Gigabyte Aorus 17X laptop review: Great performance, poor battery
Despite being a meaty, powerful laptop, the Gigabyte Aorus 17X feels like a throwback and not one we wanted to experience any time soon.
Coming in at around £2799 (there’s no price for the US just yet), the Gigabyte Aorus 17X is a dominant force that lurked on our desk for about two weeks. As a hulking mass of solid plastic and harsh angles, it was tough to get used to.
Regardless of it being packed with different features and boasting impressive performance, we’re not sure if this is intended to be a laptop, to begin with.
- GPU: RTX 3070 Ti, 8GB GDDR6
- CPU: Intel i9-12900HX
- RAM: 32GB, DDR5 RAM
- Storage: 1TB NVMe
- Panel: IPS, 1920×1080, 360Hz
- Where to buy: Scan Computers
Features: HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 4, USB-A, USB-C, 360Hz refresh rate screen
Features and Design
No part of the Gigabyte Aorus 17X is portable. From its obvious size issues, right down to the laughably giant charger, the laptop is cumbersome at best.
Sitting on the couch? Our legs began to get hot and uncomfortable from the weight. Trying to sneak a few games in before sleeping? Far too loud for that sort of nonsense.
The thing is, after coming from the Steam Deck, an ultra-portable PC, and having gotten hands-on with multiple laptops at an Nvidia event, we think the time for these types of laptops has come to a bitter end.
We’re just past what the Gigabyte Aorus 17X is offering as a laptop. It’s time to move on from trying to be the best and time to accept that high-spec gaming on the go has been usurped by smaller, less capable devices.
Whinging fans, cheap plastic
While housing thousands of dollars worth of parts inside, the Gigabyte Aorus 17X has this cheap, plastic shell that gets – as previously mentioned – hot during intense loads. This heat is then paired with an irritating whine from the fans, shooting as much hot air as they can as temperatures rise under load.
This is a premium device, built as if it isn’t. We’re not saying the plastic isn’t tough, but if we were able to do a drop test of any descript, we doubt the laptop would survive the fall intact.
Comparing this to other laptops within its price range, or even those at lower prices, like the MacBook Pro and Razer Blade 17, we’d expect a full metal chassis.
As it’s not using the shell as a portable, giant heatsink, the gushing fan noise that fills the room can only be satiated by turning them off. However, doing so – obviously – raises the temperatures, which we felt paranoid over during stress tests and even noticed performance drops as the laptop began to throttle.
The Gamer Look
For a website that writes about gaming laptops, the Gigabyte aesthetic has always turned us off. A horrid assortment of angles in a vain attempt to get them to appeal to gamers. We were not fans of the overall look of their product lineup.
However, Gigabyte has appeared to dial it back a little with the 17X. Only the webcam and what we can only describe as ‘exhausts’ for the fans, look odd. What did irk us the most was the keyboard’s legend.
It’s such a little thing that you never really expect, but having a keyboard that has its own font and the font requires a minuscule second glance can really throw you off. Especially when Gigabyte has decided that the laptop should have a full, but cramped, keyboard and numpad. The Gigabyte Aorus 17X has this weird trait, where we never felt centered when using it.
Thankfully, RGB – which was set to a dizzying display upon boot – can be turned off entirely.
While bright and expertly crafted to hit 360Hz refresh rate, the embedded screen on the Gigabyte Aorus 17X is lackluster, to say the least. It does nothing in terms of providing a better image, making it better suited for the second monitor treatment, when not being used for its refresh rate.
No matter what game, big or small, the Gigabyte Aorus 17X cannot last on its own battery life. Playing a light game like RuneScape 3 and even Old School RuneScape, we saw at most, a solid two hours of play with medium brightness.
While a lot of smaller devices, like the Steam Deck, don’t last much longer, at least they only connect over USB-C to be charged. The 17X requires what can only be described as a monster of a power brick, as the components inside require much more juice. This thing in itself would turn us off trying to take this laptop out in public.
The i9 chip inside is a root cause of this, as Intel’s laptop chips are notorious for poor battery life. Now throw on the fire an RTX 3070 Ti, you’ve got the mixture for something that couldn’t last longer than it takes to write one of these reviews.
Take note, this is a desktop replacement laptop, not something to take out and about, or work from.
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Gigabyte Aorus 17X benchmarks
Combining both RTX 3070 Ti and i9-12900HX into one machine, of course, this laptop wasn’t going to break a sweat during our benchmarking sessions. Using 3DMark’s TimeSpy, we were able to get a pretty good performance out of the device while connected to a mains supply.
Expect a drop in performance when on battery life, as just about everything will attempt to work together to throttle performance with the aim to save on battery life.
As always, our odd hodgepodge of a baseline test system comes into play. Sporting a much weaker CPU and competitive GPU, our tests will reveal just what we’re playing with here.
Test system specs
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600
- GPU: Nvidia RTX 3080 Founders Edition
- RAM: XPG Gammix D45 (16GB, 3600MHz)
- Motherboard: NZXT N7 B550
- Cooler: Cooler Master Masterliquid PL360 FLUX
- Case: Lian Li Lancool II Mesh
- Power Supply: Corsair RM850x
|3DMark Benchmark||Aorus 17X||Test system|
|Time Spy Extreme (Overall)||9412||6890|
|Time Spy Extreme (Graphics Score)||10332||8644|
|Time Spy Extreme (CPU score)||6256||3205|
While the results are certainly impressive, after our hour or so of testing things to find the average, we never want to hear the sound of the fans again.
This is where it really boils down to, isn’t it? How well can it play your games? Well, guess what: it plays them just fine. In fact, the 1080p screen it comes equipped with makes it run a lot of games a lot better than intended for a system of this caliber.
Having it top out at 1080p, with a ridiculous refresh rate of 360Hz, we found that a lot of games ran better with the restriction of that particular spec ceiling. Games like Red Dead Redemption 2, Saints Row (2022), and Destiny 2 all ran pretty much flawlessly.
Each of these AAA titles ran at around 60FPS, with Red Dead Redemption being the only game that needed any sort of tweaks. Saints Row had issues simply down to the game being buggy. This included some frame dips and in-game shenanigans going wrong.
Red Dead Redemption 2 requiring tweaks shouldn’t be a surprise, as running this game on ultra on even the top-end desktop systems can be a chore. However, setting it down to high settings after stress testing it for an hour or so, revealed that it ran at a smooth framerate regardless of what we were doing or where in the game we were.
Using DLSS would probably be recommended for gaming on the go, as we managed to squeeze out just a little bit more time with RDR2 while using it.
However, all three of these games got the fans going, making for a horrendous experience until we slid on some headphones.
Counter-Strike, Magic Arena, and Cult of Lamb
Indie games like Cult of Lamb, or esports-focused titles like Magic Arena and Counter-Strike, really benefitted from having a faster refresh rate on the screen. Games with heavy UI animations, like MTGA, just look so much better when they’re smooth on the screen.
Counter-Strike in particular, while didn’t assist with making us better at the game, really showed off just how much a better refresh rate is for these types of games.
Whatever you happen to throw at this thing, it’s going to play it and it’s going to make an absolute din while it does so.
Yes, while gaming, even when playing things like MTGA and Old School RuneScape, the laptop span up the fans into a flurry. When changing them back to something quieter, the laptop proceeded to get hotter than we liked.
A pair of headphones later and we were fine, but now imagine taking this out on a train. Your little session of Red Dead 2 is going to annoy far more people than you realize. Never mind the person you’ve just shunted off the table with its enormous size.
Should you buy the Gigabyte Aorus 17X?
When you consider its immense specifications, ridiculous gaming prowess, and dizzying price, the Gigabyte Aorus 17X should offer more. A better build, a quieter fan, and a longer-lasting battery. It shouldn’t feel bizarrely cheap because of how much has been stuffed into it.
We’re just not sure who this is for, nor who would benefit from such an overly cumbersome machine. We’re past this now. Desktop replacement machines are just far too inconvenient and come with too many caveats to recommend for most people looking for what is, ultimately, a portable device.
The Gigabyte Aorus 17X costs far too much and is completely surpassed by machines that couldn’t even begin to hold a candle to it in terms of performance. We’d much rather have an Ayaneo or Steam Deck in our hands, rather than being over-encumbered with a laptop that’s pretending to be a desktop machine.
However, if you have the money to spend on a device of this caliber, there are already a dozen better choices for you, with better build quality, to boot.
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