The Most Powerful Aorus Gaming Laptop!
Gigabyte’s Aorus 17X gaming laptop fixes most of the problems that I had with the Aorus 17 It’s amazing what adding the letter X to a product can do! The first first difference is that the 17X has Intel’s new 16 core 24 thread CPU. My configuration also has Nvidia’s RTX 3070 Ti graphics and a 360Hz screen. The chassis of the 17X is basically the same 17 non-X, the whole thing has a black plastic finish but the overall build quality felt good.
Despite the plastic build, there’s only a bit of flex to the keyboard and screen. The 17X has a bigger cooler inside to keep up with the new 16 core processor, so it’s not too surprising to find out that it weighs a bit more compared to the non-X version. The extra power has to come from somewhere, the 17X also has a larger 280 watt power brick, so with cables included the 17X ends up weighing 415g or 0.9lb more compared to the non-X. The width and depth are the same as the non-X version, but the 17X is slightly thicker at the tallest point, presumably to accommodate the extra cooling, but the difference is only small. The 17X has a MUX switch, another improvement compared to the non-X version which does not have one, but there’s no advanced optimus so you have to reboot to swap.
There’s still no G-Sync, but there’s adaptive sync with optimus on. The 1080p panel has alright color gamut for a gaming laptop and decent contrast. The brightness gets close to 360 nits, higher than the 300 that I want to see as a minimum, but this will vary a bit between individual panels. The screen response time was excellent at 3.15ms. There was a little overshoot and undershoot, which implies that there’s an overdrive mode active.
I couldn’t find a way to disable it in software, so it’s just on by default. If it weren’t for the new 240Hz OLED screen in MSI’s GE67 that I only just tested, the Aorus 17X would have been the fastest laptop screen I’ve ever tested. We can see it’s quite a bit better compared to the same panel they used in the non-X version, as that one didn’t have a panel overdrive mode. The total system latency is the amount of time between a mouse click and when a gunshot fire appears on the screen in CS:GO, and the fast screen of the 17X helps it do very well here.
It’s more than 7ms faster compared to the non-X version, and part of that would be due to the addition of the MUX switch, as being able to disable optimus further helps lower latency. I think it would have been better if Gigabyte also offered this laptop with a 1440p screen, as I think that’s just generally a better resolution for the larger 17 inch size. But 1080p 360Hz seems to be the only option you can get, so based on this I’m kind of assuming that Gigabyte is targeting this laptop towards eSports players. And that’s perfectly fine if that’s the goal and who they’re after, and to be fair this 17X does do a better job of that compared to the 17. More CPU power from the HX chips will benefit those games, the addition of a MUX switch and panel overdrive for the screen will both increase average FPS and lower latency.
All of which are pretty important things when it comes to eSports gaming. Backlight bleed was very minor, I never noticed it during normal use, but this will vary between laptops. There’s a 720p camera above the screen in the middle, and it’s got IR for Windows Hello face unlock. This is how the camera and microphone look and sound, this is how it sounds while typing on the keyboard, and as you can see there is some wobble to the screen while doing this, and there’s also just a slight bit of a fan noise that you can hear. Even though
to me right now the fans are fairly quiet, but you can still hear that whiny noise. The keyboard has per-key RGB backlighting, but unfortunately it doesn’t light up the secondary key functions which I always find annoying. If you hold the function key, the keys you can interact with light up white, and this in combination with the space bar can be used to adjust key brightness between two levels.
There are a few different RGB lighting effects built in which can be changed through the Gigabyte Control Center software under the RGB Fusion tab, and the effects themselves can be customized a bit with different speeds and directions. The key brightness can also be adjusted in 10% increments here too. Typing on the keyboard was fine, the keys have a subtle clicky feel. There’s no caps lock light which I found annoying at times.
The software does tell you on screen when you change it, but you can’t just look at the laptop and know if it’s on or off. This also means if you remove the software or use a different operating system like Linux then you’ve just got no idea if it’s on or off. The right shift was a little short which may annoy some people, but I only use the left shift so I didn't notice. The power button is above the keyboard in the center and it lights up white with the Aorus logo, with some air ventilation holes on either side.
The touchpad was pretty good. It’s fairly large, it feels nice and smooth and clicks were accurate. The left has an air exhaust vent, 2.5 gigabit ethernet facing the preferred way so you don’t have to lift the machine to unplug, HDMI 2.1 and mini DisplayPort 1.4 outputs, and a USB 3.2 Type-A port. The generation isn’t listed on the specs, so I’d assume slower Gen 1. The right has a 3.5mm audio combo jack, a second USB 3.2 Type-A port, again the generation isn’t listed so I’d assume slower Gen 1, a Type-C Thunderbolt 4 port, the power input, and there’s an air exhaust on this side too.
There aren’t any ports on the back. There are just a couple of air exhaust vents towards the corners, while the middle has this orange sort of pattern. The Type-C port on the right can be used to charge the laptop, and although I think it’s meant to have display output like the lower tier non-X version, when we connected an external monitor nothing happened whether optimus was on or off.
I think there might be something wrong with the Intel graphics drivers. I tried updating them to the latest version, and then after a reboot the screen would just be black, you couldn’t use the laptop. I had to go into the BIOS and change it to Nvidia discrete graphics only, at which point it would work perfectly fine. So kind of coincidental that I update the Intel GPU drivers and then I can’t use it in optimus on mode. I had to reinstall the
older Intel drivers from Gigabyte’s website from this model with the optimus mode off, but I should also note that this weird black screen issue did happen a couple of times before I attempted to upgrade the Intel drivers. So not sure what was going on there, there was also an instance where we opened the snipping tool in Windows and it kind of just freaked out and the brightness dipped to like 5% and we couldn’t change it until it was rebooted. So yeah, basically there were just a few random things that resulted in a pretty poor user experience. But the positive does seem to be that these seem to be software issues, so in theory I would expect them to get fixed in future. I also want to note that the product page lists advanced optimus as a supported Nvidia technology, but I didn’t find that available with the 17X, and I also confirmed with Gigabyte that it’s a mistake.
Both the mini DisplayPort and HDMI outputs connect directly to the Nvidia graphics, whether or not optimus is on or off. And we also confirmed that the HDMI port offers G-Sync support, so variable refresh rate, and it supports a 4K external screen at up to 120Hz 8-Bit. There are 14 TR6 screws to remove to get inside, and the 6 towards the front are shorter than the rest. Once the screws are out, it was very easy to pry the bottom panel off using these pry tools starting at the back hinge. I’ll leave a link to them below the video.
Inside we’ve got the battery down the front, two M.2 storage slots with one to the left of the battery and the other above on the right, two memory slots towards the middle, and a Wi-Fi 6E card to the left. Intel 12th gen supports either DDR4 or DDR5 memory, and while the non-X Aorus 17 is available with either option, this higher tier 17X only seems available with newer DDR5 memory. Wi-Fi performance wasn’t very good for some reason, considering it’s got the same Wi-Fi card as the non-X and presumably the same antenna design. I ran this test multiple times even after installing the latest drivers from Intel but nothing helped improve it.
Both M.2 slots offer PCIe Gen 4 storage support, and the installed 1TB SSD was performing quite well. The upgradeability score is the same as many others. Including the non-X Aorus 17 as there’s quite a bit we can upgrade. As always, I removed half a point for the uncommon TR6 screws, but again the tools linked in the description have no problem with this. The speakers are found underneath towards the front on the left and right sides.
They get fairly loud, but I didn’t think they sounded great, below average compared to others with basically no bass while sounding tinny. The latencymon results weren’t too bad though. The 17x is powered by a large 99Wh battery, but despite this it’s barely lasting for 3 and a half hours in my YouTube video playback test. This is one of the worst results recorded, and not all that much lower compared to the non-X Aorus 17. You can’t really blame the HX CPU,
given the Scar 17 SE with smaller battery lasts longer while MSI’s GT77 Titan was further ahead. Let’s check out thermals next. The 17X actually has more heat pipes compared to the non-X, which makes sense considering that it’s got a higher tier processor and can run the GPU at a higher base power limit. The Gigabyte Control Center software lets us change between 5 different built in performance modes. From lowest to highest we’ve got power saving silence mode, meeting mode, gaming mode, turbo mode and creator mode. For each setting preset you can change things like keyboard brightness, screen white point and GPU boost, but I’ve done all testing with these on their defaults.
There’s also a fan control tab with different fan curves available by default. I haven’t customized any of these for testing and again have stuck to the defaults, but this gives you some more flexibility so you can find what works for you. It’s also possible to toggle between these different fan modes by holding the function key and pressing the escape key, which has the fan icon. By default turbo and gaming modes apply the following overclock to the GPU. The temperatures were a little warm when sitting there idle, but this doesn’t matter. The rest of
the results are from combined CPU and GPU stress tests which aim to represent a worst case workload. The power saving silence and meeting modes were about the same, gaming mode was warmer, while creator mode was the warmest. Turbo mode was actually a fair bit cooler, and the cooling pad I test with, linked below the video, lowered temperatures a bit more. These are the clock speeds for the same tests just shown. Although the cooling pad didn’t change the
temperatures too much, check out the performance differences. The clock speeds of the P cores are like 1GHz higher, quite a large difference with the cooling pad. That said, creator mode was running at higher CPU clock speeds, which helps explain why it was running the warmest. Power
saving silence and meeting modes were about the same, and honestly quite useless if you’re doing tasks that actually need any sort of performance, but they’d be fine for what their names suggest, like sitting in a meeting for instance. Because nothing happens in those anyway. The performance was low because there’s only 15 watts to share over all 16 cores. Creator mode had the highest CPU temperature because the CPU power limit was the highest at close to 70 watts. Turbo mode was able to boost the GPU 10 watts higher, but the tradeoff is a much lower CPU power limit. With more cool air coming in with the cooling pad though, the CPU was able to boost back up, but like creator mode, at the expense of a bit of GPU power.
In a CPU only workload like Cinebench where the GPU is no longer active, the processor is able to boost to higher power limits which result in better performance. It’s a decent result compared to most other laptops purely because of the higher core and thread count. That said, it’s quite a bit lower compared to the other two 12900HX machines I’ve tested so far, as those have higher power limits and more cooling space. Even the Legion
5i Pro with fewer cores and threads was able to outperform the 17X in multicore score due to the higher CPU power limit. In any case, it’s a fair bit better compared to the non-X Aorus 17. Performance lowers when we unplug the charger and run purely off of battery power. It’s not an impressive result for multicore considering there are a number of lower Intel 14 core machines nearby, not to mention a few 8 core AMD Ryzen machines ahead of it, but the single core performance was still quite good on battery. The keyboard was around the low 30 degree Celsius range when just sitting there idle, same as most other laptops. It’s only a little warmer with the stress tests running, the WASD area is cold and the hot spot isn’t uncomfortable. Meeting mode was quite similar, not surprising given the power
levels inside were similar. The higher gaming mode was a little cooler, and again very cold WASD area where you’d rest while playing games. Creator mode was much the same, and then turbo was a little cooler with the WASD area freezing cold, but the fans are louder now too, let’s have a listen. The fans could be completely silent at idle, but they kicked in from time to time, but were still quiet. Fan noise then gets higher in the higher performance modes when under heavy load, as you’d expect. Turbo mode with the fans maxed out was fairly loud, I’d definitely want headphones.
Now let’s find out how the 17X actually performs in games and see how it compares against other laptops, including that non-X version of the Aorus 17. Cyberpunk 2077 was tested the same on all laptops, and I’ve got the 17X shown by the red highlight. It’s basically performing the same as the non-x with lower tier CPU and same GPU just above it, while the higher tier 3080 Ti wasn’t really much different. At least at 1080p, which we’re focusing on because the Aorus 17 only seems to sell with a 1080p screen.
Control is a GPU heavy game, and despite the higher base power limit range of the 3070 Ti in the 17X, it’s still performing about the same as the non-X. The 1% low is a little higher here too, which could be due to the higher tier i9 CPU, but realistically it’s only a small difference. Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested with the game’s benchmark, and this time it’s slightly ahead of the non-X with higher tier RTX 3080 Ti. Again it’s not exactly a difference you’d actually notice in playing and honestly it’s within the margin of error range, but the gap is at least a bit bigger now compared to the 3070 Ti in the non-X. The performance differences between the 17X and non-X will probably be bigger in games that actually need more CPU power, and I will have a comparison between Intel’s Core i9-12900H and the i9-12900HX coming very soon, so make sure that you’re subscribed to see all of the differences. Here are the 3DMark results for those that find them useful, now for some content creator tests.
Adobe Premiere was tested with the Puget Systems benchmark, and the Aorus 17X was one of the higher results. It’s even a little ahead of the non-X Aorus 17 with higher tier RTX 3080 Ti graphics, which seems to show that the higher tier CPU matters more here. The 17X is scoring quite high in DaVinci Resolve too, and while this test is generally more GPU bound, this is now the highest result from any RTX 3070 Ti laptop collected so far.
Again the higher tier CPU is probably helping, given the top of the list is all i9 laptops. For whatever reason, just like the non-X Aorus 17 and even Gigabyte’s new Aero 16, we couldn’t run the Puget Systems Adobe Photoshop benchmark. As far as I could tell, using Photoshop normally was working fine, it just seems to be that Puget benchmark. Not really sure what the problem is, but it’s pretty strange that it only seems to happen with Gigabyte laptops. We’ve never had this issue with any other machine. We’ve added Blender due to popular demand, but this time the 17X didn’t have the best 3070 Ti. That spot was taken by the Legion 5i Pro with higher wattage 3070 Ti, but it is still beating the 3080 in last year’s Aero 17.
SPECviewperf was also tested which tests out various professional 3D workloads. The BIOS might not be as modern looking compared to other brands like ASUS, MSI or Lenovo, but the core basic functionality is still present, though there’s nowhere near as much customization compared to others like MSI’s advanced BIOS. You can’t do any overclocking or undervolting of the unlocked HX processor in BIOS, so that would all be handled with software like Intel XTU. Linux support was tested with an Ubuntu 22.04 LiveCD, but I had to use the safe graphical mode or it would freeze during boot. This might be why the screen brightness adjustment keyboard shortcuts did not work, but the shortcuts to adjust volume and keyboard brightness worked fine.
By default the keyboard, touchpad, speakers, ethernet, Wi-Fi and camera all worked fine. I’d normally discuss pricing at this point, but the 17X just doesn’t seem to be available anywhere just yet. So you’ll have to check that link below the video for updates and current deals. It’s possible that link might only show the non-X version of the Aorus 17, so if that’s the case it just means those stores aren’t selling this specific configuration just yet, and I would expect this one to cost a bit more. Because as we’ve seen throughout this review, it is better.
And ultimately that’s because the Aorus 17X fixes most of the problems that I had with the non-X model. Based on the fact that it only comes with a 1080p 360Hz screen option, I’m going to assume that Gigabyte is targeting this laptop towards eSports gamers. The problem with the non-X version though was that it didn’t have a screen overdrive mode, so the response time just wasn’t fast enough for the 360Hz refresh rate. This is fixed with the 17X, which now delivers the best response time I’ve ever seen - not counting that MSI GE67 OLED result. You’re going to want to make sure you’re subscribed for that review by the way! The non-X version of the Aorus 17 also doesn’t have a MUX switch, again something is resolved in this higher tier 17X model. And that’s just another thing that
helps you get the most out of eSports games. The 17X also has more CPU power, again something that’s going to be important when it comes to eSports games. Now that said, you’re not really going to notice a difference between 14 cores 20 threads and 16 cores 24 threads in most games, but as you’ll see in my 12900H vs 12900HX comparison, the HX can still offer a boost in eSports games. And I was also happy to see that they did actually improve the cooling in this model to help account for both the higher GPU power limit as well as that 16 core HX processor. Unfortunately though it seems like the battery life is even worse than the non-X Aorus 17, which already didn’t have great battery life. I guess that’s not too unexpected
considering this has a more power hungry CPU. The speakers also aren’t very good, but at least that can be fixed with headphones. I also didn’t have quite as many problems with the Gigabyte software compared to when I originally reviewed the Aorus 17 non-X, so maybe they’ve made some updates and improvements over that time. I really wish the secondary functions of all keys on the keyboard lit up though, because when you’re in a dark room it’s just harder to see. I also think it makes way more sense to go for the 3070 Ti configuration I’ve got here rather than the more expensive 3080 Ti option. Because they basically perform about the same despite the big price difference, and you can see all the differences in this video over here next. Or if you’re looking to
spend less money and not get the 17X, then you can check out this review next of the non-X version, so I’ll see you over in one of those videos next!