Dell G5 vs G7 – Which Best For Gaming?
Dell G5 vs G7 – Which Best For Gaming? What are the differences between the Dell G5 gaming laptop and the G7? A lot of you have asked me this question, and as I’ve finished reviewing both I can now answer, so let’s compare these two laptops, dell G5 vs G7 and help you pick the right one.
First let’s check out the differences in specs I’ve got here, as both laptops can be configured quite differently. I’ve got the highest specced G5 and G7 here. In my G5 I’ve got the Intel i7-8750H CPU, while the G7 has the i9-8950HK.
Both are 6 core CPUs, but the i9 has higher clock speeds and can also be overclocked, but they’re also available with i5 or i7 CPUs. Only the G7 gets the i9, so if you want the i9 it’s your only option, but as you’ll see soon the i9 might not be worth it.
As for graphics both laptops the have Nvidia 1060 Max-Q, but the G5 can also be configured with the 1050Ti or 1050 instead, and they both also have the same 15.6”1080p 60Hz IPS panel but have a 4K option too.
Both laptops have 16GB of DDR4 memory running at 2,666MHz in dual channel, so no differences there, but they’re also available in 8gb configurations. For storage both laptops a single M.2 slot which supports NVMe storage and single 2.5 inch drive bay.
In my configuration the G5 has a 256gb M.2 SATA SSD while th G7 has a 128gb M.2 SATA SSD, while both had a 1TB 5,400RPM hard drive installed, but this will differ based on your selection, they both have a few options.
For network connectivity both have gigabit ethernet ports, support for 802.11ac WiFi, and Bluetooth version 5. Both laptops have a very similar matte black metallic design, the G5 has red accenting all around it while the G7 has blue, although the G7 is also available in white.
Physically there are only a few small differences, as you’ll soon see. As for the size differences they’re exactly the same in both width, depth, and height, so I guess they’re using the same chassis as they look very similar.
They weigh about the same too at around 2.8kg, and then 3.5kg with the 180 watt power bricks included. The I/O on the left hand side is exactly the same in both laptops, there’s a Noble lock slot, the power input, gigabit ethernet port, USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A port, and SD card slot.
The right is exactly the same too, 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 output.
There’s a little difference between them on the back, the G5 just has thick plastic vents while the G7’s look nicer in my opinion, and we can see the metal fins on the G7 are actually blue matching the rest of it’s accenting, and it’s also got a little G7 badge.
The front on both is the same though, same grill pattern with the speakers found on the left and right corners and no noticeable difference in speaker quality either. As mentioned the screens here are exactly the same, both are 15.6 inch 1080p 60Hz IPS LG panels.
Apparently the G7 is also available with an AUO panel which can be overclocked, but that’s not what I have so I wasn’t able to test this, and I’m not sure if it’s a possibility with the G5. I’ve measured the colour gamuts of both displays using the Spyder 5 pro, and despite them being the same model of panel the G5 came out slightly ahead, but I suspect this will vary a little between panels.
The bezels seem to be the same, and both have the 720p camera placed above the top which seemed to be the same quality. There was very minor backlight bleed detected with both laptops, but this was in a dark room with a long exposure photo, a worst case scenario. To my own eyes I wasn’t personally able to see bleed in either panel, but this will vary between laptops.
Both were really solid and had basically no keyboard flex at all, no real difference there, overall build quality was quite nice with both. For the keyboard they both seemed the same, the only issues I had were the smaller arrow keys and the spacing occasionally made me mistype a little.
The G5 that I had did not have key backlighting, Dell’s website list that it’s optional so I’m not sure if it varies between regions. My G5 had painted on red keys to match its black and red theme, and this made it difficult to see the keys in a dark room.
The G7 on the other hand has blue keys, and I could still see them in a dark room even with the backlighting off so I found them much easier to use. Both touchpads were decent, but I liked the one in the G7 more.
The G5 had this strange double tap issue, where if you lightly press it it would feel like a click and sometimes register, but it wasn’t a full click, you could still press again for the full click, here’s a demonstration.
This wasn’t an issue in the G7, I’m honestly not sure if it’s just normal in the G5 or just an issue in my unit. Both laptops have 4 cell 56 watt hour batteries, however battery life was a little longer in the G5, although I suspect this may come down to the differences in hardware, as the G5 had the i7-8750H CPU while the G7 had the i9-8950HK CPU, although the differences aren’t that big, if you had the same specs in both I’d expect similar battery life given the batteries are the same.
Temperature testing was done with an ambient room temperature of 18 degrees celcius, it’s winter in Australia when I did the testing so expect warmer temperatures in a warmer environment.
Additionally, keep in mind that the G7 has the i9 CPU while the G5 has the i7, so the majority of differences will likely be because of this factor, looking inside the cooling solutions on both look the same, so I don’t think there would be too much difference between the two models with the same hardware.
Despite these differences in CPU for the most part the temperatures are actually fairly similar, probably because as mentioned in detail in the G7 review post, the i9 is power limit throttled, so it doesn’t get as hot as it could if it wasn’t capped like this.
These are the clock speeds for the same temperature tests just shown, the graphics are basically the same in both which makes the sense, they’re both 1060 Max-Q so there will be slight variations between chips.
As for the CPU in general the i9 was a little better in games, but hard to say really as I only tested PUBG for the gaming tests, it does have higher single core clock speeds though. While under stress test the CPU clock speeds are very close together due to the power limit throttling present with the i9, but again I’ve got a detailed post dedicated to that topic.
Here are the average CPU clock speeds while under a CPU only load, and yet again with all cores utilized we’re seeing very similar results in both laptops. I’m guessing that despite the clock speed differences between the i7 and i9 CPUs the power limit is set the same, so we only benefit from the higher clock speeds in single core workloads, otherwise in heavy multicore work both are power limit throttling putting performance around the same.
Here are the average GPU clock speeds while under a graphical only workload, and again pretty similar results between the two, but these will mostly vary based on the silicon lottery. As for the areas where you’ll actually be putting your hands both laptops were very close together regardless of workload, which I guess makes sense given the similarities in internal temperatures shown before.
As for the fan noise produced by the laptops, I’ll let you have a listen to some of these tests.
The fans in both basically sounded the same and got to the same level of volume under all tested workloads, and no noticeable coil whine from either model.
Now let’s check out some gaming benchmarks! All tests were run at 1080p, as this is the resolution of the screens. Also remember that both have the same 1060 Max-Q graphics, but different CPUs, so we’re expecting the i9 in the G7 to generally be ahead, but realistically with the same specs in the G5 and G7 the differences would likely be negligible, so just remember these differences will change based on the specs of either laptop.
Battlefield 1 was tested playing the first campaign mission, and the i9 was quite ahead here, I believe this title is more CPU heavy which probably explains the difference.
Rise of the Tomb Raider was tested using the built in benchmark and the results were very similar, within margin of error ranges but in general the i9 was just ahead.
The results in Ghost Recon were also tested with the built in benchmark and the results were also very close together, no real noticeable difference with this game between them.
Shadow of War was another tested with the built in benchmark, and again the average frame rates were very close together with a slight edge to the i9.
Dota 2 was tested using an intensive replay, so expect better results while actually playing, and in this test we’re seeing just a few frames per second better with the i9 CPU.
In the Witcher 3 we’re seeing better average frame rates with the i9 but for some reason better 1% lows with the i7. I’ll just quickly blast through the results of PUBG, Fortnite, and Overwatch.
The differences in these games were a bit of a mixed bag, and although I do the same test in each there will always be differences between them as these games have a lot of factors that determine performance such as what other players are doing for instance, so they’re probably not the best to compare directly against each other like the other games. Regardless of differences these games are all running well on either laptop.
Just quickly I’ve also got the results from some benchmark tools, including the Heaven, Valley and Superposition benchmarks from Unigine, as well as Firestrike, Timespy and VRMark from 3DMark.
For the most part the differences aren’t that large, it depends on the game but in general the i9 in the G7 was just a little ahead of the i7 in the G5. Although the results will differ depending on the hardware you pick in each model I still think it was interesting to see that purely for gaming the i7 seems to be plenty, in some games the improved single core performance of the i9 may be helping, otherwise in heavier multicore workloads as shown earlier there’s almost no difference.
Just to give you an idea of CPU performance differences here’s how both laptops did in Cinebench with the CPUs undervolted for best performance. Due to the power limit throttling the overclock on the i9 isn’t helping, but as we saw earlier in the temperature testing both perform similarly when maxed out which was again seen here.
I’ve used CrystalDiskMark to test the drives, both have M.2 SATA SSDs installed in the single slot, and are available in different sizes, and the writes of the 256GB drive in the G5 were more than twice as good compared to the G7’s 128GB SSD, but again keep in mind the speeds will vary based on the drive selection anyway, so it doesn’t really matter if you go G5 or G7 here, both also support faster NVMe storage too.
Likewise here are the differences between the 1TB 5,400 RPM drives in both, again some minor differences that will probably vary.
Here are the results from the SD slots using a V90 rated card and both performed basically the same.
Now for one of the most important differences, the price. In general in terms of raw specs it looks like the G5 is priced better.
For example, this G5 with 8750H CPU, 16GB of RAM, 256GB SSD and 1TB hard drive goes for $1250 without the sale or $1100 with the current sale. With a G7 specced the same it’s around $1300, so assuming no sale prices there’s a $50 difference minimum, and more if we factor in sales, but those are changing all the time, you can check updated pricing using the links in the description.
Personally I don’t think there’s enough difference between them and would just go the G5, unless you really either wanted the white option or slightly nicer overall design with the G7 or to videoget the i9 CPU, as that’s not an option with the G5, although as we saw in most cases it doesn’t really perform much better than the i7 outside of single threaded workloads.
I can see why so many people asked about the differences between the G5 and G7 as they’re very similar, hopefully this comparison has helped you see that the differences are pretty minor.
So which of these two laptops would you guys pick? The Dell G5 or G7? Let me know what you guys thought down in the comments, and let me know what other laptops you want to see compared, as this post was made due to a high number of requests.