If you are out in the market to build a gaming rig, its a pretty 'straight-forward' process. Of course, that’s the case for someone like me. But if you are someone who isn’t very adept with hardware, and don’t want to go through the process of getting the right parts, then there is the option of directly getting a CPU tower.
While there are some local brands out in the market, if you want peace of mind, then Dell has an interesting offering. The G5 gaming desktop is a fuss-free system offered in a rather compact chassis. Now, this isn’t a hardcore gaming PC, but it is more of an entry-level option that can even suit your office desk.
Probably the best thing about the G5 Gaming Desktop is how compact the chassis is. Its a mid-tower but is comparatively smaller than most of the products out there. I could easily slide it onto my desk without hampering too much space, and that is a big deal considering it is a gaming PC. The front of the case comes with a pattern of criss-cross lines and a single blue coloured LED strip running across. The left side offers a window that lets you gaze at the internals which is lit up with another blue LED, while the right-side panel is completely sealed. The thumbscrews for the windowed panel are easy to remove and gives you access to all the hardware.
Dell also bundles a very basic keyboard and mouse combo but both of them seem pretty useless as they look and feel quite dull.
On the inside, the G5 doesn’t look all that flashy as all the cables and ports are pretty plain jane. The unit I got came with a custom CPU cooler with a decent sized heat sink and fan along with an 80mm case fan at the back. Dell says that users can go ahead and expand the hardware. The motherboard offers four RAM slots, two of which are used, leaving the option of adding two more, which means you can go up to 64GB. Having said that, the spacing between the RAM slots could restrict high-end RAM sticks with heat sinks and RGB lighting. There are two M.2 slots, so you can have either two SSDs or an SSD with a Wi-Fi card. There is the option of installing a hard drive upfront, which our unit came with, and there are slots on the top to install two 2.5-inch drives with cables and mounting clips already aligned for ease.
As for the hardware itself, Dell sent us the top configuration that is available for customers in India. This includes the 9th-gen Intel Core i7 9700K with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 (single fan). There is 16GB of DDR4 RAM clocked at 2666Mhz and dual storage- 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD + 1TB 7200RPM SATA HDD. Dell also offers less powerful options which include the 9th-gen Intel Core i5 9600K along with either an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 or the GTX 1660 Ti. Rest of the hardware on our unit included a Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2x2) and Bluetooth 5.0 combo card and a 460W power supply.
There are a good set of ports including a pair of USB 2.0 Type-A ports, a USB 3.1 Type-A port, a USB 3.1 Type-C port, and separate headphone and mic jacks. At the back, there is an ethernet port with two USB 2.0 Type-A ports, four USB 3.1 Type-A ports, line-in and line-out jacks, while the GPU comes with video ports including DVI, Display Port and HDMI.
The config sent to us was capable of running almost every gaming title thrown at it. Sure, it isn’t a super powerful gaming machine, but the hardware is no slouch. I was a bit concerned about the temperatures especially since it is a small chassis, but it ran fairly cool for me. On peak load the temperatures touched 78-degrees Since I have a basic setup myself, I experienced excellent gaming performance at 1080p resolution. I tested a mix of Star Wars: Battlefront 2, Apex Legends and PUBG all of which consistently ran smoothly without any major issues. I could easily achieve an average of 100fps on all of the above games, with settings varying from high to medium. I also ran some benchmarks where it scored 6371 on PC Mark 10 and 4327 on 3DMark’s Firestrike Ultra. Apart from gaming, the machine should be able to handle creative software as well including the likes of Photoshop as well as video editing tools.
Dell also offers some software with the G5. There is the Alienware Command Center that lets you keep an eye on hardware temperatures and assembles all of your game library into one place. There is also the Dell update app that scans and checks for updates and drivers, while the Dell Mobile Connect app lets you control your Android phone from the PC.
Coming to the expandability part, you can expand or upgrade the storage and memory on the G5. While Dell says that the machine can fit an RTX 2080 GPU, I had my doubts about the chassis clearance and power. Speaking of which, the power supply is not your standard-sized but is rather long in size, like the ones used in servers, hence it seems that it cannot be upgraded.
As a whole, the Dell G5 Gaming Dekstop is a bit of a mixed bag. I really like how compact it is and the variety of ports is appreciated as well. But I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who likes DIY or wants to upgrade to better performance in the future. This is more of a ‘buy it and forget it’ sort of machine. This will be well suited for someone who wants a powerful PC at home or at the office for daily workloads along with the flexibility of churning out some gaming sessions.
Another matter here is the price. The top of the line variant, the one that I reviewed, is priced at Rs 1,11,590. I think considering the config one can build a similar system at just under a 1 lac. But then again, there is the whole ‘process’ which I mentioned at the beginning of this review. It involves researching for the right parts, checking compatibility, sourcing all of them and then bringing them together. If you want to avoid all of this hassle, then I definitely recommend getting the G5. It should suffice your everyday PC needs and provide excellent performance for 1080p gaming.