Notebookcheck

Aorus X3 Plus v5 Notebook Review

Allen Ngo, 12/23/2015

Mini gaming machine. Skylake, USB Type-C, DDR4, NVMe SSD, touchpad redesign, and HDMI 2.0 round up the list of changes for the refreshed X3 Plus. Aorus shows it means business in the already narrow sub 14-inch gaming category.

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It has only been six months since we last checked out the Aorus X3 Plus v3 and it's already time for a small refresh in the fast-moving mobile gaming market. The updated X3 Plus v5 brings about a number of minute changes that are all very welcomed and essentially required to keep up with the latest offerings from competitors like Asus, Alienware, and MSI.

Since the chassis of the Skylake X3 Plus v5 is identical to the Haswell X3 Plus v3, we recommend checking out our previous review for more images and details on build quality and keyboard. Instead, this review update will focus on what has changed and if the additions are adequate enough for users on the fence to consider this small 13.9-inch gaming powerhouse. Is the Aorus X3 Plus still the best ultraportable gaming machine money can buy?

Aorus X3 Plus v3 review

Aorus X3 Plus v3 vs. Razer Blade 14 vs. Gigabyte P34W

Aorus X3 Plus v5 (X3 Series)
Processor
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M - 6144 MB, Core: 924 MHz, Memory: 5010 MHz, 354.35, Optimus
Memory
16384 MB 
, 1066 MHz, 15-15-15-36, Dual-Channel
Display
13.9 inch 16:9, 3200x1800 pixel, IPS, Manufacturer: Sharp, ID: SHP1401, Name: LQ140Z1JW01, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM170 (Skylake PCH-H)
Storage
Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e, 512 GB 
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 HDMI, 2 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm Microphone, 3.5 mm earphones, Card Reader: SD reader
Networking
Qualcomm Killer e2200 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 22.9 x 330 x 263.5 ( = 0.9 x 12.99 x 10.37 in)
Battery
73 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD camera
Additional features
Speakers: 2 Watt Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, MacroHub, Command & Control, Power Switch, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
1.8 kg ( = 63.49 oz / 3.97 pounds), Power Supply: 560 g ( = 19.75 oz / 1.23 pounds)
Price
2400 Euro

 

Case

The design and full aluminum material of the X3 Plus v5 all remain identical to the X3 Plus v3. Visually, this isn't a problem as the notebook itself is already unique with its uncommon 13.9-inch screen size, dedicated rear ventilation grilles, and sharp edges and corners that seem to be inspired from the popular Asus ROG series. Instead, the problem lies with the quality of the notebook as a whole because surfaces feel thin and anything but rigid. There is more creaking than we would like especially when attempting to twist the base or display lid, the latter of which is still quite weak and susceptible to damage. Consequently, the average hinge tends to teeter the display more than competing notebooks as well.

In terms of size and weight, the substantial grilles on the rear add noticeably to the overall length and thickness of the notebook compared to other 13.3-inch and 14-inch notebooks. Nonetheless, the Alienware 13 is still thicker and heavier (1.97 kg vs. 1.85 kg) than essentially all other gaming notebooks in this size class.

Connectivity

Available ports are again identical to the X3 Plus v3, but now with USB 3.1 Gen. 2 Type-C at 10 Gbps and HDMI 2.0 (w/ HDCP 2.2) instead of 1.4. Unfortunately, the port is not compatible with Thunderbolt 3 unlike on the recent MSI refresh or Asus G752. We would have liked to see one more full-size USB 3.0 port on the rear of the unit or an eSATA/USB combo port.

Front: No connectivity
Front: No connectivity
Right: SD reader, 2x USB 3.0, Power button
Right: SD reader, 2x USB 3.0, Power button
Rear: Power adapter, Gigabit Ethernet
Rear: Power adapter, Gigabit Ethernet
Left: Mini Displayport, HDMI-out, USB 3.0, 3.5 mm mic, 3.5 mm headphones, USB 3.1 Type-C Gen. 2
Left: Mini Displayport, HDMI-out, USB 3.0, 3.5 mm mic, 3.5 mm headphones, USB 3.1 Type-C Gen. 2

Communication

WLAN gets an unsung upgrade from the PCIe Intel 7260 on our X3 Plus v3 to the Intel 8260 on our X3 Plus v5. The removable dual-band (2x2) M.2 card provides transfer rates of up to 867 Mbps, integrated Bluetooth 4.1, and WiDi. We experienced no issues with wireless connectivity during our time with the Aorus.

Accessories

Included extras are a Quick Start manual and a USB flash drive for drivers and utilities. Aorus offers a line of gaming accessories from dedicated mice to branded backpacks.

Maintenance

The X3 Plus series is easy to service with a T6 hex wrench to remove the bottom panel. It's worth noting that the older model includes 3x mSATA and 1x Mini PCIe compared to 2x M.2 2280 and 1x M.2 2230 on the newer model. Otherwise, there are no other obvious changes to the motherboard.

Warranty

A 24-month limited warranty comes standard from the manufacturer. This is twice as long as most other manufacturers for customers in North America.

X3 Plus v3
X3 Plus v3
X3 Plus v5
X3 Plus v5

Input Devices

Touchpad

While the keyboard is untouched from its predecessor, the touchpad gets a makeover to look and feel more like the touchpads on the X5 and X7. Surface area remains the same (10 x 7 cm) while the actual texture is now glossy with patterned bumps on the bottom section dedicated for mouse clicks. This section will not respond to cursor movements, so the actual surface area for mouse movement is smaller at roughly 10 x 5.3 cm.

The integrated mouse keys are very shallow and soft with little tactile feedback when pressed. They are uncomfortable to use for long periods of time, so an external mouse is recommended whenever possible.

Display

Aorus calls The X3 Plus v5 "the most powerful 13.9-inch laptop with Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M". Of course, it's easy to be the "most powerful" in your category when there are literally no other 13.9-inch gaming notebooks to compare to. The matte QHD (3200 x 1800) IPS panel on our Aorus is the same Sharp LQ140Z1JW01 panel that is also used on the X3 Plus v3, 14-inch Fujitsu LifeBook U904, and Razer Blade 14 2015. Brightness and black level measurements, however, are brighter and deeper, respectively, compared to the older X3 Plus v3. The manufacturer promises a 400 nit screen and we were able to measure an average of 370 nits.

The screen exhibits no major backlight bleeding issues with only minor bleeding on the top edge and even less on the right edge. Subjectively, slight color grains are noticeable on the screen especially when displaying all white, so texts and images do not appear as cleanly as on the matte 1080p panel of the Asus G752. Furthermore, brightness distribution could have been more uniform as the bottom corner can be dimmer by almost 80 nits than the brightest spot on the screen.

No major backlight bleeding
No major backlight bleeding
Matte subpixel array
Matte subpixel array
370.3
cd/m²
406.6
cd/m²
396.2
cd/m²
355.2
cd/m²
394.8
cd/m²
387.2
cd/m²
321.3
cd/m²
338.3
cd/m²
363.6
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro Basic 2
Maximum: 406.6 cd/m² Average: 370.4 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 79 %
Center on Battery: 394.8 cd/m²
Contrast: 1347:1 (Black: 0.293 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.8 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 5.04 | - Ø
98.1% sRGB (Argyll) 63.4% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.26
Aorus X3 Plus v5
13.9, 3200x1800
Aorus X3 Plus v3
13.9, 3200x1800
Alienware 13 (GTX 960M)
13.3, 1920x1080
Razer Blade 14 2015
14.0, 3200x1800
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
13.3, 1440x900
Dell XPS 13 2016 i7 256GB QHD
13.3, 3200x1800
MSI GS40-6QE16H11
14.0, 1920x1080
Response Times
812%
46%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
52.4
40
24%
31
41%
Response Time Black / White *
47.2
30
36%
23
51%
PWM Frequency
198
4900
2375%
Screen
-15%
-11%
-12%
-15%
4%
-23%
Brightness
370
306
-17%
305
-18%
311
-16%
310
-16%
281
-24%
282
-24%
Brightness Distribution
79
91
15%
78
-1%
78
-1%
82
4%
90
14%
88
11%
Black Level *
0.293
0.504
-72%
0.31
-6%
0.416
-42%
0.405
-38%
0.18
39%
0.37
-26%
Contrast
1347
620
-54%
1055
-22%
765
-43%
812
-40%
1583
18%
822
-39%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.8
4.17
13%
5.14
-7%
3.67
24%
3.96
17%
4.89
-2%
7.47
-56%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.04
4.4
13%
6.51
-29%
5.41
-7%
3.51
30%
5.16
-2%
6.51
-29%
Gamma
2.26 106%
2.26 106%
2.69 89%
2.26 106%
3.83 63%
2.15 112%
3.71 65%
CCT
7343 89%
6925 94%
7347 88%
7118 91%
6711 97%
7106 91%
7840 83%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
63.4
62
-2%
61
-4%
64.64
2%
38.4
-39%
59
-7%
56
-12%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
98.1
97
-1%
59.8
-39%
93
-5%
86
-12%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-15% / -15%
-11% / -11%
-12% / -12%
-15% / -15%
408% / 224%
12% / -10%

* ... smaller is better

Discussion

Color space is a measured 98 percent and 63 percent of the sRGB and AdobeRGB standard, respectively, which is common on very high-end panels. Cheaper gaming notebooks, such as the Lenovo Y700 or MSI GE62, tend to cut corners by using panels with more limited color gamut. Professional users demanding both near 100 percent sRGB coverage and high contrast ratios should consider the Aorus.

vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. Alienware 13 (GTX 960M)
vs. Alienware 13 (GTX 960M)
vs. Dell XPS 13 QHD 2016
vs. Dell XPS 13 QHD 2016

Colors and grayscale out-of-the-box are average at best and could certainly benefit from a quick calibration as accuracy improves noticeably across the board. Colors do not become less accurate at higher saturation levels, which suggests near-perfect sRGB coverage. Nonetheless, the color Blue is represented slightly less accurately than the other primary and secondary colors.

Grayscale pre-calibration
Grayscale pre-calibration
Saturation Sweeps pre-calibration
Saturation Sweeps pre-calibration
ColorChecker pre-calibration
ColorChecker pre-calibration
Grayscale post calibration
Grayscale post calibration
Saturation Sweeps post calibration
Saturation Sweeps post calibration
ColorChecker post calibration
ColorChecker post calibration

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
47.2 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 10 ms rise
↘ 37.2 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 98 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (27.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
52.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 22 ms rise
↘ 30.4 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 250 (maximum) ms. » 85 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (42.6 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 198 Hz90 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 198 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 90 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 198 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 58 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 480 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 10420) Hz was measured.

Our photosensor is able to detect pulse-width modulation on the X3 Plus v5 on all brightness levels except for the maximum. The recorded frequency of just under 200 Hz remains constant throughout.

100 percent brightness (No PWM)
100 percent brightness (No PWM)
90 percent brightness (PWM detected)
90 percent brightness (PWM detected)
Minimum brightness (PWM detected)
Minimum brightness (PWM detected)

Outdoor visibility is good due to the matte screen and bright backlight. Users should have no issues if using the Aorus on overcast days. A higher font size scale is recommended due to the dense native resolution.

Viewing angles are likewise very good from the IGZO IPS panel. However, we noticed that colors and brightness will change more noticeably than other IPS panels when at extreme angles. The deviations are fortunately not significant enough to be problematic for the sole viewer or even multiple viewers.

Outdoors on cloudy and rainy day
Outdoors on cloudy and rainy day
Color degradation at extreme angles
Color degradation at extreme angles

Performance

Turbo Boost up to 3.5 GHz for single-threaded operations
Turbo Boost up to 3.5 GHz for single-threaded operations

Since Aorus notebooks are thin and heavily custom built, configurable options are low for the end-user. The X3 Plus v5 is offered only with the Core i7-6700HQ and GTX 970M graphics and either 8/16 GB RAM with 256/512 GB SSD options. If idling on Power Saver, the CPU and GPU will run at just 900 MHz and 135/162 MHz core/memory, respectively. Optimus is supported for further power savings with the integrated HD 530 GPU.

System RAM is provided by two 8 GB Transcend DDR4-2133 modules for a total of 16 GB. Two SODIMM slots are provided for up to 32 GB instead of 16 GB on pre-Skylake models.

Processor

CPU performance from the i7-6700HQ is within just a few percentage points from the i7-5700HQ and overclockable i7-6820HK according to CineBench benchmarks. The performance gains are much larger when compared to the Haswell i7-4700HQ with a 10 percent and 30 percent boost for single-threaded and multi-threaded operations, respectively. Like the i7-4700HQ of yesteryear, the newer i7-6700HQ is becoming a common find on the latest gaming notebooks much larger than the Aorus X3 series.

More benchmarks and comparisons on the Skylake i7-6700HQ can be found on our dedicated CPU page here.

CineBench R10 64-bit
CineBench R10 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R15
CineBench R15
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
1.63 Points ∼6%
Eurocom Sky DLX7
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700K, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
1.97 Points ∼7% +21%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
1.67 Points ∼6% +2%
MSI GT72S 6QF
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Micron M600 MTFDDAV128MBF NVMe (RAID 0)
1.58 Points ∼6% -3%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
1.46 Points ∼5% -10%
Acer Aspire E17 E5-752G-T7WY
Radeon R8 M365DX, A10-8700P, WDC WD10JPVX-08JC3T5
0.68 Points ∼3% -58%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
7.49 Points ∼10%
Eurocom Sky DLX7
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700K, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
9.7 Points ∼13% +30%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
7.86 Points ∼11% +5%
MSI GT72S 6QF
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Micron M600 MTFDDAV128MBF NVMe (RAID 0)
7.74 Points ∼11% +3%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
5.29 Points ∼7% -29%
Acer Aspire E17 E5-752G-T7WY
Radeon R8 M365DX, A10-8700P, WDC WD10JPVX-08JC3T5
2.12 Points ∼3% -72%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
7008 Points ∼77%
Eurocom Sky DLX7
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700K, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
8624 Points ∼95% +23%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
7155 Points ∼79% +2%
MSI GT72S 6QF
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Micron M600 MTFDDAV128MBF NVMe (RAID 0)
7217 Points ∼80% +3%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
6493 Points ∼72% -7%
Acer Aspire E17 E5-752G-T7WY
Radeon R8 M365DX, A10-8700P, WDC WD10JPVX-08JC3T5
3239 Points ∼36% -54%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
26607 Points ∼73%
Eurocom Sky DLX7
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700K, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
34593 Points ∼95% +30%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
27838 Points ∼76% +5%
MSI GT72S 6QF
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Micron M600 MTFDDAV128MBF NVMe (RAID 0)
27762 Points ∼76% +4%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
18887 Points ∼52% -29%
Acer Aspire E17 E5-752G-T7WY
Radeon R8 M365DX, A10-8700P, WDC WD10JPVX-08JC3T5
8279 Points ∼23% -69%
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
141 Points ∼76%
Eurocom Sky DLX7
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700K, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
177 Points ∼96% +26%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
144 Points ∼78% +2%
MSI GT72S 6QF
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Micron M600 MTFDDAV128MBF NVMe (RAID 0)
138 Points ∼75% -2%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
125 Points ∼68% -11%
Acer Aspire E17 E5-752G-T7WY
Radeon R8 M365DX, A10-8700P, WDC WD10JPVX-08JC3T5
59 Points ∼32% -58%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
682 Points ∼44%
Eurocom Sky DLX7
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700K, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
878 Points ∼57% +29%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
723 Points ∼47% +6%
MSI GT72S 6QF
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Micron M600 MTFDDAV128MBF NVMe (RAID 0)
703 Points ∼45% +3%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
490 Points ∼32% -28%
Acer Aspire E17 E5-752G-T7WY
Radeon R8 M365DX, A10-8700P, WDC WD10JPVX-08JC3T5
175 Points ∼11% -74%
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
10170
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
20356
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
5511
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
10362 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
26607 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
7008 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
7.49 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
51.38 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.63 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
682 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
141 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
61.84 fps
Help

System Performance

PCMark 7 ranks our Aorus in between the Razer Blade 14 2015 and Alienware 13. We were expecting otherwise due to the faster NVMe SSD, so a retest with the newer PCMark 8 rightly places our Aorus at the front of the line in the Home and Creative benchmarks.

We experienced no software or performance issues during our time with the Aorus. This includes no random crashes or unusually long boot times like we faced on the recent Lenovo Y700 or MSI GT72S gaming notebooks.

PCMark 7
PCMark 7
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
5396 Points ∼67%
Razer Blade 14 2015
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ, Lite-On IT L8T-256L9G
6008 Points ∼75% +11%
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M, 4710MQ, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB
5989 Points ∼74% +11%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2015-03
Iris Graphics 6100, 5257U, Apple SSD SM0128G
5620 Points ∼70% +4%
MSI GS40-6QE16H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
5451 Points ∼68% +1%
Alienware 13 (GTX 960M)
GeForce GTX 960M, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
5238 Points ∼65% -3%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
4319 Points ∼71%
Razer Blade 14 2015
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ, Lite-On IT L8T-256L9G
4074 Points ∼67% -6%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2015-03
Iris Graphics 6100, 5257U, Apple SSD SM0128G
4105 Points ∼67% -5%
MSI GS40-6QE16H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
4831 Points ∼79% +12%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
5939 Points ∼69%
Razer Blade 14 2015
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ, Lite-On IT L8T-256L9G
4606 Points ∼54% -22%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2015-03
Iris Graphics 6100, 5257U, Apple SSD SM0128G
4593 Points ∼54% -23%
MSI GS40-6QE16H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
4742 Points ∼55% -20%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
4033 Points ∼71%
Razer Blade 14 2015
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ, Lite-On IT L8T-256L9G
3309 Points ∼58% -18%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2015-03
Iris Graphics 6100, 5257U, Apple SSD SM0128G
3363 Points ∼59% -17%
MSI GS40-6QE16H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
3776 Points ∼67% -6%
PCMark 7 Score
5396 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
4033 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
5939 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4319 points
Help

Storage Devices

Our test unit is equipped with a single 512 GB NVMe M.2 Samsung SSD. A second M.2 slot is also available, though both slots do not support RAID until after upgrading the BIOS. There is no third slot for storage either, unlike on the X3 Plus v3 and its triple mSATA bays. Users with a large library of Steam games may need to invest in external drives or larger and costlier SSDs.

The jump to NVMe instantly puts the X3 Plus v5 ahead of other gaming notebooks in its size class. While larger gaming notebooks like the MSI GT72S, GS60, and Asus G752 have made the transition to NVMe, smaller gaming notebooks are not yet using the specification. Thus, our Aorus blows the Razer Blade 14 and Alienware 13 out of the water in nearly all aspects regarding transfer rates.

Empty SSD for a total of 1 TB between both slots.
Empty SSD for a total of 1 TB between both slots.
Easy access to storage, WLAN, and RAM
Easy access to storage, WLAN, and RAM
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
Aorus X3 Plus v3
GeForce GTX 970M, 4710HQ, 2x Lite-On LMT-256L9M (RAID 0)
Razer Blade 14 2015
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ, Lite-On IT L8T-256L9G
Alienware 13 (GTX 960M)
GeForce GTX 960M, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
HD Graphics 6000, 5650U, Apple SSD SD0256F
AS SSD
-31%
-58%
-66%
-77%
Copy Game MB/s
926.86
498.67
-46%
263.91
-72%
479.27
-48%
Copy Program MB/s
368.58
322.39
-13%
242.77
-34%
245.04
-34%
Copy ISO MB/s
1158.3
690.01
-40%
456.05
-61%
643.18
-44%
Score Total
2652
1685
-36%
1049
-60%
926
-65%
2383
-10%
Score Write
630
703
12%
407
-35%
280
-56%
463
-27%
Score Read
1345
641
-52%
421
-69%
432
-68%
1281
-5%
Access Time Write *
0.032
0.049
-53%
0.062
-94%
0.036
-13%
0.155
-384%
Access Time Read *
0.041
0.056
-37%
0.07
-71%
0.118
-188%
0.171
-317%
4K-64 Write
368.27
544.28
48%
307.02
-17%
162.84
-56%
338.87
-8%
4K-64 Read
1113.27
534.92
-52%
343.38
-69%
353.96
-68%
1140.14
2%
4K Write
113.97
74.66
-34%
58.23
-49%
93.58
-18%
23.73
-79%
4K Read
46.24
31.15
-33%
28.6
-38%
26.32
-43%
19.16
-59%
Seq Write
1474.07
839.94
-43%
419.43
-72%
232.99
-84%
1001.38
-32%
Seq Read
1859.14
752.74
-60%
487.67
-74%
512.52
-72%
1212.15
-35%

* ... smaller is better

Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
Transfer Rate Minimum: 838.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 1137.4 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 1123.9 MB/s
Access Time: 0 ms
Burst Rate: 84.1 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1.5 %

GPU Performance

Raw GPU performance according to 3DMark is essentially the same as it was on the older X3 Plus v3. Of course, our Aorus is still bested by the the GTX 980M and even more by the GTX 980. The gap between the GTX 960M and GTX 970M is very large and explains why Nvidia released the uncommon GTX 965M to fill in the gap.

It's worth noting that the X3 Plus series utilizes the higher-end GTX 970M with 6 GB GDDR5 RAM instead of 3 GB GDDR5 RAM. This should give Aorus the slight edge in most titles against systems with the 3 GB GTX 970M.

3DMark 11
3DMark 11
Ice Storm Extreme
Ice Storm Extreme
Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate
Fire Strike
Fire Strike
Fire Strike Extreme
Fire Strike Extreme
Fire Strike Ultra
Fire Strike Ultra
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
9297 Points ∼37%
Eurocom Sky DLX7
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700K, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
15273 Points ∼60% +64%
Acer Predator 15 G9-591-74ZV
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
10977 Points ∼43% +18%
Aorus X3 Plus v3
GeForce GTX 970M, 4710HQ, 2x Lite-On LMT-256L9M (RAID 0)
9203 Points ∼36% -1%
Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15ISK 80NW
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung MZNLN128HCGR-000L2
5678 Points ∼22% -39%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
4575 Points ∼18% -51%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
2488 Points ∼10% -73%
3DMark
3840x2160 Fire Strike Ultra Score (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
1682 Points ∼18%
Eurocom Sky DLX7
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700K, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
3107 Points ∼34% +85%
Acer Predator 15 G9-591-74ZV
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
2279 Points ∼25% +35%
Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15ISK 80NW
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung MZNLN128HCGR-000L2
1036 Points ∼11% -38%
Fire Strike Extreme Score (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
3347 Points ∼27%
Eurocom Sky DLX7
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700K, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
5829 Points ∼47% +74%
Aorus X3 Plus v3
GeForce GTX 970M, 4710HQ, 2x Lite-On LMT-256L9M (RAID 0)
3315 Points ∼27% -1%
Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15ISK 80NW
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung MZNLN128HCGR-000L2
2032 Points ∼16% -39%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
1649 Points ∼13% -51%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
6489 Points ∼28%
Eurocom Sky DLX7
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700K, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
11183 Points ∼48% +72%
Acer Predator 15 G9-591-74ZV
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
8306 Points ∼36% +28%
Aorus X3 Plus v3
GeForce GTX 970M, 4710HQ, 2x Lite-On LMT-256L9M (RAID 0)
6514 Points ∼28% 0%
Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15ISK 80NW
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung MZNLN128HCGR-000L2
4036 Points ∼17% -38%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
3342 Points ∼14% -48%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
1428 Points ∼6% -78%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
20458 Points ∼56%
Eurocom Sky DLX7
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700K, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
29386 Points ∼80% +44%
Acer Predator 15 G9-591-74ZV
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
22733 Points ∼62% +11%
Aorus X3 Plus v3
GeForce GTX 970M, 4710HQ, 2x Lite-On LMT-256L9M (RAID 0)
18084 Points ∼49% -12%
Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15ISK 80NW
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung MZNLN128HCGR-000L2
17554 Points ∼48% -14%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
16086 Points ∼44% -21%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
6223 Points ∼17% -70%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
52842 Points ∼27%
Eurocom Sky DLX7
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700K, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
157766 Points ∼80% +199%
Acer Predator 15 G9-591-74ZV
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
88214 Points ∼45% +67%
Aorus X3 Plus v3
GeForce GTX 970M, 4710HQ, 2x Lite-On LMT-256L9M (RAID 0)
76306 Points ∼39% +44%
Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15ISK 80NW
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung MZNLN128HCGR-000L2
84067 Points ∼42% +59%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
85899 Points ∼43% +63%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
48845 Points ∼25% -8%
3DMark 11 Performance
9297 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
52842 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
20458 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
6489 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
3347 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The GTX 970M is a good fit for 1080p gaming at near maximum settings. Anything higher, however, and the system begins to struggle to maintain 1080p60. The X3 Plus v5 and its QHD display would have been a perfect combo for implementing G-Sync, yet the option is not available as of this writing likely because of the uncommon native resolution and screen size. In comparison, the larger Aorus X5 includes G-Sync as standard.

Gaming at the native 3200 x 1800 resolution will demand lower graphics settings for smoother playback. We would have been okay with a native 1080p resolution option for the X3 Plus v5 if there were such a configuration.

See our dedicated GPU page on the GTX 970M for more technical details and benchmarks.

Sleeping Dogs - 1920x1080 Extreme Preset AA:Extreme (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
45 fps ∼30%
Eurocom P7 Pro
GeForce GTX 980M, 5775C, Samsung SSD SM951 512 GB MZHPV512HDGL
58.4 fps ∼40% +30%
Eurocom Sky DLX7
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700K, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
82.5 fps ∼56% +83%
Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15ISK 80NW
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung MZNLN128HCGR-000L2
24.3 fps ∼16% -46%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
18.6 fps ∼13% -59%
Tomb Raider - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:FX AF:16x (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
86.7 fps ∼31%
Eurocom P7 Pro
GeForce GTX 980M, 5775C, Samsung SSD SM951 512 GB MZHPV512HDGL
104.3 fps ∼38% +20%
Eurocom Sky DLX7
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700K, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
159.3 fps ∼58% +84%
Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15ISK 80NW
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung MZNLN128HCGR-000L2
53.7 fps ∼19% -38%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
43.2 fps ∼16% -50%
BioShock Infinite - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF) (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
71.8 fps ∼37%
Eurocom P7 Pro
GeForce GTX 980M, 5775C, Samsung SSD SM951 512 GB MZHPV512HDGL
94.5 fps ∼49% +32%
Eurocom Sky DLX7
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700K, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
124.4 fps ∼64% +73%
Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15ISK 80NW
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung MZNLN128HCGR-000L2
46.5 fps ∼24% -35%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
39.6 fps ∼20% -45%
Metro: Last Light - 1920x1080 Very High (DX11) AF:16x (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
53.6 fps ∼38%
Eurocom P7 Pro
GeForce GTX 980M, 5775C, Samsung SSD SM951 512 GB MZHPV512HDGL
67.9 fps ∼49% +27%
Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15ISK 80NW
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung MZNLN128HCGR-000L2
31.7 fps ∼23% -41%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
25.8 fps ∼18% -52%
Thief - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FXAA & High SS AF:8x (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
46.5 fps ∼37%
Eurocom P7 Pro
GeForce GTX 980M, 5775C, Samsung SSD SM951 512 GB MZHPV512HDGL
49.8 fps ∼40% +7%
Eurocom Sky DLX7
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700K, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
86.5 fps ∼69% +86%
Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15ISK 80NW
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung MZNLN128HCGR-000L2
28.2 fps ∼22% -39%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
23 fps ∼18% -51%
Metal Gear Solid V - 1920x1080 Extra High / On (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
59.1 fps ∼99%
Eurocom Sky DLX7
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6700K, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
60 fps ∼100% +2%
Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15ISK 80NW
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung MZNLN128HCGR-000L2
39.8 fps ∼66% -33%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
32.8 fps ∼55% -45%
Fallout 4 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:T AF:16x (sort by value)
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
42.4 fps ∼32%
Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15ISK 80NW
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung MZNLN128HCGR-000L2
24.6 fps ∼18% -42%
low med. high ultra
Sleeping Dogs (2012) 123.545fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 185.486.7fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 146.871.8fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 93.853.6fps
Thief (2014) 7346.5fps
Batman: Arkham Knight (2015) 59fps
Metal Gear Solid V (2015) 59.959.1fps
Fallout 4 (2015) 52.942.4fps
3200 x 1800 on Ultra Settings
Title FPS
Sleeping Dogs 14.7
Tomb Raider 35.5
Metro: Last Light 24.8
Thief 22
Metal Gear Solid V 26.3
Fallout 4 19.9

Stress Test

We stress the Aorus with synthetic benchmarks to test for stability and potential throttling issues. With just Prime95 active to stress the CPU, the notebook is impressively able to maintain its maximum Turbo clock of 3.1 GHz at the cost of high core temperatures of around 79 to 80 C. Running FurMark to stress the dGPU throttles the core clock from its base 924 MHz to 860 MHz.

Running both Prime95 and FurMark simultaneously will drop CPU clock down to 2.9 GHz while raising core temperature to an alarming 97 C. Such high core temperatures are intentional on Aorus' part as we can observe similar results on the Aorus X5 and X7 as well.

Performance on battery power is reduced for both the CPU and GPU. A 3DMark 11 run on batteries returns a Physics and Graphics score of 7683 points and 6575 points, respectively, compared to 8717 points and 9615 points when on mains. CPU Turbo Boost occurs less frequently while the GPU core runs on a variable clock rate in the 800 - 950 MHz range.

Prime95 stress
Prime95 stress
FurMark stress
FurMark stress
Maximum stress
Maximum stress
Unigine Heaven stress
Unigine Heaven stress
Stable Clock Rates and Temperatures Under Stress
CPU Clock (GHz) GPU Clock (MHz) Average CPU Temperature (C) Average GPU Temperature (C)
Prime95 Stress 3.1 -- ~79 --
FurMark Stress -- 860 -- ~72
Prime95 + FurMark Stress 2.9 860 ~97 ~77
Unigine Heaven Stress 3.1 - 3.5 1037 ~68 ~72

Emissions

System Noise

The X3 Plus v5 utilizes the familiar dual heat pipes and 50 mm fans as the X3 Plus v3. Aorus provides multiple fan control settings (Silent, Normal, Gaming) and even a manual slider, but the system may override it depending on the workload. Also note that Silent mode is not completely silent as the system fans never idle.

Idling fan noise is just over 32 dB(A). Both fans are not easily agitated when browsing or performing small workloads, so the system is indeed quite quiet for everyday tasks. Gaming will quickly bump fan noise to 40 dB(A), which is still not as loud as its competitors. More intensive workloads will increase fan noise in a stepwise manner to 45 dB(A), 48 dB(A), 50 dB(A), and finally 54 dB(A) when under the most extreme of conditions (e.g., Prime95 + FurMark). For gaming purposes, however, expect the fans to occasionally pulsate between 40 dB(A) and 45 dB(A).

Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
Alienware 13 (GTX 960M)
GeForce GTX 960M, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
Razer Blade 14 2015
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ, Lite-On IT L8T-256L9G
MSI GS30 Shadow
Iris Pro Graphics 5200, 4870HQ, 2x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
MSI GS40-6QE16H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
Noise
4%
2%
-13%
-6%
Idle Minimum *
32.1
29.2
9%
29.7
7%
29.4
8%
33
-3%
Idle Average *
32.4
29.4
9%
29.9
8%
36.2
-12%
34
-5%
Idle Maximum *
32.5
29.6
9%
30
8%
42
-29%
38
-17%
Load Average *
40.1
45.8
-14%
42.1
-5%
52.8
-32%
44
-10%
Load Maximum *
54.6
52
5%
59
-8%
53.6
2%
52
5%

* ... smaller is better

Noise Level

Idle
32.1 / 32.4 / 32.5 dB(A)
Load
40.1 / 54.6 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   BK Precision 732A (15 cm distance)

Temperature

A quick look at the design and positioning of the cooling system will already tell you that the warmest spots of the notebook will be towards the center rear of the device. Surface temperatures are lower and flatter all-around compared to the previous X3 Plus v3 when idling on desktop with the iGPU active. Unsurprisingly, the notebook heats up quickly even when under typical processing loads. We were able to record a maximum surface temperature of close to 50 C on the bottom rear when under maximum system stress. The palm rests and WASD keys remain relatively cool for comfortable gaming.

In comparison, the surfaces of both the Razer Blade 14 and Alienware 13 come in much warmer than our Aorus under similar workloads. This is especially impressive considering that the Alienware 13 is thicker and with a slower GTX 960M GPU.

Maximum load (Front)
Maximum load (Front)
Maximum load (Back)
Maximum load (Back)
Max. Load
 24.2 °C44.6 °C41.2 °C 
 28.6 °C38 °C37.2 °C 
 26.8 °C26.8 °C30.4 °C 
Maximum: 44.6 °C
Average: 33.1 °C
39.2 °C49.8 °C41.6 °C
32.4 °C44 °C34.8 °C
29.4 °C31 °C29.2 °C
Maximum: 49.8 °C
Average: 36.8 °C
Power Supply (max.)  51.6 °C | Room Temperature 19 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer

Battery Life

Our Aorus clocks in at just over 5 hours of constant WLAN use compared to roughly 4.5 hours on our older X3 Plus v3 under similar testing conditions. We especially appreciate the fact that Aorus continues to equip the notebook with a very dense 73 Wh battery, which is larger than the internal batteries of the 17.3-inch Lenovo Y700 (60 Wh) and Asus G752 (67 Wh). Nonetheless, our recorded minimum runtime of 8 hours (Power Saver, minimum brightness, iGPU enabled, idling on desktop) is still significantly shorter than on the Alienware 13.

The slim (~17 x 6 x 2.2 cm) 150 W power adapter provides a full-size USB 2.1A port for charging other devices. It's a neat addition normally found on some business and high-end consumer notebooks.

Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
WLAN runtime
WLAN runtime
Aorus X3 Plus v5
73 Wh
Aorus X3 Plus v3
73 Wh
Alienware 13 (GTX 960M)
52 Wh
Dell XPS 13 2016 i7 256GB QHD
56 Wh
MSI GS30 Shadow
50 Wh
MSI GS40-6QE16H11
47 Wh
Razer Blade 14 2015
61 Wh
Battery Runtime
16%
74%
64%
-15%
-10%
-9%
Reader / Idle
481
423
-12%
675
40%
784
63%
403
-16%
313
-35%
380
-21%
Load
55
96
75%
114
107%
103
87%
48
-13%
60
9%
66
20%
WiFi
210
WiFi v1.3
305
258
-15%
432
42%
297
-3%
222
-27%
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
8h 01min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
5h 05min
Load (maximum brightness)
0h 55min

Pro

+ matte QHD screen
+ bright backlight
+ 98 percent sRGB coverage
+ fast and stable system performance
+ large battery capacity; respectable battery life
+ good fan controls
+ 2x NVMe slots
+ USB 3.1 Type-C; HDMI 2.0 w/ HDCP 2.2
+ dedicated Macro keys

Cons

- chassis creaks
- weak lid
- response times could be better
- PWM for brightness control
- all mSATA slots removed; only 2x storage bays
- no Nvidia G-Sync
- no Thunderbolt 3
- touchpad could be more ergonomic
- pricey

Verdict

In review: Aorus X3 Plus v5. Test model provided by Aorus.
In review: Aorus X3 Plus v5. Test model provided by Aorus.

As the smallest Aorus offering, the X3 Plus v5 gets a lot of things on target while missing the mark on a few vital areas. The 13.9-inch display is especially strange as it looks phenomenal with its wide color gamut, dense resolution, very deep contrast, and bright backlight, yet it disappoints on the smaller details such as its average brightness distribution, average colors and grayscale without calibration, average response times, and PWM for all brightness settings dimmer than the maximum.

If Aorus can nail down a stronger chassis and display, then the X3 Plus would be an easy recommendation for anyone looking for a super small gaming notebook with the raw power of most 17-inch solutions. Hopefully the inevitable redesign will address these issues and add even more features to the already packed notebook including Thunderbolt 3, G-Sync, and touchscreen support.

The Aorus X3 Plus v5 truly is the fastest 13.9-inch gaming notebook with no performance compromises and with most features found on larger notebooks intact. It could certainly benefit from stronger manufacturing as most competing gaming notebooks like the Razer Blade 14 and MSI GS40 are less flexible and more rigid.

Aorus X3 Plus v5 - 02/23/2016 v5
Allen Ngo

Chassis
78 / 98 → 80%
Keyboard
84%
Pointing Device
76%
Connectivity
59 / 81 → 73%
Weight
65 / 66 → 98%
Battery
82%
Display
87%
Games Performance
90%
Application Performance
92%
Temperature
89 / 95 → 94%
Noise
74 / 90 → 82%
Audio
78%
Average
80%
84%
Gaming - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Aorus X3 Plus v5 Notebook Review
Allen Ngo, 2015-12-23 (Update: 2015-12-23)