Notebookcheck

Gigabyte Sabre 15 (i7-7700HQ, GTX 1050) Laptop Review

Great gaming for under $1000. Gigabyte has introduced one of its best entry-level gaming laptops that start at less than a grand. Still, there are plenty of cut corners on this brand new Sabre series that potential buyers should be aware of.

Gigabyte publicly unveiled its entry-level Sabre series at CES 2017 in the sea of higher-end Aorus notebooks and the arguably more popular Aero series. Unlike these costlier options, the Sabre aims to bring affordable gaming to gamers on a tighter budget by utilizing the mainstream GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti instead of the costlier GTX 1060 series and up.

Just two SKUs of the Sabre are available at the time of writing including the Sabre 15G and Sabre 15K. Both configurations are equipped with an identical Core i7-7700HQ CPU, 16 GB DDR4 RAM, 1080p IPS display, and set of chassis features. The only difference is that the 15G ships with a 2 GB GTX 1050 GPU with a 128 GB SSD for $1000 USD while the 15K ships with a 4 GB GTX 1050 Ti GPU with double the primary storage capacity for $1200 USD. Our test model today is the former configuration that competes directly with other mainstream gaming systems like the HP Omen 15, HP Pavilion 15 Power, Samsung Odyssey, Lenovo Yoga 720, Lenovo Legion Y520, Asus FX553/GL553, Acer Aspire VX5, and the MSI GL62M. All of these alternatives ship with GTX 1050 or 1050 Ti options and the same i7-7700HQ CPU to be essentially identical to our Sabre 15 in raw horsepower.

A higher-end Sabre Pro 15 SKU with the GTX 1060 is also in the works. Such a configuration is expected to cost $400 to $500 more than our Sabre 15G.

Gigabyte, of course, is not a newcomer to the world of notebook gaming. Our existing reviews on the past few dozen of their gaming systems reveal that the manufacturer has always had a strong focus on performance and connectivity with very thin and often fragile designs.

Gigabyte Sabre 15G (Sabre Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook) - 2048 MB, Core: 1354 MHz, Memory: 7008 MHz, GDDR5, 375.72, Optimus
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4-2400, PC4-19200, 17-17-17-39, 1300 MHz, Single-Channel
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel 141 PPI, ID: LGD0533, Name: LG Display LP156WF6-SPK3, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM175
Storage
Liteonit CV3-8D128, 128 GB 
, Secondary: 1 TB Hitachi HGST HTS721010A9E630
Soundcard
Intel Skylake PCH-H High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 HDMI, 2 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm earphones, 3.5 mm microphone, Card Reader: SD reader
Networking
Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 26.9 x 378 x 267 ( = 1.06 x 14.88 x 10.51 in)
Battery
47 Wh, 4200 mAh Lithium-Ion, removeable
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD
Additional features
Speakers: 2 W stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, AC adapter, Drivers disc, PowerDVD 12 disc, Warranty card, User's manual, FlexiKey, Control Center, Sound Blaster Cinema 3, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
2.495 kg ( = 88.01 oz / 5.5 pounds), Power Supply: 635 g ( = 22.4 oz / 1.4 pounds)
Price
1000 USD

 

Case

The Sabre series takes a sharper and sleeker design philosophy that could almost pass as an Aorus notebook when compared to the super-thin Gigabyte P37 series. Edges and corners are well defined with accent marks all around the base and outer lid purely for aesthetics. The two rear ventilation grilles mimic the "jet engine" style of larger Asus ROG notebooks, but the symmetry is again largely aesthetic since only the left grilles are functioning as an actual exhaust port. Unlike the pricier Aorus and Aero series, however, the base and lid of the system are matte plastic and not aluminum for a less luxurious feel. Surfaces are slightly roughened and will attract grease and fingerprints very quickly. As the system ages, it's entirely possible that the palm rests and outer lid will become permanently glossy similar to how commonly used keyboard keys can appear greasy after years of use. Nonetheless, the Sabre 15 certainly looks more powerful and dynamic than the Odyssey 15 or Pavilion Power.

Case quality is excellent around the base with no major warping or depressions when attempting to twist or bend the unit. The palm rests, trackpad, and keyboard center are rigid and exhibit very little creaking. Like a lot of notebook designs, however, the lid is less impressive. In this case, the lid shows just average resistance to twisting and will teeter slightly when typing. Construction quality is not perfect around the inner bezel of our test unit as the plastic is not sitting perfectly flat against the edge of the screen. Our picture below illustrates just how much the plastic bezel is protruding unevenly around the bottom edge.

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In terms of size and weight, the Sabre 15 is nearly identical to the Omen 15 and Odyssey 15. The system sits comfortably between thicker and heavier 15-inch gaming notebooks like the GT62VR and Predator 15 and the much smaller alternatives like the XPS 15 and Aero 15 since the Sabre design is not utilizing narrow bezels. As a result, portability is merely average.

Maximum display angle is not very wide
Maximum display angle is not very wide
The inner bezel is not sitting flat against the edge of the screen
The inner bezel is not sitting flat against the edge of the screen

Connectivity

Available ports are plentiful including 3x video-out ports to support up to three external monitors simultaneously. The dual mDP ports are not identical in version and the HDMI port is limited to 4K at 30 FPS, so users who want 4K60 playback must use the mDP 1.3 port.

Port placement is a mixed bag as the ports are easy to reach at the cost of being very close to the front edge. Cables on either side of the notebook can easily entangle and occupy valuable desk space.

July 30, 2017 update: The Sabre 15 is equipped with USB Type-C Gen. 2 for 10 Gbps transfer rates and not Gen. 1 as previously stated. Thanks to Gigabyte for the correction!

Front: No connectivity
Front: No connectivity
Left: AC adapter, Gigabit RJ-45, mDP 1.3, mDP 1.2, HDMI 1.4, USB 3.1 Type-C Gen. 2, USB 3.0, SD reader
Left: AC adapter, Gigabit RJ-45, mDP 1.3, mDP 1.2, HDMI 1.4, USB 3.1 Type-C Gen. 2, USB 3.0, SD reader
Rear: No connectivity
Rear: No connectivity
Right: 3.5 mm headphones, 3.5 mm microphone, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, Kensington Lock
Right: 3.5 mm headphones, 3.5 mm microphone, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, Kensington Lock

Software

Pre-installed software include Control Center and FlexiKey that can also be found on most newer Clevo notebooks. It's interesting to see Gigabyte go this route as the Aorus and P series have traditionally been using Gigabyte's own in-house system monitor software instead. The software here is relatively barebones compared to the MSI or Alienware alternatives as there is no UI for monitoring real-time fan RPMs, core temperatures, clock rates, and other vitals that gamers are typically interested in.

The FlexiKey software features Macro settings, key recording features, and a three-zone 16.8 million RGB keyboard backlight. Users who want per-key lighting will have to move a couple steps higher to the Aorus family.

Control Center
Control Center
Manual fan settings
Manual fan settings
FlexiKey
FlexiKey
Sound Blaster Cinema 3
Sound Blaster Cinema 3
Sound Blaster Cinema 3
Sound Blaster Cinema 3
 

SD Card Reader

The spring-loaded SD card reader returns average transfer rates with our Toshiba UHS-II SDXC test card. Transferring 1 GB worth of images from our card to desktop takes about 13 seconds compared to 8 seconds on the XPS 15 9560 or MSI GT series. A fully inserted card protrudes by about 1 to 2 mm to make transporting safe and removal easier.

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
120.5 MB/s ∼100% +53%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
78.76 MB/s ∼65%
Gigabyte Aero 15
78 MB/s ∼65% -1%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
252.6 MB/s ∼100% +192%
Gigabyte Aero 15
89 MB/s ∼35% +3%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
86.53 MB/s ∼34%

Communication

Inactive SIM slot
Inactive SIM slot

WLAN is provided by a 1x1 Intel 3168 module with integrated Bluetooth 4.2. A real-world test standing one meter away from our Linksys EA8500 test router reveals an average transfer rate of 319 Mbps against the advertised 433 Mbps maximum. Other gaming notebooks with the Killer 1535 are capable of much faster transfer rates with additional software advantages.

There is an unused SIM slot underneath the battery recess on our unit. No current SKUs in the US utilize this slot, but the Sabre 15 overseas may be capable of WAN if this is any indication. If so, the Sabre 15 would be one of the very few gaming notebooks with integrated SIM functionality.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
648 MBit/s ∼100% +170%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
Qualcomm Atheros QCA9377 Wireless Network Adapter
343 MBit/s ∼53% +43%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168
240 MBit/s ∼37%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
529 MBit/s ∼100% +66%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
Qualcomm Atheros QCA9377 Wireless Network Adapter
341 MBit/s ∼64% +7%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168
319 MBit/s ∼60%

Accessories

Included extras are a Drivers disc, PowerDVD 12 disc, warranty card, and user's manual. The discs are a curious addition as the Sabre 15 does not integrate an optical drive and will thus require an external drive to use. A cleaning cloth may have been a more appropriate inclusion since the chassis is quite the fingerprint magnet.

Maintenance

The bottom panel is secured by more Philips screws (17 in total) and delicate latches when compared to Aorus and Gigabyte P notebooks. While not difficult to service, the large number of screws makes it a chore. Users have direct access to both storage bays, both DDR4 SODIMM slots, WLAN module, and the BIOS battery.

Servicing will take a sharp edge and a bit of patience
Servicing will take a sharp edge and a bit of patience

Warranty

Gigabyte advertises a 24-month limited warranty as standard online, but the actual warranty sticker on our unit says one year only. We've reached out to Gigabyte on the actual length of the standard warranty for more information.

July 27, 2017 update: Gigabyte has confirmed with us that the base warranty is one year and not two years because the Sabre family is an entry-level series. Higher-end options like the Aero or Aorus series may come with two years warranty as standard.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The keyboard (~34.2 x 10.5 cm) is visually very similar to the SteelSeries keyboards on the MSI GT series. The 2 mm key travel is deeper than on most Ultrabooks for a weightier typing experience. Feedback is slightly on the soft side while clatter is louder compared to the MSI GT series, but this is typical of a Gigabyte notebook. Tactile feedback is uniform across all the keys because of the firm foundation and large size.

One small annoyance is the lack of a light indicator for Caps Lock. Unless if FlexiKey is opened, there is no indication whatsoever - onscreen or otherwise - for the Caps Lock function. 

Touchpad

The trackpad is small in size (10.2 x 5.8 cm) compared to the XPS 15 (10.5 x 8.5 cm) and Aero 15 (10.5 x 7 cm), but it makes up for the reduced surface area with dedicated mouse keys unlike the aforementioned alternatives. Its surface is slightly roughened and almost indistinguishable from the palm rests in terms of texture. Applying pressure on the very center will depress it only slightly for a firm and even glide overall.

Unlike the trackpad, the mouse keys feel cheaper and lighter to use. The audible click is weak, feedback is spongy and not as firm as on the MSI GT series, and travel is very shallow. They are still more comfortable to use than the integrated mouse keys on most Ultrabooks, but we were expecting a bit more from a dedicated set.

Standard chiclet keyboard layout with full-size Arrow keys
Standard chiclet keyboard layout with full-size Arrow keys
Keys are raised slightly higher than usual to accommodate the deeper key travel
Keys are raised slightly higher than usual to accommodate the deeper key travel

Display

Current Sabre 15 SKUs ship with a standard 1080p display and no other resolution options or gaming-centric features. This means the series lacks the higher 120 Hz refresh rate, faster 5 ms response times, and proprietary G-Sync technology found on many higher gaming systems. While we can live without the 120 Hz refresh and higher resolution options considering the GPU class, the Sabre series would still benefit greatly from G-Sync and faster response times.

The LG Philips LGD0533 IPS panel here is identical to the panel on the 15.6-inch Lenovo Y720. Consequently, the displays between our Gigabyte and Lenovo notebooks share similar characteristics such as gamut, contrast, and black-white response times. Display brightness is average for a gaming notebook at about 240 nits with a respectable contrast level of about 800:1. More interestingly, we can detect a very high pulse-width modulation frequency that a small percentage of users may be sensitive to on all brightness settings except maximum.

Our unit suffers from light-moderate backlight bleeding on the top right corner that can be noticeable during movie playback with black borders. Fortunately, the matte panel is crisp with no extreme graininess that can plague other matte screens like on the cheaper Pavilion 17z.

Light-moderate uneven backlight bleeding
Light-moderate uneven backlight bleeding
Subpixel array (141 PPI)
Subpixel array (141 PPI)
255.2
cd/m²
227
cd/m²
259.2
cd/m²
248.4
cd/m²
248.4
cd/m²
252
cd/m²
222.7
cd/m²
237.2
cd/m²
218
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro Basic 2
Maximum: 259.2 cd/m² Average: 240.9 cd/m² Minimum: 21 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 84 %
Center on Battery: 248.4 cd/m²
Contrast: 828:1 (Black: 0.3 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 7.5 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 6.5 | - Ø
57.9% sRGB (Argyll) 37% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.19
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
ID: LGD0533, Name: LG Display LP156WF6-SPK3, IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
IGZO IPS, 15.6, 3840x2160
Gigabyte Aero 15
N156HCA-EA1 (CMN15D7), IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
HP Omen 15-ce002ng
AUO42ED, IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
MSI GT62VR 7RE-223
LG Philips LP156WF6 (LGD046F), IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Response Times
-76%
-10%
-29%
-19%
-7%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
32 (16.4, 15.6)
57.2 (27.2, 30)
-79%
42.8 (23.6, 19.2)
-34%
43.2 (21.2, 22)
-35%
38.8 (20.8, 18)
-21%
37 (16, 21)
-16%
Response Time Black / White *
25.6 (15.6, 10)
39.2 (23.6, 15.6)
-53%
32 (18.8, 13.2)
-25%
31.2 (16.4, 14.8)
-22%
33.6 (18.8, 14.8)
-31%
25 (4, 21)
2%
PWM Frequency
20000 (99)
961.5
-95%
26000 (20)
30%
19230 (99)
-4%
Screen
40%
24%
39%
-1%
27%
Brightness
241
356
48%
316
31%
289
20%
249
3%
311
29%
Brightness Distribution
84
87
4%
90
7%
86
2%
90
7%
85
1%
Black Level *
0.3
0.37
-23%
0.36
-20%
0.26
13%
0.48
-60%
0.3
-0%
Contrast
828
1000
21%
889
7%
1169
41%
533
-36%
1033
25%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
7.5
5.3
29%
4.62
38%
3.46
54%
5.9
21%
4.82
36%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.5
4.6
29%
6
8%
2.46
62%
5.6
14%
3.94
39%
Gamma
2.19 110%
2.31 104%
2.46 98%
2.38 101%
2.21 109%
2.45 98%
CCT
7852 83%
6284 103%
6761 96%
6915 94%
7250 90%
6877 95%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
37
88.3
139%
60
62%
59
59%
44.8
21%
54
46%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
57.9
100
73%
92
59%
91
57%
70.1
21%
83
43%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-18% / 8%
7% / 15%
5% / 25%
-10% / -6%
10% / 21%

* ... smaller is better

Color coverage is underwhelming for a gaming notebook at just 37 percent and 58 percent of the AdobeRGB and sRGB standards, respectively. Competing systems such as the Omen 15 and Samsung Odyssey cover more of the sRGB space with some notebooks offering full coverage like the XPS 15 9560 and Razer Blade. Professional graphics artists may want to avoid working on the Sabre 15 and consider the Aero 15 instead if accurate colors are of utmost concern.

vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. Samsung Odyssey 15
vs. Samsung Odyssey 15

Further measurements with an X-Rite spectrophotometer reveal generally inaccurate grayscale and colors out of the box with an overly cool color temperature. Our calibration efforts drastically improve grayscale and colors in lower saturation levels as shown by our CalMAN data below. Colors still become increasingly inaccurate at higher saturation levels because of the limited gamut of the panel. Blue and Magenta colors in particular are not represented as accurately as others.

Grayscale before calibration
Grayscale before calibration
Saturation Sweeps before calibration
Saturation Sweeps before calibration
ColorChecker before calibration
ColorChecker before calibration
Grayscale after calibration
Grayscale after calibration
Saturation Sweeps after calibration
Saturation Sweeps after calibration
ColorChecker after calibration
ColorChecker after calibration

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
25.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 15.6 ms rise
↘ 10 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 41 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (26.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
32 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 16.4 ms rise
↘ 15.6 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 17 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (42.5 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 20000 Hz99 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 20000 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 99 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 20000 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 54 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8568 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Outdoor visibility is below average due to the insufficient backlight. Colors and contrast become washed out even when under shade despite the glare-free matte panel and wide IPS viewing angles. The Sabre 15 was not designed for extended outdoor use.

Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under shade
Wide IPS viewing angles
Wide IPS viewing angles

Performance

The system comes fixed with the very common i7-7700HQ CPU and FHD IPS display. SKU options include the GTX 1050 with 2 GB of VRAM or GTX 1050 Ti with 4 GB of VRAM. It's a bit disappointing to see no GTX 1050 with 4 GB of VRAM like on the Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming, but the halved capacity is generally unnoticeable in practice for most games at the native 1080p resolution. Optimus comes standard with power-saving features and automatic graphics switching. 

Another aspect of our specific configuration is the 16 GB of single-channel DDR4 RAM. This is uncommon on gaming notebooks where dual-channel offerings are essentially the norm. Nonetheless, users can always purchase a second DDR4 SODIMM module for dual-channel performance if desired.

Processor

CPU performance from the Core i7-7700HQ is in line with other notebooks sporting the same processor. Our CineBench results below show it to be one the fastest consumer-class mobile processors available with just marginal upticks from the older Skylake i7-6700HQ and Broadwell i7-5700HQ.

Performance sustainability is where the Sabre 15 falters. While the initial score of 736 points in CineBench R15 Multi-Thread is promising, this can fall to as low as 672 points after the fourth or fifth loop. The 9 to 10 percent dip in performance echos what we observed on the MSI GS73VR a few months back and is a rather disappointing sight to see on a gaming notebooks. In comparison, the Samsung Odyssey is able to maintain a CineBench R15 Multi-Thread score of about 732 points throughout our same loop test.

See our dedicated CPU page on the i7-7700HQ for more technical information and benchmarks.

CineBench R10 32-bit
CineBench R10 32-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R15
CineBench R15
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670680690700710720730740Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
190 Points ∼95% +18%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
161 Points ∼81%
Gigabyte P56XT
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
160 Points ∼80% -1%
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
Intel Core i7-7820HK
156 Points ∼78% -3%
Gigabyte P55 V4
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
144 Points ∼72% -11%
MSI GE72VR-6RF16H21
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
140 Points ∼70% -13%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
133 Points ∼67% -17%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
125 Points ∼63% -22%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
897 Points ∼42% +22%
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
Intel Core i7-7820HK
772 Points ∼36% +5%
Gigabyte P56XT
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
739 Points ∼34% 0%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
736 Points ∼34%
Gigabyte P55 V4
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
721 Points ∼34% -2%
MSI GE72VR-6RF16H21
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
676 Points ∼31% -8%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
503 Points ∼23% -32%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
490 Points ∼23% -33%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
2.19 Points ∼96% +19%
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
Intel Core i7-7820HK
1.84 Points ∼81% 0%
Gigabyte P56XT
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.84 Points ∼81% 0%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.84 Points ∼81%
MSI GE72VR-6RF16H21
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
1.55 Points ∼68% -16%
Gigabyte P55 V4
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
1.54 Points ∼68% -16%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
1.51 Points ∼67% -18%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
1.46 Points ∼64% -21%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
9.78 Points ∼4% +20%
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
Intel Core i7-7820HK
8.44 Points ∼4% +3%
Gigabyte P56XT
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.17 Points ∼3% 0%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.17 Points ∼3%
MSI GE72VR-6RF16H21
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
7.39 Points ∼3% -10%
Gigabyte P55 V4
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
6.89 Points ∼3% -16%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
5.81 Points ∼2% -29%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
5.29 Points ∼2% -35%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single 32Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
7222 Points ∼81% +18%
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
Intel Core i7-7820HK
6182 Points ∼70% +1%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
6107 Points ∼69%
Gigabyte P55 V4
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
5516 Points ∼62% -10%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
4999 Points ∼56% -18%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
4920 Points ∼55% -19%
MSI GE72VR-6RF16H21
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
4720 Points ∼53% -23%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
28189 Points ∼57% +27%
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
Intel Core i7-7820HK
23041 Points ∼46% +3%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
22273 Points ∼45%
Gigabyte P55 V4
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
20801 Points ∼42% -7%
MSI GE72VR-6RF16H21
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
19720 Points ∼40% -11%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
17618 Points ∼35% -21%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
14329 Points ∼29% -36%
wPrime 2.0x - 1024m
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
323 s * ∼4% -49%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
217.072 s * ∼3%
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
Intel Core i7-7820HK
213.193 s * ∼3% +2%
Gigabyte P55 V4
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
205.34 s * ∼2% +5%
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
176.329 s * ∼2% +19%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - ---
Gigabyte P55 V4
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
593.228 Seconds * ∼3% -8%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
569.349 Seconds * ∼3% -4%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
549.204 Seconds * ∼2%
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
Intel Core i7-7820HK
535.159 Seconds * ∼2% +3%
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
440.036 Seconds * ∼2% +20%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6831
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
22273
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
6107
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
65.8 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
8.17 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.84 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
96.13 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
736 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
161 Points
Help

System Performance

PCMark results are generally lower than other gaming notebooks with primary NVMe SSDs. Subjectively, however, the system feels just as snappy and responsive to use.

We experienced three fatal onscreen freezes requiring reboots with no BSOD errors during our time with the test unit. We were unable to reliably repeat them, however.

PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 10 Standard
PCMark 10 Standard
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
5305 Points ∼81% +5%
Gigabyte Aero 15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
5290 Points ∼81% +4%
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7820HK, Samsung SSD 960 Evo 500GB m.2 NVMe
5192 Points ∼80% +3%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Liteonit CV3-8D128
5063 Points ∼78%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
4422 Points ∼68% -13%
Creative Score Accelerated v2
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7820HK, Samsung SSD 960 Evo 500GB m.2 NVMe
8233 Points ∼88% +93%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
5362 Points ∼58% +25%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
5114 Points ∼55% +20%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Liteonit CV3-8D128
4274 Points ∼46%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7820HK, Samsung SSD 960 Evo 500GB m.2 NVMe
5065 Points ∼85% +48%
Gigabyte Aero 15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
4248 Points ∼71% +24%
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
4001 Points ∼67% +17%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
3588 Points ∼60% +5%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Liteonit CV3-8D128
3431 Points ∼57%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3431 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
4274 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
5063 points
Help

Storage Devices

2.5-inch SATA III drive underneath the right palm rest
2.5-inch SATA III drive underneath the right palm rest

Two accessible storage bays are available in the form of M.2 2280 and 2.5-inch SATA III. Our test unit includes a primary 128 GB Lite-On CV3-8D128 M.2 SSD plus secondary 1 TB Hitachi HGST HTS721010A9E630. RAID 0/1/5/10, NVMe, and 9.5 mm-thick HDDs are supported.

The primary Lite-On drive returns excellent sequential read and write rates for a SATA III SSD topping around the 500 MB/s limit. Performance with smaller 4K blocks, however, is slower than expected when compared to a Samsung PM871. Meanwhile, the secondary 7200 RPM HDD provides fast average transfer rates of about 110 MB/s according to HD Tune compared to 80 MB/s on some slower 5400 RPM HDDs.

See our table of HDDs and SSDs for more benchmark comparisons.

CDM 5 (Primary SSD)
CDM 5 (Primary SSD)
CDM 5 (Secondary HDD)
CDM 5 (Secondary HDD)
AS SSD
AS SSD
HD Tune (Secondary HDD)
HD Tune (Secondary HDD)
PCMark 8 Storage
PCMark 8 Storage
 
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
Liteonit CV3-8D128
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
MSI GT62VR 7RE-223
Samsung SSD PM871a MZNLN256HMHQ
Aorus X5 v6
Samsung SM951 MZVPV256 m.2
AS SSD
195%
106%
25%
98%
Copy Game MB/s
323.54
539.5
67%
240.51
-26%
377.83
17%
1072.6
232%
Copy Program MB/s
195.3
411.54
111%
299.45
53%
198.98
2%
351.48
80%
Copy ISO MB/s
446.8
1272.4
185%
1559.86
249%
354.73
-21%
351.13
-21%
Score Total
752
2810
274%
1592
112%
1019
36%
1630
117%
Score Write
234
1022
337%
376
61%
304
30%
514
120%
Score Read
337
1206
258%
852
153%
472
40%
756
124%
Access Time Write *
0.073
0.034
53%
0.031
58%
0.037
49%
0.025
66%
Access Time Read *
0.141
0.034
76%
0.066
53%
0.1
29%
0.367
-160%
4K-64 Write
132.19
788.85
497%
176.44
33%
171.63
30%
272.53
106%
4K-64 Read
257.03
961.61
274%
563.62
119%
383.39
49%
521.36
103%
4K Write
53.75
112.15
109%
124.14
131%
104.01
94%
131.32
144%
4K Read
28.3
41.34
46%
44.75
58%
37.2
31%
44.6
58%
Seq Write
479.79
1206.58
151%
751.8
57%
288.18
-40%
1098.57
129%
Seq Read
515.92
2026.09
293%
2433.42
372%
510.07
-1%
1904.01
269%

* ... smaller is better

Liteonit CV3-8D128
CDM 5 Read Seq Q32T1: 562.3 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq Q32T1: 506.6 MB/s
CDM 5 Read 4K Q32T1: 357.9 MB/s
CDM 5 Write 4K Q32T1: 182 MB/s
CDM 5 Read Seq: 535.9 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq: 469.2 MB/s
CDM 5 Read 4K: 36.68 MB/s
CDM 5 Write 4K: 66.28 MB/s

GPU Performance

The 2 GB GTX 1050 returns nearly identical 3DMark scores as the 4 GB GTX 1050 in our XPS 15 9560. The only exception is on Fire Strike Ultra where the 4K UHD test proves to be too much for our 2 GB configuration and the final Graphics score is significantly lower as a result. Subsequently, users gaming in 1080p or lower should see little to no frame rate disadvantages on most titles.

In general, the GTX 1050 provides a 35 percent graphics boost over the popular GTX 960M while the GTX 1050 Ti provides yet another 35 percent boost over the GTX 1050. Notebooks with the GTX 970M will still outperform the GTX 1050 by about 20 to 30 percent.

See our full review on the desktop GTX 1050 for more technical information.

3DMark 11
3DMark 11
Ice Storm Extreme
Ice Storm Extreme
Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate
Fire Strike
Fire Strike
Fire Strike Extreme
Fire Strike Extreme
Fire Strike Ultra
Fire Strike Ultra
3DMark
3840x2160 Fire Strike Ultra Graphics
EVGA SC15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
2571 Points ∼25% +246%
Asus Strix GL502VY-DS71
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
2299 Points ∼23% +210%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
1145 Points ∼11% +54%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
742 Points ∼7%
Fire Strike Extreme Graphics
EVGA SC15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
5441 Points ∼33% +100%
Asus Strix GL502VY-DS71
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
4623 Points ∼28% +70%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
3662 Points ∼22% +35%
Asus Strix GL502VT-DS74
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
3517 Points ∼21% +29%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
2716 Points ∼17%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
2699 Points ∼16% -1%
Asus Zenbook UX510UW-CN044T
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 6500U
1988 Points ∼12% -27%
Acer Aspire E5-575G-549D
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M, 7200U
1657 Points ∼10% -39%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
EVGA SC15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
11453 Points ∼28% +86%
HP Omen 15-ce002ng
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 7700HQ
10349 Points ∼25% +68%
Asus Strix GL502VY-DS71
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
9608 Points ∼24% +56%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
7682 Points ∼19% +25%
Asus Strix GL502VT-DS74
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
7321 Points ∼18% +19%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
6166 Points ∼15%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
6074 Points ∼15% -1%
Asus Zenbook UX510UW-CN044T
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 6500U
4133 Points ∼10% -33%
Acer Aspire E5-575G-549D
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M, 7200U
3574 Points ∼9% -42%
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Combined
EVGA SC15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
8876 Points ∼51% +32%
HP Omen 15-ce002ng
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 7700HQ
8762 Points ∼50% +31%
Asus Strix GL502VY-DS71
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
8343 Points ∼47% +24%
Asus Strix GL502VT-DS74
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
7952 Points ∼45% +19%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
6707 Points ∼38%
Asus Zenbook UX510UW-CN044T
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 6500U
4466 Points ∼25% -33%
Acer Aspire E5-575G-549D
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M, 7200U
4113 Points ∼23% -39%
1280x720 Performance GPU
EVGA SC15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
15453 Points ∼30% +100%
HP Omen 15-ce002ng
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 7700HQ
13279 Points ∼26% +72%
Asus Strix GL502VY-DS71
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
12472 Points ∼24% +61%
Asus Strix GL502VT-DS74
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
9824 Points ∼19% +27%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ
7731 Points ∼15%
Asus Zenbook UX510UW-CN044T
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 6500U
4826 Points ∼9% -38%
Acer Aspire E5-575G-549D
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M, 7200U
4251 Points ∼8% -45%
3DMark 11 Performance
7609 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
73178 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
20270 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
5582 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
2702 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Most titles are playable on maximum 1080p settings at steady frame rates in the 35 to 55 FPS range. A few titles run slower on our 2 GB Sabre 15 when compared to the 4 GB XPS 15 9560 including Doom and Batman Arkham Knight at the highest graphical settings. Overall gaming performance is otherwise very similar to the GTX 965M.

See our GTX 1050 GPU page for more benchmark comparisons.

Batman: Arkham Knight
1920x1080 High / On AA:SM AF:16x
EVGA SC15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
62 fps ∼100% +148%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
52 fps ∼84% +108%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
41 fps ∼66% +64%
Gigabyte P55W v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samung SM951 MZVPV128 NVMe
36 fps ∼58% +44%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
33 fps ∼53% +32%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Liteonit CV3-8D128
25 fps ∼40%
HP Pavilion 17 FHD V3A33AV
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, SanDisk Z400s SD8SNAT-128G
23 fps ∼37% -8%
1920x1080 High / On (Interactive Smoke & Paper Debris Off) AA:SM AF:8x
EVGA SC15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
89 fps ∼100% +93%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
76 fps ∼85% +65%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
64 fps ∼72% +39%
Gigabyte P55W v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samung SM951 MZVPV128 NVMe
57 fps ∼64% +24%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
48 fps ∼54% +4%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Liteonit CV3-8D128
46 fps ∼52%
HP Pavilion 17 FHD V3A33AV
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, SanDisk Z400s SD8SNAT-128G
34 fps ∼38% -26%
Rise of the Tomb Raider
1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FX AF:16x
EVGA SC15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
66.8 fps ∼100% +95%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
51.6 fps ∼77% +51%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
38 fps ∼57% +11%
Gigabyte P55W v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samung SM951 MZVPV128 NVMe
37.1 fps ∼56% +8%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Liteonit CV3-8D128
34.2 fps ∼51%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
32.9 fps ∼49% -4%
HP Pavilion 17 FHD V3A33AV
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, SanDisk Z400s SD8SNAT-128G
24.2 fps ∼36% -29%
1920x1080 High Preset AA:FX AF:4x
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
60.4 fps ∼100% +56%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
45 fps ∼75% +17%
Gigabyte P55W v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samung SM951 MZVPV128 NVMe
44.6 fps ∼74% +16%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
39.8 fps ∼66% +3%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Liteonit CV3-8D128
38.6 fps ∼64%
HP Pavilion 17 FHD V3A33AV
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, SanDisk Z400s SD8SNAT-128G
30.2 fps ∼50% -22%
BioShock Infinite - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF)
EVGA SC15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
110 fps ∼100% +80%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
92.4 fps ∼84% +51%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
74 fps ∼67% +21%
Gigabyte P55W v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samung SM951 MZVPV128 NVMe
69.7 fps ∼63% +14%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
66 fps ∼60% +8%
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Liteonit CV3-8D128
61 fps ∼55%
HP Pavilion 17 FHD V3A33AV
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, SanDisk Z400s SD8SNAT-128G
45 fps ∼41% -26%
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 13061fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 7944fps
Thief (2014) 69.242.8fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 4122fps
Batman: Arkham Knight (2015) 784625fps
Metal Gear Solid V (2015) 6053.2fps
Fallout 4 (2015) 42.835.5fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 38.634.2fps
Ashes of the Singularity (2016) 34.129.4fps
Doom (2016) 4842fps
Overwatch (2016) 59fps
Mafia 3 (2016) 38.3fps
Prey (2017) 62.254.4fps

Stress Test

We stress the notebook with synthetic benchmarks to identify for any throttling or stability issues. When only Prime95 is active, we can observe the CPU running at the maximum quad-core Turbo Boost of 3.4 GHz for the first minute or so before falling down to a steady 3.2 GHz or 400 MHz above the base clock rate. The i7-7700HQ in the Sabre 15 is subsequently unable to maintain the maximum rated Turbo Boost when under extreme load. Core temperature averages a very high 96 C compared to just 65 C on thicker gaming notebooks like the GT72VR when under similar Prime95 conditions. Running Prime95 and FurMark simultaneously will strip the CPU of any Turbo Boost benefits for a steady base clock rate of 2.8 GHz.

Witcher 3 stress puts GPU at a steady 1696 MHz against a base clock rate of 1354 MHz. GPU temperature is relatively warm at 78 C, but this is not unusual for a gaming notebook. CPU clock rates fluctuate between 1.0 GHz to 2.7 GHz in the low 50 C range.

Running on batteries will limit both CPU and GPU performances. 3DMark 11 on batteries returns Physics and Graphics scores of 4974 and 6771 points, respectively, compared to 7694 and 7731 points when on mains.

Prime95 stress
Prime95 stress
FurMark stress
FurMark stress
Prime95+FurMark stress
Prime95+FurMark stress
Witcher 3 stress
Witcher 3 stress
012345678910111213141516171819202122232425Tooltip
The Witcher 3 ultra
CPU Clock (GHz) GPU Clock (MHz) Average CPU Temperature (°C) Average GPU Temperature (°C)
Prime95 Stress 3.2 -- 96 --
FurMark Stress -- 1152 -- 64
Prime95 + FurMark Stress 2.8 1152 80 63
Witcher 3 Stress 1.0 - 2.8 1696 49 - 55 78

Emissions

System Noise

The cooling system consists of dual ~50 mm fans and three asymmetric heat pipes. Interestingly, Gigabyte has opted to keep CPU and GPU cooling mutually exclusive whereas most other notebooks have at least one heat pipe shared between the two processors. This design explains how the CPU can run as as cool as 50 C while the GPU can be much warmer at 78 C when under gaming stress.

Unfortunately, this approach does not appear to have any benefits in terms of fan noise. The fans are always active no matter the load and are generally louder than even the XPS 15 during low loads like streaming and browsing. The fans will infrequently but periodically pulse to a louder 34.7 dB(A) before quickly falling back down to its base 33 dB(A). We highly recommend running on Power Saver mode if not gaming in order to keep fan noise at a minimum.

Medium load with 3DMark06 will bump the fans to 44.5 dB(A) after just two loops of the first "Return to Proxycon" scene to be significantly louder than even the more powerful Aero 15. Running Witcher 3 will bump fan noise even louder to a steady 49.2 dB(A). We find the high 40 dB(A) range to be very distracting when gaming to the point where headphones are recommended for a better experience. Setting the fan speed to "Maximum" through the Control Center menu will drive fan noise to 52.8 dB(A) with no benefits to CPU or GPU clock rates. This feature is not necessary for gaming purposes and was disabled during our benchmark tests.

GPU fan exhausts through the right edge...
GPU fan exhausts through the right edge...
... while the CPU fan exhausts through the rear
... while the CPU fan exhausts through the rear
Sabre 15 (White: Background, Red: System idle, Blue: 3DMark06, Orange: Witcher 3, Green: Maximum)
Sabre 15 (White: Background, Red: System idle, Blue: 3DMark06, Orange: Witcher 3, Green: Maximum)
XPS 15 9560
XPS 15 9560
Lenovo Legion Y520
Lenovo Legion Y520

Noise Level

Idle
33 / 33.3 / 34.7 dB(A)
Load
44.5 / 52.8 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   BK Precision 732A (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 28.2 dB(A)
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Liteonit CV3-8D128
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
Gigabyte Aero 15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
HP Omen 15-ce002ng
GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
MSI GT62VR 7RE-223
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SSD PM871a MZNLN256HMHQ
Noise
4%
4%
4%
7%
1%
off / environment *
28.2
28.4
-1%
31
-10%
30
-6%
28.1
-0%
30
-6%
Idle Minimum *
33
29
12%
32
3%
30
9%
28.1
15%
34
-3%
Idle Average *
33.3
29
13%
33
1%
33
1%
29.1
13%
35
-5%
Idle Maximum *
34.7
32.2
7%
34
2%
37
-7%
29.1
16%
36
-4%
Load Average *
44.5
47.1
-6%
39
12%
41
8%
49.2
-11%
40
10%
Witcher 3 ultra *
49.2
52
-6%
43
13%
42
15%
Load Maximum *
52.8
47.1
11%
50
5%
50
5%
49.2
7%
46
13%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

Surface temperatures are flat on both sides if not slightly warmer than on other notebooks when idling on desktop. Note, however, that the right palm rest will always be warmer than the left because of the HDD underneath. We don't recommend running off of a primary HDD in order to avoid higher and potentially more uncomfortable temperature differences between the two palm rests.

Maximum load with both Prime95 and FurMark will cause the area around the "P" key to be as warm as 42 C while the palm rests, WASD and NumPad areas are cooler for a comfortable gaming experience. Surfaces immediately adjacent to the two ventilation grilles can also grow very warm, but these areas are thankfully easy to avoid during normal use. This is stark contrast to the Samsung Odyssey where a larger temperature discrepancy exists between the left and right sides of the notebook for an uneven gaming experience.

Right-handed mouse users may not like the fact that the GPU ventilation grilles are on the right edge of the notebook. This can lead to a sweaty hand from the constant warm air exhaust.

Maximum load (top)
Maximum load (top)
Maximum load (bottom)
Maximum load (bottom)
Witcher 3 stress (top)
Witcher 3 stress (top)
Witcher 3 stress (bottom)
Witcher 3 stress (bottom)
Max. Load
 43.6 °C27.4 °C37 °C 
 32 °C42 °C36.8 °C 
 27.4 °C30.4 °C29 °C 
Maximum: 43.6 °C
Average: 34 °C
34.2 °C29.4 °C38 °C
40.2 °C27.4 °C23.4 °C
22.6 °C22.4 °C22 °C
Maximum: 40.2 °C
Average: 28.8 °C
Power Supply (max.)  46.2 °C | Room Temperature 20 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer

Speakers

2 W stereo speakers near the front two corners of the notebook
2 W stereo speakers near the front two corners of the notebook

The 2 W stereo speakers are poor for a multimedia or gaming notebook. Bass reproduction is well below average and treble frequencies are overemphasized for a very unbalanced audio experience. We attempted to adjust the audio settings through the Sound Blaster Cinema 3 software, but none of our changes improved bass or quality by any sigificant extent. Our pink noise measurements below confirm the imbalance when compared to the more even curves of the Odyssey 15 or larger Eurocom X7E2. Headphones or external solutions are recommended if possible when gaming or during movie/music playback. On the plus side, maximum volume is sufficiently loud for a small room and will not introduce any static or chassis reverberations.

Sabre 15 (Red: System idle, Pink: Pink noise)
Sabre 15 (Red: System idle, Pink: Pink noise)
Eurocom Sky X7E2
Eurocom Sky X7E2
Samsung Odyssey
Samsung Odyssey
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs204039.82538.1363137.237.94035.236.45034.136.26333.335.68031.93310032.232.71253132.616030.530.220029.3302502930.43152839.740027.44950026.747.563027.150.380026.753.1100025.959.5125025.865.2160025.772200024.968.6250024.965.4315024.362.5400024.560.3500024.363.2630023.968.6800023.868.61000023.759.31250023.755.91600023.758.9SPL37.477.9N336.1median 25.8Gigabyte Sabre 15Gmedian 58.9Delta1.712.235.335.132.931.831.83236.535.132.428.93328.936.328.848.32761.52752.924.860.92462.822.763.32269.521.267.82174.82075.919.472.718.97117.770.117.86917.671.817.668.117.671.417.673.717.670.417.571.617.671.617.669.617.459.717.583.630.662.51.5median 69.6Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHzmedian 17.84.62.4hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Gigabyte Sabre 15G audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (71.97 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 26.3% lower than median
(+) | bass is linear (6.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | reduced mids - on average 8.2% lower than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (14.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 5.1% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (11.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(-) | overall sound is not linear (34.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 98% of all tested devices in this class were better, 1% similar, 1% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 18%, worst was 37%
Compared to all devices tested
» 95% of all tested devices were better, 1% similar, 4% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (9.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 1% of all tested devices in this class were better, 1% similar, 97% worse
» The best had a delta of 9%, average was 20%, worst was 47%
Compared to all devices tested
» 2% of all tested devices were better, 0% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Frequency Comparison (Checkbox selectable!)
Graph 1: Pink Noise 100% Vol.; Graph 2: Audio off

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The system is very efficient when idling on desktop at just 8 W to 11 W depending on the Windows Profile setting and brightness level. Overall power consumption is still very similar to the Samsung Odyssey at about 94 W each when gaming compared to 96 W and 111 W on our Omen 15 (Max-Q GTX 1060) and Aero 15 (GTX 1060), respectively.

Maximum load with both Prime95 and FurMark will draw about 106 W from the small power adapter (~15 x 7.5 x 2.5 cm) rated for up 120 W. While the power overhead is acceptable for our SKU, the higher-end Sabre 15 configuration with the GTX 1050 Ti will likely push the adapter closer to its limits. We would have preferred a higher capacity 140 W or 150 W AC adapter as a result.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.37 / 0.7 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 8 / 10.9 / 11 Watt
Load midlight 76.7 / 106.4 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), Liteonit CV3-8D128, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD, IGZO IPS, 3840x2160, 15.6
Gigabyte Aero 15
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
HP Omen 15-ce002ng
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
MSI GT62VR 7RE-223
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), Samsung SSD PM871a MZNLN256HMHQ, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Power Consumption
-35%
-41%
-78%
3%
-104%
Idle Minimum *
8
11.9
-49%
12
-50%
18
-125%
6.7
16%
20
-150%
Idle Average *
10.9
17.1
-57%
15
-38%
23
-111%
8.9
18%
24
-120%
Idle Maximum *
11
17.3
-57%
20
-82%
30
-173%
10.8
2%
29
-164%
Load Average *
76.7
94.7
-23%
82
-7%
85
-11%
81.8
-7%
82
-7%
Load Maximum *
106.4
122
-15%
161
-51%
158
-48%
122.7
-15%
193
-81%
Witcher 3 ultra *
94.9
104.8
-10%
111
-17%
96
-1%
92.2
3%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Removable battery
Removable battery

Runtimes from the 47 Wh Li-Ion battery are average at just under 4.5 hours during real-world WLAN conditions (Windows Balanced profile + Nvidia Auto-Select graphics profile). Users should be able to squeeze out another hour or so if simply word processing on the Power Saver profile, but the battery capacity is rather small compared to other 15-inch notebooks like the XPS 15 (97 Wh), Aero 15 (94 Wh), and Omen 15 (70 Wh). The similarly equipped Dell and Aero 15, for example, can last for over 7 hours each under similar WLAN loads.

We applaud the manufacturer for incorporating a removable battery into the Sabre design whereas most gaming notebooks have integrated Li-Ion polymer batteries. The easy battery swapping should come in handy for backup and pain-free warranty replacements if necessary. Charging from near empty to full capacity will take just 1.5 hours.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
8h 13min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
4h 21min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 17min
Gigabyte Sabre 15G
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 47 Wh
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 97 Wh
Gigabyte Aero 15
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 94.24 Wh
HP Omen 15-ce002ng
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 70 Wh
Samsung Odyssey NP800G5M-X01US
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 43 Wh
MSI GT62VR 7RE-223
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 75 Wh
Battery Runtime
56%
45%
-23%
8%
-1%
Reader / Idle
493
831
69%
638
29%
256
-48%
612
24%
377
-24%
WiFi v1.3
261
434
66%
422
62%
198
-24%
263
1%
246
-6%
Load
77
103
34%
112
45%
80
4%
76
-1%
98
27%

Pros

+ clean matte display; no major graininess issues
+ 2.5-inch SATA III + M.2 NVMe
+ great gaming performance
+ relatively easy to service
+ sharp chassis design
+ 3x video-out ports
+ removable battery

Cons

- slight-moderate backlight bleeding; imperfect chassis construction
- lid could be more rigid; imperfect construction quality
- pulsing system fans; fans are always active
- no Thunderbolt 3; crowded port positioning
- cannot maintain full CPU Turbo Boost
- no 120 Hz, 5 ms, or G-Sync options
- 2 GB GDDR5 VRAM instead of 4 GB
- very loud fan noise when gaming
- small battery capacity
- poor speaker quality
- 1x1 802.11ac WLAN
- narrow color gamut

Verdict

In review: GIGABYTE Sabre 15G-NE2
In review: GIGABYTE Sabre 15G-NE2

Gigabyte's new Sabre 15 brings a lot of features for an entry-level gaming notebook. The deep 2 mm key travel, three-zone full RGB backlight, triple video-out ports, double storage bays, and energetic design are all compelling reasons to purchase the Sabre over other budget gaming notebooks like the Pavilion 15 Power, Samsung Odyssey, or Asus FX553 at the same price range. It's a strong first impression that we believe is key when introducing a new model and series.

There are still lots of room for improvement especially in terms of fan noise and audio. The GTX 1050 is less powerful than the GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1060 yet the Sabre 15 runs more loudly than notebooks sporting more powerful GPUs. Combine the loud fan noise with the poor bass reproduction and you have a subpar sound experience if not wearing a good pair of headphones. The base is solid and firmer than on both the Asus FX553 and Odyssey, but the lid could definitely be better by reducing the uneven backlight bleeding and addressing the protruding inner bezels. We're hoping that future revisions will add even more hardware options like 120 Hz refresh, 5 ms response times, G-Sync, and Thunderbolt 3.

If the small form factor is a must, then the Sabre 15 is one of the better budget gaming notebooks available with its respectable set of features. Thicker 15-inch gaming notebooks like the GT62VR are still recommended for quieter fan noise and better speakers.

Gigabyte Sabre 15G - 07/24/2017 v6
Allen Ngo

Chassis
78 / 98 → 79%
Keyboard
81%
Pointing Device
81%
Connectivity
58 / 81 → 72%
Weight
60 / 66 → 89%
Battery
77%
Display
79%
Games Performance
89%
Application Performance
92%
Temperature
92 / 95 → 96%
Noise
69 / 90 → 77%
Audio
30%
Camera
55 / 85 → 65%
Average
72%
79%
Gaming - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Gigabyte Sabre 15 (i7-7700HQ, GTX 1050) Laptop Review
Allen Ngo, 2017-07-24 (Update: 2017-10- 9)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.