At Computex 2016 Gigabyte showed a very compact 14-inch laptops, which are interesting not only for gamers but also perfectly suited as a workstation, despite the powerful graphics card. The reason is simple: inside a laptop equipped with powerful components, such as Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card and a high-speed SSD interface NVMe. Note the large battery of 95 Wh, which is enough for a few hours of battery life. Finally, the laptop installed a high-resolution QHD display, the body too happy colors. But in retail for Gigabyte Aero 14 will have to pay about 2,000 euros. All the details you will find out in this review.
Laptop Gigabyte Aero 14 has become one of the brightest new products at Computex in Taiwan. Despite its compact dimensions and weight of only 1.9 kg, we got a decent level of performance. By the time of the ad in the European market intensified Gigabyte hardware component. If the first version of the laptop Optionally available with displays Full-HD or QHD, Gigabyte Aero 14 laptop is equipped only with QHD panel with a resolution of 2.560 x 1.440 pixels. Gigabyte also went to the Maxwell-generation video cards with more powerful and effective solutions Pascal . The laptop is installed NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card with 6 GB of GDDR5 memory, it is enough for today’s games. As for the processor, in our configuration was installed Intel Core i7-6700HQ on Skylake architecture with 16 GB of memory DDR4. The system is installed speed M.2 SSD with PCI Express interface and a capacity of 512 GB. But if you need more capacity, you’ll have to rely on external solutions. Bays for additional 2.5-inch hard drive in Gigabyte Aero 14 is not provided due to space saving.
Slim body design can be selected in three versions colors: orange, green and black. Interesting and capacious battery, because Gigabyte was able to fit inside a laptop battery with 95 Wh and promised battery life of up to ten hours. But the thickness of the notebook is only two centimeters, and weight – about 1.9 kg. But everything has its price: Gigabyte for Aero graphics card with 14 Pascal asks about 1.999 euros. It will be interesting to see how the laptop will prove to be in practice.
Many gaming notebooks today are much more modest than a few years ago. In addition, manufacturers are trying to make laptops as thin as possible, benefiting from the ongoing efficiency improvements. The most recent example – the laptop MSI GS63VR the Pro 6RF of Stealth . At Gigabyte Aero 14 we have a similar approach. With dimensions of 335 x 250 x 19.9 mm and weighing only 1.89 kg laptop can be called a fairly compact, but very unusual coloring. As we noted above, the laptop can be purchased in the orange, green or black colors. However, in spite of the powerful video card Gigabyte Aero 14 can not be called a product-oriented gamers only. It is suitable for those users who prefer to work on a laptop in office applications, editing photos or video mount. The performance will be enough for intensive work.
The manufacturer decided to paint only the display. The rest of the plastic case is completely black. Also on the cover added golden logo of the manufacturer. Laptop Gigabyte Aero 14 looks very nice, but due to the battery 95 Wh he is able to work a long time away from an outlet, despite the powerful hardware stuffing.
For our tests we got from Gigabyte version of the orange notebook. However, the difference with the other options will be only in the color of the cover. All variants are equipped with a completely black body. The cover is interesting and a black triangle with a carbon trim, which comes from the hinge 14-inch display. Finally, we note the golden logo Gigabyte.
There were no complaints on the quality of production of laptop we did not have. All gaps were uniform, plastic body does not flex even under significant pressure. Is that the display hinge could be tougher – display relatively strong swings that can be annoying, for example, when traveling in a bus.
The upper part of the main body Gigabyte Aero 14 is completely black. WASD keys are not highlighted, but added to the left of macro keys that can be programmed using Gigabyte utility. You can also easily switch between different profiles using the top button G, the selected profile is determined by the color of the backlight. As a result, you can activate the different macros for different games. Except in this key, all other keys are highlighted in one color, namely white.
According to the layout Gigabyte chose Standard Edition, which facilitates the transition from a desktop keyboard on a laptop. Note that we tested the laptop with the German layout, in Russia it will be sold to the Russian-language keyboard. Some additional keys in order to save space implemented by the Fn button, and a second key function. For example, “Print Screen”, “Delete” and “Pause”. Use the Fn key combinations, you can adjust the volume and screen brightness, turn on / off WLAN and Bluetooth.
Sami buttons are large enough – 16 x 16 mm, the distance between them can be called perfect – 4 mm. Tactile feedback keys island is good, but the course could be deeper, and the resistance to the resistance point – more powerful. In any case, the keyboard quickly get used to it, you can play comfortably and typing long texts. As expected, 14-inch laptop is no space for the numeric keypad.
Touchpad is very similar to “related” Aorus laptops. It has quite a nice size 106 x 71 mm. The finger slides on the touch-pada perfect touch and multitouch gestures are detected very precisely and quickly. For example, two-finger scrolling in the browser. Less like the left and right mouse buttons are integrated into the panel touchpad. Sometimes, when the finger goes too far in the lower right area, the right button is automatically activated, opens the context menu.
Despite its compact dimensions, Gigabyte Aero 14 offers a lot. On the left side of the notebook available video output HDMI. There is also a port USB 3.1 Type A and 3.5-mm jack for a headset, which works on both input and output audio. In front, in the direction of the touch pad, SD card slot available. Gigabyte also added to the left panel hole Kensington lock to prevent theft.
On the opposite side you can see two additional USB 3.1 ports and a modern interface Type C. It works according to the specifications USB 3.1 Gen 2 with a capacity of up to 10 Gbit / s, but there is no support for Thunderbolt 3. But the next set mini-DisplayPort output for connecting a monitor. Due to the thin dimensions of the body of the Gigabit LAN sockets had to give up, but you can connect your laptop to the LAN adapter. Finally, we note a connector for an external 150-watt power supply.
Bottom Gigabyte Aero 14 is nothing special. In addition to several racks can be seen except that ventilation openings. Removable cover, which would allow to easily replace the SSD and memory is not provided. The battery is 95 Wh not removable.
Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor and NVIDIA graphics card GeForce GTX 1060 can not be considered slow, but also to cool them is not so easy. Yet these components belong to the top segment of the mass market, or even high-end market. Of course, Intel and NVIDIA in recent years have greatly improved the efficiency of its components, but for the cooling system, they continue to pose a serious burden.
Also the vents at the bottom of the housing 14 at Gigabyte Aero large holes can be seen between the display main body and the lid.
As can be seen on the body, Gigabyte Aero 14 did not have to compromise on quality. But what about the performance of components and cooling system? Let us look at a laptop in the details.
As with most other gaming notebooks in this class of price and performance, Gigabyte Aero 14 uses Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor. It belongs to the line of Skylake, which in January will give way to the Core of the seventh generation Kaby Lake. The processor has four cores, each running from the base frequency of 2.6 GHz, a Turbo mode, it increases to 3.5 GHz. With support for Hyper-Threading four cores can run two threads each, which gives eight threads simultaneously. The L3 cache is 6 MB Cache L2 – 1 MB per core accounted for 256 KB. There is a first-level cache and 32 Kbytes for data and instructions. Intel indicates the TDP of 45 watts, in practice, the processor Gigabyte Aero 14 it reaches.
The memory controller CPU Gigabyte Aero 14 supports modern standard DDR4 or old DDR3. The price of memory bars in recent weeks and months, sharing it, so most modern devices use modern memory.And so it came Gigabyte, in laptop Gigabyte Aero 14 is set DDR4 memory at speeds of 2.133 MHz of 16 GB. But the memory bandwidth is limited to 14.25 GB / s, which is lower than comparable models from which it can reach up to 20 GB / s. The reason is simple: working memory in single channel mode. But in practice this disadvantage is not so noticeable. The 7-Zip compression test we got a capacity just above 18.000 MIPS. In two tests, Cinebench 14-inch display laptop 7.46 and 675 points, respectively, that is to be expected from the Intel Core i7-6700HQ.
SSD M.2 connected via PCI Express interface is enabled NVMe, his bandwidth higher than SATA. In the tests we got the level of just below 1.9 GB / s. The operating system, programs and games started in seconds, without delay, but the capacity of 512 GB can fill up pretty quickly – some games like GTA V or The Witcher 3, take the disc more than 50 GB. Unfortunately, due to limited space in notebook Gigabyte Aero 14 additional hard drive can not be installed. If you need space, you can connect the drive via USB 3.1 or Type C.
Of course, for gamers on the first place there is the video card. At Intel Core i7-6700HQ has a built-in graphics core, but Intel HD Graphics with 42 execution units still gives too low productivity for today’s games. In summer, it was planned to release notebooks with graphics cards GeForce GTX 965M or GTX 970M, but it was later decided to move to the new by Pascal the GPU , which correspond to a desktop model. And Gigabyte chose NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060. The GPU is based on 4.4 billion. Transistors, GPU GP106 made on 16-nm process at TSMC FinFET and has 1,280 stream processors. They are grouped into two clusters Graphics Processing Clusters, each with ten Streaming Multiprocessors. Each of the ten SMM includes 128 stream processors, eight texture units, as a result, the mobile graphics card GeForce GTX 1060 we have 1,280 stream processors and 80 TMU.
The memory subsystem has been somewhat curtailed compared to the “older” models. Instead of 256-bit interface from the GeForce GTX 1070 or GeForce GTX 1080 we get a 192-bit interface, which is connected by 6 GB of memory 48 raster operations pipelines. Of course, using high-speed GDDR5 chips at a frequency of 2.002 MHz bus bandwidth of up to 192 GB / s. The graphics processor operates with a base frequency of 1.405 MHz, but it may reach higher frequency depending on the load and temperature. NVIDIA indicates the minimum bar 1.671 MHz. Under load Furmark frequency decreased to the base, but in the games we got the minimum or above Boost frequency.
Recent games like Grand Theft Auto 5, Dirt Rally, The Witcher 3 or Shadow of Mordor were on NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 and 14 Gigabyte Aero laptop without any problems. Of course, the performance of GeForce GTX 1060 gave way to the flagship graphics cards, including due to lower frequencies, but the difference is not that significant. The native resolution of the notebook is increased to 1.920 x 1.080 pixels to a higher 2.560 x 1.440 pixels. The card provides sufficient performance for 1080, not to mention the 720p. Some games had to reduce the level of detail in QHD. For example, in the Total War: Attila or The Witcher 3. But in GTA V, DiRt Rally and Tomb Raider could comfortably play in native resolution.
At Gigabyte Aero 14 we found no problems with cooling, in spite of its compact dimensions and powerful components. Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor load is heated to very high temperatures of 86 ° C, but we found no throttling. NVIDIA graphics card GeForce GTX 1060 showed a much lower temperature of 75 ° C. Temperatures Gigabyte Aero 14, the surface was much less: in idle mode the upper panel of the main body warmed, on average, up to 27 ° C, below the average temperature was slightly higher – 28,7 ° C. The highest temperature we got in the second box, just below the bottom of the display hinges. Here, Gigabyte Aero 14, the load is heated to 45,8 ° C. In general, the average temperature under load was slightly higher – 28,7 and 31,8 ° C.
Despite its compact dimensions, Gigabyte Aero 14 has remained relatively quiet, at least in office mode. We got the noise level around in “Normal” mode 34.1 dB (A). If you activate the “Silent” mode, the fan does not spin up to a certain temperature, so that the system operates completely silently. But under load cooling system starts to work with a significant noise. We got the result to 52.3 dB (A), so Gigabyte Aero 14 is not quiet. However, given the compact size and powerful hardware, and others we did not expect.
The advantages of Gigabyte Aero 14 include not only productive “iron” and a compact design, but also capacious battery. We got a capacity of about 95 Wh, which is considerably greater than that of many larger notebooks. As a rule, high-end laptops we get the battery capacity of 64 to 76 Wh. As a result, the 14-inch notebook Gigabyte shows excellent battery life. Under the office load, we get 338 minutes, which is about 5 hours and 40 minutes. Several smaller than the Gigabyte promised, but still quite a lot, given the performance of the notebook. Under load the battery lasts for 169 minutes, that is a little less than three hours. Many gaming notebooks can withstand no more than 90 minutes away from an outlet.
LG IPS panel has a matte finish, so it reflects not so much glare. With a laptop, you can work on the street, although the brightness can be higher: we got only up to the level of 279 cd / m². The uniformity of the backlight is not as good as many other laptops. We got a rate about 87%, between the bright and dark areas of a difference of 37 cd / m². Contrast was quite good – 944: 1.
Like most gaming laptops, 14-inch Gigabyte Aero 14 with the panel 2.560 x 1.440 pixels gives too cool shades. We measured an average color temperature of about 7.241 K. Fortunately, using Gigabyte utility you can make the necessary adjustments. In our tests we were able to set the temperature to a level of 6.800 K, although it can not be called perfect.
New laptops Gigabyte impressed us at Computex 2016 exhibition in Taipei , but the updated models were even more interesting. The manufacturer replaced the old with new GPU Maxwell chips Pascal. Gaming Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor and NVIDIA graphics card GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB of video memory was more than enough. Though not every game we were able to put the highest quality settings in the native resolution. The reason is that Gigabyte has chosen QHD panel with high resolution 2.560 x 1.440 pixels to Gigabyte Aero 14. On the other hand, if the game performance is insufficient, it can reduce the resolution and quality settings. In everyday scenarios laptop gives a fairly high performance through NVMe SSD. Although the capacity of 512 GB can fill up quickly with a game collection. Therefore, gamers will have to connect an external storage device.
Gigabyte Aero 14 – a very compact, lightweight and very nice laptop. We liked the simple shapes with different colors cover. Inside the set is quite capacious battery that provides long battery life, even if it is less than Gigabyte promises. But, taking into account the powerful “iron”, the result is still happy. Depending on the mode you get 2.5 to 5.5 hours of battery life. Under Windows laptop works very quietly, sometimes even fans stop. However, under load the 14-inch laptop can reach over 52 dB noise level (A).
A significant drawback is the price. In Europe, Gigabyte asks for Aero 14, 1,999 euros in Russia laptop has not yet appeared. With the same equipment you can purchase laptops with larger diagonal and a large amount of storage is much cheaper. A good example is the same MSI GS63VR 6RF Stealth Pro with 15.6-inch display.