This winter, it was time to help my son find a new laptop. He needed a well balanced system that could do most everything well. He’s a student with a focus on technology, he writes code, edits graphics, produces video and music, and spends a lot of time on-line. He’s also an avid gamer that likes to stream on Twitch.
His system would need a screen on the larger side to accommodate multiple windows, but it still needed to be portable for school. The keyboard needed a true number pad for coding, crisp clicks and a back-light for gaming were also a must. He also needed a lot of connectivity options for robots, musical devices, microphones, headsets, cameras, and the other equipment his endeavors required.
Whatever system we chose would also need an exceptional GPU. With a budget of eight-hundred dollars, I knew we would have to make concessions somewhere. Often, when shopping for laptops that include a powerful GPU, the other components are also top of the line, weather you need them to be or not. I was hoping to trade CPU and RAM for video performance to stay in budget, but wasn’t having much luck at first. If a system had an Nvidia Ti GPU it also had an I-7 CPU and 16 gigs of RAM we didn’t need. Due to this, most of the laptops that had the features we were after came in closer to the fifteen-hundred dollar price point.
I knew that Alienware was Dell’s gaming line and had looked at several of their systems. I did not know at the time, that Dell also marketed another line of gaming systems known as the G series. I ran across them in a Best Buy and was intrigued. They were less expensive than the Alienware models but still included some of the features we were looking for. I also appreciated that they looked like a normal laptop rather than something that fell off a stealth bomber. After some research, we ended up with a Dell G3 15.6″ system.
I was able to find the unit on-sale for less than our budget. It has an Nvidia 1660 Ti with 6GB of video RAM. The card can run Destiny 2 at 1440P 60FPS on high, or at 120 FPS + at 1080P. It easily handles AutoCAD, Photoshop, and Illustrator duties as well. The laptop has USB-C with direct GPU (Displayport 1.4) pass-though and an integrated HDMI port. The heat pipe based, dual fan cooling system is able to keep up even when pushing VR games on an Oculus. In short, this is an unbelievable card to find in a “budget” gaming system. It easily out-preforms the Nvida 1050 in my Surface Book 2.
The 9th Gen Intel 9300H I-5 CPU keeps up with everything my son asks the system to do. At first I was concerned that the eight gigabytes of DDR-2666 RAM might not be enough for all the multi-tasking requirements my kid has, but I needn’t have worried. Windows 10’s superb memory management combined with the page/swap file being located on a high-speed SSD means he can open as many apps as he likes without noticeable degradation.
With 2 USB 2.0, 1 USB SS 3.0, 1 USB-C, a 3.5 mm headphone/mic jack, an RJ-45 network port, HDMI Out, A/C Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth all included, there are plenty of connection options for all of his extra equipment. He frequently has his Yeti mic, an external camera, and his drawing monitor all connected and still has ports left over.
He’s had the system for a little over two months now and has really put it through its paces. I’ve been impressed with the results. Especially when you consider the price. Dell has the laptop for around $1200.00 right now, but it you shop around it can be found for much less. Pay attention to the specs, there is an older generation of the G3 system that has a much weaker GPU and slower processor that is still being sold on-line.