Looks good … but MSI gaming laptops are sexier 😛
With last year’s Aero 15X, Gigabyte managed an impressive feat: putting powerful gaming performance and long battery life into a 4.4-pound body. This year, the Taiwanese company is trying to top itself with the Aero 15 Y9, its new flagship laptop. Weighing just a bit more at 4.5 pounds, it’s now equipped with top-of-the-line components: an Intel i9-8950HK 6-core CPU and NVIDIA’s RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU.
The latter component has become rather controversial. NVIDIA revealed that the portable Max-Q version, while packing the same Turing Tu104 chip, is underclocked by up to half that of the desktop RTX 2080 GPU. It comes in an 80-Watt version with a 735-1,095MHz core clock and a faster, more power-hungry 90-Watt variant that runs at 990-1,230MHz. The desktop RTX 2080, meanwhile, runs at 1,515-1,710MHz — over double that of the lower-powered Max-Q version.
So performance and battery life depend on which chip the manufacturer uses and how much it’s overclocked, which brings us back to the Aero 15 Y9. It’s the first RTX 2080 Max-Q laptop we’ve tested, so I was interested to see how Gigabyte handled it. The good news is that performance is definitely better. But it’s not that great a leap and, unfortunately, it’s much costlier. Some of the other defining qualities of the last Aero have been lost, too.
- Very light and slim
- Top-notch gaming and graphics performance
- Keyboard and touchpad feel great
- 4K display is bright and colorful
- Plenty of ports
- Microsoft Azure AI features not that useful yet
- Low refresh rates for gaming