3 things to remember when buying a laptop for content creation AND gaming
Featuring the Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED
This post was written in collaboration with Gigabyte
Let’s talk about content creation, gaming and the devices you need to make that happen. When I say content creation I’m specifically discussing photography editing, video production and live streaming. My set up currently looks as follows:
I have a full gaming rig with two monitors and two webcams that is not portable.
I have an external game capture device for streaming
My laptop is specifically used for photo and video editing, travelling and meetings. The LaCie is basically permanently travelling with me to ensure I don’t need to rely on the onboard limited storage or sketchy wifi to upload to a drive or cloud storage. I need the storage device I have so that if I want to pull game footage which needs to be captured on the gaming rig or stream highlights (the gaming rig is for streaming). I use the gaming rig for my down time as well, to play games and chill.
There’s a pretty big cost here as you can imagine. I’m basically running two separate set ups. I also know that most content creators do similar. Their “work” device and gaming device are separate. There’s a need for mobility with your work gear because you might be on set, travelling or a freelancer who moves from desk to desk. At some point my MacBook is going to need to be replaced and with that in mind I’ve started looking at options that can streamline my current set up a bit. This post is going to explore what you need to consider when shopping for an all in one solution that can deliver on your content creation needs AND gaming requirements.
Gigabyte has the AERO 15 OLED which is a great example of a device that can tick all the boxes. So I’m using it as my primary example when discussing the various factors to consider before you purchase.
3 things to consider when looking for an all in one content creation and gaming solution:
I’m not going to beat around the bush, your first consideration when looking for a device that can do all the things is to ensure it has the muscle under the hood to get the job done. I’ve travelled with numerous gaming laptops which just can’t handle the requirements for streaming and gaming at the same time, never mind offer up the necessary processing power to allow me to render video or edit photos with speed. You want something that can stand up to the difficult demands. Here’s an example:
The Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED utilises Gigabyte’s gaming expertise to give you the punch you need to get the job done. The top line CPU offering is an i9 10980HK (2.4 GHz – 5.3 GHz) or you can go with either a i7 10875H (2.3 GHz – 5.1 GHz) or i7 10750H (2.6GHz – 5.0GHz). If this all sounds like gibberish to you, basically the 10980HK and even the 10875H is going to make you feel like you’re flying. Complimented by a standard 16GB DDR4 2933MHz RAM which can be upgraded to 64GB if you wanted to go all out. We’re talking super fast video rendering and the power to hook up your second monitor and live stream without too much concern (I’ll discuss HDMI ports and the like, that you need for this, below). There’s also a “next gen cooling system” which keeps the AERO 15 OLED cool under pressure. Even gaming, the device doesn’t heat up like others I’ve tried (though when you push it to the max the incredibly fancy cooling system, which includes vents under the notebook and on the side back, is going to make sure everyone hears how hard you’re working). Storage wise you’re looking at 512GB NVMe and support for 2 x NVMe SSD. So super fast storage for video renders and your favourite games allows for portability if you need to work on site or travel a lot.
The Bells and Whistles
When you’re looking for a laptop that you can use for high end content creation and gaming, there’s a few additions that become important here. The first thing, from a creation point of view, is DEFINITELY the screen. You want something that is accurate, sharp and colourful to ensure you’re seeing the best version of what you’re making. The next thing I look for is necessary additional ports and adds on to make my job a little easier. As I mentioned earlier, currently I’m carrying around an external hard drive AND my PC has an external adaptor to make sure I have access to more USB ports. For streaming alone I need to plug in two webcams, a keyboard, mouse, headset, a game capture device and a second monitor usually. So the more I have the better. I’m also pretty fussy about size. I once travelled with a very chunky 17″ gaming laptop. I also got stuck for 5 hours in an airport with it and let me tell you, NEVER again. The thing didn’t even properly fit in a backpack so it was just a headache all round.
So lets take a look at the Gigabyte AERO OLED:
The screen is amazing. It’s a 4K UHD Samsung AMOLED Display. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a gaming laptop with that sort of colour-accurate display. The images pop and jump out of the screen. It is glorious to behold and comes close to matching a MacBook Pro on just glorious image quality. The 4K capabilities are divine. The screen itself has an ultra-thin bezel so you get maximum screen for work, which I like. Size wise, its a 15’6″ display. I’m a bit fussy when it comes to the size and weight of a laptop. As I mentioned. The AERO 15 OLED is a bit on the heavy side coming in at about 2kg. However, it does fit nicely into a travel backpack and isn’t too wide. I understand I need to sacrifice on that if I want it to be able to do what it needs to. Because it fits snuggly into a decent travel backpack the 2kg weight does become a bit more bearable when moving around. The Charging block is a bit bulky (and you’ll need it, a device like this performs best plugged in to the wall – even though it has a relatively useful battery life). I got around 4 to 5 hours not plugged in, performance was good. However, I never game on battery, I always have it plugged into the charger for that. But where my thick friend makes up for it is with the ports. ALL. THE. PORTS.
You’re looking at 3 USB Type As, a Thunderbolt Type C, and HDMI port, a mini DP 1.4 port, a 3.5mm Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack, a UHS-II SD Card Reader (FYI something I’ve only found on old Macbooks, love so much and am so glad to see on this device), a DC-in Jack and a RJ-45. You’re sorted when it comes to connecting stuff up. There is also an onboard webcam but it is placed at the bottom of the screen and the up your nose angle is not ideal for filming yourself, so use the USB port and plug in a webcam.
Look the part
Call me silly but I like nice looking things. While it should be last on your list of requirements when looking for the best work horse laptop for your needs, the way it looks does matter. I love a premium professional looking device that just screams look at me. Every time I open it up I feel motivated. It’s the reason I love my gaming rig and the RGB fans that light up as it starts.
The AERO 15 OLED ticks the boxes here. It has a beautiful black finish that doesn’t hold fingerprints the way many brushed lighter aluminium looks do. The AERO logo on the back lights up in a white light and just screams premium. The party though happens on the keyboard. You’ve got a full customisable RGB keyboard that allows customisation to really speak to your mood and style. It also gives you the fun gaming aspect even when you’re stuck editing a client video till 2am! You can turn the RGB off as well if you wish for those stealthy gaming/editing sessions in a more public setting.
For a long time I’ve wondered if there is a device that can combine work life with evening party life (gaming, not the club) and I think it is completely possible if you’re willing to determine what it is you need. I used to think you’d need to sacrifice on some requirements, but after spending some time on the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED, there are definitely devices out there that can allow you to work on your content creation during the day and then boot up your favourite game in the evening. Top end devices are obviously pricey. Most sit in the R50 000 price bracket. So when you’re shopping around consider that you are going to need to spend big to buy big. However, you can go the route of a lower end GPU to drop the price a bit.
If you’re interested in the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED, it will be available in South Africa at the beginning of September at Wootware, Dreamwaretech, Titan-Ice and other online resellers. Suggested retail sits at R56 999. Which is on par with most Macbook Pros or design specific notebooks of similar specs or high end gaming laptops. You get both with this one.
Disclosure: I was sent a Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED laptop to use for this article and photograph. This was a review sample and returned once the work was completed.
I usually send out a weekly mailer with a recap of blog posts but also some personal anecdotes. If you want to know about competitions or just catch up in a more personal setting then you might like to receive the mailer.