Aorus is a premium brand that has been developed by Gigabyte to deliver high end gaming products with a distinct leaning towards laptops rather than PCs. Currently the range consists of a handful of keyboards and backpacks, a mouse and mousepad and four laptops. Two of the laptops have screens that are sub 14-inch but the two models that catch the eye are the 17.3-inch big boys. The Aorus X7 uses dual GTX 860M chips in SLI while this X7 Pro goes for the max to deliver dual GTX 970M in SLI, each with 3GB of memory. Those SLI GPUs are driving a Full HD IPS panel so there is a huge amount of graphics power that is backed up with a Core i7 CPU and a pair of SSD in RAID.
That's a massive amount of hardware for a gaming laptop however the curious thing is that the first statement that Aorus makes about the X7 Pro puts the emphasis on the form factor of the laptop. Specifically it is 0.9-inches in thickness (22.9mm), weighs 3kg and uses an all aluminium chassis.
Aorus X7 Pro V3 Specifications:
- Screen Size: 17.3″ LCD LED 1920×1080
- Processor: Intel Core i7-4870HQ, 2.5~3.7GHz
- Graphics Chipset: 2 x NVIDIA GTX 970M SLI
- Graphics Memory: 3GB GDDR5 each (6GB Total)
- Chipset: Mobile Intel HM87 Express Chipset
- Hard Drive: 1TB 7,200rpm data drive
- SSD Drive: 2 x 256GB (RAID 0)
- Memory Supplied: 2 x 8GB 1,866MHz
- Operating System: Windows 8.1
- Audio: 2 x Speakers, 2 x Woofers, Microphone, AORUS Acoustic+ Technology
- LAN: Killer LAN Chip E2201
- Wireless LAN: Intel 802.11ac
- Bluetooth Version: v4.0
- USB 3.0x 3; USB 2.0 Port(s): 2
- HDMI Port(s): 1
- Mini Display Port(s): 1
- Card Reader: SD
- Microphone Jack(s): 1
- Headphone Jack(s): 1
- Battery: Li Polymer, 73.26Wh
- Dimension: 392 x 263 x 22.9mm
- Weight: 3.16kg
- Warranty: 2 Years
In fact these claims are slightly wide of the mark. The chassis is indeed thin for a high end gaming laptop but we weighed it at 3.16kg so we have to wonder whether Aorus ignores the battery. The other point is that while the chassis is solid the bottom cover is plastic. From the cosmetic point of view this is a disappointing detail but it probably makes sense as the innards get rather warm when you are gaming and you wouldn't want a metal bottom cover that acts as a heat sink and radiator.
When you get to grips with the Aorus X7 Pro it becomes clear the slender nature of the chassis and the combination of Core i7 and SLI graphics means the rear of the chassis is dominated by the cooling system. Looking around the sides reveals a decent crop of USB ports, HDMI and a Killer NIC as well as a Mini DisplayPort connector and VGA output, however you don't get a DVD drive.
It is unusual to see the power connector located in the rear of the chassis along with two USB 2.0 directly behind the CPU. This works better than you might think as the cooling system uses flattened heatpipes that connect the heat sinks on the CPU and GPUs to fans located in the two corners at the rear of the chassis, which means the area at the rear is available for plugging in a printer, TV tuner or other devices.
Opening the chassis is a simple matter of removing a handful of Torx screws and pulling off the bottom cover to reveal the innards, as you can see in the photos. The layout follows a logical order with the battery and empty 2.5-inch drive bay at the front, RAM, speakers and SSD in the middle and then we have the hot stuff at the rear.
There are details of the Aorus X7 Pro that cause minor annoyance, such the glass touchpad which is smooth and hard (well durrr, it's glass) however the lower part of the touchpad forms the mouse buttons and doesn't track the motion of your finger. In a similar vein the chiclet keyboard feels good to type on however the keys don't have enough travel to feel entirely comfortable. These are relatively minor quibbles but this is an expensive laptop and we expect every feature to be nigh-on perfect.
On the plus side Aorus has added some interesting software that enhances your gaming experience. There are 15 utilities gathered in the Command and Control Centre that, for instance, allow you to choose a Fan Control mode (Stealth, Low, High or Max.) or to set the level of keyboard back lighting. Aorus also supplies two utilities with dedicated functions called System Gauge (hardware monitor) and LockWin Key (disables the Windows key to avoid gaming disasters) but the piece of software that is most specific to the X7 Pro is Macro Hub.
This utility allows you to allocate up to 25 Macro commands to the five keys on the left hand side of the keyboard using a 5×5 grid pattern so you end up with a great many more functions than you imagine after a quick look at the function keys across the top of the keyboard.
To illustrate the difference this makes here are the figures for 3D Mark Fire Strike Extreme:
Mains power – Overall 6,022, Graphics 6,982, Physics 8,351
Battery power – Overall 1,639, Graphics 1,861, Physics, 4,429
This makes it crystal clear that you will generally play games with the power connected as the performance on battery is a tiny fraction of its true potential. On the other hand when you run on battery the laptop is nice and quiet.
The easiest way to sum up the performance of Aorus X7 Pro is ‘Epic'. It rips through every game at outrageous frame rates and handles any graphics quality settings you choose to use. In fact it is possible to make the case the SLI graphics are unnecessary as this laptop could probably handle most games with a single GTX 970M.
The innards of the Aorus X7 Pro run hot, hitting 90 degrees under load however the cooling system keeps everything under control and the silicon doesn't throttle. The underside of the chassis certainly gets warm but realistically you won't be gaming with this laptop on your lap so while this might be a concern it isn't actually a problem, at least not here in the UK. If you live in the tropics I can only hope you have air conditioning.
The downside to the intense gaming hardware and thin chassis is that cooling noise is intrusive. The fans spin up in four distinct steps and move from silent to ridiculous, depending on the workload. Noise levels are helped if you leave clear space behind the Aorus and get distinctly worse if you push it back against a wall.
While the cooling system works well it can get so loud that it overpowers the speakers. Naturally this means you will game with headphones which will be fine for you but doesn't address the suffering of anyone else who might be within earshot.
The Aorus X7 Pro is an epic gaming laptop that delivers huge CPU and GPU power, has a lovely Full HD screen, ultra fast SSD storage and a large amount of DDR3 memory. There is no arguing with the specification and the gaming experience this laptop delivers.
On the downside the price is high and the quality of the laptop doesn't quite match expectations. The cooling noise is annoying, the touchpad frustrating and the keyboard simply isn't quite right.
You can buy the Aorus X7 Pro direct from Overclockers UK for £1949.99 inc vat HERE.
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- High performance.
- Excellent CPU, graphics and SSD.
- Full HD IPS screen.
- Impressive Macro Hub software.
- Very noisy.
- Internals get unpleasantly hot.
- Speakers are over-powered by the cooling fans.
- Plastic bottom cover feels nasty.