Gaming

Aero 15 W gets CPU boost

Gigabyte Aero 15 W
Gigabyte Aero 15 W

Last week, Intel launched mobile processors featuring up to six cores under its latest eighth-generation Core branding.

These chips are meant for more powerful laptops, typically gaming PCs with a focus on performance.

Numerous gaming laptops using these chips were launched to coincide with Intel's announcement. Among them is the Gigabyte Aero 15 W, a refreshed version of last year's Aero 15 with the new six-core Intel Core i7-8750H chip.

This 15-inch laptop also receives a screen upgrade in the form of a 144Hz high-refresh-rate display, which can lead to a smooth gameplay experience.

However, it does not support Nvidia's G-Sync technology, which reduces stuttering by synchronising a game's frame rates to the screen's refresh rate.

This screen is surrounded on three sides by a narrow 5mm bezel. This near-bezel-less look is popular in ultrabooks, but remains a novelty in gaming notebooks.

Viewing angles are very wide and colours look lush, thanks to the use of an in-plane switching panel.

  • SPECS

    PRICE: $3,199

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-8750H (2.2GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5

    RAM: 16GB DDR4

    SCREEN SIZE: 15.6 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: 2 x USB 3.1, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2, Thunderbolt 3 port, HDMI, mini-DisplayPort, Ethernet port, SD card reader, audio jack

    BATTERY: 94 watt-hour

    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

Its design remains mostly unchanged and looks more functional than snazzy from the outside. Its lid is bland with a rectangular motif that I found unappealing. However, it is pleasingly slim and lightweight at around 2kg.

The keyboard, though, is as flashy as it gets. Each key has its own individual LED backlight, so you can customise it.

Its mid-range GeForce GTX 1060 graphics chip can comfortably run most games without a hitch with all of the eye-candy graphical effects enabled.

So how does the new Intel chip with its extra cores fare against older quad-core models?

To test its processing prowess, I ran the Cinebench test suite based on the Cinema 4D animation software.

The Aero 15 W scored 1,144 points in the multi-core segment, which uses all its processing cores in a rendering test. This is impressive, considering that Intel's own desktop-class Core i7-7700K manages a score of only 998 points, albeit with only four cores.

But the processor's impact is less obvious in gaming performance. The Aero 15 W managed about 66 frames per second (fps) in Crysis 3 at maximum setting and at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. This is close to the 63fps for last year's model.

I like its comprehensive selection of ports, which includes the speedy Thunderbolt 3 interface. Its HDMI 2.0 port lets it display 4K content on supported displays at the maximum 60Hz.

Gigabyte also says its SD card reader supports the UHS-II interface that is significantly faster than the average card reader. This could be useful for those transferring large videos or photos to and from the laptop.

With a massive 94-watt-hour battery, the Aero 15 W impressed in our video-loop battery test, lasting about 61/2 hours.

The new Gigabyte Aero 15 W and its upgrades come at a price. At $3,199, it is $100 more than the launch price of its predecessor. But given the upgrades, the price bump seems reasonable.

•Verdict: Its upgrades may not impact its gaming performance directly, but the screen should improve the gaming experience. Its new CPU makes it viable for content creation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2018, with the headline 'Aero 15 W gets CPU boost '. Print Edition | Subscribe