Gigabyte Aero 15 Review – NVIDIA RTX Laptop

by birtanpublished on April 12, 2021

This is Lisa from mobile tech review and this is the gigabyte arrow 15 why is that exciting because this is one of the first thin and light gaming laptops with the new Nvidia r-tx 20 series card so this is available with your choice of an Nvidia RTX 2070 max QR 20 80 max Q it's too thin to have the non max cube version 9 X cube version being you know the drill from the last generation models the one that uses less power doesn't get quite as hot quite as loud that sort of thing otherwise we saw the Intel eighth generation six core CPUs inside but now we have a core i7 and a core I nine overclockable option inside

We're gonna look at it now so for those of you who follow gigabyte you'll recognize that this is the same chassis as they used last year and that's not really a bad thing because a lot of people like that chassis including me it's very thin it's eighteen point nine millimeters it's very light four point four pounds which is two kilograms and it's kind of classy and understated looking and you've got a lot of ports here much more than on your usual thin and light even gaming laptop including some unusual things we have actually Gigabit Ethernet on board

That's nice Thunderbolt 3 we kind of expect to see that now three USB ports so plugging peripherals in is not going to be a problem and they're kind of signature fast UHS to SD card slots so content creators love that because well fast SD card access means faster import times you get the idea so beyond that there are two display options I think they noticed that everybody liked that LG full HD panel that was available last year so now they're saying if you go with the full HD matte IPS display it will be an LG panel and it's 144 Hertz so it's fast refreshed always nice

Because today's laptops are powerful enough to actually play well above the usual 60 Hertz or 60 frames per second playability now they have extra Pantone sticker on there and they say that each one is factory calibrated well not the one that we go we'll talk about that more in a display section but there's also a 4k uhd wide gamut option and that was an au Optronics display and maybe up chimes does make the lion's share of the 4k 15 inch wide gamut panels now that one is also matte and non touch now they're doing something kind of weird here and gigabytes software is not

Their strong point if you watched my review of last year's model and quirky drivers things like that well so they're handing on some of their workload perhaps to Microsoft and Microsoft Azure which is a cloud services kind of thing that your normal everyday consumer really doesn't think about or have any involvement with but one of the things that a juror does is AI stuff so the idea is here you have to give it a little consent and then there's a couple of different modes you can choose from in this AI software as to how the laptop is going to perform you want all our

Gaming performance you want to kind of mill the road so it's sort of an AI based power plan and it's not really very effective so far it does you know it might make a three frames per second difference in your game which is not a game-changing kind of thing at all so there's that marketing yeah when it comes to the software and drivers on this they are getting better thank goodness because I really love the last gen Aero I always wanted to buy one I love those two m2 SSD slots so it's more expandable than average to ram slots inside easy to open up and get inside

Unlike some of the seuss thin and light gaming laptop models but the drivers of the software particularly with every update of Nvidia graphics and seeing the thing just got blue screen II and crashing and all that sort of thing this has been more stable and I had to get one blue screen and then had to do with Nvidia drivers even though we're using it with the stock drivers that is shipped with which are the most current but things are getting better there and their software is much more mature looking now much more modern used to look kind of cartoony and old-fashioned

So you can see on screen that the setting it's a control of everything looks very nice and I like the way they have this quick list that you can see if you have the latest version of the various drivers that are available which more manufacturers would make something that clear to the end-user battery life is another thing that was really sometimes really great about the last gen Aero it has a 94 watt hour battery that is absolutely huge and the chassis this slim and light now that the L XPS 15 has even a slightly larger battery but that is also a laptop with a

Much less powerful GPU so we expect longer battery life there but the fact that this has Nvidia Optimus switchable graphics means that if you're doing everyday productivity work or streaming your video right you expect longer battery life it's gonna use Intel integrated UHD 630 graphics most of the time the last gen model was kind of unpredictable I don't know what it was doing a power plant so sometimes it seemed like it kept the Nvidia card engaged all the time when it should have and battery life could be three hours or it could have been six and a half hours

It was all over the place so far with this one and we will keep testing it and I will update you all on social media if I see anything change it is much more consistent it behaves properly maybe that Microsoft Azure AI is doing its part right so typically when I'm off the charger I'm getting like six six and a half hours of battery use when the display set at 115 and switches around between 40 and 50 percent brightness so that's pretty respectable for a laptop that's powerful comes with the usual 230 watt power brick now the interesting thing is even if you go with a core i9

And an RT X 2080 you're still gonna get that 230 watt power brick so I'm kind of wondering about the power constraints for those more powerful configurations but I can't say because we don't have them more powerful well in line other niceties include a perky RGB backlit keyboard and it's a little the software is a little confusing and there are a couple of presets you if you're over watch preset your first-person-shooter thing which does highlight individual keys in different colors if you go into roll-your-own I found a little bit opaque as to how you and set each key a

Different color but it can do that at any rate there's good news and bad news with the keyboard just like last year I really like the tactile feel of the keyboard has good travel it has good dampening a nice spring return of the keys so it feels very crisp but the one thing is be careful what you ask for for those who want a number pad that means that the main section of the keyboard is shifted very far off to the side and feels a little cramped a little netbook like and the trackpad is fairly far offset to it it's certainly not gonna be centered under the spacebar

So it's something that you have to get used to if it's you're gonna be your main laptop it's probably fine you will get used to it unless you're really big hands on is but if you switch from a work computer to this one to another computer and then it may be a little every time you start using it but other than that it's nice to type on and they have n key rollover for gaming that sort of thing you can press more keys and you have fingers and suppose it will keep track it is a Microsoft precision trackpad it's a pretty good size it behaves very

Well it's good stuff they're happy to see that because some gaming laptops still have dicey trackpad so how about performance and how about cooling right we're putting a next-generation GPU in here we keeping the CPUs the same but as we know from all the last generation thin and like gaming laptops there huh monsters you know and this one they are certainly using BIOS to limit the CPU and the GPU so that means that when you're gaming you'll see core temperatures here at nineteen ninety-two sometimes ninety three at most and there

Will be thermal throttling give it nothing in like this is that it probably isn't a bad idea much as you folks who want to squeeze everything out of your laptop might not be too happy about this so I can understand why they did that so now we're not seeing hit a hundred degrees centigrade stay there which is the maximum allowable before the CPU might hurt itself for the NVIDIA r-tx card we have the RT X 2070 max Q version there's also a 2080 option too and we have the Core i7 8750 HK we don't have the core i9 option so potentially you can have even more

Heat involved and more throttling but for the card it looks very promising besides of active does ray-tracing which not a lot of games support yet and we haven't really seen the fruits of that in deep learning for performance that sort of stuff it is a faster card but if you're playing games at 1080p then your gaming maybe 10% of performance which is nice but it's not earth shattering we just can't expect Nvidia to do amazing things with every generation usually a couple of generations they have a huge performance leap so there's that and then there's the fact that the max-q

Versions really their base clock speeds are significantly lower than the desktops and last year with the GTX series the desktops and laptops are almost the same base clock speeds so you might be clocked at 1500 megahertz from your base clock speed on a desktop version of an RT X 1070 but for the max q model here the base clock is often as low as like 735 megahertz now gigabyte this a little better than that we're in the midday hundreds for that clock speed so you're not going to see comparable performance to the desk up cards in this generation

Not from max-q anyway when we review some of the the full-on non max-q versions I expect to see somewhat better performance even that said again you've got about 10% and particularly it's going to be more noticeable the performance improvement with direct x12 titles because that's where the r-tx cards really start to shine and obviously if you care about ray tracing when it is available in more games then yeah given the max q version of this on this is not so much of a 4k gaming laptop if you get that 4k display you is probably still going to want to play a

1080p if you're expecting 60 frames per second or above about that 4k display there I think is for people who buy this to do content creation and that makes a lot of sense more pixels more gamut now but for physical casing temperatures for those who are not into the whole core temperature thanks so much do you remember the msi GS 60 ghost pro I had one of those several years ago and it was one hot customer is one of the first very thin and light powerful 15-inch gaming laptops this one certainly carries on that kind of tradition it gets very hot on the bottom when you're

Gaming I'm talking about 61 degrees centigrade which is a hundred and forty two degrees Fahrenheit I like my tea at about 142 degrees Fahrenheit not my laptop so there's lots of grill going on on the bottom and the hottest spot is in the center where there's a lot of open grill to wise things sensei will tell you here number one do not put this directly on your legs you will hurt yourself literally if you are gaming number two don't do that because you're gonna block the fence and the thing will run even hotter so put it on a laptop cooler or a laptop platform a magazine

Whatever you have when you're talking about the keys up top it's above human body temperature – it's over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit where 98.6 us humans so it's not as hot near the top most of the heat is gonna be at the bottom now if you're using this for productivity work for streaming video it'll get warm you know again just a few degrees above human body temperature but not hot it's gonna you'll notice it's warm but you want to go out work us making me sweat so have no fears if you're gonna be using mr. productivity and when it comes to

Fanboys these are very high quality fans they did a good job with that if you're gaming you certainly will hear them but they're not grading they're not annoying they're just moving a lot of air if you're doing productivity work a streaming video the fans will be spinning very slowly you actually won't hear them you'll probably think that they're not even on so now for a little more detail about the display we have again the Full HD when we don't have the 4k one it is an LG display as they promised and they promised it y'all be getting an LG display to this Pantone

Certification thing you know it's interesting they and their software they have a control panel there and you can actually choose different color temperature profiles and stuff like that ours is most certainly not particularly factory calibrated it has good brightness it has the expected good gamut but the color temperature is way off from what I selected when I selected the ideal 6500 Kelvin it measured around 7700 the gamma on this is way too low the contrast is not great because the black levels are kind of high so I noticed when I was playing things like

Shadow of the Tomb Raider some of those interior cave scenes they're kind of dark and lacking in contrast already and I felt a little bit hobbled by the 641 contrast ratio here's helping the 4k panel is better for that it's not a terrible panel it's very pleasing looking if you're playing a brighter game like say Far Cry 5 where most of the time you're running around in beautiful blue skies Montana then is good in terms of sound you'll probably want to use your headphones if you're gaming the building speakers are not bad they're 2 watt speakers and you've got

Two of those for stereo sound and just like MSI now they're using the hemic 3 audio software which I have nothing against it and some 3ds sound effects and stuff like that the the volume is pretty much average for a 15-inch laptop and the bass is not terribly strong but for the thin and light 15 inch laptop that's not unusual either headphone audio is quite nice on this though so to open this up torques t-50 mindful that there is a little black sticker on these three screws you have to poke through the sticker and unscrew them there's no anti-tamper language or anything on the

Laptop I think they just want to know if you have been in Sun so then you pry it off with a guitar pick or something similar I use the iFixit tool but guitar picks work as well to work your way around pop off cover and here's what's inside so here's our heatsink with two heat pipes shared between them so they've beefed up the heat sink a little bit now we're covering more of the video RAM for the GPU the VRMs are covered so that's that's good it's a minor change relative to what they had before – RAM modules as you can see here we have ddr4 26 66

Megahertz a Samsung Ram they're big I'm pointing out those are using Samsung branded Ram to get the 16 gig configuration it's single channel because there's only one Ram module I would still prefer that though because that way if you want to upgrade to 32 gigs later you can just pop in another 16 gig module then you have your dual Channel and you want to throw anything away and in theory you could go up to 64 gigs with the new with 32 gig games that are available this is an Intel m2 nvme SSD so that's a pretty high-end fast SSD and they've got a little bit of heat

Material on top to help keep that cool in fact it does run just fine and here is our second m dot 2 nvme slot so you can put two SSDs in here and nice fast storage right and lastly there's our killer 1550 I Wi-Fi card which is actually made by Intel NC Intel 95/60 ac card for the hardware so for those of you who hate killer but like Intel there you go no such bad news after all and obviously our two speakers flanking right there down firing the two fans exhaust from the back and yes there is a little crevice here it's kind of hidden behind a display hinge like Apple does

With the MacBook Pro model but it seems to get the air out fairly effectively so that's the gigabyte Aero 15 with NVIDIA r-tx graphics as I refresh at the very end of January 2019 and just like last year I really like this chassis a lot it's very mature very clean you might call it a little plain depending on your taste some people like the more bling kind of look but the ports on here the Ethernet that's under ball 3 with full 4 lanes the fast SD card slot let's check a lot of boxes a decent not full HD display with fast refresh or 4k uhd option that's nice perky RGB lighting

You get the idea there's a lot of nice things here the software certainly has improved since last year but some things like that Micra sure microsoft azure any I think seem more like a gimmick to me and I think they're doing themselves a disservice by distracting you from the things that are good about this laptop I'm Lisa for mobile tech review be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more cool tech videos including a whole lot more in video r-tx coverage and thumbs up if you like who's been

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