The Dell G5 is the last thing you’d think of when buying a Dell gaming PC’s thanks to the company’s ownership of Alienware. And you’d be missing out on one hell of a buy too. This little machine flies under the radar yet offers more value for money than many big brand name PC’s. It’s a compact gaming desktop that reminds me of the soon-to-be released Xbox Series X. I’ve spent the past three weeks using the G5 as my daily driver for work and gaming and I seriously can’t believe Dell doesn’t make more noise about this thing. Dell has packed all the requisite gaming hardware including 10th Gen Intel chips and NVIDIA RTX graphics. All this without the premium tax Alienware and it totally rocks.
Dell G5 Review
The Dell G5 gaming desktop surprised me because it’s so tiny! It’s just two inches taller than my Xbox One X when it’s standing and about as three times as wide. When you look at it in the official pictures, you get the impression that it’s a full size ATX tower. It’s so small that you can easily fit it in a standard TV cabinet and nobody would be the wiser; mistaking it for a subwoofer. And because it’s so light at only 8 kilos, moving it around is a breeze. VR lovers will love the G5 the most because of its compactness.
Be warned though, the Dell G5 maybe small but it will definitely standout. The front is adorned with an awesome crisscross design with a massive LED strip that cuts right through the middle like a lightsaber. You can leave it on the standard Dell blue or go for a Sith red that Darth Vader would be proud of. All this crisscrossing isn’t just for show. It’s a cleverly disguised air intake which the G5 uses to suck in precious cool air to keep things nice and chill on the inside. And yes, there’s only air cooling going on here, no fancy water cooled AIO’s. But not to worry. Dell has nailed the thermals well and the G5 stays cool and fairly quiet under duress.
The whole box is a nice black and rather plain besides the front grill. I wouldn’t go as far as calling the G5 gorgeous but yeah, it’s a damn fine looking aesthetic and I’m a fan. Lord knows I’m sick and tired of the excessive tempered glass and RGB light shows most gaming rigs go for. You can get a tempered glass side panel as an optional extra but there isn’t much to look at on the inside. The G5 doesn’t have any glowing RGB sticks or fancy CPU cooler with LCD screens.
If you want access to the innards, the G5 has two thumb screws that only need a twist to unlock the side panel. Dell has provided enough space to add up to three hard drives – one 3.5-inch and two 2.5-inch bays. Memory is upgradeable thanks to two additional RAM slots and there’s plenty of space for even the beefiest of cards. There’s 3 PCIe slots at your disposal as well. Powering it all is a 500W PSU which might be a bottleneck if you want to plug in a beefier graphics card.
The G5 is very well apportioned with I/O ports — almost overwhelmingly so. At the front are three USB ports, a USB Type-C port and Audio and mic inputs. At the back are six more USB-A, audio ports and RJ45 Ethernet port and HDMI/ DisplayPort depending on which graphics card option you choose. You certainly can’t complain about connectivity. The G5 also has built in Wi-Fi 6 AX1650i for fast wireless connections as well as Bluetooth. Basically, the G5 has everything you need for a complete gaming PC battlestation.
Performs like a star
The Dell G5 comes in a variety of configurations that start at $1,600 for an i5-10400F, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER, 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB M.2 Solid State Drive. Our $3,500 review unit is top of the range packing a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10700F, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER, 16 GB of memory and a 1Tb M.2 SSD. As you can imagine, performance right out of the box is great. Our synthetic benchmarks show just how quick the G5 is compared to the $4,000 Lenovo Legion Tower 5i I recently reviewed. That machine has a Core i9-10900 10core/ 20 thread CPU and the same GPU as the G5.
And again, the G5 surprised me. The lesser powered G5 managed to equal or even best the Lenovo in all benchmarks. Fascinating considering the $500 difference. That’s a nice chunk of change and shows that for most people, the i9 processor isn’t really worth the premium in most tasks. In gaming, the machines run neck and neck in most titles. At high settings, the CPU difference is negligible since the same GPU is used by both machines.
Either way, the gaming experience on the G5 is great. Games will run at 1080p Ultra at 100FPS and above with ease. Even at 1440p, you will get a good 60FPS in the most demanding AAA titles. And thankfully, the G5 doesn’t lose it’s cool after several hours of intense gaming or CPU stress. The maximum CPU temperature I recorded was 80C which is just fine. In reality, the CPU hovered around 65-70C during long gaming sessions and there was never any sign of thermal throttling. These are great temps for a fan cooled machine of this diminutive size.
But, and there’s always a but, the G5 fans can get loud. Most notably when you use the performance profile in Alienware Command Centre(ACC). The G5 becomes ridiculously loud as the fans push to the limit. I think the fan profile is a bit mismatched for this particular machine and you can make your own custom fan profiles. In balanced profile, the G5 gets up to a noticeable hum but nothing to detract from your user experience. I will say though, the G5 is louder than the Lenovo which has a bigger case that’s better for airflow. Such is the price you pay for compact systems.
I’ll ask again, why isn’t Dell shouting off the rooftops about the G5? This is such a great gaming PC from a company that has a proven track record in making quality stuff. It’s got plenty of configurations to choose from that’ll suit any budget. Performance in work and gaming is wonderful. And yes, $3500 can get you much crazier PC builds but the reality is that most people have neither the time nor skill to build a gaming rig.
That’s why consoles are still so popular. And that’s why the G5 exists — to cater to those consumers who just want quality without the fuss. The G5’s tiny size makes it a great VR or living room PC or your closet home office. And try as I may, I can’t point to any downsides. I suppose some more aesthetic customisation for colours and lighting. Don’t sleep on the Dell G5. It’s a terrific machine that’s well worth your time.
Dell Australia loaned PowerUp! the Dell G5 for the purpose of this review.