The Ampere architecture has hit the laptop market with force, and all manufacturers have gone to work to launch the most powerful equipment. The Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED XC will be our protagonist today, a family that already appeared two years ago and that continues to offer the best image quality with its OLED 4K screen with Pantone X-Rite.
The ultimate kit for creators and designers that now makes more sense than ever for gamers. The Nvidia RTX 3070 together with the Intel i7-10870H will be able to give more than 60 FPS in this resolution, being ideal to enjoy ultra graphics and AAA games. Get comfortable in the seat, because we started!
Gigabyte is a manufacturer that generations ago opted for a somewhat more restrained and classic visual style of its laptops, leaving aside the gamer aspect a bit for its AORUS division. In this Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED XC that inclination does not change too much, but the edge design and aesthetics in general are more modern and current, something that pleases our eyes.
The construction of this laptop is based on aluminum for the lid and inner area, while the base uses plastic. For the metallic elements, a CNC process has been used to cut and mold the parts, as well as NIL (Nanoimprint Lithography) to make the texture and silkscreen details that appear on the screen cover.
And speaking of this cover, it is one of the most striking novelties in terms of its design, leaving behind the “ envelope ” style and now adding a series of lines polishing the metal surface that make a beautiful set. The texture and finishes are the best we can find, much smoother than other high-end equipment and providing very premium sensations both outside and inside. The AERO logo located on the lid features fixed white LED lighting.
Moving to the back we find a grid area that extends along the entire edge and that ensures a high expulsion of hot air from the cooling system. The central area has been protected by a metal grill without missing the “AERO” logo, while the ends are left free showing the finned blocks inside. The front area has a slightly concave region and a lower edge cut inwards, with a slit in the central area that helps us to open the lid more easily.
In this new generation the rigidity of the screen has been improved , allowing much less torsion without increasing the thickness of the screen . The hinge system has not changed, and they have the same simple rectangular design that adds that classic touch when we open the equipment. The measurements have not changed, maintaining a thickness of 20 mm and a weight of about 2 kg including the battery.
The lower area of the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED XC is the same as that used in the AORUS models, with almost half of the area open and protected with a metal grill. This ensures a perfect inward air flow, but also less resistance to the ingress of dirt. Openings for the two loudspeakers have been placed in the corners closest to the user .
We access the interior of the laptop to find a screen with fairly tight frames, specifically 6 mm at the top and on the sides, and 25 mm at the bottom . This screen is separated about 10 mm from the body of the equipment, one of the effects of using these simple hinges.
The keyboard area is used to the very edge by incorporating a numeric keypad format. In this 15 ”version a TKL would have been a better option we think . The touchpad is slightly angled to the left to improve ergonomics, being basically the same as the previous generation with a small area. The webcam and microphones are located on the lower edge under the screen, in an aesthetic position that allows little mobility and with the typical double chin effect .
Ports and connections
It is the turn to see in detail the ports that the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED XC has implemented in its two lateral areas. The rear area has been kept free, giving better accessibility for the user, and without losing the two side openings for cooling.
In the right area we will have:
- 2x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A
- USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3
- SD UHS II card reader
- Power jack and battery charging
And in the left area the rest:
- HDMI 2.1
- Mini DisplayPort 1.4
- 1x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A
- 1x 3.5mm jack for audio output and microphone input
- RJ-45 for 2.5 Gbps LAN
The configuration will be exactly the same as the AORUS gaming models, in short, they are almost twin sister designs inside. The AERO does not compromise on a useful 40 Gbps Thunderbolt port ideal for high resolution monitors or providing a multitude of different communication interfaces. The ideal would have been to upgrade to Thunderbolt 4 to support charging up to 100W, but it is not a disadvantage.
We also have a new HDMI 2.1 port , something natural when using the new generation Ampere graphics cards, although we have seen laptops from other brands that continue with version 2.0. to this we add a third video output such as DisplayPort and card reader.
One aspect that we did not like is finding that large flare in the charging cable so close to the connector to the laptop. It is quite annoying both visually and when handling the equipment.
One of the great allies of this Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED XC is its screen, which is a 15.6-inch panel with AMOLED technology . As it could not be otherwise, it is built and supplied by Samsung , a leader in this technology. To enhance the brightness we have a mirror-like glossy finish , a basic difference compared to the versions with an IPS panel.
As we can understand, this is not going to be a screen so focused on gaming, as it uses a native 4K resolution at 3840x2160p and a refresh rate of 60 Hz . But yes for design, because it has a color coverage of 100% DCI-P3, maximum brightness of 400 nits with DisplayHDR 400 certification to enjoy multimedia content. But perhaps the most important thing will be the X-Rite Pantone certification , whereby each panel is individually calibrated and leaves the factory with an optimal color profile and with a Delta E <1.
From the factory installed Control Center software , we can modify the color profile of the screen and its brightness. We have the Pantone mode activated by default , which gives us the best possible color adjustment. If we prefer another profile to adapt to different situations, there are 4 color temperature modes from warmer to colder. As a good panel that respects our eyesight, a bar is also included to control the blue light filter. The icing on the cake would have been to implement a profiling system with RGB bars in case any user wishes to recalibrate the screen with a colorimeter at home.
The greatest advantage of this type of panel is the vividness of its colors , especially the greens, which are always strong in AMOLED panels. The sheer depth of blacks in contrast to 400 nit brightness so the feeling that the image is going to go off the screen. A real joy to watch Dolby content, and play open world titles like Tomb Raider. The viewing angles are almost perfect, and the level of brightness or color hardly suffers lost when approaching 180 or angle, although note that reflection greenish typical OLED panels.
In addition to this panel, Gigabyte offers the user a version more focused on gaming with a 144 Hz IPS panel and Full HD resolution. If we want to go one step further, we would have the new AORUS 15 and 17G with a 300 nit panel and great image quality to enjoy the best eSport.
The audio configuration of the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED XC consists of two 2W speakers in a circular format and with Nahimic technology . These are basically the same ones that are equipped in the new generation AORUS gaming laptops, so that’s good news.
The sound profile of these speakers leaves us a fairly warm audio , without excellent in treble and with an acceptable presence of bass considering that its power is only 2W. But where they stand out the most is in the high volume they support, and they also do it without distortion, so they are very enjoyable to listen to music. As we already commented in the review of the AORUS 17G, they do not reach the level of the Asus harman / kardon for example, but the evolution is positive.
As for the webcam, we have the same sensor and the same distribution as in the rest of Gigabyte laptops. It is a 720p HD sensor with recording up to 30 FPS and located in the lower area of the equipment, next to the double microphone system. Its performance is simply standard, and it is not compatible with Windows Hello .
Backlit keyboard with powerful lighting
The Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED XC has a backlit type keyboard with a membrane and distribution. Making the most of the available space, the manufacturer has chosen to keep the numeric keypad, with the same separation between all the keys.
In this case, a TKL keyboard might have been a better option, there is plenty of space on the sides, but giving the possibility of separating the direction keys a bit. In terms of aesthetics and distribution, it is the same as the mechanical version used by AORUS laptops. It uses RGB Fusion 2.0 Per-Key lighting that is quite powerful and can be seen even in well-lit environments.
The main difference is that a membrane is used here, which provides a very direct pulsation effect with a very short stroke . The feeling is very good especially when playing, but its touch and smooth travel do not go badly in writing either. The surface of the keys feels silky and it has a fairly thick layout that lets out a lot of light.
The touchpad used is a somewhat small panel for what other brands already use, and they remain with standard measurements of 106 mm wide by 70 mm deep . For a 4K resolution a larger size would come in handy for design tasks. Regarding the operation we have no complaints, because its trackpad works and slides luxuriously, without pixel jumps and being compatible with 2, 3 and 4 finger gestures as normal. The buttons are integrated into the bottom edge, using very little travel, a soft click, and a tight, slack installation. To this, a fingerprint sensor has been added that at least provides greater security for authentication.
Control Center Software
The Control Center software will be in charge of giving us the corresponding management and customization options for the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED XC . Its design and interface have not changed anything with respect to what we already knew, offering a fairly direct interaction and with clearly visible sections in the upper area.
One element that is updated is the integration with the Microsoft Azure AI cloud . This system basically records our computer use patterns so that, through artificial intelligence, we obtain the best possible performance and consumption. It’s available on the entire AERO series and AORUS laptops, and through Microsoft servers it really optimizes and improves performance for what tasks. We have carried out the tests with the Performance Mode profile and the Azure AI mode.
Regarding the software itself, we have a Dashboard as the first section, which has the typical RAM, CPU and GPU frequency markings, as well as more information in the lower area relative to them. We can change the fan profile and even customize it in the penultimate section, although we will hardly avoid it being noisy at the cost of high temperature.
A section that is interesting is the third, which has a large number of control options for sound, keyboard, screen, drums and other elements accessible to the user. The next section is dedicated to the control and customization of the keyboard . It offers macro support and different animation profiles for lighting. It does not seem that it is possible to modify the double function keys, although we can customize the color of each key individually.
Internal and hardware features
We continue with the features section where we will see what new features have been implemented in the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED XC . As we usually do, we leave screenshots of the equipment completely open to see its heatsink and components.
The connectivity of the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED XC consists of a double interface, since the thickness of 20 mm is enough to keep the interface wired. First, we will have a Realtek RTL8125 LAN card that supports 2.5 Gbps of bandwidth . 1 Gbps connections are practically disappearing now, getting too small in the case of high-volume transfers or next-generation LANs.
If we opt for the wireless interface, we find an Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 card, with a Dual Band capacity at 2.4 and 5 GHz , and a theoretical bandwidth of 2.4 Gbps. In this case, the new generation AX210 that would be compatible with Wi-Fi 6E (6 GHz band) has not been implemented.
PCB and main hardware
The technical characteristics of the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED XC largely coincide with those offered by AORUS laptops and other models with the “XC” identifier. In addition to this, we will have the top YC model with Nvidia RTX 3080 graphics card and various storage versions.
But focusing on what we have for analysis, we have opted for an Intel Core i7-10870H processor , which is directly below the 10980HK, so it is the most powerful locked version from Intel. In it we have 8 physical and 16 logical cores using HyperThreading, whose frequencies rise from 2.4 GHz base to 5.0 GHz in maximum Boost mode . This CPU has a configurable 45W TDP and 16MB L3 cache .
In this equipment, processing frequencies of all the cores of 4.3 GHz have been obtained while the temperatures allow it . If we opted for its integrated graphics to save battery in basic use, we would have the typical UHD Graphics 630 . It will be in the new generation Tiger Lake-H where the Iris Xe are already introduced.
Along with the CPU of the green brand we have a total of 32 GB of DDR4 RAM , being the same for the higher version. Two Crucial modules with a maximum frequency of 3200 MHz with Micron chips have been used for it . They are certainly not the most expensive memory, but at least they serve their purpose like the rest, with Dual Channel and good gaming performance. The entire complex uses the HM470 chipset , the one with the highest performance in terms of connectivity for these 10th gen CPUs.
So far we have not found too many new features, because in the end we are using hardware that we already knew in advance. The novelty is in the dedicated graphics card, which is nothing less than an Nvidia RTX 3070 Laptop . This version would be the GA104 desktop chipset cut in benefits and TGP. Inside, 40 multiprocessing units remain active under a Samsung 8 nm manufacturing process. Altogether it contains 5,120 CUDA cores, 160 Tensor cores and 40 RT cores, making up 160 TMUs and 80 ROPs.
The TGP that is configured on this GPU is 105W , 10W less than the base model for laptops. Gigabyte did not want to squeeze this version as much as possible in order to maintain good temperatures and avoid throttling. The memory capacity will be 8 GB of GDDR6 type, using chips with a 1500 MHz clock and 12 Gbps transfer . Its bus width will be the same as the desktop GPU, with 256 bits , although the transfer rate drops to 384 GB / s due to its effective frequency.
Finally, the storage section leaves us with a 1 TB capacity SSD , more specifically an old one known as the Western Digital PC SN730 . This M.2 unit uses an NVMe 1.3 PCIe 3.0 interface to give us 3000MB / s throughput in sequential reading and writing. In addition, we have a secure M.2 slot and a second silicone thermal pad in case we want to install another unit.
The cooling system that this Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED XC is using is again the same as that used in AORUS equipment. This is a performance advantage, but its fans are quite loud.
In total we will have two fans, one on each side to cool in the best possible way, on the right the GPU, and on the left the CPU according to the image. They use a lot of space as you can see, with up to 71 blades and 12V power . In this somewhat thinner equipment we have a characteristic hiss when they exceed 2500 RPM (something common) that was also present in the previous generation.
To capture all the heat generated we have two copper heatpipes shared between CPU and GPU, as well as two more, working individually for each chip. While the two shared heat reaches the rear finned block area, the other two pour the heat into the side blocks. A 5th heatpipe is located under the GPU coldplate and is responsible for collecting the heat from the GDDR6 memory chips.
As a technical detail we have a small metal heatsink on top of the HM470 chipset and a silicone thermal pad on the SSD so that the lower case acts as a passive heatsink for it.
The new generation of laptops is finally updated in this component, so the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED XC has a battery of no less than 99 Wh and a maximum capacity of 6514 mAh. In the previous model we had 94 Wh, so it is a small increase but it adapts well to the trend of the rivals.
The figures that this laptop has given us with the Power Saver IA profile , brightness at half, keyboard off, making basic use of the equipment (browsing, watching videos and writing) has been approximately 7 hours . The advantage that the AMOLED screen gives us in autonomy is remarkable compared to the 300 Hz panels, enduring almost a full working day that we optimize autonomy to the maximum.
We are very pleased to see that not only the hardware, but also the laptop batteries are getting better and higher power to extract more performance from the set.
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