GIGABYTE AERO 15 V8 (2018)

Gam­ing-grade speed in a pro form fac­tor.

APC Australia - - Contents - Joel Burgess

Gigabyte’s Aero range of lap­tops has at­tempted to bring pre­mium gam­ing com­po­nents to the ul­tra­book form fac­tor, and this newly-re­freshed Aero is no dif­fer­ent. Com­bin­ing a 15.6-inch Pan­tone colour­cal­i­brated screen, full­sized key­board, ded­i­cated Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU and a gen­er­ous 94Wh Li-Ion bat­tery within a slim 35.6 x 25 x 1.9cm chas­sis is an im­pres­sive feat. Com­bine this with one of In­tel’s new high-end 8th-gen mo­bile CPUs, 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 512GB SSD and you have a cut­ting edge gam­ing PC that slyly takes the shape of a pro­fes­sional ul­tra­book.

This has in­vari­ably lead to some de­sign choices that will be di­vi­sive — like drop­ping the web cam to the bot­tom of the screen, and giv­ing the key­board a frac­tion­ally off-cen­tre and slightly crowded feel. On the whole, though, these com­pro­mises seem to have been care­fully con­sid­ered and ul­ti­mately end up as mi­nor griev­ances.

Tak­ing prime po­si­tion at the top of the Aero 15 is that dis­play, which looks great in its near bezel-less frame. While the en­try-level con­fig­u­ra­tion we tested was only an IPS LCD at 1,920 x 1,080-pixel res­o­lu­tion, it’s upped the re­fresh rate from last year’s model from 60Hz to 144Hz.

Pack­ing the first six-core mo­bile CPU we’ve seen from In­tel — one of the com­pany’s new high-end 8th-gen Core i chips — the Aero 15 cut a swathe through our CPUin­ten­sive bench­marks. The raw CPU scores from Cinebench’s R15 bench­mark show that, on sin­gle-core tests, this lap­top’s new Core i7-8750H CPU scores only a lit­tle bet­ter than its i7-7700HQ pre­de­ces­sor in the ASUS RoG Ze­phyrus, with Gigabyte get­ting 156 to ASUS’s 149. This 5% per­core boost trans­lates into a 17.4% over­all boost in mul­ti­threaded CPU bench­marks when us­ing Win­dows’ ‘Balanced’ power mode.

How­ever, this CPU can be pushed con­sid­er­ably fur­ther by putting the Aero 15 into Per­for­mance power mode, which puts it 53.5% ahead of the ASUS, and fairly close to desk­top per­for­mance lev­els. In gen­eral work and home tasks, the Aero achieves sim­i­larly im­pres­sive re­sults — it pow­ers through tasks bet­ter than any lap­top we’ve tested with 16GB of RAM.

While the Aero 15 has gen­er­ous GPU power for a pro­fes­sional ul­tra­portable, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 model is middle-of-theroad when it comes to per­for­mance against to­day’s gam­ing lap­tops. It’ll still get close to, if not more than, 60fps on most early-2017 games us­ing Ul­tra set­tings at 1080p, al­beit with a few ex­cep­tions. Turn down those graph­i­cal set­tings a lit­tle, how­ever, and you’ll be able to re­ally put that 144Hz screen to use, with less­de­mand­ing ti­tles of­ten pump­ing out +100fps.

The Aero gets over 7 hours of movie play­back when in ‘Per­for­mance’ mode. The up­dated model does sac­ri­fice the 3,000/ 1,500MB/s NVMe SSD from last year’s model for a slower 500MB/s SATA SSD, but this is the de­vice’s only real step back­wards — and it’s a largely in­con­se­quen­tial one.


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