Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Today we are reviewing our first notebook with the new RTX mobile graphics processors we first saw during CES. Much like the GTX 1000 series mobile GPUs, these mobile RTX GPUs are much like their desktop counterparts, but optimized for mobile.
The new notebook also uses Microsoft Azure AI to determine what you are doing and optimize power flow and performance of the CPU or GPU for each program you are using. The new Aero 15 series is the world first with Microsoft Azure AI.
The notebook also utilizes something called "All Intel", where the 2TB 760p, Intel CPU, Thunderbolt 3, and WIFI all originate from Intel (Killer's 1550 is an Intel part re-branded with gaming technology). Let's have a look.
Our model uses the 15.6" AUO UHD panel with Pantone Certification, although you can get this notebook with a 15.6" 144Hz FHS IPS panel as well. We have the best of the best on this notebook with a Core i9-8950HK, which is unlocked, 32GB DDR4, RTX 2080, 2TB 760p, and Killer 1550 (up to 1.733Gbps Wireless AC). The notebook also has a Killer LAN port and supports Killer's Doubleshot Pro. It comes with a 94.24Wh battery and the adapter can pump 230W. The notebook weighs 4.4lbs and measures in around 14"x9.8"x0.7" (LxWxH).
The Aero 15 Y9 in our configuration chimes in at $3,999
GIGABYTE's box is simple and packaging is all cardboard, which gets the job done.
Accessories include AC/DC power adapter, AC power cord, extra M.2 thermal pad, and manuals. The AC/DC adapter is rated at 11.8a at 19.5v, so 230W.
The top of the notebook is made of aluminum and there is some carbon fiber towards the rear of the notebook. The GIGABYTE logo lights up white when power is on. The bottom features five rubber feet, two are longer and located towards the rear of the notebook. The bottom vents are all intake vents for the fans, with the exhaust pointing out the rear of the notebook. We also have two speaker vents closer to the front of the notebook.
The front of the unit features a lip to grip the lid of the notebook, and the rear features a very large single centered hinge. The left side of the notebook features a Gbit LAN port, a USB 3.1 (10Gb/s) USB type-C port, a USB 3.1(not sure if Gen 1, 5Gbps or Gen2, 10Gbps) type-C port that also outputs DisplayPort 1.4 so it's from the RTX 2080, a headphone and mic combo jack, and HDMI 2.0 port. On the right side, we get a UHS-II SD card slot, two USB 3.0 ports, a Thunderbolt 3.0 port, DC input jack, and Kensington lock slot.
The QWERTY keyboard is backlit with RGB LEDs behind each key, and they are individually lit, anti-ghosting, and support per-key macros. You can use the RGB Fusion app in the Control Center to control lighting. It also features a number pad.
The bezel on the 15.6" display is thin at the top and edges, and the color is quite good with the X-Rite Pantone color calibration. You can turn the color calibration on and off to see the difference. It's an anti-glare display with 100% Adobe RGB color gamut.
The touchpad has no buttons, but we had no trouble with right and left clicks. The notebook features the Windows 10 touchpad gestures.
Physical Overview Continued
We get a 720P camera along with an array microphone. The notebook features two 2X speakers and Nahimic 3.
The notebook opens up roughly 135 degrees.
Here we can see the notebook all opened up. Beware that opening the notebook will void the warranty, and even though GIGABYTE includes an extra M.2 thermal pad, you can still lose your warranty by installing another. The good news is you have a 2TB SSD, so you won't have to upgrade for a very long time if at all. We can see the fans are blowers and the heat pipes are quite large, and both the DRAM slots and M.2 slots are accessible.
We find Killer's latest Wireless-AC 1550, which is a rebranded Intel chip with extra networking technology that helps with prioritizing gaming, it is capable of 2x2 wireless AC up to 1.733Gbps and supports BT 5.0. We see the 94Wh battery as well.
Right above the battery, we find out Samsung 16GB DRAM modules and our beautiful 2TB Intel 760p SSD.
Software and BIOS
The Aero 15 Y9 series is the first notebook in the world to feature Microsoft's Azure AI system. Now, some people might be scratching their heads thinking, "what is that?". Well, simply put it figures out what you are doing and then optimized your notebooks power and other resources to do that thing well. If you play a game it will divert power to the CPU and GPU in accordance with how taxing that game is on either.
If you are doing something CPU intensive like editing images in photoshop, it will reduce GPU power consumption and increase CPU power limits. If you are playing a game, it will also detect which game it is and assign an RGB LED layout for your keyboard to match the game. If you are on your battery, it will reduce power consumption of both the CPU and GPU to increase battery life. We saw it do these things, and we saw that having it on actually increased performance over having it off. We will be fully investigating it in the coming weeks.
GIGABYTE and Microsoft require you to agree to this GDPR agreement.
The notebook has one program where everything is located, it's called GIGABYTE Control Center and you can access everything from there.
GIGABYTE's Manager allow you to control things like Pantone or disable WIFI.
Fusion is obviously where keyboard lighting control comes from.
You can also customize the fan curve.
The BIOS is pretty basic, not too much to see.
System Performance Benchmarks
CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks
These benchmarks are run using default settings and configuration.
AIDA64 AES and HASH
Handbrake 4K and 720P Transcoding
There are some interesting results in the CPU side of things, such as in PCMark and FPU tests, but these could be due to the differing turbo tables and TDP allowance of each individual product. Overall it does quite well.
Gaming Performance Benchmarks
UNIGINE Heaven 4.0
Ashes of Singularity
The Aero 15 Y9 is doing quite well in these tests, especially in gaming tests.
System IO and Battery Performance
System IO Benchmarks
Internal Storage Read Test:
Internal Storage Write Test:
ixChariot Network Throughput:
GIGABYTE gave the new notebook a huge NVMe upgrade, and you can upgrade with another SSD as well. The M.2 drive isn't the fastest in sequential read, but that's not a big issue since random 4K is more important.
The battery performance is actually really good for a gaming notebook of this size.
Here we can see that the notebook stays relatively cool at idle.
Things change as we stress the notebook, with temperatures reaching upwards of 60C on the bottom of the notebook and 50C on top. Keep in mind this is a synthetic load fromAIDA64 stress test, and that the CPU, FPU, GPU, and storage are all being stressed.
What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts
RTX Graphics: The new graphics card is seriously powerful and we see the combo of the 8950HK and RTX 2070 really kick things up a notch compared to previous combinations.
Construction: From the aluminum body to the almost perfect keystroke distance, the build quality of this notebook is very high.
Azure AI: While still in its infancy in regards to notebooks, the potential of the AI in regards to increasing performance while on AC power and increasing battery life when on the go is very much there. We are in the beginning stages of testing this new technology, and we do see gains from using it compared to not using it.
Overclockable: The GPU can almost always be overclocked, but not always the CPU. In this case they used an HK processor, which allows for overclocking of both.
Price: In our configuration the notebook costs $4,000, and that's seriously a lot.
Hot: While the notebook does emit a lot of heat, it's metal body absorbs a lot of it and spreads it, making it hot to the touch on the bottom.
The GIGABYTE AERO 15 Y9 is one of the best gaming notebooks in our charts, and we have reviewed a fair amount of them. Combining the latest in Intel Core 9th generation processors and NVIDIA RTX mobile GPUs produces a very powerful notebook. Battery life was much better than expected, leading us to believe the AI might have had something to do with it.
The new AI powered by Microsoft Azure AI, leverages machine learning in the cloud and at the edge to improve user experiences. Some people might not be too happy to give Microsoft all of their usage habits, but the GDPR disclaimer looks to help solve this issue.
While the notebook can get quite warm, it isn't as noisy as some other gaming notebooks we have encountered. We really liked the performance and feel of the notebook, and would highly recommend it to someone who has $4K and wants a high performance, yet thin and manageable gaming notebook.
The Bottom Line
Loaded with features, an AI, quality, and high performance parts, the AERO 15 Y9 is a very powerful gaming notebook.