This is our detailed review of the 2020 Gigabyte Aorus 17G XB.
As the name suggests, the Aorus 17G is a full-size 17-inch laptop, a device meant to offer solid specs, performance, connectivity, and battery life, without primarily prioritizing on a slim form-factor.
And that’s a good thing and an approach I’d wish more OEMs would take with their 17-inch notebooks, as the thicker chassis allows Gigabyte to include a competent thermal module here, a big battery, a full set of ports and a unique mechanical keyboard.
This keyboard, alongside the overall exterior looks, are going to make or break the Aorus 17G for most of you. However, if you decide that you can live with them, this is one of the most versatile 17-inch performance notebooks on the market right now. You’ll want to tweak it for the best experience in games and demanding workloads, as the Ai software isn’t as smart as advertised, but we’ll get into that down below.
The specs sheet as reviewed
|Gigabyte Aorus 17G XB|
|Screen||17.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 px resolution, IPS, 240 HZ, matte, AU Optronics B173HAN05.0 panel|
|Processor||Intel Comet Lake Core i7-10875H, 8C/16T|
|Video||Intel UHD and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 8GB (80-90W Max-Q, GeForce 445.87), with Optimus|
|Memory||16 GB DDR4 3200 MHz (2x DIMMs)|
|Storage||512 GB PCIe SSD (Samsung PM981 MZVLB512HBJQ), 2x slots with Raid support|
|Connectivity||Wireless 6 (Killer AC 1650x), Bluetooth 5.0, Gigabit LAN (Killer E2600)|
|Ports||3x USB-A 3.2 gen1, 1x USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0b, miniDP 1.4, LAN, SD card reader, headphone, mic, Kensington Lock|
|Battery||94 Wh, 230 W power adapter|
|Size||405 mm or 15.9” (w) x 276 mm or 10.8” (d) x 26 mm or 1.02” (h)|
|Weight||2.72 kg (5.99 lb), .83 kg (1.83 lbs) power brick and cables, US version|
|Extras||per-key RGB backlit keyboard with mechanical OMRON gaming switches, 2x 2W bottom stereo speakers, HD webcam with cover|
Gigabyte offers the Aorus 17G in multiple hardware configurations, starting with an RTX 2060 GPU, but all the other aspects are identical between the different SKUs.
Design and exterior
You should take this for what it is: a full-size 17-inch laptop.
However, as you can tell from the small bezels around the screen, this is also fairly compact for the class and fairly light, at around 6 lbs, but definitely a thick boy by today’s standards. To me, that’s quite reassuring on a performance laptop with beefy specs.
It’s also somewhat brutal, industrial in design, with sharp edges, massive hinges, an open air-intake grill above the keyboard, and large exhausts on the back edge. These make the Aorus rather unique on today’s market, and something I’d reckon some of you will like, while others not so much. Just make sure to peel off all those stickers plastered on the arm-rest, they just cheapen the whole looks.
Gigabyte also built a very sturdy chassis here. Thick pieces of metal are used for the entire outer construction, so the interior barely budges even when pressed hard, and the screen is one of the most solid I’ve come in touch with in recent years. The silver materials used for the entire case also do a great job of hiding smudges.
But there are a few aspects Gigabyte could improve on a future Aorus generation. My biggest gripe is with the sharp front lip and corners, which annoyingly dig into the wrists on this sort of thicker laptop. The arm-rest isn’t very spacious either, as the keyboard is slightly shifted downwards in order to reserve the top for cooling, so unless you’re going to use this laptop on a spacious desk with ample arm support, you’ll feel those edges.
I’d also mention the limited back screen angle, the fixed nose-cam placed under the screen, and the fact that there’s a panel-lit logo on the lid-cover and an always lit power button placed above the keyboard. At least this button is fairly dim, and perhaps a 180-screen is not really that important on such a full-size notebook that’s going to live most of its life on a desk.
Finally, I am also bothered by the fact that the video ports, LAN and the PSU are all placed on the right edge, which is going to cramp up your mouse area if you plan to hook up things in these ports.
At the same time, though, the Aorus 17G offers pretty much everything you’ll need in terms of connectivity, with full-size USB-A slots, HDMI and miniDP for video, USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, a fast UHS-II card reader, LAN and separated mic/headphone jacks. Well done.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard is most likely what’s going to make or break this laptop for most, and the major aspect that sets this Aorus 17G apart from most other 17-inch notebooks out there, as Gigabyte implemented Omron mechanical switches here.
That makes the feedback deeper and more tactile, as well as each click a lot noisier than on a standard rubber dome keyboard. This noise aspect is especially something you should carefully consider in your purchase decision.
Now, for someone coming from ultrabooks and short-stroke keyboards, this sort of implementation is going to take a long while to get used to. Several thousand words later, I find this to be a very quick typer, but I’m still struggling with missed strokes and errors.
This is not a bad keyboard, not at all, it’s just different than what I’m used to and something I’d expect some of you will love, and others (probably most) will struggle with, so I’d recommend buying from a place that allows returns, just in case you decide this is not for you. Having used it for the last week, I think I can learn to like it long-term. But during this first week, our relationship was “complicated”.
Feedback aside, the layout and lighting system are standard for Gigabyte laptops, with all the keys the same size, and a full NumPad section. That makes the whole layout a bit cramped, and especially the arrow keys are rather squashed with this design, but overall this is a good classic layout.
Per-key RGB lights are implemented beneath each key, and they get bright enough on the highest setting, without any annoying light creeping from under the smooth plastic keycaps. The software allows good control over these keys, but I couldn’t find a time-out setting for the illumination, and there’s no physical CapsLock indicator, which is something I prefer having.
The clickpad isn’t very large, but the surface looks like glass to me and is smooth and nice to the touch. It worked fine with daily use and gestures, and I enjoyed the clicks and the fact that the surface feels rigid and doesn’t rattle with taps.
I’m not a big fan of having a finger sensor integrated withing the clickpad, though, as moving your finger over that area will interrupt your cursor and gestures, so you need to learn to completely ignore this part in the top left corner with daily use.
The Aorus 17G gets a 240 Hz IPS FHD screen, which is more or less the norm for the class these days, and a solid choice for daily use and gaming.
Sure, some notebooks offer 300 Hz panels as well, but 240 is fast enough on this Super 2070 configuration, especially if you plan to run recent games at higher graphics settings. There’s no GSync here.
Our tests reveal good contrast and viewing angles, decent colors (with a Pantone pre-calibration), and fair brightness, at a little above 300-nits. This might not suffice for very bright environments, but will do just fine indoors.
Here’s what we got with a X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:
- Panel HardwareID: AU Optronics AUO509D (B173HAN05.0);
- Coverage: 95.8% sRGB, 71.3% AdobeRGB, 73.4% DCI P3;
- Measured gamma: 2.06;
- Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 329 cd/m2 on power;
- Contrast at max brightness: 1193:1;
- White point: 7500 K;
- Black on max brightness: 0.27 cd/m2;
- PWM: No.
- Response: ~16 GtG (source).
About that Pantone calibration, for some reason, the White point and Gamma were pretty skewed on the Pantone profile on our unit, and we had to recalibrate to get towards the targeted 2.2 Gamma and 6500K point. That lowered the maximum brightness under 300-nits, but the calibrated panel ends up being one of the most uniform I’ve tested in a while, both in terms of brightness and in terms of color.
This panel also showed almost no light bleeding around the edges, which is a culprit with many of the 300 Hz AU Optronics panels I’ve tested lately. Light bleeding is a random issue on moderns lap0tops though, and I’m pretty sure we were sent a lucky pick here.
Hardware and performance
Our test model is a mid-specced configuration of the Gigabyte Aorus 17G, in the 17G XB configuration with an Intel Core i7-10875H processor, 16 GB of DDR4 3200 MHz RAM, 512 GB of fast SSD storage and dual graphics: the Nvidia RTX 2070 Super dGPU and the Intel UHD within the Intel platforms, which takes over with lighter use. There’s no GSync option, only Optimus.
Our review unit is an early-production model with the software and drivers available as of mid-May 2020 (BIOS FB04, Aorus Control Panel 20.04.13.01, GeForce Game Ready 445.87 drivers). Based on our findings and experience with these platforms, very little can change with future software updates, so our results are mostly what you’ll get with the retail models as well.
Spec-wise, the 2020 Gigabyte Aorus 17G gets an 8Core Intel Comet Lake i7-10875H processor, which outperforms the 6-Core i7s by a fair margin in demanding loads, but also needs a lot of power in order to support the higher speeds.
As for the GPU, what we have here is an Nvidia 2070 Super in a Max-Q implementation, with 80 to 90 W TDP limits between the performance modes. I was expecting a full-power 115W 2070 Super on this sort of full-size laptop, as this Max-Q version is rather what most OEMs put on their more portable options, but the Aorus 17G and 15G most likely share the same internal design, in order to keep costs at bay. We’ll talk about how the 2070 Super Max-Q fares against the full power 2070 Super in a future article.
The updated Intel platform also supports 3200 MHz DDR4 memory. Our configuration gets 16 GB of RAM in dual-channel, with 2x 8GB DIMMs. The two DIMMs are easily accessible inside from upgrade, where you’ll also find two M.2 SSD slots (with RAID 0/1 support) and the WiFi chip. Our unit came with a single 512 GB SSD, but a fast Samsung PM981 drive.
Getting to the components is fairly easy, you just need to pop out the back cover, hold in place by a handful of Torx screws. There were warranty stickers on two of these screws on our unit, so be aware that opening this up might void the warranty in some regions.
The Aorus Control Panel and Gaming & Professional AI are software particularities you’ll find on Gigabyte laptops.
The Control Panel is rather quirky and not very intuitive imo, but offers most of the needed functionality that allows switching between performance, fan, charging, and screen profiles. Still, Gigabyte hopes most users won’t even bother with these settings, and instead rely on the AI to seamlessly optimize the experience for them. This is supposed to juggle with CPU and fan profiles based on what you’re running. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t seem to affect the GPU aside from opting between 80 and 90W limits, but for the most part, it tends to do a fine job squeezing good performance out of the hardware inside. There’s is, however, room for further tweaking, and we’ll get into that in this section.
While this Aorus 17G is primarily a performance laptop, it can also handle everyday multitasking, browsing, and video, while running quietly and coolly. The fans remain active with daily use, but they’re pretty much inaudible in most situations, and you’ll only hear their faint hum in a perfectly quiet room. Here’s what to expect in terms of speeds and temperatures with Youtube, Netflix, Typing, and Browsing.
Now, you’re not going to buy an 8Core processor and top-tier GPU for Netflix, so demanding loads is where this platform shines.
On to those, we’ll start by testing the CPU’s performance in taxing loads, and we do that by running Cinebench R15 for 15+ times in a loop, with 2-3 seconds delay between each run.
On the standard AI (Blue – Download + Upload) setting, which on our unit includes a -70 mV default undervolt, the i7 processor stabilizes at 62+W, which translates in frequencies of 3.6+ GHz and temperatures of 72+ C, as well as scores of 1580+ points. It runs at higher power and clocks for the first 1-2 loops, though, and then the system limits it to 62 W. These are some solid results and temperatures, and the fans don’t run very noisy, at around 44-45 dB at head-level.
However, I’m not convinced retail units are going to allow undervolting, based on other reviews and the whole plundervolt situation. Just in case that’s not allowed, we’ve also retested without the applied undervolting, which resulted in a roughly 6% performance decrease, but similar temperatures and power limit.
Disabling the AI allows the laptop to run even quieter, at only 41-42 dB, but also limits the CPU at only 52+W on this unit, with a roughly 8-10% drop in performance. Finally, on battery and the AI Performance Mode, the CPU power is limited at 44+W, with fans at about 40-41 dB, and that’s excellent for the battery use. Details below.
The AI can be “taught” if you switch it over to the Green – Edge Learning mode, but this is a tedious process. What I did was open XTU and adjust the Power Limit and undervolting to whatever I felt comfortable with. In my case, I adjusted the Turbo Boost Power Max to 70W and put the fans on Gaming in the Aorus Control Center. Then I started running Cinebench. The Power and fan settings will revert to default Ai-Blue settings after a short while, and when that happens, you need to go back and readjust them. They’ll default back again, and then you go and readjust them to your settings again. 3-5 tries later and the settings are eventually going to stick.
What we ended up with these settings are constant scores of around 1700 points in the Cinebench loop test, with fans at 45-46 dB and temperatures of ~75-77 degrees C, which are excellent results for this test. Further tweaking might also be possible.
Unfortunately, though, switching over to a different app is going to revert again to the original AI-Blue settings, and I pretty much had to do the learning dance again and again for each app and game. Perhaps there’s a better way to make these settings stick on Ai Edge that I couldn’t figure out? Let me know in the comments if you have more experience with Gigabyte laptops.
For what is worth, though, most people would probably just resort to the standard AI Blue/Orange profiles, while power users will probably just disable the AI altogether.
We then went ahead and further verified our findings with the longer Cinebench R20 loop test and the gruesome Prime 95, on both stock AI-Blue and on our Tweaked AI-Edge profile.
We also ran our combined CPU+GPU stress tests on this notebook, on the Turbo -100 mV undervolted profile.
3DMark stress runs the same test for 20 times in a loop and looks for performance variation and degradation over time, and this unit passed it without a problem. Luxmark 3.1 fully loads both the CPU and GPU at the same time.
The CPU runs at 62W on the standard AI Blue setting, with the GPU running at only around 75W, as the fans default on Normal and that seems to lower the GPU power to 80-W. However, if we switch over to AI-Edge green settings (70W power, -100 mv, fans on Gaming) and overclock the GPU at +130 MHz Core, +200 MHz Memory in MSI Afterburner, the GPU ends up running a little hotter, but also at around 90W of power, and the CPU stabilizes at around 60W. That suggests a potential boost of combined performance on this Ai Edge Tweaked profile, which is something we’re going to further pursue down below.
First, we ran the entire suite of tests and benchmarks, on the standard AI Blue profile, with the -70 mv default undervolt. Here’s what we got.
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 18799 (Graphics – 21000, Physics – 22176);
- 3DMark 13 – Port Royal: 4495;
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 7645 (Graphics – 7438, CPU – 9079);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 4785;
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 14782;
- Handbrake 1.3.1 (4K to 1080p encode): 37.77 average fps;
- PassMark: Rating: 7107 (CPU mark: 19054, 3D Graphics Mark: 12579, Disk Mark: 17969);
- PCMark 10: 6483 (Essentials – 10095, Productivity – 8250, Digital Content Creation – 8880);
- GeekBench 4.4.2 64-bit: Single-Core: 5670, Multi-core: 31346;
- GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit: Single-Core: 1268, Multi-core: 7999;
- CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 1807 cb, CPU Single Core 197 cb;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 3724 cb, CPU Single Core 473 cb;
- x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit: Pass 1 – 245.86 fps, Pass 2 – 103.82 fps;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 35.71 s.
We then reran some of these tests on the standard AI Disabled profile with the fans on Normal, which lowers the fan noise and CPU/GPU power, as explained in the Cinebench section.
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 17830 (Graphics – 19962, Physics – 22091);
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 7403 (Graphics – 7136, CPU – 9401);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 4716;
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 14664;
- CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 1644 cb, CPU Single Core 198 cb;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 3517 cb, CPU Single Core 471 cb;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 36.12 s.
Finally, we went back to that tweaked AI-Edge CPU profile (CPU at 70W, -100 mV, fans on Gaming) + overclocked 90W GPU (with MSI Afterburner, at + 130 MHz Core, +200 MHz Memory) that we mentioned earlier. Here’s what we got in this case.
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 18672 (Graphics – 20789, Physics – 22030);
- 3DMark 13 – Port Royal: 4687;
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 8002 (Graphics – 7775, CPU – 9590);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 4949;
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 15333;
- Handbrake 1.3.1 (4K to 1080p encode): 38.63 average fps;
- PCMark 10: 6685 (Essentials – 10401, Productivity – 8779, Digital Content Creation – 8839);
- GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit: Single-Core: 1280, Multi-core: 8118;
- CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 1852 cb, CPU Single Core 201 cb;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 4039 cb, CPU Single Core 476 cb;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 34.82 s.
We also ran some Workstation related loads, on the Ai Blue and AI Edge, Tweaked profiles:
- Blender 2.82 – BMW Car scene- CPU Compute: 4m 56s (Ai Blue), 3m 28s (Ai Edge, Tweaked);
- Blender 2.82 – BMW Car scene- GPU Compute: 1m 8s (CUDA – Ai Blue), 35s (Optix – Ai Blue), 1m 1s (CUDA – Ai Edge, Tweaked), 31s (Optix – Ai Edge, Tweaked);
- Blender 2.82 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 15m 43s (Ai), 11m 13s (Ai Edge, Tweaked);
- Blender 2.82 – Classroom scene – GPU Compute: 3m 24s (CUDA – Ai Blue), 1m 57s (Optix – Ai Blue), 3m 15s (CUDA – Ai Edge, Tweaked), 1m 55s (Optix – Ai Edge, Tweaked);
- Luxmark 3.1 – Luxball HDR – OpenCL CPUs + GPUs score: 22892 (Ai Blue) – CPU not properly recognized;
- SPECviewerf 13 – 3DSMax: 178.1 (Ai Blue), 173.51 (Ai Edge, Tweaked);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Catia: 142.07 (Ai Blue), 134.36 (Ai Edge, Tweaked);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Creo: 192.55 (Ai Blue), 172.07 (Ai Edge, Tweaked);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Energy: 18.16 (Ai Blue), 18.07 (Ai Edge, Tweaked);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Maya: 264.21 (Ai Blue), 218.58 (Ai Edge, Tweaked);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Medical: 60.72 (Ai Blue), 53.74 (Ai Edge, Tweaked);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Showcase: 99.93 (Ai Blue), 98.99 (Ai Edge, Tweaked);
- SPECviewerf 13 – SNX: 21.37 (Ai Blue), 21.13 (Ai Edge, Tweaked);
- SPECviewerf 13 – SW: 97.09 (Ai Blue), 88.19 (Ai Edge, Tweaked).
So, is this Tweaking worth it? Well, not really.
Sure, the higher power and further undervolted CPU returns 3-7% higher scores in certain CPU intensive loads such as Cinebench or Blender, and the overclocked GPU also leads to similar 3-7% gains in some of these tests, but these are minor gains over the Ai Blue default settings.
The Tweaked profile doesn’t make much of a difference in games either, and what might have helped was the ability to run the GPU at higher power, which is something other OEMs are offering in Super 2070 Max-Q laptops on top settings. We’re going to have a separate article of the 2070 Super Max-Q at different power settings, and we’ll update once it’s published.
Now, as far as gaming goes on this laptop, we ran a couple of DX11, DX12, and Vulkan titles on the default AI Blue modes, and on the Ai Edge Tweaked profile, with the undervolted CPU and overclocked GPU. Here’s what we got:
|FHD – AI Blue||FHD – no AI||FHD Tweaked|
|Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, Ray-Tracing OFF)||106 fps (90 fps – 1% low)||–||113 fps (82 fps – 1% low)|
|Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, Ray-Tracing ON, DLSS OFF)||53 fps (40 fps – 1% low)||–||57 fps (46 fps – 1% low)|
|Far Cry 5 (DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA)||106 fps (70 fps – 1% low)||110 fps (77 fps – 1% low)||110 fps (77 fps – 1% low)|
|Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (DX 11, Ultra Preset)||154 fps (107 fps – 1% low)||152 fps (108 fps – 1% low)||161 fps (112 fps – 1% low)|
|Red Dead Redemption 2 (DX 12, Ultra Optimized, TAA)||79 fps (63 fps – 1% low)||–||85 fps (66 fps – 1% low)|
|Rise of Tomb Raider (DX 12, Very High Preset, FXAA)||109 fps (67 fps – 1% low)||108 fps (66 fps – 1% low)||112 fps (70 fps – 1% low)|
|Shadow of Tomb Raider (DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA)||92 fps (68 fps – 1% low)||88 fps (66 fps – 1% low)||96 fps (72 fps – 1% low)|
|Strange Brigade (Vulkan, Ultra Preset)||139 fps (105 fps – 1% low)||140 fps (106 fps – 1% low)||147 fps (112 fps – 1% low)|
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On 4)||98 fps (73 fps – 1% low)||95 fps (69 fps – 1% low)||104 fps (74 fps – 1% low)|
- Battlefield V, The Witcher 3 – recorded with Fraps/in-game FPS counter in campaign mode;
- Far Cry 5, Middle Earth, Strange Brigade, Red Dead Redemption, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included Benchmark utilities;
- Red Dead Optimized profile based on these settings.
As mentioned already, overclocking the GPU doesn’t make a big difference in games, but slightly increases the average performance and 1% lows across the board, with a minor bump in temperatures and fan noise.
The HWinfo logs below show the CPU and GPU speeds and temperatures in Farcry 5, Battlefield 5, and Witcher 3 on the stock Ai Blue profile.
The CPU runs at full power in these titles, but also hot, averaging temperatures above 90 degrees. The bump to 70W Max Power in the Tweaked profile doesn’t impact this in any way. The GPU, on the other hand, runs comfortably at around 74-76 degrees on stock AI Blue. Bumping over to the Tweaked profile, it runs at 100-120 Mhz higher clocks and jumps to 76-77 degrees in the same titles.
You can further adjust the fans’ behavior in the Deep Control panel of the Fan Control tab in the Aorus Control Center, and force them to spin faster. At max, they ramp up to 55-56 dB, but allow the components to run cooler and squeeze a bit more performance out of the GPU.
Still, that sort of noise is nearly impossible to cover up even with headphones, so what I’d rather suggest is limiting the CPU with Throttlestop, if the retail units end up allowing that. With an 8Core clock cap at 3.2 GHz, we end up with 73-75 C on the CPU and 72-73 degrees on the GPU, with higher GPU clocks and quieter fans, at around 44-45 dB at head-level. That’s just an example, but you can play with this limit.
Sure, some of the CPU heavier games take a hit (5-10%) in our case, but those GPU bound end-up running similarly in most games, thanks to the higher clocked graphics chip.
An ideal Gaming profile won’t cap the CPU, but instead smartly deactivate two or four of the cores when not required, since most games don’t scale well over 8Core anyway. This would be the sort of tweaking I’d expect from a Smart AI implementation and something that would put Gigabyte at an advantage over the competition. Limiting the CPU altogether in games is the simpler, brutal tweak, and helps lower the temperatures and noise levels by a fair margin.
Finally, the Auros 17G can somewhat game on battery, but while the CPU runs at high clocks, the GPU is limited in this case to around 35W. Again, I’d expect a smart AI setting to favor the GPU and limit the CPU instead, as that’s what primarily matters when running games.
Overall, the Aorus 17G is a solid hardware implementation that can achieve excellent performance, thermals, and noise levels if properly tweaked. But I’m not convinced by the Ai implementation, which seems to grossly favor the CPU and have little to no impact on the GPU, and that’s not the ideal way to go when it comes to games and demanding combined loads.
Luckily, Gigabyte can further improve this through software, and if they do, this Aorus 17G will end up one of the better hands-off gaming notebooks in its segment. As it is, though, you’ll have to manually tweak it in order to get it there, and I can only hope Throttlestop or XTU support won’t be gimped on those retail models.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
There’s an ample thermal system implemented on the Aorus 17G, with beefy heatpipes, large intake and exhaust fans, and two competent fans. Gigabyte even threw in a small SouthBridge radiator, which few other performance laptops include.
Even so, the power-hungry Intel i7-10875H CPU still runs hot on this notebook, as explained above, and that’s probably why Gigabyte decided to only go with a 2070 Super Max-Q GPU on this notebook. I’d reckon repasting should help lower these temperatures and lower the fan noise, and it’s something I’d recommend paying extra if you buy this notebook from one of the third-party resellers that offer it.
As it is, the fans run quietly with daily use and you won’t notice them in a regular school/work environment, but the CPU fan is always active and audible in a quiet room, even on the Silent profile. I haven’t noticed any coil winning or electronic noises.
With games, the fans ramp up to about 47-48 dB at head-level on the stock AI Blue profile, and around 48-49 dB on the Tweaked profile with the Gaming fan profile selected. That’s about average for a gaming notebook, but I was hoping for lower noise on this sort of a massive chassis.
Outer temperatures, on the other hand, are excellent here, with most of the interior sitting under 30 degrees even when running games. This is one of the most comfortable notebooks to game on out there.
*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, Silent Profile, fans at 27-33 dB
*Gaming – Ai Blue profile – playing Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, Turbo Profile, fans at 47-48 dB
We’re using a CAT S61 smartphone with a FLIR module for our thermal readings.
For connectivity, there’s Wireless 6 and Bluetooth 5 through an Intel AX201 chip on this unit, as well as Gigabit Lan. Our sample performed well near the router, but the speeds dropped a fair bit at 30+ feet away with obstacles in between, so the range seems to be a bit short here.
As far as the speakers go, there’s a set of them firing through cuts on the underbelly, and they’re about the average gaming-laptop speaker quality. They get fairly loud, at 82-84 dB at head level, but sound somewhat hollow and baseless. I’d recommend hooking up a pair of good headphones if audio is important for you, the integrated DAC seems fairly capable to my ears.
Finally, there is a camera included on this laptop, with a privacy cover. But it’s a nosecam and it’s fixed in place, as well as the standard muddy quality you get with most laptops these days, so not something I’d use more than occasionally.
There’s a large 94Wh battery inside this Aorus 17G, and that allows pretty good runtimes on battery. Just be aware that the screen runs at 240 Hz by default and doesn’t automatically switch over to 60 Hz when unplugging the laptop, and that takes a toll with daily use. You’ll have to manually switch over to 60 Hz if you’re looking to maximize your runtimes.
Here’s what we got on our unit, with the screen’s brightness set at around 120-nits (60%) and 60 Hz refresh:
- 14.5 W (~6+ h of use) – text editing in Google Drive, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 11.5 W (~8+ h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 10.5 W (~9 h of use) – Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 18 W (~5+ h of use) – browsing in Edge, Performance Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 65 W (~1h 30 min of use) – Gaming – Witcher 3, Performance Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON, no fps limit.
And here’s what happens on the default 240Hz screen setting:
- 13 W (~7+ h of use) – 300 Hz, 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 12 W (~8- h of use) – 300 Hz, Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
Gigabyte pairs the laptop with a fairly compact 230W power-brick, which still weighs around .83 kilos with the included cables in this US version. Refilling the battery takes more than 2 hours, and USB-C charging is not supported through the Thunderbolt 3 port.
Price and availability
The 2020 Gigabyte Aorus 17G is available from select retailers around the world.
The configuration reviewed here, with the i7-10875H processor, 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB of storage, and the RTX 2070 Super 90W GPU starts at $2399 in the US at the time of this post, and you go from there when you add more storage and memory. An RTX 2060 version is also available, starting at $1899.
Follow this link for updated configurations and prices in your region at the time you’re reading this article.
Hardware-wise, this is an excellent 17-inch laptop. It doesn’t try to be the thinnest or the lights in the class, but it’s still reasonably compact and lightweight, while not sacrificing on thermals, performance or features.
Sure, cooling the power-hungry Intel Comet Lake chip isn’t easy even on this sort of a chassis, and I would have expected a full-power RTX Super GPU on this thing. Furthermore, the Ai isn’t as smart as it could, and you’d still have to manually tweak this to reach the platform’s potential. Once you do it, though, the hardware package offers a balanced performance and gaming experience, with excellent framerates, excellent thermals, and fairly quiet fans.
The keyboard might brake the Aorus 17G for many, and that’s because it’s a mechanical and clicky implementation, different than anything out there. Not different bad, not different good, just different, so you’ll need to give it a try and see how it works for you. Thus, make sure to order from stores that allow returns. And if you do, pay extra for the premium pasting job, it’s normally about $50 on third party sellers and sure worth it on an 8Core i7 implementation.
This pretty much wraps up our review of the Gigabyte Aorus 17G, but I’d love to hear your thoughts and impressions down below, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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