Thursday, November 16, 2017

Gigabyte Sabre 15 Core i5 Review : Cheap Gaming Laptops with RGB Keyboard


Gaming laptops are often identified with high prices. However, Gigabyte Saber 15 gaming laptop we will review this time may change that view.

A very interesting offer considering the specs offered and apparently not many gaming laptop manufacturers like Gigabyte are trying to "play" in such price class.

For processor components, Gigabyte Saber 15 entrusted the Core i 7th Generation "Kaby Lake" processor while the graphics processing unit relies on GeForce GTX 10 Series. Of course this gaming laptop still provides memory support / RAM DDR4 up to 32 GB @ 2400 MHz and dual storage slot M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 + SATA III 6 Gbps. Interestingly the "standard" features of modern gaming laptops like the backlit RGB keyboard and IPS screens are also found in Gigabyte Saber 15. In this article let's take a closer look at the greatness that Gigabyte Saber 15 offers to its potential owners.

Specification


Our Gigabyte Saber 15 testing unit is powered by a Core i5 7300HQ processor with Kaby Lake CPU architecture base. Quite rarely found gaming laptop in Indonesia marketed with this type of processor considering it generally uses Core i7 7700HQ. Of course the use of this processor makes the selling price can be made cheaper than using the Core i7 7700HQ.
Core i5 7300HQ and Core i7 7700HQ are processors with quad core configurations. However, unlike the Core i7 version, Core i5 7300HQ is not equipped with Hyper-Threading feature that can only handle four computing processes at once. Core i5 7300HQ itself has a base clock speed of 2.5 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 clock speed of 3.5 GHz when one core works, 3.3 GHz when two cores work, and 3.1 GHz when four cores work.

Gigabyte combines Core i5 7300HQ processor with FCBGA1440 socket-based motherboard based on Intel HM175 chipset / PCH.

Gigabyte Saber 15 features DDR4 (1.2 Volt) memory / RAM type with 8 GB capacity and 2400 MHz speed. Quite unfortunate this gaming laptop still uses a single-channel memory configuration where this can affect performance in certain scenarios such as when Intel IGP is used. However, on the one hand this will only facilitate the owner of Gigabyte Saber 15 when it wants to upgrade because it provides two memory slots / RAM with support up to 32 GB.


The gaming performance in Gigabyte Saber 15 is presented by GeForce GTX 1050 2 GB GDDR5. Positioned in the entry level class of the GTX 10 Series line, the graphics card enables manufacturers to create gaming laptops for a low price. GeForce GTX 1050 GPU GP107 diuntaki with Pascal architectural base like other GTX 10 Series variants. The GeForce GTX 1050 features 640 CUDA Cores, 40 Texture Units, and 16 ROP Units. The type of memory / VRAM used is GDDR5 with 128-bit memory bus size.

GPU GeForce GTX 1050 in Gigabyte Saber 15 has a base clock value of 1354 MHz and can reach maximum speed at 1784 MHz thanks to GPU Boost 3.0 technology. While the GDDR5 memory chip has a working speed of 7008 MHz. Interestingly GeForce GTX 1050 desktop version uses a similar specification as found in Gigabyte Saber 15 both in terms of speed and hardware used.
Gigabyte Saber 15 continues to deliver NVIDIA Optimus technology so IGP and discrete graphics cards can be active interchangeably. IGP is active in idle conditions or while in a Windows desktop environment while discrete graphics cards are active when gaming or applications that utilize start running. Such capability has the purpose to save the use of electricity especially when using the battery. Gigabyte Saber 15 is equipped with IGP Intel HD Graphics 630 which is embedded in Core i5 7300HQ processor.

The typical design of Gigabyte gaming laptops is evident in the appearance of Saber 15. Even black matte colors throughout the body reinforce the identity of Saber 15 as a gaming laptop from Gigabyte. Gigabyte Saber 15 body is made of hard plastic material that feels solid when used. Hand touches can still be easily left on the surface of the body.

When the screen is closed, the thick body Gigabyte Saber 15 reaches 2.69 cm. Classified as normal for conventional gaming laptop sizes.

The use of 15.6-inch screen to make body size Gigabyte Saber 15 reached 37.8 x 26.7 cm for long and wide sides. As for the weight, our scales recorded a figure of about 2.5 kg for laptop units only.

Gigabyte Saber 15 features a 15.6-inch LED-size LCD screen with Full HD / 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution that produces a pixel density of 141 PPI. Specialized Gigabyte Saber 15 screen has been using IPS panel known to display richer and more accurate color and has a very wide viewing angle up to 178 °. The surface of the screen was purchased anti-glare coating so it does not have the properties of bouncing like a mirror that adds to the use of the kanyamanan.

On the left side of Gigabyte Saber 15 can be found a DC-IN connector, 1x RJ45 (Gigabit Ethernet), 2x Mini Display Port, 1x HDMI, 1x Type-C USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), 1x Type-A USB 3.1 Gen 1 ( 5 Gbps), and SDHC card reader.

While on the right side can be found headphone jack, microphone jack, USB 2.0, USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), and kensington security lock hole. Hot vent exhaust vent can also be found which unfortunately this position poses a risk of exposure to heat on the hands when using the mouse.


Gigabyte Saber 15 keyboard provides a soft sensation when the button is pressed. Each key has a compression distance of 2 mm. Not as short as other gaming laptops but still quite responsive. The size of each button is quite large so it is suitable for users with big fingers though. Quite unfortunate the size of the Shift key (especially the left side button) is made smaller so it requires adaptation to avoid wrong press if the user is familiar with the conventional keyboard. While the touchpad component using the design with the touch area separated with the left and right click buttons so much easier when used.

The Gigabyte Saber 15 keyboard features backlit lights that can be adjusted up to five levels of brightness. Our testing unit comes with a white backlit backlight only. However Gigabyte Saber 15 is sold on the market using backlit lights with 16.7 million color variations.

Gigabyte Saber 15 provides four laptop condition indicator lights for Power Status, Battery Status, Airplane Mode Status, and HDD (Satorage) Status.

The lower sectional section of Gigabyte Saber 15 with a number of ventilation holes where fresh air enters the body of the laptop. Looks Gigabyte Saber 15 uses removable battery components without the need to open the body.

Gigabyte Saber 15 Gigabyte internal components This gaming laptop features a cooling system with two hot release areas for processor and graphics card components at a great distance. The battery component appears to be placed near a high-heat generating area but appears to be quite secure with the bottom side cover of the separating laptop.



The interesting thing is that we encounter the Gigabyte Saber 15 cooling system where the heatpipe components for processor pendigin and graphics card do not connect to each other. On other laptops are often found a heatpipe component that connects the processor cooler and graphics card. Of course this makes the heat of the processor not to heat up the graphics card, and vice versa. For processor components used two copper heatpipe while the graphics card using one heatpipe with a larger diameter.

As for the graphics card component, heatsink fins and blower fans are directed to the side of the laptop. The graphics card cooling baseplate is designed not only to cool the GPU but also the memory chips / VRAM and VRM.




Gigabyte Saber 15 features two memory slots / RAM type DDR4 SO-DIMM with total capacity support up to 32 GB (2X 16 GB) and 2400 MHz speed. Our test unit is equipped with one 8 GB 2400 MHz DDR4 memory / RAM.


Gigabyte Saber 15 features one M.2 slot supporting SATA III 6 Gbps SSD or NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4. Our testing unit is equipped with 128 GB SATA III 6 Gbps SSD from Lite-On. Right next to the M.2 slot is the wireless Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168 wireless card with wireless connectivity support Wi-Fi ac and Bluetooth V4.2. There are also chipset / PCH motherboard components, CMOS Battery, and right speakers in this area.



Gigabyte Saber 15 also provides a 6 Gbps SATA III connector for secondary storage HDD or SSD devices. Our test unit is equipped with 1 TB HDD with a speed of 7200 RPM from Hitachi.

Control Center


Control Center allows setting functions such as fan speed rotation settings, adjust the volume and display brightness, change power plan schemes, and more.

Gigabyte Smart Update


Smart Update helps users in installing applications as well as drivers. Of course the latest version checking feature for apps and drivers is also supported by Smart Update.

FlexiKey


Use this utility to set the functions of macro keys on the keyboard and record the activity of keystrokes.

Test Results - System Benchmark

PCMark 7 Creativity contains a set of tests to assess system performance in viewing, editing, transcoding, and storing photos and video files.

PCMark 7 Entertainment contains a set of tests to assess the performance of the system in recording, viewing, streaming, and transcoding television shows and movies. The performance of the system in importing, organizing, and browsing music files along with playing games are also tested here.

PCMark 7 Productivity contains a set of tests to assess system performance in loading wirsite pages and running home class office applications.

PCMark 7 Computation contains a set of tests to assess CPU and GPU computing performance.

PCMark7 Storage contains a set of tests to assess the performance of storage components on a system.

Temperature & Power Consumption

The performance test of the Gigabyte Saber 15 cooling system in a 3D rendering scenario with the processor shows surprising results. The working temperature of Core i5 7300HQ can be lowered below 70 ° C even by using Auto fan speed. Rarely do we find gaming laptops with this working temperature.

Conclusion

Core i5 7300HQ - The use of this type of processor to be one of the low key price Gigabyte Saber 15. Performance computing offered is not as tight as the Core i7 7700HQ but our test results show Core i5 7300HQ still offers decent capabilities in modern applications, especially when running the game. The high performance Core i5 7300HQ was supported by the memory capacity / RAM 8 GB large enough and the use of SSD as the main storage.


GeForce GTX 1050 2 GB - Positioned as an entry level grade graphics card from the GTX 10 Series line, the performance offered by GeForce GTX 1050 2 GB is still quite capable in the latest modern game output though. For games with lightweight graphics engine, the GeForce GTX 1050 2 GB can deliver high frame rate rates at 1920 × 1080 pixels resolution while still delivering maximum visual quality at the maximum. While for games with heavyweight graphics engine, it takes adjustment of resolution settings and graphics quality to get maximum comfort. Graphic quality Medium looks good on such game types even though the use of image resolution under Full HD is sometimes still needed. Use of GeForce Experience application we highly recommend for you who want the experience of playing the best game but do not want to be bothered with a complicated setting.

Temperature - The design of processor cooling system and graphics card with heatpipe not connect shows positive results especially in the gaming scenario. The resulting heat of the graphics card can be locked on its own area and does not flow to the processor component. Especially in our test scenario the working temperature of GeForce GTX 1050 shows the figure above 80 ° C in Auto fan speed. It is quite high but still in a safe zone. Fortunately the working temperature of the processor shows a low number, below 70 ° C, in both of our test scenarios. If you feel anxious with such a working temperature can use a 100% fan speed when heavy-duty.

For the size of a gaming laptop, the price offered can be said commensurate with the capabilities and specifications obtained. It is suitable for those who want a gaming laptop without the need to spend too much. Moreover, this gaming laptop directly comes with advantages such as IPS screen, wireless connectivity Wi-Fi ac + Bluetooth V4.2, USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) as well as USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) for easy transfer of massive data size quickly, slot M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4, and also support memory capacity / RAM up to 32 GB. The keyboard with backlit RGB lamps also becomes its own added value which may not be offered by competitors in equivalent grade classes. The ability of Gigabyte Saber 15 can still be enhanced by adding SSDs to the operating system so that the system becomes more reponsive and also uses dual channel memory configuration to maximize hardware performance in it.

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