When you think of a gaming PC, what comes to mind? NVIDIA graphics, beefy Intel Processor, high refresh monitor, mechanical keyboards, lots of RGB lights? Well, the new Gigabyte Aorus 17G has all those things crammed into a handsome laptop that is clearly designed for e-sports pros and Twitch streamers.
Hell, Gigabyte says the Aorus has been endorsed by world-renowned E-sports team, G2 Esports of CS:GO fame. Not convinced?
How about the fact that you can get 240Hz refresh displays, a mechanical keyboard with OMRON switches and clever networking features to help you game and stream? It also has the latest 10th Gen Intel processors and NVIDIA RTX 20XX SUPER graphics.
At a cost of $3,999, the Aorus 17G had better be good enough for the pros and everyone else.
So the question is, should you buy it? Oh yes.
Gigabyte Aorus 17G Review
The thing you’ll immediately notice about the Aorus 17G is its fantastic build quality. The pictures don’t do it any justice until you hold it in your hands and gaze upon with your own eyes. The Aorus 17G is a surprisingly good looking device with a gunmetal grey finish. It feels great to touch and does exceedingly well at repelling fingerprints and smudges.
Gigabyte has used a CNC milling process to carve the body of the Aorus 17G out of a single aluminium block. This makes for a very solid machine with virtually no flex to the chassis which is made even more surprising given the number of holes in this thing.
From the top of the keyboard deck, round the to the vents on the side and even the large grill that spans half the bottom of the laptop, this thing is well ventilated.
These vents all serve to pump air to and from the new Windforce Infinity Cooling system. The systems combine 5 heat pipers and two 12V fans with 51 blades each that move air through the chassis. Gigabyte says the new system is 30% more efficient than other systems.
Now, in reality, this meant fan noise was way lower than other laptops I’ve tested and the system actually maintained pretty good temperatures under stress. CPU reached a peak temperature of 94C but usually hovered around 89C during gaming while the GPU hit 77C on average.
This is very good for a 17-inch laptop that’s only 1-inch thick. However, at 2.7Kgs this isn’t the most commute friendly device but it’s certainly more portable than something like the Asus Mothership. Besides, we all know at this point that gaming laptops aren’t really something you should be using on your laps anyway; they are more like desktop replacements that function best when fully powered.What’s even more surprising given the slimness of the Aorus 17G is the presence of a fully mechanical keyboard.
Clackety-clack on the go
This is only the second laptop I’ve reviewed with one, the other being the Aftershock Vapor 15. I wasn’t impressed with the implementation on that laptop; it felt flimsy and cheap but Gigabyte’s implementation is literal night and day in comparison. The Aorus 17G uses OMROM mechanical switches which the company says is a world first. The switches actuate at 1.6m which gives a surprising amount of depth when pressed. They aren’t nearly as tactile as a desktop mechanical keyboard but are certainly much more than standard laptop keys.
However, the sensation is an odd one. The keys feel simultaneous mushy and crisp. Regardless, I really enjoyed typing on them and it might just dethrone the Alienware m17 as my favourite laptop keyboard. The keys have a lifetime rating of 15 million keystrokes which doesn’t seem like much compared to the standard 50 million found on desktop keyboards. So as much as typing is great on this keyboard, I wonder how long before these switches give out?
The keys, of course, have the gamer-standard RGB with a ton of options to customize via the Gigabyte Control Center. Gigabyte says it used a special concentric design on the keycaps that lets light shine evenly through and more vibrantly but they look weirdly foggy. I’m not sure if it’s the translucent material but the lighting just lacks the vibrancy close to something like the Razer Blade’s. Thankfully though, they don’t suffer the problem that the Gigabyte AERO’s do where the secondary functions on the number and Fn keys aren’t backlit making them unusable in the dark.
Underneath the keyboard is a great but smallish touchpad. Gigabyte has embedded a fingerprint reader into the top left corner which makes signing into the Aorus 17G such a breeze. The scanner is accurate and fast and is definitely the next best thing to Windows Hello facial recognition. I do wish Gigabyte had embedded the scanner into the power button as Asus does on the Zephyrus G14. But unlike the Asus machine, the Aorus 17G has a built-in webcam – something of a must-have in this lockdown age we live in.
Too bad it’s not a great camera – and that’s mostly because of its horrid location. It’s found underneath the display, sitting at the top of the keyboard deck. When in use, it’s essentially filming up your nose, which as you can imagine, doesn’t look very nice on Zoom. I guess I should be thankful that there even is a webcam when Asus chooses to do away with them on almost all their gaming laptops. And for the more security conscious, Gigabyte includes a shutter for the webcam so no once can spy on you through hacks.
A quick sidenote about the Control Center app — It’s still my least favorite brand software. It lacks sophistication and polish in it’s visual design and can be easily missed in your Windows menu. If I didn’t know it was there, I’d never have even used it. Regardless, when you do find it, it’s relatively easy to use. The Smart Dashboard gives you quick access to overall system performance profiles and another tab lets you change lighting.
Powered by Azure AI
Speaking of power, the Aorus 17G also surprises in the battery life department. In my testing, I was able to get the Aorus 17G to last 3.5 – 4 hours which isn’t anyway close to Gigabytes claim of 7 hours(but who believes manufacturers battery life claim at this point anyway?), but it’s still great. And thanks to the Microsoft Azure AI which learns your usage habits over time, battery life should in theory improve. What’s cool about Azure AI is that it uses machine learning to collect tons of usage data from every Gigabyte laptop out there and can use that to tune your laptop for optimum performance. It’s that age of the machines baby.
And it’s not just battery life that sees improvements because of the AI but general performance too. The Aorus 17G has plenty of horsepower to begin with but turning on the Azure AI ‘Download mode’ got me a few extra frames in games. I was honestly impressed especially considering that similar to NVIDIA DLSS, the Azure AI gets better over time as more data is fed into Microsofts databases.
Now let’s look at performance a little more. Our unit had a 10th Gen Intel i7-10875H with 16GB of system memory and an ultrafast 512GB PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD hard drive. An NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER provides the graphics and together, these parts put on a good show. In fact, when put against the almost identically specced Gigabyte AERO 17 HDR, the Aorus 17G came out ahead across all tests. This is likely due to the improved Windforce Cooling in the thicker machine.
The Aorus 17G runs games run better and quieter than any other Gigabyte laptop we’ve seen so far. At 1080p every game in my test suite run excellently with even the mighty Shadow of the Tomb Raider with Ray tracing on still managing above the holy 60FPS. However, I couldn’t get the Aorus 17G to hit the monitors native 240Hz refresh without really compromising graphics quality and even then, only in a few choice games like Fortnite, CS:GO and Valorant. Given the Aorus 17G is designed for esports pros where every extra frame rate is the difference between victory and defeat, I expected better. Perhaps the more powerful RTX 2080 Super chip could do better.
Certified gaming display
And speaking of which, the 17.3-inch, 1080p display of the Aorus 17G is certainly capable. Not only does it refresh 240 times a second, but it’s also a pretty good looking panel with great colours and vibrancy. Gigabyte has each panel factory colour calibrated to X-Rite Pantone standard with a Delta E<1. What this means for you is that there’s almost no deviation in what the colours displayed by the Aorus 17G compared to what the game developer intended.
Additionally, with 72% coverage of NTSC colour space which Gigabyte says improves the overall colour vibrancy and accuracy in games and video. I did notice a great amount of punch and pop to the colour but it wasn’t blatantly obvious in the way, say an OLED display is. If I could change anything about this display, I’d bump up the resolution to 1440p or Quad HD. 1080p is so blatantly blurry in most games when compared with my MSI 1440p monitor. Yes, I know that’s elitist of me but any PC Gamer knows that 1440p is the sweet spot for performance and visual clarity. But then again, I’m not a competitive player who values framerates over eye candy.
Of course, you can always use an external monitor and peripherals of your choosing thanks to the wealth of I/O ports on the Aorus 17G. With an HDMI 2.0, mini DisplayPort 1.4 and Thunderbolt 3, you can connect three external monitors simultaneously. This makes the Aorus 17G a great battlestation laptop for streamers who want to have multiple displays for games and stream chat controls. There’s a number of more USB-A ports for your peripherals like keyboard, mouse, camera’s, hard drives and other.
There’s a UHS-11 SD Card Reader as well – perfect for photographers and videographers who need quickly data transfer from their cameras. The split headphone and microphone jacks are another nod to pro gamers and streamers, allowing you to use a higher quality mic as well as wired headphones. But the Aorus 17G also has some pretty decent loudspeakers. They are very loud even at 50% with great definition in the mid and high tones. Bass is lacking as usual but they won’t sound tinny at least. The Realtek sound card does a great job in outputting audio and even comes with a handy app to manage several sound profiles to your heart’s content.
The Aorus 17G uses Killer Ethernet 2600 for high speed and lag-free wired connections which will be necessary for LAN parties. However, most of us will be perfectly happy with the onboard AX1650 wireless network card and bundled optimisations that improve throughput and network stability. The Killer control panel offers many management tools which include some pretty cool things like xTend feature. This basically turns your laptop into a mesh router that boosts the coverage range for your WiFi. Nice.
Gigabyte says the Aorus 17G XB is designed to make you know the kind of performance and hardware that E-Sports teams like G2 ESports have. And you know what? I think it succeeds. It’s really well built to withstand the tortures of the gaming arena and yet it still manages to be slim and handsome. The mechanical keyboard is a delight and performance all round is great. While I couldn’t hit the 240Hz, I do appreciate the X-rite Pantone display and I know both gamers and content creators will be happy with this big, beautiful panel. The cherry on top is the surprisingly decent battery life.
I suppose the only challenge in recommending the Aorus 17G would be the price. At $4000 for our configuration, this quickly becomes unreachable for most. Unless you are a e-sports pro athlete or a a streamer who needs a laptop for on the go streaming and editing, I don’t think this machine is for you. Perhaps the cheaper Aorus 7 would be a better buy as most don’t need a 240Hz refresh display or mechanical keyboard. But if you want the best gaming laptop Gigabyte has to offer, this is basically it.
Gigabyte Australia kindly loaned the Aorus 17G XB to PowerUp! for the purpose of this review.