolt 3 port gives you future expansion options if say you want to use an external GPU enclosure. The temperatures don’t get too high, and performance can be improved by undervolting the CPU to remove power limit throttling. The only issues I had were that it’s a bit on the heavier side and a bit chunky looking, the screen quality isn’t ideal for creators but is perfectly fine for gaming.
Check pricing and further reviews at Amazon:
>>> Dell G5 with GTX 1060 Max-Q: https://amzn.to/2RjZoVY
>>> G5 with GTX 1050Ti (slightly lower gaming performance): https://amzn.to/2xPfA9s
I would have preferred either a backlit keyboard or different coloured lettering to make the letters stand out better, but realistically these are minor issues and overall this is a great gaming laptop for the money. Let me know what you guys thought down in the comments, and leave a share to let me know if you found the review useful.