(Image credit: Dell)
The Dell G5 Gaming Desktop is a compact, affordable entry-level rig, but its cooling solution is limited and you can only do so much upgrading.
- Compact size
- Lots of ports on the front
- Limited cooling solutions
- Proprietary motherboard and server PSU
If you’re on a budget and can’t or don’t want to build a PC, there are plenty of options. Dell’s new entry-level gaming PC, the Dell G5 Gaming Desktop ($599.99 to start; $1,149.99 as tested), offers lots of easy-access ports and houses the rig in a compact mid-tower. What you’ll trade, however, is upgradeability for the future. So if you want to get the best gaming PC for you, this is a play for someone who wants to set it and forget it rather than tinker later.
The G5’s design is a bit of a mixed bag. It lacks creativity both inside and out, but it gets some points for being a small rig that could easily fit in small spaces (I say this as someone living in a tiny apartment with a larger PC).
The ports on the back of the motherboard are more sparse. Up top are audio in and line out ports. Lower down are four USB 3.1 Type-A ports, an Ethernet jack and two USB 2.0 Type-A ports.
You can easily remove the left-side panel by loosening two hand-screws. The front panel with the light also comes off, but you can’t remove the back panel at all.
There were two extra RAM slots on our unit, so you could go up to 64GB of RAM, but the slots are very close together. If you have RAM with coolers or RGB lights, they may touch.
Our G5 came with a 512GB PCIe-NVMe M.2 2230 SSD. If you want to switch that out, it’s simple, as the board has room for a 2280 in the same space. Some configurations come with HDDs. But since ours didn’t, there are empty hard drive cages. You can put two 2.5-inch HDDs up top and a 3.5-inch HDD in the front.
The motherboard also has x1 and x4 slots for extras, though the latter is directly under the GPU.
Beyond switching the processor (to anything that works with the H370 chipset) or the GPU, there’s not much else you can do upgrade-wise. If you want to replace the CPU fan, for instance, you would probably have to remove the entire motherboard to install a backplate.
HP has done a better job in a slightly larger chassis with its Omen Obelisk, which uses fully standardized parts, meaning you can swap them out more easily. And while it’s a pain to get the Omen Obelisk’s back panel off, at least it’s possible.
Gaming and Graphics
The Dell G5 we reviewed came with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 graphics card. You may not play every game on its highest settings, but this graphics card will get the job done for many. I played Control on high settings, and it hovered between 40 and 50 frames per second (fps) as Jesse fought off hordes of the Hiss. The two little fans were really loud, though, in their attempt to cool the whole case.
As we don’t see too many budget pre-builts pass through our labs, we’re comparing this to an oldie, the Acer Nitro 50. That had an Intel Core i7-8700 CPU and a GTX 1060, so the G5 15 should show some generational improvements.