Aorus X7 Pro Notebook Review: GeForce GTX 970M Gets Slim In SLI

Combining the power of two GeForce GTX 970M GPU in a compact chassis, Aorus enables the mobile market with incredible graphics potential. Can its X7 Pro really live up to the firm’s claims of desktop-class performance?

Gigabyte’s gaming notebook brand Aorus knew it'd reach a captive audience when company representatives first contacted us about a new notebook a month ago. Hot on the heels of Nvidia’s second-generation Maxwell desktop GPU, rumors of the upcoming notebook version were nothing short of amazing. Better still, they claimed they’d be able to deliver a sample by the end of September, ahead of Nvidia's introduction! We were more than happy to accept.

Then Aorus informed us of a delay. Without a mobile platform to test and Nvidia's launch day quickly approaching, we contacted all of our favorite boutique builders only to discover that everyone was facing the same issue. The earliest anyone would receive their preliminary units was October 7th. The same day Nvidia was making its announcement. Aorus was at least able to deliver on the sixth.

PlatformGigabyte X7V3: Intel BGA1364, HM87 Express, Dual BGA Graphics, FW D02T07 (10/01/2014)
CPUIntegrated Intel Core i7-4870HQ (Crystal Well), 2.5 - 3.7 GHz, 6MB shared L3 cache, 47W TDP
RAM2x Crucial BLS8G3N18AES4 DDR3-1866 C10-10-10-30 SO-DIMM
2x 8GB (16GB Total)
Graphics2x Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M: 924-1038 MHz, 3GB GDDR5-5000
Dual BGA, Integrated SLI Bridge
Display17.3" 16:9 FHD(1920x1080) anti-glare LED backlight LCD
WebcamGeneric 720p webcam
AudioRealtek ALC892 with Creative Sound Blaster Cinema
SecurityKensington Security Slot
Hard Drive
Optical DriveNone
Media DriveRTS5227 SD/SDHC/SDXC flash media interface
Networking
Wireless LANIntel 7260 PCIe, Dual-Band 802.11ac (867Mb/s) Wi-Fi/BT 4.0 Combo
Wireless PANIntegrated Bluetooth 4.0 Transceiver on Wireless Combo Card
Gigabit NetworkKiller E2200 10/100/1000Mb/s Ethernet
IEEE-1394None
TelephonyNone
Peripheral Interfaces
USB2 x USB 2.0, 3 x USB 3.0
Expansion CardNot Available
HDDUSB-only
AudioHeadphone, Microphone
Video2 x HDMI, VGA, Mini DisplayPort
Power & Weight 
AC Adapter200W Power Brick, 100-240V AC to 19V DC
Battery~16V, 73.26Wh Internal
WeightNotebook 6.9lbs, AC Adapter 1.8lbs, Total 8.7 pounds
Software
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 8.1, OEM
Service
WarrantyTwo years labor, Two years parts
Price$2599

Dancing with the partner we brought at least allowed us to post some benchmark scores in our launch-day coverage. But there wasn’t any way we’d be able to post a complete product review in a mere 24 hours. Or even 48 hours. Our first problem was that the Aorus X7 Pro would be an SLI rig, and we didn’t have any GeForce GTX 970M single-GPU data to compare. And then there was this:

One of the mobile Maxwell architecture's most interesting features, BatteryBoost, doesn’t work in SLI. This technology replaced previous fixed-frequency battery-operated modes with an algorithm that bases clock rate on a target frame rate. By allowing a single mobile GPU to clock down to the lowest frequency capable of sustaining the target, it has the potential to save even more energy than the old fixed-frequency methods. Conversely, the same feature also allows the GPU to spin up much higher than previously allowed from battery mode, in order to reach the target frame rate when the going gets tough.

Our previous tests showed that in real-world gaming scenarios, BatteryBoost would act as a performance booster more often than as a battery-saver. Improvement claims for this technology demanded that we test the X7 Pro both in SLI and non-SLI graphics modes, and in both AC and DC power modes. By the time all of that extra testing was finished, we'd end up with a full notebook review. And so we have!

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22 comments
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  • Nuckles_56
    A nice machine but I wouldn't consider buying one til Nvidia fixes up the issues that the machine is having with SLI
  • blackmagnum
    Boo SLI. You create more miserly than happiness. Do yourself a favor and buy a top single-gpu gaming notebook instead.
  • StarBound
    I'm assuming the screen is a 60hz making the SLI somewhat pointless. Still the machine is impressive but at the end of the day I cannot see myself getting something that lasts only 40min when performing its primary function (in this case gaming).
  • eriko
    Certainly has my attention...
  • Steveymoo
    Colour me impressed. This could be the first truly functional gaming desktop replacement! It's faster than my desktop, and my GPU is less than a year old. Wowzers. And such a slim package.
  • AndrewBrodie
    Does the HDMI Port support HDMI 2.0? I would like to use it with a 4K TV and hope to exceed 30 FPS.
  • xyster
    FYI: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M is offered also in 8GB capacities; not just 4gb. ie: MSI Dominator versions have it.
  • npyrhone
    The performance figures are really impressive, but why on earth are the "idle" and "reading" power consumption levels so absurdly high?

    I mean, I can somehow even understand the zombie drain by the other gpu, but even so: how is it possible that if you just write a word document and read news from the internet, you get something like 2h of battery life.

    Obviously, the person who purchases this might not need even 1h battery life ever, but that does not change the fact that something seems to be wrong here, or even broken, when the previous gen laptop achieves 5-6h of battery life in such scenarios.

    I am like 95% sure that either the power saving options were not enabled, or they were not functioning properly or some component was flawed or some driver was misbehaving. Or then something else weird was going on.

    In any case, I am 100% certain that I can get 3-4h of battery life in a light use, non-gaming scenario with a properly built laptop even if it was sporting this kind of hardware (ie. i7-4870HQ, 970M SLI, 17,3" FHD...)
  • sportfreak23
    Was thinking of purchasing this to replace my current Sony Vaio S as the dual core is starting to show its age. But the 1080p screen is kinda turn off when aorus offers a high res screen on its X3. Wish they made a high res 980M sli option to be purchased as this current 970m setup doesn't impress me much.
  • hst101rox
    On page 4, it is not just the Aorus x7 pro that has an AC adapter with an efficiency rating of "V", but the Delta 180W of the MSI GT60/70 and most any other new laptop, and tablet/smart phone charger should also be at that efficiency rating.
  • mlga91
    Its really impresive that this little machine can outperform in some cases a full sized $1600 desktop, i'd love to see this setup in a small factor case.
  • Karpet360
    How's the heat dissipation for this laptop? Are people gonna get thermal throttling when they play for a few hours?

    The "Gaming" laptops that I've had, have had serious heat issues that forced me to open my laptop up and re-apply the thermal compound, which only partially fixed the issue since the fan was underpowered.

    I don't mean to bash laptops, I just don't know if this has changed in the past year...I just think buyers should be more aware since heat issues translate to stuttering and graphical problems in game- which is inherent to laptops due to the small space packing powerful components.

    I'd like to see a stress-test benchmark to see how bad the thermal throttling is (if any) on newer laptops.
  • WyomingKnott
    1327195 said:
    ... but at the end of the day I cannot see myself getting something that lasts only 40min when performing its primary function (in this case gaming).


    My wife would love it if I could perform my primary function for a whole forty minutes. It's all relative.
  • s1rrah
    All that and not a single mention of GPU temps? .... WTF?
  • jazzy663
    Yeah, the heat that thing will generate is really a concern here. For the price that it costs, you could build a wonderfully powerful desktop. Aside from the portability I don't see why anyone would buy this, unless you do a lot, and I do mean a lot of traveling, and like to game while doing so.
  • Gotham
    One look at the msi gs60 ghost pro 3k-097 and the aorus x7 looses appeal.. it's a beast of a machine though..
  • rannon
    1798029 said:
    How's the heat dissipation for this laptop? Are people gonna get thermal throttling when they play for a few hours? The "Gaming" laptops that I've had, have had serious heat issues that forced me to open my laptop up and re-apply the thermal compound, which only partially fixed the issue since the fan was underpowered. I don't mean to bash laptops, I just don't know if this has changed in the past year...I just think buyers should be more aware since heat issues translate to stuttering and graphical problems in game- which is inherent to laptops due to the small space packing powerful components. I'd like to see a stress-test benchmark to see how bad the thermal throttling is (if any) on newer laptops.

    ( if i recall correctly ) linus tech tips reviewed this product, the cpu apparently throttled, but it was minor... the gpu's held their clock speed even after an hour of furmark and prime 95....so i would have assumed that replacing the thermal paste would fix the issue( NOTE:- the review model had dual 800m series gpu, )...but personally, not a fan of slim "gaming" machines. as you said, they normally have issues dissipating the heat... im looking towards the asus g751 with the single 970m, as their gaming line i known for its superior cooling thanks to its radical heatsink design. and i wouldn't even bother about frame rates.. because taken into fact that the refresh rate only 60hz, anything above that it practically useless. neverthe less the g751 with the 970m can run battlefield 4 on max setting and resolution and still crank over 50 fps easily. the other version of the g751 comes with a gtx 980m... and that is about 10-20% faster depending on the scenario. as for a benchmark. battlefield 4 max settings and resolution ... and "maintain" over 60fps at all times. (yes im talking about 64 player map multiplayer for both individual gpu's ).
    hope this helped :D
  • rannon
    22024 said:
    Does the HDMI Port support HDMI 2.0? I would like to use it with a 4K TV and hope to exceed 30 FPS.

    the performance of the 2 cards in sli outperform the gtx 970..... yes , you can easily do 4k and over 30fps...
    hoped this helped
  • rannon
    1089362 said:
    All that and not a single mention of GPU temps? .... WTF?

    gpu temps for both cards hover around 85c and cpu is at 88c under full load ... which of the bat is not bad but lets say after a year, this will run into overheating issues. so cleaning hsf and replacing thermal paste is a must. (i recommend arctic silver 5)
    so yeah.
  • ygohome
    I like the laptop a lot. I only wish it had more VRAM. 3 seems too little. I also wish it used the faster m.2 PCIe SSDs rather than SATA. And most of all I wish they could offer NBD repairs since I would use the laptop as my primary workstation business computer.
  • fatheroffour
    Would have love to see some performance numbers at higher resolutions. Looking to replace my desktop machine - with SLI 970s but if this laptop gave decent FPS at 1200p/1440p/4k I would really consider it. Anyone know of any such tests?
  • rannon
    1807343 said:
    Would have love to see some performance numbers at higher resolutions. Looking to replace my desktop machine - with SLI 970s but if this laptop gave decent FPS at 1200p/1440p/4k I would really consider it. Anyone know of any such tests?


    this can even haul ass at 1440p , by that i mean maintain above 50fps in most cases...but then again, anything under 60fps in sli seems to stutter. hope this helped