To put your minds at ease the Gigabyte Aorus 17X is a notebook but if we’re being 100 percent honest with you, this thing is not going into anybody’s backpack, unless they happen to be a body builder.
Why? Well the Aorus 17X tips the scales at a whopping 3.75kg. That’s almost twice as heavy as the Acer Predator Triton I’m typing this review on.
But comparing my daily driver to this behemoth is a mistake because despite its weight, two power bricks and R69 999 price tag, we are sad to send this notebook back.
Gigabyte has spared no expense with this notebook. Inside you’ll find 32GB of DDR4 2933MHz memory that helps along an Intel 10th Gen i9-10980HK that clocks to a massive 5.3GHz, in a notebook of all things.
In terms of graphics you will find Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080 Super 8GB. That GPU is driving along a 240Hz FullHD display that is also X-Rite Pantone certified.
For storage our review unit we had a 1TB SSD and 1TB 5400RPM HDD.
So how does this all combine into a usable experience? Rather well actually.
In Uniengine’s Heaven benchmark we averaged 141 FPS with settings at Ultra.
This high FPS count appears to persist through a number of titles. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider we managed to squeeze 120FPS on average from the highest preset.
Meanwhile in F1 2020 we managed to hit a respectable 134FPS but as soon as we dropped settings to Medium or Low, this number jumped to 210FPS. It’s quite staggering to run through Eau Rouge into Raidillion at that frame rate, we have to admit.
Meanwhile in first person shooter Destiny 2 we had the highest FPS at Ultra settings with averages coming in at 180FPS.
But what about content creation? How well does this notebook hold up when we chuck some rendering work in its direction?
In Cinebench R20 we managed to get a score of 4227 points but the speed at which the render took place is the real star here. That Intel 10th Gen i9-10980HK is really putting in some work but so does the GPU if we’re honest.
To test the GPU we made use of Furmark where we scored a massive 10051 points while the GPU clocked to 1620MHz.
With all of this tech crammed into the Aorus 17X one would think the thing overheats quickly and while that was a concern it turned out to not be the case at all.
Gigabyte’s Windforce Infinity does a stellar job of not only getting rid of heat but also keeping it away from your hands. All heat is shot out of the rear and side grills.
We never saw CPU temps climb beyond 70 degrees and the GPU remained at a similar temperature though we did notice it peak at 72 degrees during a marathon play session of F1 2020.
The dual 12V fans spin at around 6000RPM and while that gets rid of heat rather well, it is loud.
Cacophonous, is probably a better word to use here though once you strap on headphones you can’t really hear the noise all that much.
In addition, RTX Voice can be used to clear away the noise of the fans as you play.
In terms of performance then the Aorus 17X is a fantastic gaming solution and it can do some heavy rendering work as well.
We should however address the elephant in the room, small as it may be.
That elephant is the integrated graphics. Now you are able to switch to the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 but we feel this is a bit unnecessary given that the only real benefit is to battery power which we will address shortly.
Finally, the X-Rite Pantone display is rather nice and while we don’t have the capabilities to test the claim that it boasts a Delta E < 1 accuracy, it does look pretty good when doing colour work in something like Adobe Premiere.
Now that we’ve discussed the good, lets tackle the bad – the portability of this notebook.
Inside is a 94Wh Lithium polymer battery that is juiced up by a 300W charger. This notebook ships with two 300W power bricks and you are able to use just one of them at a time. However, doing this limits performance of the notebook overall.
You are able to switch to the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 to save some power but it’s a bit of a chore requiring a restart and a monitor disconnect (should one be plugged in) to make the change.
So how long does this behemoth last on its own power? Roughly three hours.
In our testing (which was hampered by Eskom) we managed to get 2 hours 52 minutes of life from the battery while streaming from Netflix at FullHD, with Bluetooth on and screen brightness at full.
A second run gave us an additional 9 minutes of life taking the total to 3 hours and 1 minute.
Gaming yielded around two hours of playtime but performance was limited to 24fps so maybe don’t play games unless you’re desperate to get a crown in Fall Guys.
Thanks in part to the dual power bricks, the Aorus 17X charges up incredibly quickly. In fact, in two hours the battery was back up to full after being run down. It’s rather nice to see a notebook’s battery charge up this fast.
Lights and Sound
While not usually a feature of our reviews, the Aorus 17X’s keyboard is so good we have to mention it.
The notebook uses OMRON mechanical switches with per-key RGB lighting.
Lighting can be controlled with AORUS RGB Fusion 2.0 software and it gets the job done.
The keyboard itself is rather great. Going from a chiclet or membrane style keyboard to this is otherworldly and its one of the reasons we’ll miss this notebook.
The keys have that tactile response that only comes from a mechanical keyboard and we can see how folks would appreciate this.
What helps is that while you’re slaying out in games, the keyboard remains cool, like way too cool. We’re so used to feeling the power of a notebook exited onto our hands that this was an alarming sensation.
Where things take a turn for the worse is in the sound.
The sound is not at all bad but it lacks the volume needed to overpower the fans.
The Aorus 17X does boast an ESS SABRE Hi-Fi DAC audio chip which supports up to 24bit/192KHz output frequency.
It’s not lossless audio by any means but the sound quality is good enough to have you reaching for your cans rather than making do with the speakers and that fan noise. It’s a nice touch but is by no means the factor that will influence your buying decision.
As we mentioned this notebook is weighty and retails from about R69 999 (depending on your configuration of course) so we have to make a few things known.
There is no way a sane person would carry this in a backpack everyday to film shoots or to get some gaming in before class. The battery power doesn’t allow that and balancing this thing on your lap is an extreme sport.
However, we recognise that some folks don’t want a 15kg desktop to lug around to LANs (if those ever happen again) or for work.
As a desktop replacement then, we could quite happily use the Aorus 17X.
There are few things that point to this probably being the best use case for this notebook.
For one you have USB 3.1 Type C and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity to draw from which can be used to connect to a dock that you connect your peripherals to.
The other is those two massive power bricks. Having one can help keep the battery running while you work but you really need both to get the full fat experience of the Aorus 17X.
When do opt for that use case you have a wondrously powerful PC that can handle pretty much everything you can throw at it, at least from a gaming and content creation perspective.
The benefit here then is that you could take this notebook to work and have a powerful machine and then take it home to rise in the ranks of your favourite game.
Just don’t throw your back out.
Now for the less than good news.
Given how bonkers this notebook is, availability may be limited. We’ve been told that if you want to get your hands on this notebook you should contact Titan Ice, Wootware or Dreamware Tech for availability and updated pricing.
For those mad enough to drop the amount on the pricetag this notebook demands you will not be disappointed.
With that having been said, Gigabyte’s range of 10th Generation Intel notebooks are available in South Africa today. If this is a bit too rich for your tastes then we recommend shopping around at the aforementioned retailers for something that suits your wallet.
We now need to come up with a way to keep this notebook in our possession. How hard is it to disappear?
Disclaimer: The Gigabyte Aorus 17X was sent to Hypertext for purposes of this review by Gigabyte. The notebook will now be sanitised and returned to Gigabyte.