The coolest high-end desktops of boutique gaming providers are big items of envy and amazing machines if you can afford them, but most clients work on more realistic budgets. The Dell G5 Gaming Desktop (starting at $589.99; tested at $1,169.99) is a simple and compact system with fast CPU and high power for 1080p games. It’s highly customizable, but our prefabricated build meets almost all the criteria (we would add more storage) and leaves us with little to complain about. Like its predecessor, Inspiron Gaming Desktop, it offers great value for money. However, the NZXT BLD Starter PC Plus gaming desktop, which offers virtually the same benefits (and a better GPU) at an even lower price.
- Delivers decent full HD 60fps gaming.
- High-speed processor.
- Impressively compact case with LED-lit side window.
- Highly configurable.
- Great value.
- Not everyone may prefer the geometric front panel.
- The unit’s configuration of 512GB of storage is a little thin.
Dell G5 Desktop
|CPU||Intel Core i7-9700|
|GPU||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660|
For the most part, Dell improved everything I liked about the Inspiron Gaming Desktop design and made it more compact. The older tower was compact on the side, but it’s impressive how elegant the G5 gaming is. The dimensions of the case are only 14.5×6.7×12.1 inches (HWD), with a particularly small height and depth in a standard size.
Of course, mATX builds are nothing new and very popular with do-it-yourself (DIY) builders and boutique shops, but big manufacturers tend to stay in big towers. It is a real achievement to purchase a smaller, configurable, and easily accessible big gaming system. The G5 is so small that it fits on your desk, which is not always the case, or in a smaller open space when necessary.
Aesthetically, the G5 looks even better as a gaming desktop than Inspiron. It is almost entirely due to the front panel, which has a zigzag geometric pattern. It is extremely modern and accented with diagonal blue LED light, which may not be for everyone.
Part of Inspiron’s appeal was its understated appearance, but I don’t think Dell has gone too far with this model. However, I can forgive someone who doesn’t want this case in front of and in the middle of their living room.
A remarkable update and a calling card of big-league gaming desktops is the glass window on the left. This is a $30 option, showing interior parts illuminated with blue LEDs and making this economical system feel much more expensive. Removing the side panel is incredibly easy and without tools: by twisting two rear thumbscrews, you can remove the panel from the case.
The interior is clean if a little sparse. Although the case is designed to look inside, the components themselves are not the most impressive. The CPU fan cooler and GPU are in the front and center, but both look very clear. Cable management is mostly neat and invisible, with the exception of some hanging cables. Overall, the blue LEDs do a lot of hard work here, because (at least in our design) the interior is completely incomprehensible. However, it is good for a cheaper system. More importantly, the G5 is perfectly assembled and, despite its small size, is easy to work with.
I mentioned that our build is not the most spectacular, but you can seriously update its content when ordering. Each category has a wide range of components. Our $1,169.99 test model, built in a 460W case option, includes an Intel Core i7-9700 processor, 16GB of memory, a 512GB solid-state drive, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 graphics card.
The processor is the most powerful part of this structure, a great gaming processor, while the GPU is an economical option: the GTX 1660 isn’t bad, but it’s on the weakest side of the Nvidia lineup. Still, it’s good enough to play in Full HD resolution, as you’ll see later. In addition, I personally would not equip a gaming desktop with only half a TB of storage space because it fills up quickly. I would recommend pairing a 512GB (or less, depending on your budget) SSD and a larger hard drive to store most of your game library.
The CPU configuration ranges from Core i3-9100 to Core i9-9900K between the different levels of Core i5 and i7. The RAM can vary from 8 GB to 64 GB and offers space for one or two storage units, from a small SSD to a combination of 3 TB (1 TB SSD and 2 TB hard disk). The graphics card determines the performance of your system. You can choose between AMD Radeon RX 560X, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660, GTX 1660 Ti, RTX 2060, RTX 2060 Super, RTX 2070, RTX 2070 Super and RTX 2080.
The front panel is plentiful with regard to the ports: There are two USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 port, a USB-C port, a microphone, and a headphone jack arranged vertically on the left. The power switch is also here. On the back, there are four USB 3.1 Type-A ports, two further USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet jack, and audio ports. The graphics card also has video outputs, in this case, DisplayPort, HDMI, and DVI port each.
Performance for the comparative tests I have collected comparison results from other desktop computers, with similar components and/or the price tag. (Unfortunately, the old Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop is not included because it has been tested with our previous benchmarks.) Here is a list of names and basic information:
The low-cost HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop 690 is served as a baseline. NZXT BLD Starter PC Plus for $ 999, is also below the price of the Dell G5, with a lower CPU but a higher GPU for good gaming performance.
This leads us to two desktops that are above Dell’s price. The first is the Lenovo Legion C730 Cube($1,444), an alternative small form factor system available in budget or mid-range configurations. After all, the Digital Storm Lynx ($ 1,999) is the most expensive competitor.
PRODUCTIVITY AND STORAGE TESTS
PCMark 10 and 8 are comprehensive service packages that have been developed by experts in benchmarking at UL-PCs (formerly Futuremark). Our PCMark 10 test simulates a variety of productivity and content creation workflows in the real world. We use it to assess the overall performance of the system for office-centric tasks such as word processing, working with spreadsheets, surfing the Internet and video conferencing. The test gives a numerical assessment in possession; The bigger numbers are better. In the meantime, PCMark 8 has a memory test that we are evaluating for the speed of the storage subsystem. There is also a produce proprietary numerical score; Larger numbers are better here too.
G5 works well here in gaming as it has one of the best processors on this list. Rest assured that this desktop computer can be your home office computer as well as gaming. The Core i7 processor in it can handle daily tasks for years, and its storage is snappy, equal to, or better than that of the other competitors (most of them are fairly fast). I enjoy the quick start and load times during the test.
MEDIA PROCESSING AND CONTENT CREATION TESTS
Next is the Maxon Cinebench R15 Crunching CPU Test, where all available CPU cores and threads work at full strength. Cinebench loads the CPU rather than the GPU to represent a complex image. The result is a patented evaluation that demonstrates the suitability of a computer for processor-intensive workloads.
Cinebench is often a good predictor of our video editing software Handbrake, another hard-threaded workout that is highly CPU dependent and can scale well with cores and threads. In it, we put a test system on stopwatch encoding a 4K video standard 12-minute clip (open-source demo movie Tears of Steel) into a 1080p MP4 file. It is a timed test and lower results are better.
We also perform a custom Adobe Photoshop benchmark for image editing. In early 2018, we used 10 complex filters and effects for a standard JPEG test image in the Creative Cloud version of Photoshop. We measure each operation in time and add the total time of the execution run. Lower times are better here. The Photoshop test puts pressure on the processor, storage subsystem and RAN, but you can also use multiple GPUs to speed up the filter application process, so systems with high-performance graphics cards or chips can experience the improvement.
Dell continued its strong performance and achieved the second-best result of three difficult multimedia tests. This shows consistency and that your CPU is only behind the unlocked and tuned version of the same chip. We’ll give you the game results in no time. However, if you are creating or editing lightweight media at home (professional or hobby), the G5 Gaming Desktop is responsible for the task.
SYNTHETIC GRAPHICS TESTS
UL’s 3DMark series measures the relative graphic muscle by creating a series of highly detailed, game-style 3D graphics that highlight particles and lighting. We run two different 3DMark subtests, Sky Diver and Fire Strike, which are suitable for different system types. Both are benchmarks from DirectX 11, but Sky Diver is more suitable for laptops and mid-range desktops, while Fire Strike is more sophisticated and designed for high-end PCs. The results are patented results.
The following is another synthetic graphics test, this time from Unigine Corp. Like 3DMark, the superposition test shows and goes through a detailed 3D scene and measures the survival of the system. In this case, it is offered under the nickname of Unigine, which offers a workload scenario for 3D work other than 3DMark to get a different statement about the graphics performance of the machine.
While Dell’s GeForce GTX 1660 works well, NZXT’s improved 1660 Ti works as it should, while the last generation GTX 1060 and HP Radeon lag behind. Unlike working with media, we may not recommend our G5 configuration for accelerated 3D tasks when time is critical, but you can do enough. For gaming, on to the following tests.
REAL-WORLD GAMING TESTS
Our synthetic tests are useful for measuring overall 3D suitability, but it is difficult to beat full retail games to evaluate gaming performance. Far Cry 5 and Rise of Tomb Raider are modern titles with built-in benchmarks that describe how the system handles real gaming in different environments. We use its preset values for the highest graphic quality (Ultra Far Cry 5, very high for Tomb Raider ascent) at resolutions 1080p, 1440p and 4K to determine the optimum speed score and visual beauty of a particular system. Results are presented in frames per second. Far Cry 5 is based on DirectX 11, while Rise of Tomb Raider can be converted to DX12, which we do.
These are the most important results for gamers who consider buying this desktop, and the news is mostly good. If you’re looking for a system in this price range, you’ll probably want to play in Full HD (1,920×1,080). 1440p or 4K monitors are not only more expensive but also need a GPU that allows games to work with these resolutions easily. That’s why the red bars are the most important here, and the ideal target is 60 frames per second.
The G5 Gaming Desktop easily removes this bar and provides space for stressful moments during the game. If your average frame rate is exactly 60 frames per second, you will notice drops, but over 80 frames per second will give you a good buffer. Those are two AAA titles and it looks even better in multiplayer games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and League of Legends.
Usually, the GeForce GTX 1660 is a good GPU for this scenario because you won’t get too much or too little. If your screen refresh rate is above 60Hz, the way forward is the extra juice (or even better) of the GTX 1660 Ti. As you can see, 1440p is much more tiring (unless you agree with 30 fps) and I would not recommend 4K games on this system. The NZXT GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is capable of delivering more than 60 frames per second with greater reliability.
The Dell G5 Gaming Desktop is a nice little package all around. It left me with few gripes, virtually none of which involve essential functionality. It offers solid value in a space-saving design, looks pretty good for the price, and is both highly configurable when ordering and upgradeable later. The inside is somewhat sparse, and the more I look at the front panel the less I’m sure everyone will like it, but those are minor downsides.
If you’re a semi-serious gamer but not a performance hound, or shopping for a desktop for your kids to play the most popular games with no fuss, this is a great pick, especially if you prefer to stick to one of the major manufacturers. If you don’t, there’s no denying that the NZXT BLD Starter PC Plus offers faster graphics and more storage for even less money.