GIGABYTE AERO 15 V8 (2018)
Gaming-grade speed in a pro form factor.
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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