Dell have recently rolled out a new iteration of their gaming laptop series, the G3. This new lineup of models have killer hardware specs, great performance ratings, and best of all, affordable price tags. The one I’ll be reviewing today is the series’ flagship: the Dell G3 I3590-5988BLK-PUS.
Not only are the new G3 laptops competitively priced, they’re also built to withstand the pressures of hardcore use over long periods of time. Its body is made of plastic, but not the cheapest variety. It doesn’t bend or flex under load and it feels rather nice to touch. The dark gray exterior features an electric blue line that envelops its touch pad, lower body and logo. Thankfully, these are the only flashy elements which have been added.
Thermal design is above average, but nothing cutting edge. The Dell G3 I3590-5988BLK-PUS features a dual fan cooling system, one for the processor, and the other for the graphics card. Furthermore, thanks to a central hinge design, airflow is sent directly to the laptop’s backside using vents placed near the two main heat emitting components. This helps the Dell cool off efficiently during gaming, a feature most users have appreciated with this model.
Distinctive features include a four zone back-lit RGB keyboard with WASD, Alienware command center, quality speakers and a “G Button”. What does this G button do? Well, it’s basically a shortcut (F7 key) that activates a special dynamic performance mode. It fine tunes the system and maximizes fan speed to give the laptop all the help it can get during intense moments, either when gaming or working the processor to its limits.
Hardware: a quick look
Dell G3 I3590-5988BLK-PUS Specs:
- Display: 15.6 IPS FHD LED-Backlit
- CPU: Intel Core i5-9300H
- RAM: 8 GB DDR4-2666
- Storage: 512 GB NVMe PCIe SSD
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti Max-Q
- Weight: 5.16 pounds
- Battery: around 7 hours
Jumping to the actual hardware components, I’ll start with the processor. The Dell G3 I3590-5988BLK-PUS is fitted with a 9th generation Intel Core i5-9300H unit. This quad-core (8-thread) CPU has a base frequency of 2.4 GHz which goes up to 4.1 GHz in turbo mode, 8 megabytes of cache size and a 45 Watt thermal design power.
If you’re wondering whether an i5 is somewhat under powered for a gaming laptop, don’t worry. It won’t prove to be a bottleneck and will not hinder your gaming experience. That H at the end of its name is a giveaway: it means high performance graphics. So, you’ll have performance similar to what you’d get out of an i7 from this state-of-the-art Intel Core i5 CPU. Benchmark scores currently rate it at around 9500 points, give or take.
The Dell G3 3590 comes equipped with 8 gigabytes of DDR4-2666 RAM. While this is an adequate amount for most people who’ll use this laptop well below its nominal performance, you may want to consider expanding it. Especially if you game on a level that’s above casual. Or if you intend to use the G3 as a portable workstation, as 8 gigs simply won’t cut it.
It has two SODIMM slots, both of which are occupied by two 4-gigabyte memory modules. If you want to upgrade and keep dual channel, you must replace both of them for a maximum of 32 gigabytes (2 x 16GB max). I wholeheartedly recommend upgrading the memory, especially since you save so much on other hardware components with this Dell.
Storage represents another area where Dell have always managed to stay on top of the game. The G3 I3590-5988BLK-PUS has a 512-gigabyte Intel Optane Memory H10 Solid State Drive (PCIe 3.0/NVMe 1.3, M.2 form factor). A roomy and quite fast SSD which benefits from QLC 3D NAND technology and Intel’s new Optane technology as well.
Also, this wouldn’t have been a Dell gaming laptop without giving users the possibility to further expand storage capacity. The G3 has an additional 2.5″ slot for an extra SATA drive. You’ll be able to extend storage space for whatever amount you may need if you feel the standard 512 gigabytes aren’t sufficient.
I’m excited to say that the new Dell G3 I3590-5988BLK-PUS has one of, if not the best graphics card out of all budget gaming laptops out there. Many of its competitors put the spotlight over CPU and RAM rather than graphics, but not the Dell. It’s fitted with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti Max-Q graphics card. Although not as powerful as its desktop counterpart, this GPU will handle 90% of modern AAA+ game releases well enough. For instance, the similarly priced Lenovo L340 Gaming notebook is fitted with a GeForce 1050 graphics card, but the difference in graphics is better illustrated by a benchmark comparison you can find here.
How does all this translate into real life though? Well, here’s a list of 10 popular games and the expected frames per second you can expect from playing at 1080p resolution, with the quality set on very high. Note that the number after the vertical bar represents the approximate performance increase if you decide to double the amount of RAM up to 16 gigabytes.
Dell G3 3590 estimated frame rates
- Fortnite: 60+ fps | 60+ fps
- GTA 5: 60+ fps | 60+ fps
- FIFA 20: 60+ fps | 60+ fps
- Apex Legends: 60+ fps | 60+ fps
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey: 55 fps | 55 fps
- Forza Horizon 4: 45 fps | 60 fps
- Battlefield 5 – 40 fps | 50 fps
- PUBG: 35 fps | 60+ fps
- GRID 2019: 25 fps | 45 fps
- F1 2019: 25 fps | 45 fps
As you can see, the GPU-CPU combo will allow you to play most of today’s popular games at high settings without compromising speed and responsiveness much. However, the real bottleneck appears to be system memory. This is an issue that’s easily mitigated by upgrading the RAM to at least 16 gigabytes. Yet, as a standard, out-of-the-box device, your new Dell G3 will struggle with some of today’s most demanding games.
One of the biggest issues that users had with the old generation of G3 gaming laptops was a dire lack of both brightness and vivid colors. Although its display isn’t necessarily low quality, the new Dell G3 I3590-5988BLK-PUS suffers from the same ailment as its predecessor.It simply doesn’t impress. Brightness is capped at 220 nits and it has a color gamut of NTSC 45%. Not enough for a gaming laptop, if you ask me, but not the absolute worst either.
It does, however, feature IPS technology, has an anti-glare panel, FHD resolution and a refresh rate of 60Hz. There are options to have a better, brighter, 144Hz display, but you’ll have to pay significantly more for it. Which honestly, beats the purpose of an all-plastic budget gaming notebook. I’d say this display is the G3’s biggest drawback, period.
Interface and networking options
Interface options are rather standard for a gaming laptop. You get the usual assortment of ports, with the added benefit of having a Display Port available via the new USB Type-C port. Therefore, you’ll be able to connect two additional monitors to your setup.
- 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C with DisplayPort
- 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x HDMI 2.0
- 1 x SD card slot
- 1 x RJ-45
Networking is again, rather standard for an everyday laptop, yet slightly under powered for what I would have expected. While signal strength is good, transfer speeds through the Qualcomm wireless card are limited to 433 Mbps. It won’t suffer from higher latency, but you’ll have less bandwidth available while streaming online content from multiple sources.
- Gigabit Ethernet
- Qualcomm QCA9377 wireless card
- Bluetooth 4.2
Portability and battery life
Now, portability is usually an issue with these affordable gaming laptops. And the Dell G3 I3590-5988BLK-PUS is no different. The whole system weighs a whopping 5.16 pounds. It is heavy, even for 15-inch notebook standards. So, carrying it around as an everyday laptop is somewhat out of the question. There are better alternatives. However, given its hardware and performance ratings, it’ll work just fine as a desktop replacement unit, or a semi-mobile device. As in, don’t commute with it on a daily basis, but take it to your friend’s house or pop it in your car while traveling.
Battery life stats haven’t been officially released. However, this year’s model features a smaller battery pack (51Whr vs 56Whr in 2018). This is OK though, since components have also gotten somewhat more energy efficient since last year, so there should be no battery life difference between the two. Expect around 6.5 to 7 hours of real-life scenario battery time when used lightly.
All in all, the 2019 Dell G3 I3590-5988BLK-PUS gaming laptop is a worthy option to consider if you’re on the lookout for a budget friendly gaming laptop. It ticks all the boxes that matter: great CPU, great GPU, solid storage and best of all, upgrade options. The few compromises that were made in key areas such as default system memory and display quality don’t take away from the fact that this is still a really competitive machine.
I think the Dell G3 looks good on paper, and in real life and if I were to recommend someone a gaming laptop that’s about $1000 give or take, I’d suggest this one without a second thought.
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