AORUS 17G YC Review
With the release of Nvidia’s RTX 30-series GPUs earlier this year, there has never been a better time to experience the raw performance and euphoria of PC gaming – but why limit this experience to only desktops? GIGABYTE is out to prove that high-performance gaming is can be experienced anywhere, anytime, and by anyone thanks to their latest gaming laptop, the GIGABYTE AORUS 17G YC.
With over 30 years of experience as one of the industry leaders in PC hardware and peripherals, GIGABYTE knows exactly what gamers want; performance. It should then come as no surprise that GIGABYTE has thrown everything but the kitchen sink into the AORUS 17G YC with high-end hardware such as Intel’s 10th Gen i7 CPU, Nvidia’s Geforce RTX 3080, a 17” 300hz display, and Windforce Infinity cooling. But with an RRP of $3,999AUD, does the AORUS 17G YC justify its hefty price tag as the ultimate option for gaming on the go? Let’s find out.
The AORUS 17G YC bucks the latest trend of slim, low-profile laptops and instead offers a sense of nostalgia with a chunky and durable design. This isn’t a negative as the build quality is fantastic and can easily withstand any gamer’s rage. As you would expect from a laptop with this much high-end hardware, there needs to be sufficient cooling to ensure optimum performance and reliability — This comes in the way of angled vents on the side, back, and on the top of the keyboard that ensures all the heat generated by its hardware has a means of escape, so overall it comes as no surprise that GIGABYTE has maintained this proven design from last year’s AORUS 17Y XB.
The aesthetics of the 17G YC – again – has a retro feel to it with minimal RGB illuminated featured except for its mechanical keyboard. Instead, the laptop chassis is finished in a matte aluminum finish with nothing more than the AORUS eagle proudly sitting on the lid. Despite its thic appearance, the 17G YC measures a respectable height of 25mm with the lid closed and weighs in at 2.7 kg – This is actually lighter than some of its competitors such as the Scar 17 (2.85 kg) and the Razer Blade Pro 17 (2.75 kg) but still fights with the heavyweight division in regards to laptops.
GIGABYTE has ensured there is plenty of functionality with a host of I/O options. On the left of the chassis, you will find two USB 3.2 Type-A ports, a single RJ-45 Ethernet port, an SD card reader, and 2 separate 3.5mm audio jacks for your headphones and mic. The right features another USB 3.2 Type-A port, a Thunderbolt 3 connection, and multiple options for an external display such as Mini DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.1. This is also a charging port that is oddly located in the middle rather than near the rear of the keyboard, which means the charging plug and cable tend to get in the way.
Due to the slim 3mm design of the display’s bezel, it is safe to assume that this is the reason why GIGABYTE decided to positioned the webcam at the base of the keyboard rather than the traditional position within the top bezel. This creates a somewhat unflattering image (think nose and chin(s) cam) when recording or streaming during those important Zoom meetings, but if you are buying a gaming laptop for its webcam then I think you have your priorities wrong.
Keyboard and Touchpad
GIGABYTE has managed to include Omron mechanical switches with the AORUS 17G YC and to be completely honest, they are amazing! Traditionally, keyboards use a membrane keyboard as the space required for the actuation and stroke of a mechanical switch is too great, but credit where credit is due, these switches feel incredible.
The mechanical switches provided are based on Omron’s Blue clicky switch, which means you get the satisfying tactile response of your classic blue along with a performance of a 1.6mm actuation distance with a 2.5mm total stroke. However, there is a price to pay for having these mechanical switches in a keyboard and that is durability. Omron only guarantees a 15 million keystroke rating, which is down on the standard 50M that you will find with most mechanical keyboards. Nevertheless, this still provides all the durability any gamer will need and when combined with N-Key rollover and anti-ghosting, this keyboard is one of the best gaming keyboards to ever feature on a laptop.
The touchpad itself is much like any touchpad on the market. It measures 4.1 x 2.8 and is smooth and precise enough to handle multitouch input. There is a fingerprint reader featured in the top-left corner of the pad that I found to get in the way, but it is still a nice addition. But let’s be honest, any serious gamer will be plugging in their favourite gaming mouse quicker than you can say gazpacho soup, but for everyday or office use the touchpad is satisfactory.
The AORUS 17G YC features a 17.3″ FHD 1920×1080 IPS panel that is absolutely gorgeous. The colour quality, contrast, and accuracy is a thing of beauty that is thanks largely to each panel being custom tuned by X-Rite Pantone during manufacturing. I mentioned the panel’s 3mm bezel before but I simply have to talk about it again as it is one of the thinnest bezels I’ve seen on a laptop. This really allows the panel to showcase all of its beauty to an extent that you can barely even notice the bezel. When you combine this picture quality with the panel’s 300Hz refresh rate, there is no doubt that this panel is the perfect choice to compliment all that beasty hardware sitting inside the chassis.
Speaking of hardware, I would have loved to see GIGABYTE offer a QHD or even UHD option for the display. QUD is quickly becoming the standard for PC gaming and UHD would be a nice quality of life addition for content creators who want an all purpose laptop for both gaming and editing. The obvious tradeoff of having a higher resolution display would be a reduced refresh rate, so I’m not going to complain as I’m quite happy playing Valorant and CS:GO on FHD @ 300Hz – Sorry content creators!
It should be obvious by now that this laptop hasn’t been designed for casual gamers who enjoy the occasional game of Minesweeper and Solitaire – not that there is anything wrong with that — Instead, GIGABYTE is targeting hardcore gamers who want to push the limits of the latest hardware available and enjoy the latest AAA titles such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla that pushes current-gen hardware to its limits.
Powering the 17G YC is an Intel Core i7-10870H that clocks in with a base frequency of 2.20 GHz and up to 5 GHz with Turbo Boost enabled. The laptop also comes with 32GBs (2×16 GB) of DDR4-2933 memory that can be expanded to 64GB, which is plenty of RAM for gaming. If you’re a content creator or video editor who requires a bit more memory, you can always upgrade this but unfortunately, you’ll have to buy 2x32GB sticks as the 17G YC only supports 2 RAM slots.
In terms of internal storage, there are 2x M.2 SSD slots featured on the motherboard with a 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD installed in one. This means that there is room for expansion if you need to add more storage or wish to replace the existing SSD with a bigger capacity.
Now for the main attraction; the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU. There is no doubt that having finally seeing Nvidia’s Ampere architecture in a laptop is the main reason why you’re buying this laptop. The 17G YC comes with a beasty 105W RTX 3080 variant that features 8GB of GDDR6 1245Hz RAM. This also means you get all the usual RTX features such as ray tracing and DLSS technology that adds to the experience that this laptop can offer.
To keep all this hardware at its optimum efficiency, GIGABYTE has utilised WINDFORCE Infinity technology that effectively consists of a large double turbine fan and 5 high-performance copper heat pipes to ensure your CPU, GPU, RAM and chipset remain cool. This fan can be quite loud under full load at can reach a speed of 5,500 RPM, but this is a small price to ensure optimum performance and durability of your laptop’s hardware.
When we put the AORUS 17G YC through our synthetic benchmarks, the results were impressive, in particular multi-threaded tests, where its Intel 8-core CPU was able to shine. The laptop also performed strongly in 3D Mark Firestrike and Time Spy tests thanks to its combination of powerful CPU and GPU.
Windforce Infinity cooling technology ensured that CPU and GPU temperatures were kept under control with an average temperature of around 50-60 degrees Celcius. However, CPU temperatures did creep up to mid 90’s when under heavy load, while GPU temperatures were impressively kept under control even when under heavy loads.
Now taking a look at what Amprer can deliver, we decided to use some of our favourite games on max settings.
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider – 1920×1080 – RTX On
- Dirt 5 – 1920×1080 – RTX On
- Metro 2033 Redux – 1920×1080
The AORUS 17G YC proved that the extra resources required for ultra settings across all three games were no challenge. The combination of its high-end CPU and GPU clearly show that the AORUS 17G YC is a beast for 1080p gaming no matter the genre and even with RTX enabled.
As you would expect, all this performance does come at the cost of battery life. GIGABYTE has included a 99Wh Li-Polymer battery and claims you should get up to 7 hours out of a charge, although I struggled to get more than 4- 4.5 hours from general use (including 1 to 2 hours of gaming) before needing more electricity. This is somewhat expected when you have an 8-core CPU and an RTX 3080 under the hood, but this still may turn off some potential buyers who are looking for an all-round laptop that won’t require your own powerplant to run.
Although the AORUS 17G YC gets an upgraded GPU from last year’s model, it fails to deliver the performance leap you would expect with Ampere. This means owners of last year’s AORUS 17G XB and other gaming laptops running 2080 and 2080 Super GPUs will find it hard to justify the upgrade. The good news is that this laptop is still an absolute beast! Gamers looking to make the switch to mobile gaming or wanting to upgrade their last-gen gaming laptops will love the performance and flagship features such as its 300Hz panel and mechanical switches. Despite the 17G YC looking like it’s from the ’90s, there is nothing remotely outdated about its 8-core i7 CPU, RTX 3080 GPU, M.2 NVMe SSD, and its gorgeous 1080p 300Hz display. Although its price is pushing $4,000 AUD, it is still cheaper and outperforms some of its competitors such as the Alienware M17 R4 ($4,094 AUD) or the Razer Blade Pro 17 ($4,190 AUD). When you consider this, there is no question that the AORUS 17G YC is clearly one of the best gaming laptops on the market and worth every cent!
AORUS 17G YC Review
- PERFORMANCE - 97%97%
- QUALITY - 93%93%
- FEATURES - 95%95%
- VALUE - 87%87%
There is no better time than now to experience mobile gaming thanks to the sheer power and performance that the AORUS 17G YC delivers.
For more on AORUS, check out our previous coverage.