Gigabyte Aorus 17G YC full review

Gigabyte Aorus 17G YC laptop review

Aorus is Gigabyte’s gaming brand. The primary difference between it and Gigabyte’s Aero-brand laptops (which are more for Creators) is usually the screen. Screens for professional designers are often factory calibrated, cover multiple colour gamuts and certified for accuracy. However, they rarely have fast refresh rates and so are not typically suited to the fast movements in many games: motion blur and image ghosting blights performance. Unusually, the gaming-oriented screen on the Aorus 17G is also certified by professionals: the G2 eSports team. This has “Certified” it for playing CS:GO thanks to its ridonculously-fast 300Hz screen.

But the Aorus 17G also has another party piece – a mechanical keyboard that’s been co-designed with the gurus at Omron. That’s quite an achievement for a laptop that’s just 26mm thick. So how does it all come together?

Key Specs of the Gigabyte Aorus 17G YC

17.3-inch, matte, 300Hz, 1920 x 1080, non-touchscreen LCD; 2.2-5GHz Intel Core i7-10870H processor; 32GB RAM; 1TB NVMe HDD; Nvidia RTX 3080; 99Wh battery; 2.7KG. SKU: Aorus 17G YC. Full specs here.

Design and Handling

The Aorus 17G takes many design cues from its Aero brethren (or it’s the other way round idk lol). The chassis is very rigid thanks to black, CNC-cut, anodised aluminium structure. The lid is thin and rigid and has just a 3mm bezel surrounding the top and sides. On top, instead of an illuminated Aero logo, there’s the Aorus cyber eagle thing motif which also glows when the laptop is on. This isn’t enough to make it look too suspicious in a stuffy office and, when combined with the sharp, straight black lines, keep it looking classy enough for all occasions.

The Aorus 17G’s keyboard is the first laptop to use Omron mechanical switches. We’re told that every key has an optimal actuation point of 1.6mm and can withstand 15 million keystrokes. A click sound is present but it provides a satisfying assurance of an accurate keystroke – coworkers and people in quiet spaces like plane cabins might hate you though. For typing we found it very accurate although we briefly had to get used to typing with our palms from a slightly elevated height. It’s certainly a boon for gamers who will appreciate the improved tactile feedback. For those with sensitive fingers, it may get a bit tiring to type on for extended periods – other keyboards require a smidge less effort to depress the keys.

All keys are full sized and individually lit using Gigabyte’s Fusion technology. There’s also a full-sized number pad and full-sized arrow keys.

Gigabyte Aorus 17G YC front
A mechanical Omron keyboard on a 26mm-thick chassis? Impressive.

The trackpad is smooth and accurate and its buttons are simple enough to activate. There’s also a Windows Hello compatible fingerprint reader within it. The screen’s thin bezel means the HD webcam is positioned beneath the screen which creates a rather unflattering image pointing straight at your (double) chin(s). It has a privacy cover but isn’t Windows Hello compatible.

Screen

Despite the significant real estate, the Aorus 17G’s screen is limited to a competitive-gamer friendly, Full HD 1080p resolution. Despite the gaming designation, it uses an IPS panel that’s been factory calibrated and is Pantone certified for colour accuracy – which would be impressive if its greatest colour gamut claim was better than being able to display just 72 per cent of the lesser, NTSC colour space (albeit with a Delta-E <1). Nonetheless, the 300Hz screen is incredible. While no human can perceive the individual frames of such a fast screen, they absolutely can perceive the smoothness of fast objects moving around it. Gamers – especially FPS players and hardened eRacers – will love it.

It’s not quite as clear and crisp as the UHD-screen-sporting Aero models for office work but text is nonetheless sharp enough to read without squinting – even at small font sizes.

For multimedia consumption, watching videos presented no major issues. Details can be lost in very bright areas although it performs well with details in shadows. We noticed some colour bands in gradients but artefacts in areas of uniform colour were minimal. Colours are generally clear and bright. Our light-bleed test showed that there was some noticeable halo effects around bright areas on dark backgrounds, but nothing too distracting.

Speakers

As with its siblings, the twin, two-Watt speakers offer reasonable fidelity with bass and treble sounding decent. But, they lack volume and aren’t very punchy.

Performance of the Gigabyte Aorus 17G YC

The octa-core, 10th gen Intel Core i7 10870H processor operates between 2.2GHz and 5GHz and, when partnered with 32GB of DDR4-3200 and a 1TB Gen.3 PCIe NVMe drive, it managed to score an impressive 6356 in PCMark 10 which is approaching current gen gaming desktop PCs and better than all but a recent Razer rival that we’ve tested. It also managed 1652 in Cinebench R15 and 7919 in Cinebench R15 which is decent for renderers but still some way behind Ryzen multicore models.

In some regards the RTX 3080 might seem overkill in a laptop with a Full HD screen that’s designed to play ancient, competitive games like CS:GO which already run smoothly on elderly graphics chips. But, who cares about that? In 3DMark Time Spy it scored a mighty 9811 which is an average of 62fps. In Fire Strike Extreme it scored 12,292 (57fps) and in the Port Royal Ray Tracing test it scored 6242. In short, there’s nothing it won’t be able to play and display smoothly. More importantly, the framerates it can generate on competitive games will bring the best out of the 300Hz screen.

It’s worth noting claims that embedded Microsoft Azure technology means the laptop will automatically optimise power management and processor/GPU settings by checking with the cloud to optimise for each application automatically.

We also noted that the Windforce Infinity cooling technology – 5 heatpipes and two, 71-blade fans – made a slightly more audible swooshing sound when under load than rivals, but it wasn’t too distracting.

Gigabyte Aorus 17G YC underside – plenty of venting but it can get a bit noisy.

Connectivity

On the left are two 3.5mm audio jacks for headphone and mic. Beside each is a USB-A 3.2 (Gen.1) port (a layout that’s useful for providing power to RGB gaming headsets). There’s also a UHS-II SD card reader and Gigabit Ethernet port. On the right is another USB-A 3.2 (Gen.1) port, a USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port, mini DP 1.4, HDMI 2.1 and the power socket. While there are some faster generations available, this is an impressive list. Inside there’s Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.

To the left…
… to the right.

Portability

The aluminium construction makes it incredibly tough and it should easily manage being hauled from LAN to LAN. Gigabyte promises 7hrs of battery with the maxed-out, 99W unit inside and it actually exceeded this and lasted for an impressive 7hrs 19mins in PCMark 10’s Modern Office test. It’s not particularly light at 2.7KG but, for a tough, 17-inch laptop with mechanical keyboard, big battery and all the bells and whistles, it’s still a very portable, powerful computer.

Should you buy the Gigabyte Aorus 17G YC?

The Aorus 17G YC is one powerful laptop and it’s very well put together. While not cheap, at $3,690 it’s exceptionally well-priced in the current market with some, similar-spec’d rivals costing around $2000 more. Ultimately, the Aorus 17G represents great value and has no real week spots. We heartily recommend it.

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