Dell G15 5511 review – so Intel is better after all?

This year, Dell has done a lot of work to make their semi-affordable gaming notebooks appealing to the users. To do so, the manufacturer has taken advantage of its Alienware brand and stole some design features from their series. Hense, the G15 5511 (and 5515) devices were born. The main difference between the two lays in the chipset. Today’s device uses Intel’s Tiger Lake-H45 architecture, while the 5515 comes with the Zen 3 from AMD.

Actually, you can find our review on the G15 5515 Ryzen edition here. And after we are done with this review, we are going to compare both devices. It’s worth noting that during the time between the two reviews, Dell has released a VBIOS update for the graphics card, which may lead to a performance benefit for the Intel-based machine.

Other than that, this device is offered with one of three display options. All of them have 1080p IPS panels, but the difference lies in the refresh rate – 120Hz, 165Hz, and a blisteringly quick 360Hz. Also, Dell states that only the latter two options cover 100% of the sRGB gamut.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-g5-15-5511/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Dell G15 5511 review – so Intel is better after all? - Specs

  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 8000GB SSD
  • RAM
  • up to 64GB
  • OS
  • Windows 10 Home, Windows 11 Home, Windows 11 Pro, Windows 10 Pro, No OS
  • Battery
  • 56Wh, 3-cell, 86Wh, 6-cell, 56Wh, 3-cel
  • Body material
  • Plastic / Polycarbonate
  • Dimensions
  • 357.26 x 272.11 x 21.32 - 25.33 mm (14.07" x 10.71" x 0.84")
  • Weight
  • 2.81 kg (6.2 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 2x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), Sleep and Charge
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • 2.1
  • Card reader
  • Ethernet LAN
  • 10, 100, 1000, 2500 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.2
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera
  • HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Dual Array Microphones
  • Speakers
  • 2x 2W, Nahimic 3D Audio
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

All Dell G15 5511 configurations

#CommissionsEarned

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, you will find the mandatory paperwork, as well as a 180W charger. If you opt for the more power-hungry RTX 3060, the device will be paired with a 240W power adapter.


Design and construction

As we said, the G15 5511 is part of the budget-conscious lineup of Dell. And it comes as no surprise that the entire notebook is made out of plastic. In contrast to the White version, the dark gray one doesn’t have speckles. Also, we found the laptop a bit heavy. It weighs 2.81 kilos and is about 25mm in thickness. That makes it thicker and heavier than the competition in the class.

On the bright side, the lid opens with a single hand. As you can see, the backside is elongated to accommodate the heat sinks. And while the bottom bezel looks thick, the top one is significantly slimmer and houses an HD Web camera.

Now, let’s focus on the base. There is a large grill above the keyboard. It doesn’t seem to serve a purpose other than radiating some heat away from the machine. Other than that, the keyboard is surprisingly similar to that of business laptops. The typing experience it provides is average at best, and honestly, the White backlight, the NumberPad, and the small Arrow keys make it feel like you are owning a Vostro.

Yet again, there is a four-zone RGB backlight option. To be frank, the touchpad isn’t that great either. It is small, has a rather large dead zone on click, but on the bright side – it’s pretty responsive.

Lastly, the situation on the bottom panel looks pretty standard. There are two speaker cutouts and a large vent for air intake. Respectively, the exhaust happens through a total of four grills – two on the back, and one on each side.

Ports

On the left side, there is a LAN port and an audio jack. On the right – you get two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports. Interestingly, on the back, there are two options. The RTX 3060 version has a Thunderbolt 4 connector, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, an HDMI connector, and a power plug. To make the RTX 3050, and RTX 3050 Ti options more accessible, they won’t come with Thunderbolt 4 certifications, and instead you “only” get a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port. Moreover, the two USB Type-A ports on the right side have a 2.0 speed.


Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance

To get inside of this notebook, you need to undo 8 Phillips-head screws. After that, gently pry the bottom panel with a plastic tool, and slide it away.

Here, you will find a 56Wh battery pack.

Thankfully, both the memory and the storage can be upgraded. This happens thanks to two SODIMM slots for RAM, and two M.2 PCIe x4 slots for SSDs.

To get access to the cooling solution you have to remove the entire motherboard. Before you do that, undo the four Phillips-head screws from the plastic bracket on the back. Then, pull it backwards.

After that, remove the Wi-Fi card and its cables. What you need to do next is to remove all the cable connectors. Be careful, as some of them are very fragile. Additionally, there are some screws that need to be removed. They are of Phillips type. Lastly, remove the motherboard with the fans, and the USB daughterboard from the chassis.

Here, you can see that the cooling comprises two heat pipes shared between the CPU and the GPU, as well as one more for each of them. Additionally, there are heat spreaders on top of the graphics memory and the VRM modules.

Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.dell.com/support/home/en-us/product-support/product/g-series-15-5511-laptop/drivers

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. This device’s 56Wh battery delivers 9 hours and 15 minutes of Web browsing, or 6 hours and 24 minutes of video playback.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.


CPU options

The processor choices here include the Core i5-11260H, Core i5-11400H, and Core i7-11800H.

Dell G15 5511 CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Dell G15 5511 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Dell G15 5511 model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.

Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)


GPU options

Graphics-wise, you can pick from the RTX 3050, RTX 3050 Ti, and RTX 3060.

Dell G15 5511 GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the Dell G15 5511 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Dell G15 5511 model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)


Gaming tests

Far Cry 5 Full HD, Normal (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Average fps 105 fps 98 fps 91 fps

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) Full HD, Lowest (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
Average fps 168 fps 127 fps 67 fps 44 fps

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Highest (Check settings)
Average 93 fps 83 fps 53 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Average fps 86 fps 79 fps 69 fps 42 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i7-11800H (45W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min Max Fans
Dell G15 5511 3.67 GHz (B+60%) @ 97°C @ 100W 3.54 GHz (B+54%) @ 98°C @ 91W 3.43 GHz (B+49%) @ 93°C @ 79W
Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH317-55) 3.67 GHz (B+60%) @ 90°C @ 103W 3.66 GHz (B+59%) @ 99°C @ 103W 3.40 GHz (B+48%) @ 99°C @ 84W
ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 GU603 3.87 GHz (B+68%) @ 95°C @ 106W 3.90 GHz (B+70%) @ 95°C @ 109W 3.58 GHz (B+56%) @ 86°C @ 80W
MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux) 3.12 GHz (B+36%) @ 96°C @ 68W 3.03 GHz (B+32%) @ 95°C @ 62W 2.76 GHz (B+20%) @ 95°C @ 53W 2.90 GHz (B+26%) @ 95°C @ 59W
MSI GE76 Raider (2021) 3.22 GHz (B+40%) @ 95°C @ 67W 3.11 GHz (B+35%) @ 94°C @ 62W 3.14 GHz (B+37%) @ 94°C @ 61W 3.26 GHz (B+42%) @ 94°C @ 64W
ASUS TUF F15 (FX506, 2021) (Turbo Mode) 3.98 GHz (B+73%) @ 86°C @ 102W 3.88 GHz (B+69%) @ 95°C @ 100W 3.44 GHz (B+50%) @ 87°C @ 77W
MSI Pulse GL76 3.16 GHz (B+37%) @ 95°C @ 65W 3.00 GHz (B+30%) @ 95°C @ 59W 2.87 GHz (B+25%) @ 95°C @ 55W
MSI Pulse GL66 2.94 GHz (B+28%) @ 94°C @ 58W 2.76 GHz (B+20%) @ 94°C @ 52W 2.77 GHz (B+20%) @ 94°C @ 52W

Given its price, the G15 5511 performs on quite a competitive level. Yes, the temperatures are high throughout the entire test, but the frequency at the end is pretty high as well.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (Max fan)
Dell G15 5511 1882 MHz @ 71°C @ 88W 1878 MHz @ 72°C @ 89W
Dell G15 5515 1857 MHz @ 76°C @ 80W 1850 MHz @ 77°C @ 80W
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-57) 1616 MHz @ 70°C @ 66W 1607 MHz @ 72°C @ 65W 1632 MHz @ 69°C @ 66W
MSI Katana GF76 1619 MHz @ 76°C @ 60W 1594 MHz @ 82°C @ 60W 1632 MHz @ 70°C @ 60W

Interestingly, this laptop seems to be the best performing RTX 3050 Ti device we’ve tested. It maintains very high clock speeds and works at a pretty low temperature. Even though the board power draw was about 9W higher than that of its compatriot the G15 5515.

Gaming comfort

To get these performance levels, you have to make sacrifices. The noise here won’t exactly be a problem, but the fans are not quiet, whatsoever. On the other hand, the hotspot on the keyboard is just 36°C.


Verdict

If your main purpose is to get a relatively affordable gaming laptop, then the G15 5511 is a great choice. It offers great performance, even with the RTX 3050 Ti. And it manages to stay cool at the same time. Interestingly, even though there was a VBIOS update for the graphics card, we were still unable to hit the 95W TGP limit. This time, there was more headroom in the cooling, even though the GPU was consuming more than 10W more power, and the frequency was slightly higher.

With that said, the Intel version of the device is definitely better than the AMD one. You get more processing power, better gaming performance, and surprisingly – slightly longer battery life. Well, at least when it comes to Web browsing, where we got 9 hours and 15 minutes. However, watching videos will drain the battery more quickly – for about 6 hours and a half.

You should keep in mind that neither the keyboard, nor the touchpad is gaming-worthy, and we advise on getting at least an external mouse. Also, the all-plastic build is a bit heavy for the class, especially in 2021.

Nevertheless, the upgrade options that include two SODIMM slots for memory, and two M.2 slots for storage expansion, are great. Unfortunately, if you need to service your laptop’s thermal paste in the future, you have to brace yourself for a long process. It’s not difficult, but the reasons to put the cooling on the inside part of the motherboard are puzzling for us.

Another thing you should keep in mind is that only the model, equipped with an RTX 3060 will get a Thunderbolt 4 connector. Supposedly to keep the costs down, Dell has not certified the USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port. And to be completely frank, we think that if you want to purchase a device, that comes with an RTX 3060, the better option would be the Lenovo Legion 5/5i.

At the end of the day, we have to praise Dell for the effort. Although it might be considered cheating, because of the similarities with their Alienware products (in fact, there is an Alienware logo imprinted onto the motherboard).

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-g5-15-5511/

Pros

  • Relatively affordable
  • 2x RAM SODIMM + 2x M.2 PCIe slots
  • 120Hz, 165Hz, and 360Hz display options
  • Good cooling
  • Decent battery life


Cons

  • Heavier and thicker than the competition
  • Thunderbolt 4 is reserved for the more expensive RTX 3060 model
  • Not the best input devices for gamers

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Freddie
Freddie
10 months ago

The proclamation that “Moreover, the two USB Type-A ports on the right side have a 2.0 speed” appears not to be correct. I would refer you to the 5511’s specification page: https://dl.dell.com/topicspdf/g-series-15-5511-laptop_setup-guide_en-us.pdf

Freddie
Freddie
10 months ago
Reply to  Alex Iliev

Thank you for sharing this crucial information. Frankly, I’m appalled any manufacturer would still equip their devices with USB 2.0 ports. It was released over twenty years ago.

Alex
Alex
9 months ago
Reply to  Alex Iliev

is the one in the back at least 3.0?

Freddie
Freddie
10 months ago

The reason I believe CPU, GPU and their cooling components are below the mainboard when servicing the device is because those same parts are facing upwards when the laptop is in its normal operating position, allowing heat to leave via the vents and the grille at the top more easily. Otherwise they would be below the mainboard where hot air gets trapped. It’s a minus in terms of servicing but a plus for efficiency.

JohnIL
JohnIL
9 months ago

I bought the 5511 model with core i5 and RTX3050 with 8Gb RAM and 256Gb Storage. Got a decent deal pre Black Friday and also got Black Friday deals and RAM upgrade and extra storage SSD I installed myself. I can’t complain too much on performance, and the only really weak area is the speakers which certainly do not provide gaming loudness or quality. But then again the G15 line is more Inspiron and not Alienware. Dell makes this clear on support that it is not a Alienware notebook. It does take some design cues from Alienware for cooling which… Read more »

Andy
Andy
9 months ago

I got the 3060 360hz display option overall I’m satisfy with it except the one thing that thunderbolt port 4 doesn’t charge the laptop, since Dell hasn’t mentioned anything about it, I hadn’t tried. The adapter is huge 1/3 size of the laptop, and seems to me lenovo legion/Asus ones can slowly charges you can still do things on it that isn’t gaming, easier to travel with…. It would of been perfect with a pd charging option

Fernando Venegas
Fernando Venegas
9 months ago

I have to say im a little disspointed to find PCI 3 slots for the SSD and no XMP profiles for High Performance RAM in BIOS, its a solid laptop for today´s but you are stuck for the future

Milen
Milen
9 months ago

Can this model work with 64GB (2x 32GB DDR4 3200)? Because in the official info from DELL it is written that maximum RAM size is 32GB (e.g. 2x 16GB DDR4)

Freddie
Freddie
9 months ago
Reply to  Milen

The manual is replete with errors. The laptop is available with 64GB dual channel RAM in my region.

RJ Guy
RJ Guy
7 months ago

I have a question about this laptop’s bios. Does it come with a basic one that looks like a basic bios or does it have the Dell one with the nice graphical interface you navigate with a mouse pointer with checkboxes? My old Dell G5 let’s me turn hard drives on and off. Example I have two hard drives with different windows installs and I can turn one off and one on or vice versa.

Alex
Alex
6 months ago

9 hours battery life? Please tell me how. I can barely squeeze 2 while browsing only.

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