At some point we all think, it would be really nice to take our gaming on the move. Whether we are off to a friends house or going on holiday, having the option to bring our pc with us for some mobile gaming, would be cool. But we likely dismiss the idea as an over the top cost option. But as tech becomes smaller and more powerful and our library of excellent games is spread across a longer time release period, we figured we would take another look and find a gaming laptop to review that falls around the Best $1200 PC price range, to see if it can really provide a gaming option for us.
So today we will be looking at and reviewing Dell's G5 15 gaming laptop to explore its gaming performance and returned frame rates and see if it is up to scratch and worth the price? Towards the end of this article we compare a few laptop variants to see how some of these prices and hardware stack up.
The G5 15 8th generation gaming laptop has got some pretty reasonable specs including a GTX 1660 Ti mobile (it could have the RTX 2060 mobile option, if you fancy), an intel Core i7-9750H processor, an SSD for the boot drive, a 144Hz monitor among other features, and we'll go over the most important specifications in just a minute. The version we received was priced at $1,349.99 (£1,149.00) and offers a pretty good price-to-performance.
However, we're going to break down it's game performance for you in the Benchmarking Results section, as well as a few other things you might want to know, like the Dell G5 15 noise and heat levels plus a relative price-to-performance rating. Are gaming laptops truly a viable option for your future gaming PC? Let’s find out…
Processor: ¬¬p_id:2628[Intel Core i7-9750H, 9th-Gen]¬¬
The 9th generation Intel Core i7-9750H is a top of the line laptop processor. Compared to the top 500 most demanding games (as of Feb 2020) this CPU can run 500 games for the minimum requirements and 484 games for the recommended requirements. This makes it a really good choice for modern gaming.
Comparatively, there is a cheaper version you can downgrade to, the ¬¬p_id:2611[Intel Core i5-9300H]¬¬. However it can only run 444 games under minimum requirements and 0 for recommended. So it goes without saying that the above model is a much better processor and more suited towards the modern gamer.
Update: Since writing this review, it appears that the Core i5-9300H is no longer available in the UK. So, currently, the only processor available is the Core i7-9750H. So even the cheapest option for the Dell G5 15 Gaming Laptop will include an i7 processor. In the US the Core i5 is still an option, but only for the cheapest model. More on that in the GPU section just below.
Graphics card: ¬¬gc_id:4990[Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti mobile 6GB]¬¬
The GTX 1660 Ti mobile is a pretty solid gaming laptop graphics card, at the time of writing, of today's 500 most demanding games the 1660 Ti Mobile card is capable of running and meeting 495 of the minimum game requirements and 424 of the recommended gaming requirements. Obviously hover over the link above to see the latest live data about today's playable demanding games. This puts the 1660 Ti mobile as a very good laptop GPU choice for playing modern games, as it can play almost every game at the minimal requirements level and most of the recommended.
There are two other options for the GPU: the ¬¬gc_id:4993[GTX 1650 Mobile]¬¬, and the ¬¬gc_id:4091[RTX 2060 Mobile]¬¬. It goes without saying that the RTX 2060 mobile is the standout choice here for any gamer right now, but it can push up the laptop price, so definitely hunt around. On the opposite end the 1650 mobile is much weaker than the 1660 Ti mobile for today's demanding games, but relatively much cheaper.
So which one should you choose? Well it depends on your budget, but the 1660 Ti mobile is the top choice for price to performance. It may not have ray tracing support but it can run most high-end games at MAX settings with minimal performance issues.
Update: Similarly to the processor issue above, in the UK the GTX 1650 mobile is no longer available to choose as an option, which brings the UK's cheapest option down to £1,299.00 (approximately $1,700.00) and includes the Intel Core i7-9750H CPU and the Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti mobile graphics card. However, the cheapest model in the US is $949.99 (approximately £730.00) and comes with the Intel Core i5-9300H and the Nvidia GTX 1650 mobile.
Ram: 8GB DDR4 2666 MHz
Whilst 8GB of ram is capable of running most games at a decent level, 16GB of ram will be the way to go if you want to maximise the lifespan of your PC. 8GB is already starting to feel a little too close to minimum game requirement level. While 8GB is fine to get almost all games to run still we highly recommend that you look for laptops and gaming machines that come with 16GB RAM to play today's games reliably.
We will take a look in the game benchmark section below to see if the 8GB RAM stopped us running some of the more well known modern games of today.
Display: 15.6 inch 1080p Anti-Glare LED Display, 144Hz refresh rate
This is a good size for laptop gaming. Of course you might want to look for 17inch laptops, but the 15inch makes the laptop even more portable. With it coming with a 144Hz screen refresh rate is a good bonus, letting you support higher FPS, should the chosen hardware permit it.
Hard Drives: 256GB Solid State Drive (Boot) + 1TB Hard Drive (Storage)
The specs are pretty good here, definitely in the high-end components bracket. The Core i7-9750H and the GTX 1660 Ti mobile are both very good for price to performance. The 1660 Ti mobile is perfectly fine for running modern games and is still the best option if you want to maximise your price to performance value.
The 256GB SSD is quite small so you won’t be able to store many games on it except for your favourites, but having it as the boot drive is great. And the 1TB hard drive that comes with it is a really nice addition for storing even more games. 16GB is the best price to performance option for ram. 8GB will do well but won't last as long in the future.
Additionally the Dell G5 15 gaming laptop comes with a Turbo mode which you can enable or disable by pressing the F7 key at any time. Turbo mode essentially boosts your processor's clock speed to the maximum frequency, enabling increased performance. From our tests it didn't really do much other than eliminate stuttering whilst gaming.
Okay so we’ve gotten through the technical breakdown, now let’s get on to the fun stuff that we've all been waiting for!
So how does the Dell G5 15 gaming laptop with a GTX 1660 Ti mobile perform in-game? We tested the following games at 1080p on Ultra settings, testing the difference between Normal and Turbo mode, and changing between DirectX11 and DirectX12 where the option was available.
For the case of Far Cry 5 there was no option to switch between DX11 and DX12, but there was an option to enable HD textures, so we switched between those instead.
Total War: Warhammer 2 had a similar issue where for some reason we couldn't switch between DX11 and DX12 even though there was an option for it. But there were options to choose what section of the game we could benchmark, like in-battle or in the campaign area.
¬¬g_id:23300[Total War: Warhammer 2]¬¬ Frames per second Performance Results:
Total War: Warhammer 2 (DX11) Battle Campaign Normal 50.7 61.4 Turbo 51.3 62.4
¬¬g_id:23343[Resident Evil 2 Remake]¬¬ Frames per second Performance Results:
Resident Evil 2 Remake DX11 DX12 Normal 94.4 85.3* Turbo 96.4 91.6
¬¬g_id:24306[Metro: Exodus]¬¬ Frames per second Performance Results:
Metro Exodus DX11 DX12 Normal 42.40 41.21 Turbo 42.77 42.06
¬¬g_id:627[Doom (2016)]¬¬ Frames per second Performance Results:
DOOM (2016) Vulkan Normal 108 Turbo 122
¬¬g_id:23462[Detroit: Become Human]¬¬ Frames per second Performance Results:
Detroit: Become Human Vulkan Normal 62.6 Turbo 63.4
¬¬g_id:31290[Far Cry 5]¬¬ Frames per second Performance Results:
Far Cry 5 (DX11) No HD Textures HD Textures Normal 72 64* Turbo 72 70*
¬¬g_id:35645[Control]¬¬ Frames per second Performance Results:
Control DX11 DX12 Normal 47.4 44.5 Turbo 47.8 45.3
¬¬g_id:35624[Assassins Creed: Odyssey]¬¬ Frames per second Performance Results:
Assassin's Creed Odyssey DX11 Normal 42* Turbo 43
Overall the performance was pretty decent across the board for the Dell G5 15 gaming laptop. If these were the results from using Low graphics settings we’d be pretty disappointed, but for Ultra settings getting an average of 50-60 frames per second with a GTX 1660 Ti mobile is quite the achievement.
As you can see in the chart above, Turbo mode did little to positively impact performance. Obviously DOOM is the major outlier here, so let's take a look at another graph I made that looks at the actual percentile difference in performance for both the Normal mode and Turbo mode on the Dell G5 15 gaming laptop:
Far Cry 5 had no noticeable improvements in framerate, so the percentile difference was 0%. Apart from DOOM, it seems that Assassin's Creed: Odyssey and the Resident Evil 2 Remake benefited the most from enabling Turbo mode. Clearly DOOM uses a lot more CPU power, as that's the only way that makes sense to me for being such a huge difference. Additionally, compared to the other games it is much older and is optimised incredibly well, so it does make some sense here.
What is the benefit of G5 15 Gaming Laptop's Turbo mode?
Whilst the G5 15 Turbo mode made hardly any difference to FPS performance, it did almost completely eliminate any in-game stuttering, which is just as good if not better in my opinion. Where there was mild stuttering and frame drops on Normal mode, Turbo mode completely smoothed out and eliminated this frame rate issue in almost all cases. So we recommend turning Turbo mode on whilst gaming, especially if you start to experience any frame drops or mild to severe stuttering.
For example: In the case of Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, we found that the Dell G5 15 gaming laptop had some severe stuttering issues on normal mode with a GTX 1660 Ti mobile, making it nearly unplayable. With Turbo mode the stuttering issue in AC Odyssey was almost completely eliminated and the game was made playable.
Living with the Dell G5 15
In our experience we found the laptop to be quite loud during gaming (noticeable, but not distracting), Turbo mode added to the noise but not by much in all honesty. If you’re interested, we recorded the decibels during Normal and Turbo mode and discovered that during normal mode the noise level was 50.1db, and on Turbo mode it was at 53.2db.
If you’re wondering what that comparatively sounds like, apparently 50 db is equivalent to light traffic, which may sound daunting at first but its really not that bad. Honestly if you’re wearing headphones it’s barely noticeable, but I would feel awkward gaming on the train or in other quiet public spaces with it. However, this only kicks in when the fans get going during gaming. When not gaming the sound was negligible.
In terms of heat it got quite warm but again, not that bad. I wouldn’t have it on your lap for extended periods of time, but your fingers will feel a bit warm from the keyboard.
Laptop price to performance comparison
Name CPU GPU Ram P2P Price ¬¬azn:Dell G5 15 Gaming Laptop GTX 1660 ti[Dell G5 15]¬¬ ¬¬p_id:2628[i7-9750H]¬¬ ¬¬gc_id:4990[GTX 1660 Ti mobile 6GB]¬¬ 8GB ¬¬laptop:gc:4990|p:2628|ram:8|price:1249.99[info]¬¬
(£1,299 UK store)
¬¬azn:Dell G5 15 Gaming Laptop RTX 2060[Dell G5 15]¬¬ ¬¬p_id:2628[i7-9750H]¬¬ ¬¬gc_id:4091[RTX 2060 Mobile]¬¬ 16GB ¬¬laptop:gc:4091|p:2628|ram:16|price:1599.99[info]¬¬
(£1,529 UK store)
¬¬azn:Dell G5 15 Gaming Laptop GTX 1650[Dell G5 15]¬¬ ¬¬p_id:2628[i7-9750H]¬¬ ¬¬gc_id:4993[GTX 1650 Mobile]¬¬ 8GB ¬¬laptop:gc:4993|p:2628|ram:8|price:1049.99[info]¬¬
¬¬azn:Alienware M15 Gaming Laptop GTX 1660 ti[Alienware M15]¬¬ ¬¬p_id:2611[i5-9300H]¬¬ ¬¬gc_id:4990[GTX 1660 Ti mobile 6GB]¬¬ 8GB ¬¬laptop:gc:4990|p:2611|ram:8|price:1349.99[info]¬¬
(£1,649 UK store)
¬¬azn:Alienware M15 Gaming Laptop RTX 2070 Max-Q[Alienware M15]¬¬ ¬¬p_id:2628[i7-9750H]¬¬ ¬¬gc_id:4879[RTX 2070 Max-Q]¬¬ 16GB ¬¬laptop:gc:4879|p:2628|ram:16|price:2269.99[info]¬¬
(£1,999 UK store)
¬¬azn:Alienware Area 51M Gaming Laptop RTX 2060[Alienware 51M]¬¬ ¬¬p_id:2602[i7-9700]¬¬ ¬¬gc_id:4091[RTX 2060 Mobile]¬¬ 16GB ¬¬laptop:gc:4091|p:2602|ram:16|price:2549.99[info]¬¬ $2549.99
(£1,948.99 UK store)
¬¬azn:Alienware Area 51M Gaming Laptop rtx 2080[Alienware 51M]¬¬ ¬¬p_id:2569[i9-9900K]¬¬ ¬¬gc_id:4088[RTX 2080 Mobile]¬¬ 16GB ¬¬laptop:gc:4088|p:2569|ram:16|price:4249.99[info]¬¬
(£3,198.98 UK store)
Dell G5 15 laptop performance conclusions
All in all, the Dell G5 15 gaming laptop is pretty good for on-the-go gaming. For the price you’re paying it can run current games really well and isn’t that heavy to carry around. The GTX 1660 Ti mobile is a great GPU and gets pretty good performance on most modern games, plus the Turbo Mode eliminating stuttering is a great bonus.
Apart from a few small issues, that are common on gaming laptops, like the noise and heat, this G5 15 feels like a good option for the gamer on-the-move. Whether on long journeys, staying at hotels or even on the beach or the arctic tundra, you can comfortably play your favourite games with minimal gaming performance issues.