Gigabyte Aero 17 HDR YA i9, 2080 Max-Q from HIDevolution

Discussion in 'Gigabyte and Aorus' started by Cactopus, Sep 19, 2019.

  1. Cactopus

    Cactopus Newbie

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    Hi all,

    I thought it would be great to log and share my experience ordering my Gigabyte Aero 17 from reseller HIDevolution. Feel free to comment below and share your experiences with the Aero 17, since apparently there isn’t an owner’s lounge and there aren’t many reviews regarding the laptop compared to its 15-inch counterpart.

    *I will be updating the thread once it has been shipped and delivered to me, as well as more details living with the device after using it for a while.

    As a college freshman studying arts and design and a passionate PC gamer, I wanted to get a 17-inch laptop with a decent screen and powerful enough to take me through my college years. Since I recently got an ultrawide screen for productivity use, I needed something that can at least drive any game at 3440*1440 resolution with decently high settings as I don’t plan to own a desktop.

    Back when I was in 12th grade, My initial option was to get an Alienware Area 51 or the Razer Blade Pro 17, but after knowing that they do not offer a 4K screen option they were instantly passed for me, as for the past years I’ve been using a 15 inch MSI GS60 2PE with a 3K display, and I could never go back to 1080p displays, especially one with a 17 inch screen; let alone I will be doing graphic and design work on it.

    After waiting since last November (during which I got the Razer Blade 15 4K with GTX1070 but returned it to Amazon due to camera flickering and the fact that a new Blade featuring an RTX2080 Max-Q and Windows Hello released, and the fact that the screen was simply too small,) I finally caught wind of the Asus ROG Mothership, to me it was almost perfect as it has the best components, great cooling, and most of all a 4K display. However, after waiting for 8 months since early January (they said it was to be released in Q2 2019) all the way till late August, and no news has came out, I finally had enough as the school year has already started.

    This is where I came across the Aero 17. It has probably the best 17-inch laptop display at the moment, while still rocking an i9 9980HK and RTX 2080 Max-Q, while not as powerful as the mothership, it is way more practical as it is much smaller in footprint while featuring many ports for my accessories and a very large battery.

    I decided to order from HIDevolution because of the prior research I’ve done for the Alienware 51M, and the fact that I advised a friend of mine to get the beast and he got it with the top specs and seemed very happy so far. Having done some research on the machine’s cooling capabilities, especially from the very helpful Youtube video by Jarrod'sTech, I decided to get the Aero 17 HDR YA model with everything maxed out.

    Here is a list of the options I chose:
    - CPU: i9 9980HK
    - GPU: RTX2080 Max-Q
    - Thermal Compound: Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut on CPU + GPU, with Fujipoly Extreme Thermal Pads on heat-sensitive surfaces
    - Memory: 64GB Dual Channel DDR4/2666MHz
    - Storage: 2* Samsung 970 Evo Plus 2TB (4TB Total) running RAID 0
    - OS: Windows 10 Pro
    With
    - 2* Power Adapters
    - Minimal Backlight Bleed and
    - Laser Engraving on both top and bottom panel.

    Here are the designs I made, being a gamer fascinated by the game Final Fantasy 14:
    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/180ik5wb2EOcPmoT9JV3hkrsZiwOg6G3n?usp=sharing

    Here is the timeline of my experience with HIDevolution so far:

    - August 29th: I placed my order and on the 30th I got a phone call to verify the details of the payment method.

    - August 30th: My order has finished reviewing by the staff.

    - September 4th: I checked in to ask for the process of the order, since I need it quite urgently as the school season has started.

    - September 5th: I got a reply saying I should pay an extra $50 for the “rush” build service, of which I agreed since I need it quite badly.

    - September 9th: my order was updated to “Product/Parts on Order,” despite the website showing “in stock” at the time of purchase, I guess it was in stock of Gigabyte but not HIDevolution itself. I asked about an ETA on the order, got a reply on the same day quote my system “should be going out by the end of this week.”

    - September 13th: It was now Friday and the website still states "Parts/Product On Order," I inquired the status and was told there is a delay on the systems and they do not have an ETA, and they will e-mail me on Monday morning (September 15th) with one.

    - September 16th: It is now a day passed the promised date and I asked for any updates regarding my order.

    - September 17th: They finally replied and said “will have an answer as soon as possible.”

    - September 18th: My order has finally moved to “Pre-production” phrase, meaning they have finally gathered the components.

    - September 19th: I was mailed with an invoice and the order was moved to “In Production.” However, I was quite curious as I have not been asked to submit the design for the laser engravings, but I was told earlier that they would not start production until they have it collected. I reached out to their support and they sent me an e-mail for the design. I soon submitted, and they told me over the phone that the production would be finished tonight and mailed out tomorrow morning.

    - September 20th: I received a call from HIDevolution asking if I would accept a free FedEx 2-day express shipping since I paid an extra $50 for the rush build but it still came out very late. I agreed, and the package is shipped in the afternoon.

    - September 24th-27th: I got the package and inspected the laptop. The lazer engraving is beautifully done and matched my rendered guides exactly. The screen is vibrant, with no dead pixels and minimum backlight bleed. The overall machine is heavier than expected, especially it is actually smaller in footprint by a tiny bit than my previous MSI GS60 3K due to its tine bezels, but it is a bit thicker. The machine is really rigid and well-made, and there were no problems regarding ram and storage. HOWEVER:

    1. I ordered an extra power adapter, but it was not shipped with the laptop. Afterwards I e-mailed HIDevolution but got no replies for 2 days (25th-26th.) I decided to chat real-time on their website on the 27th, which they told me the power adapter is on backorder and promised will ship as soon as they get them. Oh well.

    2. WHEN YOU GET THE LAPTOP, UPDATE THE BIOS FIRST.
    I noticed around a week ago Gigabyte released a new BIOS update, being an EC update it can be quite important (so I stronly encourage you do), but since their website had no changelog I sent an inquiry to Gigabyte support, of which they replied:
    "I am sorry our HQ does not give us more information regarding BIOS updates."

    I installed it as soon as I got my hands on the laptop, which was pre-installed with Windows 10, with everything running correctly. However, as soon as the flashing ends, the system will not start and the only boot option was "SETUP," which are UEFI (basically BIOS) Settings. It will boot through a Windows installation media, of which I prepared to do a clean install anyway. However, windows refused to install, saying the path or drive cannot be found. I used /cmd /diskpart /list disk to and noticed the two 2TB SSDs are separate and one of them are offline. I tried to use different commands and researched solutions to make it online, as the other driver, although online, still cannot be installed with the same "path or drive cannot be found" error. I could not change anything regarding any of the drives, despite trying every single solution in the diskpart tool with no avail.

    As one desperate act, I powered the laptop off and singled out each SSD physically by opening it up. Then I used /clean command in diskpart, and converted them one by one to standard GPT drives. AND IT WORKED.

    Now to set up our beloved RAID. As I found no options in BIOS regarding RAID, after some digging I found that for some reason they decided to rename the option as "Intel RST premium with intel optane system acceleration" ...Well anyways I set RAID up, with stripe block size set to 16KB as block sizes do not impact performance much and it's the sweet spot that would not waste much storage.

    Being a champion that I am, now 5 hours later, I finally installed windows. Don't forget to download all the drivers from the Gigabyte website and install the ControlCenter, as it is quite useful and is the only way you may control the keyboard backlight.

    Configuring XTU:
    When you install the ControlCenter software Intel XTU will be installed alongside it. It is a special version set to work with the ControlCenter as well as the Azur AI Software, and once it is installed no normal version of XTU straight from the Intel website may be installed or updated, you will receive an error when you launch the XTU installation package; but you can use the special version the exact same as the normal XTU software anyways. I followed the guide by Jarrod's Tech and Tally Ho Tech. However, if you plan on using the Azur AI to power manage you laptop, I would not change any of the settings besides doing an undervolt. One of the reason is that the AI, if enabled, will overwrite your settings with the only exception being the undervolt applied. Also, if under a heavy load the AI will assign a meximum of 80W Turbo Boost and 107 Turbo Boost Power Max which is plenty (especially compared to the 45W and 75W stock settings), and you can even manually toggle them with one click in the ControlCenter software.

    As for the undervolt, while booted up I can reach around -160mV or so stable when turned on, IT CANNOT RESTART AND WILL POWER CYCLE AFTER REACHING THE BOOT MENU. It can be turned on and off with no problem, but restart seems to be the only feature affected. I would start from -140mV and slowly move up with restarts in between to verify your system stability.


    I will continue to update.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
  2. Garrison Cowen

    Garrison Cowen Newbie

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    This is some twilight zone stuff man... We both made the exact same purchase with all the same options selected around the exact same time (I think I purchased mine on August 28th). I just received my laptop yesterday but unfortunately they made a mistake and instead of giving me 2x 2Tb Evo Plus hard drives in raid 0, they put in 2x 1Tb Evo Plus hard drives in raid 0... So yeah... I'm a little frustrated that I just got the laptop and now have to send it back... but oh well:shrug:. Hopefully you run some benchmarks and post them up!
     
  3. Cactopus

    Cactopus Newbie

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    Sure will! I got an e-mail saying it is delivered, I just need to wait until I finish my classes for the day and pick it up XD
     
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  4. Garrison Cowen

    Garrison Cowen Newbie

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    Thanks my man! I really wanna know what kind of cinebench r20 score you can get with this setup!
     
  5. Cactopus

    Cactopus Newbie

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    I updated the post just now, please read it in detail before start using your Aero, as those are lessons taught to me through blood and tears, as well as countless hours of experimentation, problem-solving, and research, all the while I have to take lessons and do hw being a college freshman..:(

    I will update more on the performance in a few days.
     
  6. Lovewindows

    Lovewindows Newbie

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    I just ordered this laptop too, but in the cheapest configuration. What’s your opinion on the display? It says anti glare but I really hope it isn’t too grainy because that is my one pet peeve with anti-glare displays.
     
  7. Cactopus

    Cactopus Newbie

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    I'm not too sure about the 1080p model, but the 4K model I have boasts 570 nits compared to the average 300 nits of gaming laptops, making it one of the brightest laptop panels ever.

    At least for the 4K model I have, although matte, it is really fine in texture and won't look distorting like some lower resolution matte screens, you can barely notice it being matte at all besides the fact that it does not glare.
     
    Darkhan likes this.
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