Nvidia’s 30 series cards haven’t been around for long, more so their mobile variants for laptops. They were announced at CES 2021, and have just started making their way towards the gaming laptop market. We’ve been lucky enough to get our hands on one of those laptops. It’s the Gigabyte AORUS 15G YC, and I must say, it’s been an absolute pleasure playing games on this machine, thanks to that 3080 card.
The Gigabyte AORUS 15G YC is a bit of a chungus weighing in at 2.0KGs. Its impressive spec and heavy cooling make it so. It’s heavy, though manageable if you’re carrying it around in a laptop backpack. But I wouldn’t want to walk across town with it under my arm. The entire thing is covered in a soft to touch plastic that feels smooth to the touch, and for the most part, keeps fingerprints to an absolute minimum. On top, the AORUS logo lights up which gives it a bit of a premium feel. It’s not RGB, but it shines with a nice cool white. It’s not bright, and the logo is mirrored but looks very tasteful. It feels a little flimsy when any amount of pressure is applied to the top of the machine, so don’t put anything heavy on the laptop while it’s closed. The base of the laptop is very interesting. It’s one of the most open designs I’ve seen on a laptop for a very long time, and that’s definitely helping with the Gigabyte cooling solution. It’s grilled and open, so heat can escape easily and there are several rubber feet that will keep it raised off a desk.
The Gigabyte AORUS 15GYC comes with enough ports to keep gamers happy. On the left, you can find a single HDMI 2.1 output, which will give you up to 4K resolution at 120FPS and a mini DisplayPort 1.4 output if you’re wanting to use a TV or external monitor to hit those higher resolutions. You can also find a 3.5mm combi-headphone/microphone jack, a USB 3.2 Type-A and a 2.5GB Ethernet port. On the right, you can find one USB Type-C, two more USB 3.2 Type-A inputs, an SD card reader and the power input for a charger. Around the back of the laptop and extended to the sides, you’ve got some pretty chunky vents again for air cooling to keep the components at a happy temperature.
Opening up the laptop and you’re greeted with a bright RGB keyboard, some more soft to touch plastic casing which again looks premium and saves on fingerprints and a very interesting top design where the speakers are housed. It looks like a diamond pattern and again is quite tasteful. One area I thought could have been bigger is the touchpad for the mouse. Not that it’s not responsive, it is. It’s just a tad on the small side considering the laptop’s size and the border that surrounds the touchpad. The typing experience isn’t too bad either, though the keys are a little close together making it slightly awkward to use for word processing or your normal work type applications and even in some cases gaming, and there’s no sign of mechanical keys here. They feel like traditional membrane keys but travel distance is nice and there’s a bit of tactlessness to them. Touch typing means your fingers are to be a little scrunched up, and it took some time to get used to, but it’s alright once you can feel your way around the keyboard. It has a number pad too, which is definitely preferential for me and work, but you might differ. You’ve also got to position your wrists in a comfortable position. Because of the extra thickness of the laptop, your wrists can start to feel a bit of fatigue if you’re resting them on the corner of the laptop.
The hinges though that connect the screen to the main unit are pretty solid. There’s a bit of screen wobble, and it’s not as solid as some laptops out there that use a single hinge design, but it’s secure enough not to feel like it’s going to snap. Bezels are kept to an absolute minimum, offering more screen real estate. The placement of the webcam is absolutely terrible though, and because of the skinny bezels, the webcam is positioned at the bottom of the screen. Not ideal, and can certainly put anyone off using it thanks to its not so flattering angle. Though webcam quality is alright. It attracts a lot of noise in low-level lighting, but the positioning absolutely sucks. I’d rather no webcam than a webcam in this position. There is a vanity door on it though which is appreciated, so you can hide the webcam away if needed.
Moving onto the software and at the heart of Windows, you can find the AORUS control centre, which is software that neatly brings together certain features, such a fan control, or shortcuts to important software like your Nvidia control panel. It also gives you somewhat of a health check so you know how full your hard drives are, and if you’re running your CPU or GPU under load. You can even set your CPU and GPU to boost if needed manually. The RGB effects for your keyboard can also be found here too, so if the rainbow wave that’s set by default isn’t for you, then you can change it to something else like a static colour or a touch-responsive effect. There are loads there, including custom setups, so you can fill your boots with customisation. It’s here where you can also set your screen colour temperature too, and it has the ability to remove blue light, to save your eyes to allow you to sleep after a full-on gaming session.
The screen is a Pantone certified IPS display. If you don’t know who Pantone are, they are known for their colour space, which is used in a number of industries around the world. Most notably, for graphic design. I must say from the box, the screen gives very nice and vivid colours, like what’s expected from an IPS panel without over saturating them when watching media, and can produce nice and realistic looking skin tones. The AORUS control panel lets you change the white balance as well as put on a warm or cool tone to your display. I ran the screen through our Datacolor Spyder Elite, and it came back pretty positive. The screen runs at 99% sRGB colour gamut, 71% NTSC, 76% AdobeRGB and 77% P3 colour gamuts.
Inside the Gigabyte AORUS, 15G YC is nothing short of impressive. It’s definitely one of the most powerful laptops we’ve had in this studio so far, and we’re super grateful we got the chance to give it a run for its money, and I must say the results we got back were fantastic. Now it wasn’t really a surprise, seeing as this model has a powerful Intel i7-10870H processor at 2.2GHz with a boost clock of up to 5GHz and 32GB RAM memory to back it up as well as 1TB worth of NVMe SSD storage. In today’s gaming age, 1TB might be a little short if you’re storing some of today’s largest games, but there is a spare M.2 slot if you wanted to expand in the future with storage.
The crown jewel of this machine though is of course the 3080 graphics card at the front and centre, which is definitely ample enough to run its 1080p 240Hz screen. I will say, however, that this is an 8GB 3080 rather than the more powerful 16GB variant, but it’s still very much capable of running modern games at top quality graphical settings. 3DMark 10 on the TimeSpy benchmark gave us an overall score of 9,396 with a graphics score of 9,460 and just take a look at the impressive framerates we were receiving during our testing. You can assume that all testing was done at a 1080p resolution, as that’s the max resolution of the panel itself.
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider on its highest preset with ray tracing switched on came in at 75FPS.
- Red Dead Redemption 2, and its overly complex graphics menu with everything turned up to the max came in at 32FPS. Dropping it down to a high preset came in at 54.8FPS.
- Far Cry: New Dawn came in at an average of 92FPS with a high of 139FPS with everything switched up to Ultra preset,
- Grand Theft Auto V with everything maxed averaged at 99FPS with a high of 156FPS.
- Mafia: Definitive Edition with everything maxed came in at 84FPS.
- Horizon Zero Dawn, which has seen its fair share of stability complications came in at 86FPS with a high of 156FPS.
- Cyberpunk 2077 on its raytracing quick preset and its ultra texture preset came in at 34FPS with DLSS turned off and 56FPS with DLSS turned onto its quality setting.
- F1 2021 hit a cool 156FPS with everything maxed out to the top.
- Death Stranding came in at an average of 106FPS with everything maxed out.
- And finally, Warzone hit a cool 104FPS with ray tracing switched on and everything maxed out to the top.
Now that’s not too shabby at all. Everything I could throw at this machine ended up working well and without hiccups. And for those of you using laptops like this for other uses other than gaming, to let you know, PCMark 10 gave back a super impressive score of 6,113 and can easily handle photo and video editing, and Cinebench gave us a score of 1004 on a single-core score and 6007 on a multicore score which is again all very impressive. One thing noticed however is the fact the processor hit a toasty 91-degrees during our benchmark tests, and the graphics card hit around 70-degrees Celcius. It’s nothing I’m too concerned about, especially with the graphics card, but I must admit the processor did run a little warm for my liking.
The Gigabyte AORUS 15G YC is an absolute beast of a laptop, but it’s still considered an entry-level laptop into 3080 gaming due to the lesser 3080 card being used. There are other laptops out there more powerful, but they do come with premium price tags. We’re talking over the £3000 mark. The AORUS 15G is on the cheaper end of that scale at £2299 which okay is a bit of a bank account buster, but still, think of it this way. Currently, 3080s are being sold on the second-hand scalper market for around £1600 – 1800. Is £2299 for a portable gaming powerhouse so far off that? For work, there are laptops out there with more comfortable keyboards sure, but for gaming, you’re not going to get much better than this at the price Gigabyte are offering.