Aorus 17 YA Gaming Laptop Review – 240Hz, Mech Keyboard, RTX 2080 and i9-9980HK @5GHz!
Gaming laptop from Gigabyte with powerful specs mechanical keyboard and unique design. Lets check it out in this detailed review and find out what its got for us and see what it can. Do. Ive got the highest YA configuration of the Aorus 17, so theres, an Intel i9 9980HK CPU overclocked to 5GHz 200W Nvidia, RTX, 2080 graphics, 32gb of memory in dual channel, a 17.3 1080p 240Hz screen and 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD, with 2TB hard drive for storage. For Network connectivity, its got gigabit ethernet, WiFi, 6 and Bluetooth 5.. The Aorus 17 is also available with different specs. You can find other configurations and updated pricing linked in the description.. The lid is a matte black, aluminium and the interior is the same.. Build. Quality is definitely above average. Here. The whole body feels very well built and premium.. Despite the angled design, which they say, takes cues from fast cars and jets. There were no sharp corners or edges anywhere.. The weight is listed at approximately 3.75kg and mine was almost 100g. Above this., With the two 330 watt power bricks and cables for charging, the total weight rises to almost 6.5kg in total or 14.3 pounds. In terms of dimensions, its not quite as thick as others like the MSI GT76 or Alienware 51m. But its still on the thicker side for a laptop., Despite this, its not too wide for a 17 inch laptop allowing for 9mm thin side screen bezels.. The 17.3 1080p 240Hz screen has a matte finish and viewing angles looked fine.
The lower specced options are available with 144Hz though.. Despite there being no G Sync, we do still have the option of swapping between Optimus and the Nvidia graphics, with a reboot which should improve gaming performance at the expense of battery life. Ive tested the screen with the Spyder 5 and got 98 of sRGB and 77 Of AdobeRGB. At 100 brightness, I measured the panel at 263 nits in the center, with a 8001 contrast, ratio. Colour gamut was decent for a gaming laptop and it comes X, Rite Pantone calibrated out of the box, however, brightness was below the usual 300 or so I, Like to see., There was pretty much no backlight bleed. I had no problems at all when viewing darker content, but this will vary between laptop and panel., Despite the metal lid being on the thinner side, there was almost no screen flex, it felt extremely solid, and this is aided by the thick hinges being out towards the Far corners., As expected, with a heavier machine like this theres, no problems opening it up with one finger. It did feel heavier at the back due to the cooling, but it still felt stable sitting on my lap, if a little heavy. In classic Gigabyte style, the 720p camera is a nose cam, underneath the screen. Id say, the camera and microphone are both below average, although It is a nose cam. I dont have to tilt the screen too far back to be in frame properly.
Heres. What typing sounds like and heres what it sounds like with the fan at max speed.. So it does get pretty loud and it does have some difficulty isolating my voice.. The Aorus 17 has a mechanical keyboard which uses an Omron gaming switch with N key rollover and 2.5mm of key travel.. Its got per key RGB Backlighting, which lights up all keys and even secondary key functions.. I really liked typing on the keyboard and, despite being mechanical, it wasnt. Quite as loud as my cherry brown keyboard, I usually use heres how it sounds to give you an idea of what to expect.. You can quickly change it between two brightness levels or turn it off by holding function and pressing the spacebar. However, there are many more options and effects available through the fusion tab in the Aorus control center software., The software seems to offer 10 brightness levels for the keyboard direction and speed of effects can be changed and more. Under the atmosphere light. We can control the 5 extra lights on the Aorus 17. There are 2 on the back 2 on the front and one below the screen.. The effects here are more limited when compared to the keyboard, there are only 2 brightness levels or off, and there are only 7 different colours to choose. From. The front left front right, light bar below screen or both back lights can be controlled separately or all together. So basically theres 4 different zones.
. There was almost no flex when pushing down hard overall, the body felt very solid, and I found the letter keys needed just below 70 grams of force to actuate.. The precision touchpad was very smooth to the touch clicks down anywhere when pushed and supports the usual gestures.. I thought the size was fine and overall really liked using it as it just worked. Well. Fingerprints show up fairly easily on the matte black interior, but as a smooth surface, theyre easy enough to clean. The two 2 watt speakers are front facing and are found on the left and right hand sides towards the front. Theres, also a single 3 watt subwoofer. Underneath which gives it some extra kick and its also got an ESS Sabre, Hi Fi audio DAC.. The speakers sounded good for a laptop well above average, clear at higher volumes with some nice bass.. It gets loud enough at max volume without being over the top, and the latencymon results were looking alright. On the left from the back theres, a large air exhaust vent two Type C ports. The first is USB 3.1 Gen1 with DisplayPort 1.4 support, while the second is Thunderbolt 3, followed by USB 3.1 Gen1 Type, A port and 3.5mm mic and headphone jacks. On the right theres, a USB 3.1 Gen1 Type C port, full size, UHS II, SD card slot. Two more USB 3.1 Gen1 Type, A ports and another large air exhaust vent towards the back.. On the back.
There are large air exhausts on the left and right then, for the IO from left to right, theres, an HDMI 2.0 output, which is connected directly to the Nvidia graphics, two power inputs and gigabit ethernet.. The matte black metallic lid features some grooves in the metal with the Aorus logo up top in the center.. The logo lights up white, but I couldnt find a way of controlling it.. Underneath has a large mesh area towards the back half for air intake. To get inside. You need to remove 14 TR5 screws., Once inside weve got the single 2.5 drive bay on the left near the front subwoofer just above and WiFi 6 card to the right battery down the bottom. Two memory slots in the middle and the M.2 drives are covered by a heat spreader over on the right.. Underneath the heat spreader we can see. There are two M.2 slots, both support, NVMe PCIe, but only one provides SATA support.. I also found it interesting that the memory runs at DDR4 2400 speeds rather than 2666. Im, not sure why thats the case, but its whats listed on the Aorus website and what my machine ran with despite the sticks installed being 2666 capable.. I had a look through the BIOS, but couldnt see any options for increasing memory speed. Actually it was quite limited, no options for CPU overclocking either so that all needs to be done through software.. The Aorus 17 is powered by a large 94wh battery and its the same model found in the Aero 15 and 17 laptops.
Ive tested it with the screen brightness at 50 background apps, disabled and RGB lighting off., While just watching YouTube videos with Optimus enabled it lasted For 4 hours and 21 minutes, but if you disable Optimus and instead use the Nvidia GPU, it would last for 2 hours and 49 minutes. The result with Optimus wasnt too bad. Considering the high end. Hardware were dealing with amazing battery life with such specs just isnt possible., While playing the Witcher 3 with medium settings and Nvidias battery boost set to 30 FPS. The battery lasted for 1 hour and 25 minutes in total. However, at 17 charge left after the first hour and 7 minutes, the frame rate dipped down to 7 FPS and was no longer playable.. The two 330 watt power bricks seemed to be adequate to deal with heavy loads, as I didnt experience any battery drain during any of my testing. Its worth, noting that only the i9 and RTX 2080 model needs two bricks. The lower specced configurations use either a single 230 or single 330 watt. Brick. Next Ill briefly cover thermal performance, but this is a shortened version.. You can check out the detailed thermal testing with the card in the top right. If you want all the details. Air is pulled in from underneath through the vents above the keyboard and through the keyboard, itself. Air is exhausted, out the back vents and from the vents on the left and right near the back.
Inside there are 5 heatpipes. Two are shared between the processor and graphics.. The CPU and GPU dies are cooled with a vapor chamber which is below the heatpipes, and these go out to two 12V fans that are attached to large heatsinks. The Aorus Control Center software lets us set the CPU between 6 different power levels as defined here.. All 8 cores were overclocked to 5GHz by default out of the box, but as well see soon thats never hit in sustained multicore load anyway.. The GPU can be changed between two levels, but I didnt find this to actually do anything, neither mode overclocked it and the power limit was 200 watts, regardless of mode so not sure if thats a bug., The control center software also offers three default. Fan curves, quiet, normal and gaming.. We also have the option of manually customizing our own fan curve with a fair level of granularity. However, Ive just tested with either the default normal mode or with the fans manually set to max speed., You can quickly enable max fan, speed by holding the function key and pressing escape, which has the fan icon on it. Thermals were tested with an ambient room temperature Of 21 degrees Celsius expect different results in different environments. Stress tests are done with Aida64 and the Heaven benchmark running together and gaming results are from Watch Dogs 2.. Basically, the CPU was thermal throttling whenever the average was 95 degrees., The GPU only thermal throttled when gaming, with the quiet fan curve, which is expected of running quieter.
, Even undervolting, the CPU and adding a cooling pad couldnt, quite shake thermal throttling. However, in this particular game, it was possible to remove simply by boosting the fan speed.. The biggest improvement to performance was increasing, fan speed, as this directly helped address thermal throttling. However, undervolting and the cooling pad helped a bit too. Best case were getting to 4.4GHz averages over all 8 cores sustained in these heavy loads.. The 200 watt limit was being hit with the RTX 2080 when under stress test, it appears that this particular game doesnt benefit from more GPU power.. We see the CPU power raise as cooling gets, improved. Less thermal throttling means it can draw more power. CPU performance outside of combined CPU and GPU workloads was pretty good. The Cinebench score wasnt too far behind the thicker 8 core laptops Ive tested, though it was ahead of thinner ones like the Aero 17.. The keyboard area was barely warm worst case, theyre doing a great job of isolating the heat inside the machine from the areas where youll actually be placing your hands. As youd expect with higher fan speed. It gets cooler to the touch. Lets have a listen to how loud the fans get.. It was only just audible at idle when gaming, with the quiet fan curve, it was on the quieter side. However, as we saw, this comes at the expense of higher temperatures., With the normal fan curve, which is the default, its on par with most other gaming laptops Ive tested.
However, at max speed, youll want some headphones as it can get very loud.. As we have such granular fan control, it should be possible to find a sweet spot between thermals and noise levels.. Even with the quiet fan curve in use, it was still possible to get high levels of performance from the Aorus 17, so quieter gaming is possible if you dont mind running hotter.. Next lets take a look at some gaming benchmarks to see what the Aorus 17 is capable. Of. Battlefield 5 was tested in campaign. Mode. Ive got RTX on shown by the green bars and RTX off shown by the purple bars. Its pretty rare for us to see a good playable frame rate with RTX on at ultra settings in this test. But the 2080 is able to average 60 FPS here, which is a good result. With RTX off, though even the 1 low at ultra settings was higher than the average with RTX on. So much higher performance is possible without it. Control was tested by running through the start of the game and again Ive tested both RTX on in green and RTX off in purple.. Despite using the highest RTX settings available, it was still pretty playable with medium settings. Almost averaging 60 FPS., Although RTX, does actually look quite nice in this game. I found the higher FPS from RTX off much better when getting into fights. Apex Legends was tested with either all settings at maximum or all settings on the lowest possible values as it doesnt have predefined setting presets.
Over 200 FPS was being hit at minimum settings, while Even maxed out, it was still playing extremely smoothly.. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the built in benchmark, and these are some of the best results Ive ever seen from this test, but well compare this title and more against some other laptops. Later. Ghost Recon Breakpoint was also tested with the benchmark tool, and even very high settings was averaging above 100 FPS, which is a great result for this title. Even the highest ultimate preset was offering playable performance. Fortnite was tested with the replay feature and as a less demanding game. Even epic settings was scoring great results.. Given weve got a 240Hz screen. We can actually put it to use quite well with the high setting preset, though low settings was scoring close to the screens refresh rate for the 1 low, which is pretty impressive.. Csgo was tested using the Ulletical FPS benchmark and as a game that depends primarily on CPU power. The results are a nice step up over the 9750H laptops that I usually test, as were hitting higher clock speeds, here. PUBG was tested using the replay feature and the results were a little lower than I expected. Considering Ive tested a few i7 based laptops lately. That could hit 150 FPS at low settings. However, ultra settings performed quite well, presumably, as were more GPU bound there. Rainbow. Six Siege was tested with the built in benchmark.. Even the maximum ultra setting preset was able to hit 140 FPS for the 1 low and thats with a 100 render scale so another game that should play very nicely on this machine.
. If youre after more gaming benchmarks check the card in the top right corner, where Ive tested 20 games in total on the Aorus 17. Lets also take a look at how this config of the Aorus 17 gaming laptop, compares with other laptops. Use these results as a rough guide only as they were tested at different times with different drivers. Ive tested Battlefield 5 with ultra settings and Ive got the Aorus 17 highlighted in red near similarly specced machines. In this test, its well above most of the machines Ive Tested and closer to the other high specced laptops that also have the 2080., The ASUS mothership actually has the same CPU and GPU. However, the Mothership is doing better as the cooling there is next level.. These are the results from Shadow of the Tomb raider, with the built in benchmark at highest settings. Again, the Aorus 17 is ahead of most laptops tested due to the high end specs and its not far below the other high end machines that Ive covered on the Channel in the past, I guess it really goes to show what the 200 watt RTX 2080 can do in a laptop.. Here are the results from Far Cry 5 with ultra settings in the built in benchmark. This time the results from the Aorus 17 were much lower compared to those other 3 machines ahead of it. Im, not exactly sure what the issue was, but I triple checked the Results and while it is still a good result, its more inline with other lower specced laptops.
, My guess, is its due to the lower CPU clock speeds noted earlier. Well, they arent that low but lower compared to those above it, and I dont think the 2080 is being fully utilized here.. As expected, the gaming performance from the Aorus 17 in this highest YA configuration is excellent.. The 200 watt RTX 2080 puts it on a completely different level when compared to even expensive 2080 Max Q laptops in most games. In the esports titles. The 240Hz screen is actually getting put to use well without the need to use minimum settings.. Now, for the benchmarking tools, Ive tested, Heaven Valley and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike Timespy and Port Royal from 3DMark just pause. The video, if you want a detailed look at these results. Ive, used Crystal Disk Mark to test the storage and the 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD was performing great for the reads, but less than half as much for the writes., The spinning rust was giving about what wed Expect from a 5400 RPM drive and the UHS II SD card slot was providing excellent, read and write performance.. The SD card does stick out a bit when inserted though. For updated pricing check the links in the description as prices will change over time.. At the time of recording in the US, the YA configuration Ive tested seems to go for 3700 USD. Its available with different specs, though the XA config, with RTX 2070, is around 2200 for instance.
. I couldnt find pricing for the RTX 2060 model, but the SA which has 1660 Ti seems to start at 1800 USD. Here in Australia. Theyve got the YA config with RTX 2080, but i7 CPU instead of i9 for 4900 AUD.. With all of that in mind, lets conclude by looking at the good and bad aspects of the Aorus 17 gaming laptop.. The design of the Aorus 17 is quite unique, but its going to be subjective as to whether or not you like it.. I think it looks pretty cool as its different from most other designs out there and theres a fair bit of lighting customization available. But at the same time, its a bit too flashy for me. The whole laptop is made of aluminium and the build quality felt high end theres, minimal keyboard or screen flex and the matte black finish just looks great.. The top end configuration Ive got here, offers exceptional levels of performance only coming out a little behind other thicker and larger laptops like the MSI, GT76 Titan or Alienware 51m in most games and its worth remembering those cost a fair bit more money too. The Aorus 17 Is on the larger side for a gaming laptop, but by itself I dont think its too big. It feels like less of a desktop replacement compared to those others just mentioned well at least thats. Until you add on the two 330 watt power bricks, which increases the weight and space required to transport substantially.
, At least you can run it off of just one power, brick, something thats, not an option with the GT76.. The mechanical keyboard with omron switches was quite simply put amazing to type with.. I love mechanical keyboards and theyre, pretty rare, to find in a laptop.. Even the GT76 removed the mechanical keyboard. The older GT75 had it, but they didnt include it in the newer model.. The internals can get quite hot, however, the user never actually notices this as the keyboard and wrist rest area are always kept cool, even when, under worst case, heavy load. Theres a lot of room for fan adjustment. So you have the option of playing games with quieter fans at the expense of heat and some performance or running cooler, but also louder.. Weve also got the option of swapping between Optimus and the discrete Nvidia graphics, an option that even the more expensive GT76 is missing.. This allows us to get better performance when gaming or reboot into Optimus mode for increased battery life. The battery life wasnt amazing, but it was definitely fair. Considering the specs., I thought the IO selection was quite good. However, I found it a bit strange that USB 3.1 Gen2 was lacking. All ports were Gen1 only.. It does at least have Thunderbolt 3, though, with a fast UHS II, SD card, slot. Theres, not much else to complain about. Although weve got a nosecam. The angle wasnt too bad, however, the quality wasnt great.
, The 240Hz screen was great for gaming, has decent colour gamut and comes calibrated, but 263 nits at full brightness was a little dimmer than Id like.. In the end, I think the Aorus 17 has a lot on offer, especially when you consider the price. Sure its not cheap, but the top end. Specs are a fair bit cheaper than other alternatives like the GT76 or 51m, while still offering a lot of performance, features and functionality.. Let me know what you thought about the Aorus 17 gaming laptop down in the comments and, if youre new to the channel, consider getting subscribed for future laptop reviews and tech.