Gigabyte’s SabrePro 15 is undoubtedly the soberest gaming laptops to be released in 2017. Well-equipped and sold for a reasonable price (for a gaming laptop), it is not without its downsides.
The SabrePro 15 is the newest Gigabyte computer that we have tested. This 15.6 inch gaming computer is much less sexy and provocative looking than its cousin, the Aero 15, but it belongs to a more affordable segment of the gaming laptop market: it is being sold starting at around 1000 euros – the price increases depending on its components.
The SabrePro 15 does not have a very original look and is rather sober. This 15.6 inch gaming laptop is all black and entirely composed of plastic – with the exception of the display panel backing which is made out of a metal alloy.
We would like to give you an overview of this computer starting with its connectivity and its overall build-quality. The SabrePro 15’s build-quality is satisfactory, without being exceptional. It is far from having the Aero 15’s (which we tested not long ago) finish or its use of high-grade materials.
In terms of size and weight: the SabrePro 15 is reasonably thin – 2.8 cm (display closed, including feet) as well as being reasonably lightweight: 2.6 kg (plus 732 grams for the power supply), making it possible to take this computer around with you, provided that you have a sturdy backpack.
Wide-ranging connectivity, typical keyboard
This computer has connections located on its two sides as well at its rear. On its sides can be found three USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C port, audio jacks, as well as an SD card reader.
The video outputs are located at the back (HDMI and mini-DisplayPort), so is its ethernet port (Gigabit) and power supply connector. This layout is quite intelligent; it allows the most cumbersome cables to be situated at the back of the device, leaving room on the right or left-hand side for using an external gaming mouse.
The keyboard rests on a plastic platform which is somewhat lacking in terms of rigidity. If you put too much pressure on the wrist rests, they will bend slightly. The keyboard itself is not great for heavy data entry, but it is quite good for gaming.
Since this is a gaming computer, all of the keys have RGB backlighting (divided into different zones). In other words, the color of the four different zones can be chosen among millions of possible color combinations – predefined in the software provided by Gigabyte.
Within this same software interface, users can assign or record macros for the M1 to M4 macro keys located between the F1-F12 keys and the bottom of the display.
We found it regrettable that these keys were placed so high up on the keyboard since reaching them quickly during the heat of gaming action is not really possible.
A good matte display – not G-Sync compatible
Bordered by rather wide black plastic edges, this computer’s 15.6 inch, Full HD (1920 X 1080 pixel) IPS display panel has a matte finish which is ideal for reducing (almost entirely) reflections due to ambient light.
In terms of its technical characteristics, the SabrePro 15’s display is fairly good. We estimated its maximum luminosity to be 324 cd/m2, an average result for modern-day gaming machines. On the other hand, its contrast ratio is quite good – almost 1300:1. In conclusion, the SabrePro 15’s display is somewhat better than average. Our only regret is that Gigabyte did not incorporate Nvidia’s G-Sync technology which is useful for minimizing tearing effects and for preventing low FPS in many games.
The SabrePro 15 has been designed for good game-play at Full HD definition
The SabrePro 15 has been designed for playing a wide range of games, provided that you are not too demanding in terms of graphics detail while playing the newest AAA games (and those that have yet to be released). Because, although its Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6 GB GDDR5 model) is a very good graphics card, it is not always able to handle the “Very high” – not to mention “Ultra high” – graphics settings of the latest AAA games.
While for older games or for a number of popular MOBA (DoTA 2, LoL, etc.) and FPS games (CS:GO, PUBG, R6:S), it is able to provide an image rate of between 80 and 300 IPS (190 in Dirt 3 for example), with all of the settings at maximum, when playing The Division or Rise of the Tomb Raider, the image rate that it is able to achieve is significantly lower. For the first of these two games, the graphics card is able to provide between 50 (ultra) and 65 (high) IPS on average; whereas, for the second, the scores are very similar 70 IPS (DX11) and 65 IPS (DX12).
GeForce GTX Mobile : Maxwell VS Pascal
3D Mark FSE (Graphics Score)
Unigine Heaven in FPS (900p in Extreme)
The SabrePro 15’s other components conform to modern gaming laptop standards: an Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, a 256 GB SSD (on the machine that we tested, 512 GB on the computers being sold at the moment) and a conventional hard disk (1 TB on the model currently being sold) for archiving and storing all of your data. Contrary to its Aero 15 cousin which is capable of running for between 5 and 5.5 hours on a battery charge, the SabrePro will completely run out of power after only 3 hours of watching videos or of general computer use.
The ventilation system is always active (or almost always)
A few turns of the screwdriver are all it takes to open up the back of this computer. At first glance, it is obvious that Gigabyte has separated the processor’s cooling system from that of the graphics circuit – a very good thing. The layout of the heat-pipes has been conceived in such a way as to avoid any heat from being transferred from the Core i7 processor to the 3D chip – and vice versa. We also noticed that even the card’s GDDR5 memory has been given its own heat-pipes.
During intense gaming, the computer’s dual fans emit a rather high level of noise – around 45.9 dB. During general use, the computer is not silent either (around 35 dB) since the fans never stop turning.
This is the price that needs to be paid in order to avoid throttling effects whenever the computer’s components are put under heavy load.
After several hours of gaming, the plastic on the top-side of the computer has a tendency to get quite hot. After measuring the heat emitted in several spots, we strongly recommend only using this computer on a desktop whenever you are gaming. The temperature reached 59°C in certain areas – which is quite high in our opinion.
Some potential improvements
We would like to conclude by mentioning some improvements which can be made to this computer’s motherboard. Of course, you can increase the amount of DDR4 RAM (the processor allows a maximum of 64 GB); you can also add a second M.2 (SATA III) format SSD since there is a vacant slot next to the pre-installed disk. You could also swap out the SATA hard disk for a larger capacity model or for a 2.5 inch SSD.
- + Homogeneous configuration
- + Good-quality matte display
- + Distributed connectivity (cumbersome connections at the rear)
- – The plastic is quite soft in some spots
- – Noisy ventilation system
- – Macro keys are too inaccessible
- – Limited battery autonomy
Gigabyte’s SabrePro 15 offers a decent quality to price ratio. With its homogeneous configuration, its matte Full HD display panel and its RGB backlit keyboard, this 15.6 inch gaming laptop stands out from its competition by its large SSD (512 GB on the models currently being sold) as well as by its 1 TB hard disk.