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Gigabyte Aero 15-X9 Review – with RTX 2070 Max-Q

Below the keyboard you cannot avoid seeing a multi-coloured stickers that shouts about the features of the laptop, and in particular about Gigabyte’s partnerships with its various suppliers. This is the first time we have seen ‘All Intel Inside’ which covers the CPU, chipset, SSD and Wi-Fi which in turn rolls into the Killer Doubleshot Pro feature. Rivet Networks uses a number of makes of chip for its Killer products, including Intel, so the Wi-Fi is both Killer and Intel.

Gigabyte is also committing to use Samsung DDR4 memory and LG panels in the displays of these laptops which should make it easier to handle driver updates and the supply of spare parts for repairs.

Ironically we ran into a completely different driver issue during testing, and that related to the brand new RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics. This was a developing situation during the time we made our video so it is worth spelling out exactly what happened.

Our sample was delivered by Gigabyte in Europe with GeForce driver 417.71, however very shortly after we received the laptop UL released a Ray Tracing feature update for its benchmark suite and Nvidia released a driver number 418.81. We tried to install the new driver in order that we could show the benefit of the Ray Tracing feature and the thing crashed and refused to install. We ran DDU in Safe mode and the driver rolled back to the previous version 417.49 but was having nothing to do with 418.81.

After a considerable amount of communication with Gigabyte and Nvidia it became apparent that Nvidia had not included the hardware ID for the graphics in our laptop in the driver release. This meant the drivers were incompatible with the laptop, and we can only assume that anyone who rushed out to buy a new RTX laptop is potentially in the same situation. When we said in the video that we needed driver updates from Nvidia we were quite correct, however we meant it in a ‘please make RTX better’ way and never expected to have to request drivers we could actually install!

There is no doubt the Gigabyte Aero 15-X9 has some big shoes to fill, not least because Aero 15X v8 was a darned fine laptop, and a large part of the deal are the new RTX 20-series graphics. We badly needed to take a look at the performance of the Aero 15-X9 in order that we could see whether or not this laptop is a hit or a miss.

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