Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
While most may know them for their motherboard and graphics card products, GIGABYTE has had a substantial laptop market presence for quite some time. The GIGABYTE Aero series have been staples for recommendations over the years as GIGABYTE has engineered new mobile computing solutions and ways to improve them.
Today, we are checking out the new AORUS 15G, which is touted as the first notebook to sport a hexa-core i7. The laptop comes with options of various component choices, of which we have the XB model, which comes with a Core i7-10875H and an RTX 2070 SUPER GPU.
The AORUS 15, as its name suggests, has a 15.6" IGZO panel capable of 1080p full HD at a refresh rate of 240Hz. IGZO is a property of SHARP model displays that are designed for slim devices requiring high resolution and performance display panels. The display is an anti-glare style with a rated coverage of 72% NTSC color gamut.
The display comes with a very narrow bezel, which you can see from the image above or when we show it later in this article. The AORUS 15G comes out of the box X-Rite Pantone calibrated for optimal color accuracy to a Delta E of less than 1.
The AORUS 15G comes with a lot of the latest connectivity with an array of three USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps) Type-A ports. There is also a Thunderbolt 3 Type-C port capable of up to 40Gbps, along with being another USB capable connection. There is also full Gigabit LAN via an onboard RJ45 port and a 3.5mm combo headphone and microphone jack. There is a UHS-II capable SD card reader along with a full-size HDMI 2.0 port and a Mini DisplayPort 1.4 connector.
The AORUS 15G comes with a single NVMe drive and a spare SATA or NVMe compatible M.2 slot on the board, which is unpopulated. The memory is easily acceptable with 16GB of DDR4 SO-DIMM in place that can be swapped out to meet your future needs best.
The keyboard on the AORUS 15G is a mechanical unit equipped with tactile and audible feedback key switches. These switches have 1.6mm actuation with 2.5mm total travel.
The AORUS 15G XB model we have on hand sells for $2,299.00 as of the time of writing.
AORUS 15G (2020) Marketing
Here we take a look at the GIGABYTE webpage and break down some of their marketing points and explain the tangible benefits.
The AORUS 15G we have comes with the new 10th gen Core i7 10875H, and it is a very stout option with eight cores at boost speeds of up to 5.1GHz and hyperthreading to do some heavy lifting when needed.
The 15G chassis is a CNC milled aluminum design that ensures a robust overall feel and stability. It also means you can pull off some great design aesthetic to support the performance the notebook has inside.
The AORUS 15G has a 94Wh battery, which is close to the absolute limit you can legally carry on a flight, which means longer run times when away from an outlet, and in ideal conditions up to eight hours of battery life.
The Windforce infinity cooling solution on the AORUS 15G is massive and helps keep the notebook cool while also keeping boost speeds high for excellent gaming performance. Oh, and did we mention that the new dense blade design on the fans make for better performance while being quieter than many options on the market.
The AORUS 15G comes equipped with Killer network E2600 gigabit wired LAN along with Killer AX1650 wireless chipset for fast connectivity wired or wireless.
The included M.2 SSD in the AORUS 15G is the Intel 760P 512GB model, which is NVMe and capable of up to 3GB/s sequential read performance for optimal application startup or loading times.
As we mentioned previously, the AORUS 15G has a mechanical keyboard by Omron with full per-key adjustable RGB backlighting. The key switches have a total travel of 2.5mm with a 1.6mm actuation or breakpoint. The fact that GIGABYTE could pull off such a capable keyboard solution on a notebook that measures in at 2.5cm (0.98") in thickness is a testament to the engineering I mentioned previously. Oh, and let's not forget that the 15G comes in at just 2.2kg or 4.8lb. Yes, that is for a full RTX 2070 SUPER-powered gaming notebook.
*Looks over at my 10.6lb G750JW with 765m and 4700HQ*
I guess you can say times have surely changed.
Here we see the array of connectivity that we discussed on the opening page of this article. The variety of connectivity is excellent with even UHS-II SD card support, which is fantastic for creators on the go. For those unaware, the UHS-II standard can support SD Card speeds of up to 312MB/s speeds for those needing such performance for their video shooting projects.
The AORUS 15G employs a variety of NVIDIA GPUs, with the one in our unit being an RTX 2070 SUPER. This means not only massive GPU horsepower but support for ray tracing along with NVENC for those looking to stream from their gaming notebook.
Lastly, in the marketing coverage, will be display technology. GIGABYTE equipped the AORUS 15G with a 15.6" IGZO matte panel capable of up to 240Hz. The display comes X-Rite Pantone calibrated for accurate color representations, which means some professional work could be done on the internal display. The fact that the display covers 72% NTSC and has a Delta E under one is good as it means you will see more of the colors the way they were intended to be seen.
Packaging and Accessories
The AORUS 15G comes in a stylized notebook box, as you see here. The packaging carries the design aesthetic on both sides of the orange stripe along with a G2 eSPORTS logo, which is one of the professional eSPORTS gaming teams they sponsor and work with. The AORUS logo sits in the middle of the packaging to let you know it is a serious gaming part.
The edges have the inventory control labels, along with spec listing. The thin opposing side displayed the AORUS logo along with the G2 eSPORTS logo and finished off by the "Intel Inside" logo.
The AORUS 15G comes encased in semi-soft foam to keep it safe no matter how mean your delivery driver may be. There is also the accessory pack, which we will dig into next.
In the accessory pack, we have a few necessary items and one surprising extra.
- Power brick
- M.2 thermal pad
- Warranty card
- Quick start guide
For the most part, this is standard, but the addition of an extra thermal pad for the empty M.2 slot is excellent and goes to show that GIGABYTE knows you will likely add your own additional storage. I always like to see when a company is ok with you tinkering and upgrading things versus a locked-down design.
The power brick included with the AORUS 15G is a 230W model and should be adequate to power the 10th gen and RTX SUPER combo under gaming loads.
Now that the accessories are out of the way let's take a look at the AORUS 15G itself.
AORUS 15G (2020) Overview
The AORUS 15G lid has the AORUS logo front and center, which is also backlit. The logo is backlit in white, not RGB, which makes for a professional feel even if you are all play and no work.
The bottom shell of the AORUS 15G is almost 50% covered by mesh to ensure airflow to the dual high-density cooling fans and heat pipe combo. Here you will also find regulatory information along with the serial number and other information.
The front of the notebook has an aluminum finish and a small grille opening in the front. The rear has a massive ventilation area open to allow the multiple fin stacks to exhaust hot air. The sides carry some of the supercar-esque design, which we saw during the marketing material overview.
The sides are where we find our array of connectivity. Here towards the rear of the notebook, here is the entire I/O offering:
- 3x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports
- Thunderbolt 3 Type-C port
- UHS-II compatible SDCard slot
- Barrel plug charging connector
- HDMI 2.0 port
- Mini-DisplayPort 1.4
- 3.5mm combo headphone and microphone port
- RJ45 LAN jack
We also find that both sides have exhaust openings to allow the side fin stacks to breathe and further assist with cooling the beefy CPU and GPU combo.
When opening the notebook, we find a soft fabric cloth covering the keyboard with an AORUS logo embellishment on the lower right edge.
Here we take a look at the deck that houses the mechanical RGB keyboard along with the power button, webcam, and touchpad.
The touchpad is a precision unit with a smooth glide. The top left of the touchpad has a fingerprint reader integrated, which allows for Windows Hello easy login functionality.
The display on the AORUS 15G is excellent with a non-reflective surface and an ultra-thin bezel thanks to the relocation of the webcam to the lower area above the keyboard and power button. We see the Pantone Certified display logo, which is an excellent asset for those looking for vibrant and accurate colors or those who maybe need to do editing on their mobile rig.
We previously mentioned that the display omitted the webcam, but the AORUS 15G takes an interesting approach to the camera solution. GIGABYTE chose to put the camera at an angle below the screen and above the power button. It does an excellent job of not being an "up the nose" camera and is HD and is suitable for video calls or meetings.
One significant part I am sure you noticed is that in the current age where digital security and privacy is a hot topic. GIGABYTE put in place a practical and common-sense solution for omitting camera functionality. GIGABYTE installed a slide cover that goes over the camera obscuring any view. For those who feel unsafe with a camera or relegated to putting tape or a post-it over the camera, this does the job. It is a simple solution, and I am happy to see GIGABYTE built it in.
The screen can open to a wide-angle, well enough to sit directly above with it on a coffee table below you. This means the screen can perform at most any angle needed for practical usage. This also means on an elevated or angled notebook stand visibility should not be limited by the range of motion.
Here we have the AORUS 15G at the desktop with the stock wallpaper in place. Overall the profile design and aesthetic are very nice for a full-fledged gaming notebook. Deck flex is virtually nonexistent, and the RGB lighting on the keyboard is laid out very well, although it is not as visible here due to the lights in my photo studio.
Here we kicked off a few lights to show the backlighting of the mechanical keyboard. As you can see, the legend is well lit, and each key is individually addressable. The AORUS Control Center application is the collective location of the feature controls, which we will cover later in this article.
Inside the AORUS 15G and Circuit Analysis
The lower panel of the AORUS 15G is retained by twelve Torx T6 fasteners, all of a similar design and length. This means you do not have to meticulously keep track of these specific fasteners as they are universal for the panel. Also, worth noting that there are no annoying clips that break when removing the panel, which is a considerable step up from the likes of the white boxes like Clevo.
Taking a closer look, we can see that everything on the motherboard of the AORUS 15G is easily accessible. The RAM, storage, and even the peripheral daughterboards are all well laid out should repair or replacement is necessary. Also of note is the dense fan blade design. GIGABYTE opted for the dual fans you see here, which push more air and seem to be quieter from our testing, topping out at 48.2dBA with a 43dBA noise floor.
Here we see the preinstalled Intel 760P 512GB SSD in the NVMe only M.2 slot. Alongside this is the Killer 1650X Wi-Fi AX module offering high-speed Wi-Fi along with Bluetooth 5.1 compatibility. These can all be swapped out to a newer model or another model in the future as they become available.
Here we see the two accessible SO-DIMM slots which come equipped with dual 8GB 3200MHz modules. These can be swapped up to higher capacity or speed and latency modules, depending on what you want to run. I am not 100% sure what the limit if on this, but I have seen some 32GB SO-DIMM modules that I would love to test and see if the notebook can run them as that would turn the 15G into a mobile workstation.
Also, I do like that GIGABYTE fashioned a heat spreader for the HM470 PCH just to help the chipset stay a bit cooler. Most laptops only have a bare chipset left to their own devices to modulate temp.
Moving to the opposing side, we find the BIOS battery, which helps retain settings when the main battery is drained, and the system is unplugged. Same as a standard PC motherboard has slotted into it.
The battery in the AORUS 15G is a 94Wh unit that spans almost the entire front third of the notebook chassis. This helps give a decent amount of battery life when you are away from the wall outlet, even with so much power under the hood.
To round things out down here, we wanted to show the speakers installed in the AORUS 15G, as these things sound very good when I tested them with varying audio types. I tested the popular Crab Rave song as that tends to offer a very stark dynamic range from highs, mids, and punchy bass, and well the reproduction while not having the punch a 12" home audio woofer offers, the sound filled in quite well.
BIOS/UEFI and Software
Starting the AORUS 15G and we are greeted by the AORUS Logo along with the onscreen prompts to enter BIOS. The entry key, as you can see, is F2, and the AORUS 15G does have a recovery mode to reimage the system should you need ever to bring it back to default. Just keep in mind this will delete any windows apps or files you may have saved, so back them up if possible before doing this. Also, for those who need to know the F12 for BBS popup is your boot menu, should you want to boot from a USB drive or other device than the default OS drive.
As you can see, the BIOS is the older menu type, but it does everything we would expect it to do. Within, you can view installed components along with disabling applicable system devices you may not want or need. You can also adjust storage interface options.
Software on the AORUS 15G is the AORUS Control Center, which we will focus on. However, buyers of the AORUS 15G get three-month memberships to Xsplit Gamecaster and Broadcaster software to try out on their new gaming notebook.
The singular control center houses most of the settings you would need for your AORUS 15G notebook. The Smart dashboard, as we see here, gives you several of the system vitals. Here we can see system loading, battery, and fan information.
The app shortcuts panel is next, which there is nothing here. This is where you can set up a quick dashboard of shortcuts to your favorite applications from a single location where you can launch the things you use most commonly.
The Manager panel is next, and it has several system management icons to toggle system settings quickly. One cool one is the Pantone switch, which, when disabled, shows how much of a difference the color calibration makes to the panel.
Another is a gaming feature to disable the Windows key; this will keep accidental presses from opening the start menu and potentially bouncing you from the game. The other would be the Killer Optimizer, which can be used to adjust the killer networks packet prioritization.
The Fusion panel is primarily set up to allow adjustment of the RGB of the keyboard. There are 19 presets for the keyboard including the custom one where you can assign every key individually, I like setting the keyboard to the rain preset and key color of green as it resembles the green flowing text from the screen in the film The Matrix.
Also, here on the left side, you can set custom Macros for the keyboard if you desire or reset the keys depending upon your needs.
The Device Setting menu allows for full adjustment of the fan profile for a custom curve. You can also select from the gaming or quiet profiles to adjust the balance of audibility versus cooling performance.
The final panel of the AORUS Control center is the Smart Utilities section, which allows full control over installed software versions and what versions are available on the GIGABYTE servers. There is also the system backup, Manual, and other informational panels selectable from the left-hand side.
Here we see the driver updating as it will pull whichever driver is newest from the GIGABYTE server to keep your notebook up to date.
The GIGABYTE AI solution powered by Microsoft Azure is an interesting inclusion that has proven to be beneficial in our testing. The plugged-in options are AI Disable, which turns off the AI features. AI Edge learning will try to learn your usage and adjust power and performance best to run your applications at an optimal hardware usage level.
AI Azuree download allows your system to pull databases of the AI training GIGABYTE has collected to give the best optimal tuning and responsiveness based on other user's shared data. Lastly would be the AI Azure download and upload, which allows anonymous data to be uploaded to better tune and train the AI to balance power and performance-focused on specific application tuning as the AI learns how each application uses the notebooks resources.
Unplugging the power brick and we get the three battery options under the AI menu. These are essentially power plans that can be swapped under the AI menu. Still, no AI processing happens while on battery simply due to the processing power needed to collect AI data, and the system optimizes itself for optimal battery life.
Here we see the power plans, including the "smartmanager" power plans which come from GIGABYTE and are optimized for the AORUS 15G notebook. Overall the power plans and automatic changeover when unplugging proved to work well netting us over five hours of constant usage without disabling any connectivity or lowering the display brightness. Reducing the display brightness and disabling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth will net us up to the eight hours or close to, but we wanted to show what the unit can do when loaded up without pulling anything.
WPrime is first up and being a multi-threaded benchmark. We know it will scale with any CPU we throw at it. You can manually set the number of workers or threads you want to allocate to the calculation, which we did the total thread count for each CPU to ensure we measure the maximum performance the CPU can offer.
WPrime was what we used to push an all-core load to stress the CPU to its limits. The AORUS 15G pulled off some impressive numbers, similar to what we observed on our desktop CPU testing with the liquid-cooled 10600K with 32GB of 2600MHz DDR4, and that is no small feat considering this is a compact notebook package.
Blender a common rendering application; we test the classroom benchmark. Here we see the AORUS 15G pull a score of 782.317, which once again places it between a liquid-cooled desktop 8700K and 10600K.
Cinebench is a long-standing render benchmark that has been heavily relied upon by both Intel and AMD to showcase their newest platforms during unveils. The benchmark has two tests, a single-core workload that will utilize one thread or 1T. There is also a multi-threaded test which uses all threads or nT of a tested CPU
Cinebench shows more of the same with the AORUS 15G netting a result, placing it between the 8700K and the 10600K, which is not a bad place to live considering this is a system you can toss in a backpack and take with you.
PCMark is a benchmark from UL and tests various workload types to represent typical workloads for a PC. Everything from video conferencing, image import, and editing, along with 3D rendering, are tested.
PCMark tests all-around performance, everything from teleconferencing, office work, along with web usage and gaming, the AORUS 15G pulls some great numbers for a mobile device.
WebXPRT is a browser-based test, and we like this test as this is one of the areas not many think to test. This also happens to be a real-world usage test that can be impacted by the mitigations which have recently rolled through and were patched.
WebXPRT was a bit of a surprise as the result took an almost chart-topping position on our desktop CPU charts. GIGABYTE and their cooling solution let the 10th gen CPU stretch its legs here as this one fell right between a water-cooled 10900K and a 3800XT, and mind you the AORUS 15G at 257 points while the chart-topper 10900K is 260.
Graphics Performance Benchmarks
Superposition from Unigine is a DX12 based benchmark. We test with the 1080p Extreme preset as this puts an immense load on the GPU at the common 1080p resolution for gaming.
The result in superposition is 4408pts with an average FPS of 32.97, which is a good result when you consider a desktop-based 2070 SUPER with a powerful CPU barely nets a 46.78 average FPS.
3DMark Time Spy
Time Spy is another 3DMark test variant, but this one is for DX12 based systems. This test can be quite stressful, and since its an entirely different load, you may be surprised to see how the results shuffle when compared to Firestrike.
The 3DMark results have the AORUS 15G falling into an excellent place performance wise and shows that even though this is a gaming notebook measuring in at under 5lb but it pulls results well above its weight class.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
First, up for the gaming tests we have the popular AAA title Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and at 1080p high settings, we see the AORUS 15G averages 98FPS which means that the high refresh rate screen can put in some work here delivering smooth frames well above the more common 60hz.
Wolfenstein is another AAA title we use to test the performance of systems, and the AORUS 15G does not disappoint averaging 170FPS. We saw regular times at over 190FPS and into the low 200Hz range. This means eSPORTS titles will exceed the displays 240hz capability for ultra-smooth and fast gameplay.
System I/O Benchmarks, Thermal and Power Consumption
System I/O Benchmarks
For storage performance, we test the platform using its internal storage along with external ports via the listed storage device. It is tested in CrystaldiskMark 7.0.0 x64, and we average the results to ensure a good cross-section of expected performance.
Here we see the Intel 760P running at over 2500MB/s sequential reads, while writes check-in at over 1500MB/s. This is plenty fast for quick loading times, and if you need more storage for a vast game library, you still have the second M.2 slot you can populate with another SSD.
For battery tests, we use the PCMark 10 Battery tests in Office, Gaming, and Video modes. This should give us a good cross-section of various usage models and how long the battery will last. We also time the recharge rate of the battery with the system sitting idle at the desktop form the time the system shuts off from the battery drain.
The office battery test shows a total run time of 335 minutes, which is not bad at all when you consider the level of hardware the AORUS 15G has to offer. We also tested this straight at a balanced profile with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on just to ensure it was a worst-case draw, retesting with those items disabled, and the screen turned down to near 20% will easily net us much higher results.
Gaming power draw is high for obvious reasons, but even with that, we averaged 92 minutes of playtime before the system powered down due to low battery.
Video playback is another one that we got an excellent runtime on with 328 minutes. This once again is with normal usage balanced mode with the screen at normal brightness, not cranked down. This is a very respectable result when you consider the sum of the parts.
Another thing I test is recharge time from the time the charging LED illuminates until we reach 100%. The 230W power brick does an outstanding job here as it has to keep the system powered on in the OS with the screen on at normal brightness. Here we see it do the job in 114 minutes, which is just under two hours from flat to full.
The AORUS 15G cooling solution is competent as it keeps loaded temps to an average in the mid-70s which is much better than many mobile devices I have seen over the years who typically hover in the 80s or even 90s under a full FPU/AVX load.
Next up is thermal imagery, and we start with the AORUS 15G sitting at the desktop idle. As you can see, all surfaces are standard and not even noticeably warm.
Now we move to the full stress AVX load, and this is what the AORUS 15G looks like after over an hour. You can see the heat exhausting out of the sides, but the surfaces you make contact with are still well within normal and comfortable contact temperatures. I would like to note that the lower 65C temperature was to show the heat pipe temp, which can be seen through the mesh. This cooling solution on the AORUS 15G is very good and keeps even these high performing components cool.
Lastly, we wanted to show the acoustics under full load, and my lab has a noise floor of 42dBA as you can see the notebook topped out at 48.2dBA which is much quieter than many gaming laptops I have seen which can range into the 55+dBA range under load with much higher thermals as well.
GIGABYTE made one hell of a laptop in the AORUS 15G, it not only can game well but with the 10th gen i7 in place, it can chew through some serious work as well. Add to this the fact that the display comes out of the box calibrated and the AORUS 15G can pull double duty as a mobile workstation handling some on the scene editing or even encoding if needed.
The CNC milled chassis adds stiffness and inspires confidence in the build quality along with the sturdiness to survive life in a backpack or tote while traveling. The mechanical keyboard on the AORUS 15G is one of the best mobile keyboards I have used to date, and the tactile response means touch typing is a real possibility.
What we like
Thermals: The one thing I think that is most limiting with notebooks is fitting a proper cooling solution in a tight chassis, which limits CPU and GPU boosting and performance. GIGABYTE did very well here, equipping a stout cooling solution that keeps the work zipping along even in our heavy FPU/AVX stress loads.
X-Rite Pantone calibration: Having a display that is calibrated and color accurate out of the box is a valuable feature not just for professionals but for gamers who want to see the game the way the artists who created the game meant for it to be seen
10th gen Core i7: The inclusion of the new Comet Lake 10th gen CPU means even higher clock speeds with the AORUS 15G seeing speeds up to 5.1GHz with TVB.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER GPU: The addition of the new RTX SUPER series of GPUs enables the AORUS 15G to tear through any graphical workload at such a level that it reaches a stout desktop system in some cases.
Azure AI features: The inclusion of the AI features. At the same time, it may seem strange, in practice, it made a difference balancing the load between CPU and GPU to ensure optimal performance versus how a similarly equipped system would perform at the same gaming workload.
Value: This is always a tough one, but when considering everything you get with the AORUS 15G, I think there is a defined value here. Don't get me wrong this is not a budget white box notebook; this is a gaming powerhouse and carries a price tag suitable to the hardware that comes in the system.
The AORUS 15G is a very powerful notebook with performance and features bursting from its seams. If you are in the market for a notebook with this sort of performance and price point, the AORUS 15G will not disappoint.