How hot does the all AMD based Dell G5 special edition gaming laptop get under different workloads?
I’ve tested temperatures with the entry level Ryzen 5 4600H and Radeon RX 5600M configuration and also compared it with the more expensive option. I’ve got the lowest version of the G5 SE here, which means we’ve got these specshowever I’ve already tested the higher specced 4800H model too so we’ll compare results as well.
Air comes in through the vents underneath which are positioned above the fans, however on the inside of the bottom panel there’s a dust filter mesh which may limit the air flow. There are no exhaust vents on the sides, air comes out from the two corners on the back. When the lid is open it’s not exactly blocking the vents, but hot air does blow onto the screen. There are a couple of fans inside along with two heatpipes shared between CPU and GPU, and there appears to be a pipe dedicated to VRM coverage. As the G5 has an AMD Ryzen processor and Radeon graphics, it’s able to use smart shift which cannot be disabled. Basically this will dynamically shift power around to where it’s needed for optimal performance. This will probably affect results, however we’ll be looking at long term averages here.
The G5 has the G key on F7, pressing this enables high performance mode which boosts performance and sets the fan to max speed. No undervolting to the processor has been done as there’s currently no support for this with Ryzen mobile, however we will look at disabling turbo boost.
Thermals were tested with a 21 degree Celsius ambient room temperature. Idle results are down the bottom, and although it was much warmer when compared to most other laptops, the fans were also completely silent. Worst case stress tests were done with the Aida64 CPU stress test with CPU only checked and the Heaven benchmark at max settings at the same time, and gaming was tested with Watch Dogs 2 as I find it to use a good combination of processor and graphics. Under stress tests things were getting very hot, almost averaging 100 degrees Celsius on the processor, and that was whether or not I boosted the fan speed or limited the processor to base clock speed, only the cooling pad helped lower the temperatures, but according to Dell 100 degrees is ok.
The 5600M GPU was also quite hot here up to around 93 degrees. When playing an actual game it was a bit cooler, but still definitely on the hotter side. Limiting to base clock helped a bit more here for CPU temps, then the cooling pad lowered the GPU temp quite nicely.
These are the average clock speeds while running the same tests. Under stress test we see the biggest improvement to processor clock speed with the cooling pad, as presumably we were thermal throttling at 100 degrees prior to this. We can also see why limiting to base clock made no change to thermals under stress test, the CPU was already around the 3GHz base clock speed in this workload anyway. When gaming though best case we’re able to get up to 3.9GHz with the cooling pad, or 3.7GHz without it.
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to properly measure TDP as HWInfo doesn’t yet seem to understand smartshift, as a result it seems to be reporting the CPU and GPU combined in one sensor.
Let’s actually see how games perform with these different settings. I’ve tested Shadow of the Tomb Raider with the highest setting preset using the game’s benchmark tool. This tends to be more GPU heavy, so it’s interesting that by limiting the processor to base clock speed it’s performing the best in this test, perhaps the power that was no longer needed by the processor was able to boost GPU performance further, either way though no major differences in performance between these options. If you want to see more gaming benchmarks from this Dell G5 gaming laptop, check this article where I’ve tested 21 games at all setting levels.
Now let’s take a look at a CPU only workload with the GPU idle.
Here are the clock speeds while running the Aida64 CPU stress test with all the default options checked so we’re maxing out at around 4GHz over all 6 cores. This is a heavier CPU workload than the one I ran earlier in the combined CPU plus GPU test, however the processor was still around 99 degrees at stock raising fan speed with high performance lowered it to 95 and the cooling pad helped out a fair bit, though we saw the biggest temperature improvement by limiting to base clock.
These are the power levels reported during these same workloads though again not sure how accurate they are.
Here are some Cinebench results to give you an idea of CPU only performance when the GPU is idle. High performance mode gave the best performance, but using a cooling pad hardly offered a change. Running at base clock was lower, but as we just saw, also cooler, so that’s the trade off.
When we look at how it stacks up against others though the 4600H is doing well and beating the undervolted i7-10750H in the MSI GP75 which has the same core and thread count. The G5 with 4600H was also doing a little better than the TUF A15 with the same processor.
As for the external temperatures where you’ll actually be putting your hands, at idle it was on the warmer side compared to others, but it was only a little warm to the touch. With the stress tests running at stock the center of the keyboard gets to the mid 50s and it felt fairly warm but not hot. It was similar in high performance mode with faster fan speeds which makes sense given this hardly affected the internal temperatures as we saw earlier, and note the hot spots at the bottom of the screen.
I wouldn’t say the screen is blocking the air exhaust vents, but there’s definitely hot air blasting on the bottom corners of the screen despite the angle of the vents, but this could vary based on screen angle.
It was completely silent at idle, which explains the higher idle temperatures noted earlier. With the stress tests running at stock it’s around 47 decibels, then in high performance mode it’s around 50 with the fans at max speed, just slightly quieter than the 4800H model.
With all of that in mind, let’s see how this lower specced G5 compares against the higher specced G5, the key difference is the higher specced model has double the RAM and 8 core Ryzen 7 4800H.
In all cases, whether at idle, while under combined CPU plus GPU stress test, or gaming, the lower specced Ryzen 5 model was a few degrees warmer in CPU temperatures, as per the purple bars.
These are the GPU temperatures for the same tests and again the lower specced model was running hotter, though the difference was a fair bit bigger in some instances.
These are the CPU clock speeds for these same tests now it makes sense that the 4600H is able to clock higher, it’s got fewer CPU cores so that would allow it to reach these higher speeds.
When we look at the GPU clock speed it’s significantly faster for the lower end model too, far more so in the stress tests than I expected.
If you recall in the previous game benchmark review, I did note that the cheaper 4600H model of G5 was able to beat the 4800H in some instances, and this seems to be why, under heavy load it seems capable of hitting higher CPU and GPU speeds, though it does run hotter to achieve this.
So there we have it, under workloads where both the processor and graphics are active such as gaming, the cheaper 4600H model seems to run a bit hotter, however perhaps more interestingly in some cases it’s also able to outperform the more expensive 4800H model, I’m still looking into this and will do a full 20 game comparison soon.
At the end of the day, the performance from this new all AMD G5 is quite good without the fans going crazy. Not everyone is going to want to run their laptop at these high temperatures when under load, hopefully some of the other Ryzen based laptops I’m yet to get are able to do better in that regard, or maybe we’re going to have to change our expectations. It may be possible to improve thermals by changing the thermal paste, and as I did buy this machine I could do that, however I want to keep it stock for now for some upcoming comparisons. Let me know what you thought about the thermals from the Dell G5 special edition gaming laptop down in the comments.