The Gigabyte Aorus 5 SE4 is a capable mainstream gaming notebook that will run the latest PC games with aplomb. However, it's not your stereotypical flashy gaming PC. Gigabyte has added some interesting tweaks. For example, the webcam placement and its Microsoft Azure AI tool — to automatically switch between power modes — are unusual for this genre. But more importantly, the pricing is fairly competitive and reasonable.
- 15.6-inch Full-HD display (1,920 x 1,080 pixels), 144Hz
- 12th-gen Intel Core i7-12700H chip with Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 graphics
- 3x USB Type-A, Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.1, SD card reader, mini-DisplayPort, Ethernet port, headphone jack
Design-wise, the Aorus 5 is typical for a mainstream gaming notebook — slightly chunky at around 2.3kg. However, it's definitely not as loud or garish as some of its rivals. There's just a backlit logo on the lid, though you can spice things up by turning up its RGB keyboard backlight (three lighting zones). The 15.6-inch display is matte with a 144Hz refresh rate and a 1,080p resolution. Gigabyte also has versions with 240Hz and 360Hz refresh rates, but those don't appear to be available here. You can only customise the RAM and SSD storage from local retailer Gamepro Shop. The chassis feels sturdy with air vents at the back and the sides. However, I was surprised to find the power plug on the right, where it may get in the way of your mouse. Gaming notebooks often place the power connector at the rear for this reason.
Gigabyte says the Aorus 5 is the world's first “Microsoft Azure AI” notebook. Instead of the user choosing the power profile of the Aorus 5, this AI basically detects the currently-running app and optimise the hardware power/wattage settings for the CPU and graphics. From what I can tell, it works as advertised. For example, there was a pop-up from the Gigabyte Control Center that indicated the laptop had switched to Gaming Mode upon opening a gaming benchmark. The notebook also increased the fan speed (and presumably the performance) when the game started. Interestingly, the Aorus 5 sports a webcam just above the keyboard. This placement isn't ideal — the camera is pointing at your nostrils — but it does allow for narrow bezels on three sides of the display. There's even a physical privacy shutter to block off the webcam when required.
With its 12th-gen Intel Core i7-12700H chip and GeForce RTX 3070 graphics, I would consider the Aorus 5 an upper mid-tier gaming notebooks. It's slightly slower, on paper, than the Aftershock Apex 15X EVO. For benchmarking, I switched to the Turbo mode on the Aorus 5, which seems to max out the fans. It's noisy, but not much more than other gaming notebooks. However, Turbo and Gaming modes seem to produce identical performance in benchmarks, so you can simply let the AI do its thing. The Aorus 5 managed 60fps in Metro Exodus with ray tracing enabled (RTX profile) compared to 66fps for the more powerful Aftershock. In Watch Dogs: Legions, the Aorus 5 scored 74fps compared to 76fps for the Aftershock. The notebook itself gets moderately warm when gaming, but you'll be fine unless you're using it on your lap.
At S$2,849, the Gigabyte Aorus 5 is a bit cheaper than the Aftershock Apex 15X EVO. However, the latter has slightly more powerful hardware. And there's no option for a cooling module that makes all the difference for the Aftershock. However, the Aorus is still a well-made and competent mainstream gaming notebook. Gigabyte's AI solution also works well enough. You don't have to think about adjusting the laptop for different tasks. The Aorus 5 is available from Gamepro Shop's Lazada store or its website.
Note: Review unit provided by Gigabyte.
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