Gigabyte Aero 14 v8 Review and Benchmarks
Gigabyte Aero 14 v8 Review and Benchmarks. The Gigabyte Aero 14 is a fairly thin and light 14 inch laptop featuring a 6 core Intel CPU and Nvidia 1050Ti graphics, In this review post we will test Gigabyte Aero 14 out and help you decide if it’s a laptop you should consider.
Let’s start with the specs of this unit. There’s a 6 core Intel i7-8750H CPU with a 2.2GHz base speed and a 4.1GHz single core turbo. I’ve got 16GB of DDR4 memory running at 2,400MHz in single channel, although the two slots support up to 32GB.
Gigabyte Aero 14 v8 Review
For storage there’s a 512GB M.2 SATA SSD, but the two M.2 slots both support faster NVMe storage. For the graphics there’s an Nvidia 1050Ti 4GB which powers the 14 inch 1440p 60Hz IPS panel, and we’ll see how this performs soon in the benchmarks.
For the network connectivity there’s support for 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth version 4.2. No ethernet port here unfortunately, so you’ll need to use a USB dongle if you need one.
The interior of the laptop is a matte black aluminium while the lid appears to be a matte black plastic, although it also seems to be available in green or orange. Overall the laptop felt nice, no sharp edges and solid build quality.
The dimensions of the laptop are 33.5cm in width, 25cm in depth, and just under 2cm in height, so a little smaller than most 15 inch laptops as you’d expect. The weight is listed as 1.89kg on the Gigabyte website, basically spot on with my own testing. With the 150 watt power brick and cable for charging, the total weight increases to just 2.5kg, so it’s quite lightweight and portable considering the powerful hardware.
I’ll also just quickly note that the power brick has a USB Type-A port on it for charging too. As mentioned the screen is a 14 inch 60Hz 1440p IPS panel, no G-Sync available here. I found this a little strange, as to me 14 inches is fairly small to really benefit from the 1440p resolution even in productivity tasks, and especially for gaming when paired with 1050Ti graphics, as we’ll see in the benchmarks. I found the viewing angles to be really good, images are still perfectly clear even on sharp angles.
The screen gets bright enough, at 100% brightness I measured it at 320 nits. There’s also a light sensor which will automatically change the brightness of the screen based on your environment, but I found it a little annoying to have my brightness changing and disabled it. I’ve also measured the current colour gamut using the Spyder 5 Pro, and my results returned 96% of sRGB, 73% of NTSC and 77% of AdobeRGB, so not too bad, I’d happily use it for content creation and it’s X-Rite Pantone calibrated.
I’ve performed my usual backlight bleed test on the display, which involves having the laptop show a black screen in a dark room to help emphasize any bleeding. I then take a long exposure photo to display any bleed, so this is a worst case scenario test. There’s some minor imperfections that the camera was able to pick up toward the bottom and top right corner, however to my eyes I wasn’t able to see anything, even in a dark room it looked good to me, but this will of course vary between laptops.
While moving the display there was some flex, it was fairly sturdy though as most of the base of the screen makes up the hinge. It can also be opened easily with one finger, demonstrating a fairly even weight distribution as we’ve got the battery up the front.
Above the display in the center is a 720p camera. The camera isn’t great, but better than many other laptops I’ve tested, still grainy even with decent lighting. The microphone sounds alright, but you’ll be able to judge both for yourself.
The chiclet keyboard has white backlighting with two levels of adjustment available, no RGB here. It’s got some macro keys on the left hand side which do have some different colours, and this was probably the only thing in this laptop I didn’t like. Not only because I don’t personally actually use macro keys, but by having them here the whole keyboard is sort of shifted over to the right, or at least that’s what it felt like, I never quite got used to it during my testing and was often typing incorrectly.
The keys themselves use scissor switches and had a nice tactile click feeling to them. Here’s how they they sound to try and give you an idea. There was only a little keyboard flex while pushing down fairly hard, overall it seemed pretty solid. Like other Gigabyte laptops I’ve reviewed, the touchpad uses ELAN drivers and felt extremely smooth to the touch. You can easily install precision drivers instead, which is what I’ve done and after that it was basically perfect.
Moving onto the I/O on the left there’s a kensington lock, HDMI 2.0 port, USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A port, 3.5mm audio combo jack, and an SD card slot. On the right there’s a USB Type-C port with 4 lanes of Thunderbolt 3 support, mini DisplayPort 1.2, two USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports and the power input.
Gigabyte note that with these outputs you can run three 4K displays at once, although I haven’t tested that as I don’t own that many. There’s nothing at all on the back as the air exhaust vents are just below the screen, it’s worth keeping this in mind if you plan on docking the laptop with the lid closed as it would probably get quite hot with the exhausts blocked.
The front just has some status LEDs on the right hand side, and you can press the bottom right corner of the touchpad to show the battery charge remaining with the LEDs. Up on the lid there’s the Gigabyte logo in the center with a mirrored finish, and this carbon fiber texture towards the bottom.
Fingerprints show up easily, but as it’s a smooth surface they’re quite easy to wipe away. Underneath there’s some rubber feet which do a good job of preventing the laptop from sliding around while in use, and some air intake vents towards the back.
The speakers are found underneath towards the front left and right corners. They actually sound pretty good for laptop speakers, they don’t get that loud so they stay fairly clear and there was actually some bass. The laptop can be opened up easily with a Torx screwdriver. After removing the panel we get easy access to the WiFi card, two memory slots, and two M.2 slots.
Powering the laptop is a 94 Watt hour battery, and with a full charge and just watching YouTube videos with the screen on half brightness, keyboard lighting off and background apps disabled, I was able to use it for 6 hours and 47 minutes, the best result in this test I’ve ever had so far.
The Aero was using the Intel integrated graphics in this test thanks to Nvidia Optimus. While playing the Witcher 3 with medium settings and Nvidia’s battery boost set to 30 FPS the battery lasted for 1 hour and 33 minutes, however by the time it had around 25% battery left the frame rate dipped to 13 FPS as I guess it wasn’t providing enough power at that point, but I’d definitely recommend playing while plugged in for best performance.
Overall the battery life was really good, it’s the same sized battery as the Aero 15x but with less powerful hardware. Thermal testing was completed with an ambient room temperature of 18 degrees celcius, it’s getting cold here as winter has just started, so expect warmer temperatures in a warmer environment. Also remember that the CPU and GPU share heatpipes, so a change in temperature of one component will affect the other. At idle both the CPU and GPU were quite cool at 41 and 37 degrees celsius respectively.
While playing PUBG at high settings we can see that the temperatures rose a bit as shown in the darker blue. By undervolting the CPU by -0.150v in green we can drop the CPU temperature by 5 degrees while gaming, which is about the same as just maxing out the fans in yellow. If we both max out the fans and apply the undervolt together we can drop the temperatures quite a bit, as shown in orange.
The full load stress tests were run using Aida64 and the Heaven benchmark at the same time, and regardless of whether or not undervolting or maxed out fans were in use the CPU was always thermal throttling at 90 degrees celsius in this test, although the fan increase did help with the GPU temperatures as shown in purple and darkest blue at the top of the graph.
These are the average clock speeds while running the same tests for the temperatures just shown, we can see that the CPU is basically reaching its full 3.9GHz all core clock speeds while gaming without many issues, there was just very slight power limit throttling without the undervolt as shown in blue and yellow, but the undervolt cleared that up as shown in green and orange.
With the CPU and GPU stress tests running we can see that maxing the fans out only slightly improves the CPU clock speed, as shown in purple, but undervolting gives us the biggest boost. With both undervolting and the fans maxed out we’ve almost completely removed the thermal throttling under full load, as shown in dark blue, but keep in mind in general you’re probably not going to be maxing both CPU and GPU out anyway, this is a stress test and for the most part it seems to be fine in games. These are the clock speeds I got while just running CPU only stress tests without any GPU load.
At defaults we were seeing intermittent power limit throttling, but it was possible to remove this by undervolting where we were then able to get the full 3.9GHz all core turbo speed. As for the external temperatures where you’ll actually be putting your hands, at idle the body of the laptop is sitting in the low 30s, so it’s quite cool.
While gaming this increases to the mid 40s in the center, but there are cool spots on the sides including where the WASD keys are which will be appreciated while gaming for longer periods of time. With the CPU and GPU stress tests it got a little warmer, and this didn’t really change much once we max out the fans. As for the fan noise produced by the laptop, I’ll let you have a listen to some of these tests.
At idle it was almost completely silent, gaming in PUBG at high settings was just a little quieter than the stress test with default fan speeds in use, and it was about average compared to most other laptops I’ve tested, only getting a little louder at full speed. I’ll also note that there was no noticeable coil whine while testing in my unit.
Gigabyte Aero 14 v8 Benchmarks
Finally let’s take a look at some benchmarks, we’ll first cover some real world gaming benchmarks followed by tests with various benchmarking tools. As the Aero 14 has a 1440p 60Hz display and we’re only dealing with the 1050Ti most of the benchmarks have been run at 1080p as that makes more sense, but I’ve also included 1440p results for some of the less demanding titles where that made sense.
Fortnite at 1080p was running quite well, I found it playable at all setting levels, but keep in mind that results will vary quite a lot in this game depending on what other players are doing. Moving up to 1440p it was definitely still playable at the lower settings, only at epic did I start having significant issues.
Overwatch was tested playing with the bots, even at epic settings it ran very well, as shown by the 1% lows which are above the refresh rate of the panel. Going to 1440p again I only noticed issues at epic settings, it still worked quite well at all other setting levels.
CS:GO was going well at 1080p, this game doesn’t really need many resources to work well. Going to 1440p didn’t actually drop the frame rates by as much as I expected, but I think realistically most people will stay at 1080p or below if playing competitively anyway.
Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the built in benchmark, and even the 1% lows at ultra settings were above the refresh rate of the display, so it runs pretty well. At 1440p the frame rates drop a bit but the 1% lows don’t drop too far behind the average so at most settings it should work well too.
The rest of the games were tested at 1080p only, as in general their frame rates didn’t really seem high enough to justify 1440p, and personally I think 1080p looks perfectly fine while gaming at 14 inches anyway.
PUBG was tested using the replay feature, as usual the 1% lows are a fair bit below the averages which seems normal in this game, but of course take the results with a grain of salt, as like Fortnite it will depend on what’s going on in the game, so the results can vary quite a lot.
I’ve tested Farcry 5 with the built in benchmark, and the results aren’t amazing but it was still playable at most setting levels without issue, 1% lows aren’t too far below the averages. Assassin’s Creed Origins was also tested with the built in benchmark, and again 1% lows aren’t too far below the averages here.
Dota 2 was tested using a fairly intensive replay, so this should be a worst case scenario, realistically you’ll probably get better results than this while actually playing, and even in this intensive test the averages are looking pretty good for this game.
Testing Battlefield 1 in the first campaign mission ran well for me even with ultra settings, no noticeable issues in this one. The witcher 3 doesn’t really need a high frame rate to play, but was a little stuttery at ultra settings, it ran well at all other setting levels though.
Rise of the tomb raider was tested with the built in benchmark, and we’re able to average above the refresh rate of the display at medium settings or lower. Ghost recon is a resource intensive game, and was again tested with the built in benchmark. You’ll probably want to play this at lower settings to get a good experience.
Watchdogs 2 is another resource intensive game, but is another that I personally think doesn’t need a high frame rate to play. I didn’t actually notice any dips below ultra settings, it ran quite well for me at high or below.
DOOM was tested using vulkan, and even at max settings we were averaging above the refresh rate of the display, it played well at all setting levels in my testing with no noticeable problems.
Now onto the benchmarking tools, I’ve tested Heaven, Valley, and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike, Timespy, and VRMark from 3DMark, just pause the video if you want a detailed look at these results. As we’ve seen the 1050Ti gives us a good experience in less demanding games at 1080p, and even at 1440p in some titles.
Some AAA games would need lower settings with 1080p though, otherwise you’ll probably want to instead look at a laptop with 1060 graphics or above. As for overclocking, the 8750H CPU can’t be overclocked, but I was able to increase the GPU core clock of the 1050Ti. We can see the average clock speeds while running the Heaven benchmark for 30 minutes at stock and with a 200MHz overclock applied.
With both CPU undervolting and GPU overclocking applied we get a little boost in games, in PUBG we’re seeing a few frames per second better at each setting level, but nothing too major. I’ve just quickly got some CPU benchmarks here, and we can see that it’s a decent step up from the 7th generation as we’ve got two extra cores with slightly faster single threaded clock speeds.
The -0.150v undervolt is giving us a nice performance boost too, as it’s removing the power limit throttling as discussed earlier. In Crystal Disk Mark the 512GB M.2 SATA SSD was performing pretty well, over 500MB/s in sequential reads and around 480MB/s for sequential writes, but remember the two M.2 slots support faster NVMe storage with 4 lanes each if you want to upgrade.
As a smaller laptop there’s no 2.5 inch drive bay here, so no hard drive. I’ve tested the SD card slot using a V90 rated card, so the card shouldn’t be a bottleneck, and we can see that the results are pretty decent.
Aero 14 v8 Price
As for the price the Aero 14 seems to be around $2400 AUD here in Australia, but I couldn’t really see it for sale at that many places at the time of recording. Same in the US, at the moment there’s no mention of the Aero 14 on Amazon or Newegg, or even the sites Gigabyte’s own website points to as resellers so I can’t really compare it easily. I’ll update the post description if I can find some global pricing.
So what did you guys think of the Gigabyte Aero 14 laptop? I think it’s pretty impressive that we can get a 6 core CPU in such a thin and light laptop, granted it does thermal throttle due to this, but even so it still performs pretty well, and that could be improved a fair bit with undervolting, and you could probably take it to the next level with some liquid metal.
Otherwise the laptop had great build quality, runs alright in games and has really good battery life, basically a smaller version of the Aero 15x that I’ve previously reviewed. The only issues I had were with the keyboard due to those macro keys shifting the layout over, but that’s probably personal preference and you’d probably get used to it, and I thought the 14 inch 1440p screen paired with the 1050Ti was a strange choice, you can always run games at 1080p so it’s not a major issue in terms of performance but a 1080p panel may have lowered the price without making much noticeable difference.
Let me know what you guys thought down in the comments, and leave a share to let me know if you found the review useful.