The Most Powerful Aorus Gaming Laptop!

The Most Powerful Aorus Gaming Laptop!

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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!

2022-08-05 01:45

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