Enthusiast achieves thermal miracle with Gigabyte's Aero 15
Non-Affiliation Disclaimer: Neither the author nor iunlock hold any affiliation, sponsorship, or partnership with Gigabyte or any other brands mentioned.
Thin and light gaming laptops, such as the Razer Blade 14, are generally known for their blistering hot temperatures and loud fans. When we recently reviewed Gigabyte's Aero 15, while found that it was an excellent performer, it did get quite hot under maximum load. In fact, parts of the chassis reached temperatures as high as 61C during stress-testing. Well-known computer buff iunlock of Team LHz (a group devoted to unleashing the full potential of gaming computers) ordered the Aero 15 the day it came out with the goal of optimizing the laptop as much as possible. Using the most conductive thermal paste available (Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut) as well as fixing imperfections in the heatsink, he was able to achieve incredible results.
Out of the box, the system reached 74C on the GPU and 84C on the CPU after a 30-minute loop of Fire Strike. After his optimizations, the same loop (this time 90 minutes) yielded maximum temperatures of 59C on the GPU and 65C on the CPU. For a thin-and-light gaming laptop with a GTX 1060 and quad-core i7-7700HQ, these kinds of temperatures are nearly unheard of. Another thing that was nearly unheard of were the fans: according to iunlock, running wPrime and Fire Strike concurrently with stock fans resulted in emissions of only 32dB at ear level. In comparison, our own tests showed an average of 39dB with a max of 50dB.
It isn't exactly a quick and easy job to get these temperatures, though. Firstly, iunlock had to rebalance the heatsink to ensure it was completely even as well as lapping the surface of the heatsink to get rid of imperfections that would make it less efficient. Then, he had to carefully apply the thermal paste: Unlike most pastes, Conductonaut is not only electrically conductive, but it is actually corrosive to aluminum. This means that it requires extreme care and caution to apply. It isn't something you want to figure out through trial and error because a mistake during application could destroy the computer.
iunlock is confident that this is the world's most efficient Aero 15, as well as the first to be so-called "liquid metalled". Like many fans of mobile computing, iunlock is very interested in thin-and-light laptops equipped with a GTX 1060 — however, it is very rare that compact laptops are able to properly handle the heat and TDP requirements of such a powerful card. He is very impressed with Gigabyte’s latest laptop and is optimistic about the future:
“When it comes to portability, power and practicality, more often than not, one would have to sacrifice one for the other. While MSI has decent performance and thermals, they skimp on build quality to keep costs down for the consumer. Razer, which focuses on marketing and appearance but neglects actual performance, ends up over-promising and under-delivering. However, with the introduction of the new Aero 15, you can have your cake and eat it too. It is the only candidate in its class I’ve ever seen that passed my tests and exceeded my expectations.”