Notebookcheck

Aorus X7 Pro Notebook Review

Florian Glaser (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 11/07/2014

Performance at all costs. Aorus is one of the first manufacturers to fuse two GeForce GTX 970M cards to an SLI array. Both the performance and the waste heat are correspondingly high. Can the slim 17-inch chassis deal with this load?

For the original German review, see here.

Gigabyte's gaming brand Aorus has specialized on high-end laptops with dual-graphics power. While the first X7 featured the GeForce GTX 765M SLI, an SLI array of two GTX 860Ms operated in the X7 v2. The third model dubbed X7 Pro ultimately takes the performance cake. The Maxwell architecture makes it possible for the manufacturer to install a pair of GeForce GTX 970Ms.

The other specs are also impressive. Our review sample sports 16 GB of DDR3 RAM (2x 8 GB @ 1866 MHz) and two 256 GB mSATA SSDs in a RAID 0 mode. The Core i7-4870HQ is not bad either considering its 2.5 - 3.7 GHz clock. The laptop's screen is traditional: A matte Full HD screen with 1920x1080 pixels is found in most devices. The buyer will not find an optical drive.

Since the chassis is identical with that of the first edition, this article omits the usual sections about casing, connectivity, and input devices. Apart from the components, the manufacturer has only modified the position and length of the heat pipes. The software has also been optimized. The comprehensive "Command & Control Center" (see screenshots) offers a few nifty innovations, such as the monitoring tool "System Gauge" or the fan manager "Fan Control" (now four rather than three settings).

Command & Control
Command & Control
Drivers Update
Drivers Update
Power Switch
Power Switch
Macro Hub
Macro Hub
System Gauge
System Gauge


Display

Although the precursor's screen made a feasible impression, a different screen is installed in the X7 Pro. The average brightness of 283 cd/m² of the AU Optronics B173HW01 V5 is a bit higher than that of the B173HW02 V1 in the X7 v2. The brightness distribution is roughly 82-83%.

260
cd/m²
269
cd/m²
267
cd/m²
281
cd/m²
318
cd/m²
296
cd/m²
282
cd/m²
298
cd/m²
276
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 318 cd/m² Average: 283 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 82 %
Center on Battery: 318 cd/m²
Contrast: 589:1 (Black: 0.54 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.79 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 2.35 | - Ø
58% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.37

No significant differences are found in the black level either. 0.54 cd/m² is neither good nor bad and stands for a mediocre black that looks a bit grayish in dark game and video scenes. All this leads to a contrast of approximately 590:1, which should suffice for the expectations of most buyers.

Although the rate would have to be higher for a really crisp black, higher-contrast screens, like the Chi Mei N173HGE, struggle with other shortcomings. For example, stripes do not evolve in the B173HW01 V5 (e.g. MSI's GT72 or Schenker's XMG P724) and the image does not look grainy. The only annoying thing that is noticed when looking closer is the visible pixel grid.

CalMAN: Grayscale
CalMAN: Grayscale
CalMAN: Color Management
CalMAN: Color Management
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: ColorChecker
Aorus X7 Pro vs. sRGB
Aorus X7 Pro vs. sRGB
Aorus X7 Pro vs. AdobeRGB
Aorus X7 Pro vs. AdobeRGB

The screen is beyond reproach otherwise. Owing to a preloaded color profile, which is, unfortunately, not active in every application, Aorus masks the notebook-typical bluish cast in a simple way. According to our CalMAN assessments, the X7 Pro offers a quite good color balance that is especially noticed when compared directly with the Chi Mei N173HGE. We ascertained a 79% coverage of sRGB and 58% coverage of AdobeRGB.

Aorus X7 Pro outdoors
Aorus X7 Pro outdoors
Aorus X7 Pro outdoors

The non-reflective surface allows using the screen well outdoors. However, the viewing-angle stability is only enough for a place in the midfield. The AU Optronics screen does not stand a chance against a high-quality IPS screen. Distortions turn up quite soon when looking up from the sides - as is common in the TN sector.

Viewing angles: Aorus X7 Pro
Viewing angles: Aorus X7 Pro

Performance

Crystal Well
Crystal Well

Processor

The choice of the processor surprised us the most. Despite the fact that the X7 Pro does not feature graphics switching, Aorus installs a quad-core model based on the Iris Pro Graphics 5200. The latter might be considerably stronger than the HD Graphics 4600 from the "standard" Haswell chips, but what good is the extra effort when the Iris Pro 5200 cannot be utilized?

In the writer's opinion, Aorus should have saved its money and installed a standard quad-core instead. Especially since the Core i7-4870HQ cannot retrieve its full power. The premium-line model more follows the Core i7-4710HQ with its 6 MB of L3 cache, TDP of 47 watts, and a base clock of 2.5 GHz.

System info CPUZ CPU
System info CPUZ Cache
System info CPUZ Motherboard
System info CPUZ Memory
System info CPUZ SPD
System info GPUZ
System info Nvidia
System info HWiNFO
System info CrystalDiskMark
System info Latencies
System information: Aorus X7 Pro

Turbo Boost

As said above, the Core i7-4870HQ can only develop its potential to a certain degree. Although the 22 nm chip achieves 3.5 - 3.7 GHz in single-core applications, it is only 3.2 - 3.3 rather than the theoretically possible 3.5 GHz in multi-core applications. Consequently, it is no surprise that the performance settles on the level of the considerably less expensive Core i7-4700HQ (2.4 - 3.4 GHz).

Single-core rendering
Single-core rendering
Multi-core rendering
Multi-core rendering
CPU  & GPU load
CPU & GPU load

CPU Performance

The limited Turbo is seen in the multi-core rendering of Cinebench R15 among other things. While Schenker's XMG P505 with the same processor in the test reaped in 709 points, the Aorus X7 Pro only managed 621 points, which is roughly 12% less. Even the Core i7-4710HQ in the X7 v2 achieved a higher score (659 points). The speed is more than decent in the single-core CPU test. 143 points is very similar to the score of the XMG P505. A Core i7-4710HQ usually has to be satisfied with approximately 135 points here (MSI GT72 2QE).

Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.6 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
6.8 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
67.04 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
143 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
621 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
143.25 fps
Help
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X7 Pro
Core i7-4870HQ
143 Points ∼77%
Aorus X7 v2
Core i7-4710HQ
136 Points ∼74% -5%
MSI GT72-2QE32SR311BW
Core i7-4710HQ
135 Points ∼73% -6%
Schenker XMG P724
Core i7-4810MQ
145 Points ∼78% +1%
Schenker XMG P505
Core i7-4870HQ
142 Points ∼77% -1%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X7 Pro
Core i7-4870HQ
621 Points ∼37%
Aorus X7 v2
Core i7-4710HQ
659 Points ∼40% +6%
MSI GT72-2QE32SR311BW
Core i7-4710HQ
657 Points ∼40% +6%
Schenker XMG P724
Core i7-4810MQ
680 Points ∼41% +10%
Schenker XMG P505
Core i7-4870HQ
709 Points ∼43% +14%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X7 Pro
Core i7-4870HQ
1.6 Points ∼6%
Aorus X7 v2
Core i7-4710HQ
1.53 Points ∼6% -4%
MSI GT72-2QE32SR311BW
Core i7-4710HQ
1.52 Points ∼6% -5%
Schenker XMG P724
Core i7-4810MQ
1.64 Points ∼6% +3%
Schenker XMG P505
Core i7-4870HQ
1.62 Points ∼6% +1%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X7 Pro
Core i7-4870HQ
6.8 Points ∼9%
Aorus X7 v2
Core i7-4710HQ
7.11 Points ∼10% +5%
MSI GT72-2QE32SR311BW
Core i7-4710HQ
7.15 Points ∼10% +5%
Schenker XMG P724
Core i7-4810MQ
7.36 Points ∼10% +8%
Schenker XMG P505
Core i7-4870HQ
7.53 Points ∼10% +11%

Graphics Card

GPU Boost
GPU Boost

The X7's biggest leap is in graphics power. Unlike the v2 that was still powered by the GTX 860M SLI, a dual-GPU array of two GTX 970M chips takes care of pending calculations.

The GTX 970M's enormous performance boost is not only due to the bigger shader count (1280 vs. 1152 CUDA cores) and the higher core clock (924 - 1038 vs. 797 - 915 MHz), but it is primarily owed to the architecture. Nvidia's new premium-line product is now based on Maxwell rather than Kepler, which is not lastly noticed in waste heat and power consumption. Although the GTX 860M also exists in a Maxwell version, it is reserved for single-GPU laptops.

Almost no drawbacks connected to the fact that Aorus only uses 3 GB of GDDR5 VRAM with the GTX 970M (MSI installs the 6 GB model in the GT72). Only Shadow of Mordor craves for more than 3 GB at the moment - at least in the Ultra level. But disregarding the memory capacity, the interface is 192-bit in each case.

Maxwell @ SLI
Maxwell @ SLI

Though we often made snide remarks about dual-GPU laptops in the past, the situation now looks better. Of course, the power consumption is very high due to the lack of graphics switching, and naturally micro-stutters occur in some games, depending on the settings.

However, Nvidia has such a good driver support that it is possible to disregard existing shortcomings to an extent. Except for FIFA 15 and Risen 3, all tested games benefited from the second graphics chip. Sometimes it was only a few fps (+ 12% @ Sims 4), but it was 40 - 90% in most cases. We ascertained almost no graphics errors or other bugs that are usually related to SLI. Only these three titles did not run quite smoothly:

  • Watch Dogs stuttered in high and maximum settings - as frequently observed - very strongly. The brightness was too high in the low and medium levels.
  • Ryse: Son of Rome also tended to stutter in (very) high graphics settings.
  • Risen 3 once again behaved very strangely in terms of performance (not over 40 fps).

Despite the laudable overall presentation, we would recommend a single GPU. Neither the price-performance ratio nor the "user comfort" (temperature, etc.) speak for an SLI laptop.

GPU Performance

The SLI advantage is traditionally the biggest in the synthetic graphics benchmarks, for example in the Fire Strike test of 3DMark 13. Owing to the slightly updated driver (we replaced the preloaded ForceWare 344.00 with the ForceWare 344.48), the Aorus X7 Pro calculated twice as fast as Schenker's XMG P505 that has to be satisfied with a single GTX 970M. A GPU score of 14873 points is worthy of reference and outclasses the performance level of the GTX 980M by almost 50% (9808 points @ MSI GT72 2QE). The Maxwell array is even 2.5 times faster than the GTX 860M SLI (5941 points @ X7 v2). Only the GTX 880M SLI is a threat for the in-house contenders (11926 points @ Schenker XMG P724).

3DMark Vantage P Result
35318 points
3DMark 11 Performance
14203 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
142928 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
23191 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
10621 points
Help
Unigine Heaven 3.0 - 1920x1080 DX 11, Normal Tessellation, High Shaders AA:Off AF:Off (sort by value)
Aorus X7 Pro
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
168.5 fps ∼63%
Aorus X7 v2
GeForce GTX 860M SLI (333.11)
82.8 fps ∼31% -51%
Schenker XMG P724
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
145.9 fps ∼54% -13%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
93 fps ∼35% -45%
MSI GT72-2QE32SR311BW
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
119 fps ∼44% -29%
3DMark - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
Aorus X7 Pro
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
14873 Points ∼38%
Aorus X7 v2
GeForce GTX 860M SLI (333.11)
5941 Points ∼15% -60%
Schenker XMG P724
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
11926 Points ∼30% -20%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
7268 Points ∼19% -51%
MSI GT72-2QE32SR311BW
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
9809 Points ∼25% -34%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Aorus X7 Pro
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
18249 Points ∼36%
Aorus X7 v2
GeForce GTX 860M SLI (333.11)
9840 Points ∼19% -46%
Schenker XMG P724
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
15823 Points ∼31% -13%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
9907 Points ∼19% -46%
MSI GT72-2QE32SR311BW
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
12781 Points ∼25% -30%
3DMark Vantage - 1280x1024 P GPU no PhysX (sort by value)
Aorus X7 Pro
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
45459 Points ∼59%
Aorus X7 v2
GeForce GTX 860M SLI (333.11)
29844 Points ∼38% -34%
Schenker XMG P724
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
42967 Points ∼55% -5%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
30252 Points ∼39% -33%
MSI GT72-2QE32SR311BW
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
35904 Points ∼46% -21%

Storage Devices

AS SSD benchmark
AS SSD benchmark

The sense or nonsense of a RAID array is a fabulous reason for debate. On the one hand, RAID laptops stand out with excellent rates in the sequential tests. Up to 805 MB/s in read and a maximum of 860 MB/s in write (AS SSD benchmark) are otherwise only achieved by an M.2 model connected via PCI3 (Schenker XMG P505). Solid state drives with a SATA III interface stop at about 500 MB/s.

But on the other hand, this advantage is barely noticed in Windows routine (boot times, load times, installations, etc.) because the performance in compact files is more important here. That is exactly where RAID systems are not inevitably faster. Consequently, a "conventional" solid state drive would have been just as sufficient for the X7 Pro. The laptop can be equipped with three mSATA SSDs and a 2.5-inch model when desired.

2x Lite-On LMT-256L9M (RAID 0)
Sequential Read: 784.9 MB/s
Sequential Write: 839.3 MB/s
512K Read: 638.2 MB/s
512K Write: 799.1 MB/s
4K Read: 34.76 MB/s
4K Write: 88.31 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 442.4 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 532.8 MB/s

System Performance

PCMark 7 recorded an excellent total performance for the X7 Pro. With 6141 points, the 17-inch scion ranges on the level of MSI's GS60 and GS70 rivals that - depending on the model - also feature a RAID system.

PCMark 7 Score
6141 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
4841 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
5542 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
5130 points
Help

Gaming Performance

There is no doubt that the GTX 970M SLI is a first-rate partner for gaming enthusiasts. No matter whether it is Battlefield 4, Crysis 3, Metro: Last Light or Far Cry 3 - every demanding title that has been released in the past few years can be enjoyed in maximum details and with enabled anti-aliasing. The system would calculate about 30% slower with disabled SLI. Since the SLI array can surpass a GTX 980M by only 20%, we believe that the additional risk (driver dependency) and the additional costs (power requirement, laptop price) are not justified. Not even if the X7 Pro outruns its precursor by almost 100% (+25% vs. GTX 880M SLI).

Civilization: Beyond Earth - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
104.6 fps ∼74%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
80.4 fps ∼57% -23%
F1 2014 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
118 fps ∼98%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
109 fps ∼91% -8%
The Evil Within - 1920x1080 High / Enabled AA:SM (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
53.8 fps ∼61%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
63 fps ∼72% +17%
Ryse: Son of Rome - 1920x1080 Very High Texture Res. + High Graphics Quality (Motion Blur & Temporal AA On, Rest Off/Disabled) AF:8x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
61.1 fps ∼59%
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
Schenker XMG P505
41.3 (min: 33) fps ∼40% -32%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
54.7 fps ∼53% -10%
Alien: Isolation - 1920x1080 Ultra, On, Shadow Map 2048, HDAO AA:2x SM AF:16x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
114.1 fps ∼49%
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
Schenker XMG P505
75.7 fps ∼32% -34%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
96.1 fps ∼41% -16%
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset (HD Package) (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
89.9 fps ∼56%
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
Schenker XMG P505
51.2 fps ∼32% -43%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
65 fps ∼40% -28%
Fifa 15 - 1920x1080 High Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
211.7 fps ∼71%
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
Schenker XMG P505
217.8 fps ∼73% +3%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
240.4 fps ∼81% +14%
Sims 4 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
104.8 fps ∼66%
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
Schenker XMG P505
93.8 fps ∼59% -10%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
97 fps ∼61% -7%
Risen 3: Titan Lords - 1920x1080 Ultra/High, On AF:16x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
37.6 fps ∼42%
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
Schenker XMG P505
53.3 fps ∼59% +42%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
35.6 fps ∼39% -5%
GRID: Autosport - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
118.8 fps ∼79%
GeForce GTX 860M SLI (333.11)
Aorus X7 v2
33.3 fps ∼22% -72%
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
Schenker XMG P505
82.3 fps ∼55% -31%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
107.1 fps ∼71% -10%
Watch Dogs - 1920x1080 Ultra Overall Quality, Ultra Textures AA:4x MS (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
45.5 fps ∼61%
GeForce GTX 860M SLI (333.11)
Aorus X7 v2
14.6 fps ∼20% -68%
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
Schenker XMG P505
34.4 fps ∼46% -24%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
45.9 fps ∼62% +1%
Wolfenstein: The New Order - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
55.7 fps ∼93%
GeForce GTX 860M SLI (333.11)
Aorus X7 v2
32.2 fps ∼54% -42%
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
Schenker XMG P505
51.7 fps ∼86% -7%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
60 fps ∼100% +8%
Thief - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FXAA & High SS AF:8x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
86.8 fps ∼69%
GeForce GTX 860M SLI (333.11)
Aorus X7 v2
40.4 fps ∼32% -53%
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
63.6 fps ∼51% -27%
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
Schenker XMG P505
47.9 fps ∼38% -45%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
62.1 fps ∼49% -28%
Call of Duty: Ghosts - 1920x1080 Extra / High / HBAO+ / No dynamic fur AA:4x MS (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
90.2 fps ∼100%
GeForce GTX 860M SLI (333.11)
Aorus X7 v2
46.3 fps ∼51% -49%
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
71.2 fps ∼79% -21%
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
Schenker XMG P505
51.5 fps ∼57% -43%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
65.3 fps ∼72% -28%
Battlefield 4 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
104.3 fps ∼52%
GeForce GTX 860M SLI (333.11)
Aorus X7 v2
49.7 fps ∼25% -52%
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
84.5 fps ∼42% -19%
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
Schenker XMG P505
54.8 fps ∼27% -47%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
72.9 fps ∼36% -30%
Saints Row IV - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:8x MS AF:16x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
92.5 fps ∼99%
GeForce GTX 860M SLI (333.11)
Aorus X7 v2
55 fps ∼59% -41%
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
67.4 fps ∼72% -27%
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
Schenker XMG P505
58.8 fps ∼63% -36%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
72.5 fps ∼77% -22%
Dota 2 - 1920x1080 High / On, Render Quality: 100 % (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
119.4 fps ∼100%
GeForce GTX 860M SLI (333.11)
Aorus X7 v2
107.4 fps ∼90% -10%
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
115.8 fps ∼97% -3%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
113.4 fps ∼95% -5%
Metro: Last Light - 1920x1080 Very High (DX11) AF:16x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
79.2 fps ∼57%
GeForce GTX 860M SLI (333.11)
Aorus X7 v2
39.3 fps ∼28% -50%
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
61.8 fps ∼44% -22%
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
Schenker XMG P505
53.3 fps ∼38% -33%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
66.8 fps ∼48% -16%
BioShock Infinite - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF) (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
130.1 fps ∼66%
GeForce GTX 860M SLI (333.11)
Aorus X7 v2
61.8 fps ∼31% -52%
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
104 fps ∼52% -20%
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
Schenker XMG P505
72.5 fps ∼37% -44%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
91.2 fps ∼46% -30%
Tomb Raider - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:FX AF:16x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
156.5 fps ∼57%
GeForce GTX 860M SLI (333.11)
Aorus X7 v2
80.6 fps ∼29% -48%
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
141.8 fps ∼51% -9%
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
Schenker XMG P505
80.3 fps ∼29% -49%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
104.5 fps ∼38% -33%
Crysis 3 - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:2xSM AF:16x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
56.3 fps ∼56%
GeForce GTX 860M SLI (333.11)
Aorus X7 v2
28.3 fps ∼28% -50%
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
52.3 fps ∼52% -7%
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
Schenker XMG P505
33.4 fps ∼33% -41%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
43.3 fps ∼43% -23%
Far Cry 3 - 1920x1080 DX11 Ultra Preset (HDAO, Enhanced Alpha To Coverage) AA:4x MS (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
74.5 fps ∼100%
GeForce GTX 860M SLI (333.11)
Aorus X7 v2
38.4 fps ∼52% -48%
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
63.6 fps ∼85% -15%
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
Schenker XMG P505
40.4 fps ∼54% -46%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
52.2 fps ∼70% -30%
Hitman: Absolution - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4xMS AF:16x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
76.2 fps ∼79%
GeForce GTX 860M SLI (333.11)
Aorus X7 v2
35.8 fps ∼37% -53%
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
53.1 fps ∼55% -30%
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
Schenker XMG P505
41.2 fps ∼42% -46%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
54 fps ∼56% -29%
Guild Wars 2 - 1920x1080 All Maximum / On AA:FX (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 970M SLI (344.48)
Aorus X7 Pro
78.2 fps ∼94%
GeForce GTX 860M SLI (333.11)
Aorus X7 v2
45.2 fps ∼54% -42%
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
56 fps ∼67% -28%
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
Schenker XMG P505
52 fps ∼63% -34%
GeForce GTX 980M (344.00)
MSI GT72 2QE
60 fps ∼72% -23%
low med. high ultra
Guild Wars 2 (2012) 160.785.678.2fps
Hitman: Absolution (2012) 113.1108.399.376.2fps
Far Cry 3 (2012) 145.4137.9117.174.5fps
Crysis 3 (2013) 154.4138.3111.756.3fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 519.3465.4351.8156.5fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 290.2273.1233.7130.1fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 139.7137112.179.2fps
Dota 2 (2013) 119.7119.7119.4fps
Saints Row IV (2013) 76.688.990.992.5fps
Battlefield 4 (2013) 199.6199196.6104.3fps
Call of Duty: Ghosts (2013) 238.3204.1140.290.2fps
Thief (2014) 125.5119.7115.186.8fps
Wolfenstein: The New Order (2014) 60606055.7fps
Watch Dogs (2014) 103.689.463.945.5fps
GRID: Autosport (2014) 374.1207.4165.7118.8fps
Risen 3: Titan Lords (2014) 35.235.23537.6fps
Sims 4 (2014) 193.2157.7119.8104.8fps
Fifa 15 (2014) 380.3288.1211.7fps
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (2014) 268.9209.4105.289.9fps
Alien: Isolation (2014) 264.9237.9153114.1fps
Ryse: Son of Rome (2014) 63.662.961.661.1fps
The Evil Within (2014) 74.873.853.8fps
F1 2014 (2014) 118118118118fps
Civilization: Beyond Earth (2014) 159.4150.9115.2104.6fps

Emissions

All following measurements were made with enabled SLI. While the fan setting "Auto Low Speed" was used in the idle tests, we used the setting "Auto High Speed" for the load tests. However, the latter does not seem worthwhile. Although the cooling system worked a bit harder, the performance did not increase (quick check using Unigine Heaven 3.0).

System Noise

Many buyers of the X7 Pro will find themselves thinking: "And just when you think that was the limit, a new fan level pops up somewhere." The 17-inch laptop belongs to one of the loudest devices that we have ever tested under load. 52 - 58 dB(A) in 3D mode will be too much for sensitive ears. The cooling is extremely present and almost sounds like a blow dryer even when using headphones or turned up speakers. We managed to provoke a very high rate from the X7 v2 at the time, but its maximum noise level was "only" 53 dB(A). However, we have to point out that almost all slim gaming laptops get loud, for example MSI's GS70 (~50 dB) or Gigabyte's P35W v2 (~54 dB).

The X7 Pro presents its quieter side in idle mode. The high-end scion is barely noticed when disregarding the fans' temporary speed increases (the fans sometime spin with 41 dB without reason). The cooling is even frequently inactive, making the X7 virtually noiseless. An indefinable, minor whistling can only be heard when listening closer. Nevertheless, the user should have a certain degree of noise resistance for the laptop. The soundtracks in gaming are often drowned out.

Noise Level

Idle
29.5 / 32.1 / 41 dB(A)
Load
52.3 / 57.9 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test
Stress test

The temperature development is also unsurprisingly high. The laptop already heats up strongly during undemanding tasks because the fans are usually inactive in idle mode. Just below 40 °C after 120 minutes of idling is pretty high and almost corresponds to 100% of the former model. Users who like it cooler in Windows routine are better off with the competition (~28 °C @ MSI GS70; ~31 °C @ Schenker XMG P505).

Every thin gaming laptop gets hot under load. With a maximum of 61 °C, the Aorus X7 Pro is even a bit cooler than MSI's GS70 where we measured up to 63 °C in the fans' area. The XMG P505 finished the stress test (one hour of Furmark & Prime95) with a maximum of 76 °C. However, the wrist rest of Schenker's laptop is more pleasant.

The components also heat up considerably. Like in the X7 v2, the graphics chips climb to almost 90 °C. It looks quite the same when the processor is under full load. Despite the strong throttling, the Core i7-4870HQ reached about 90 °C.

Max. Load
 52 °C53.9 °C61.2 °C 
 48 °C51.2 °C48.8 °C 
 41.5 °C45.2 °C41 °C 
Maximum: 61.2 °C
Average: 49.2 °C
59.1 °C58.8 °C58.3 °C
49.7 °C49 °C46.8 °C
40.5 °C40.4 °C38.2 °C
Maximum: 59.1 °C
Average: 49 °C
Power Supply (max.)  62.1 °C | Room Temperature 23 °C | Voltcraft IR-900

Speakers

Information about the sound system can be found in the first edition review.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The X7 Pro is not a device for energy-conscious users. 29 - 41 watts in idle remind us of the "Pre-Optimus Age" before graphics switching was invented. Even MSI's GT72 2QE that hunts for customers without Optimus technology does not guzzle that much power (24 - 34 watts).

Although the power requirement is quite high in 3D operation, the X7 Pro's average rate of 132 watts (first scene of 3DMark06) is a bit lower than that of the X7 v2 - despite the dual-graphics power. We look at the maximum consumption a bit critically. Just before CPU throttling, our measuring device recorded 276 watts (at the outlet, not including efficiency). That makes the fact that the laptop is only shipped with a 200-watt power supply all the more aggravating. 240 watts would have suited the X7 Pro better.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.6 / 1.2 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 29 / 34.8 / 40.6 Watt
Load midlight 132 / 276 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

Maximum battery life (Reader's Test)
Reader's Test
Minimum battery life (Classic Test)
Classic Test

The battery life is hardly worth mentioning. Even under ideal circumstances (low load, maximum energy saving, 0% screen brightness), the 73 Wh battery is drained after only three hours. 1.5 hours of 3D operation using a brightness of 100% is anything but lush. Considerably longer runtimes would be possible with graphics switching. Over five hours of gaming is no longer a wishful dream - at least not in idle mode.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
2h 58min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 26min

Verdict

Aorus X7 Pro
Aorus X7 Pro

"Uncompromising" - that could summarize the X7 Pro in one word. To stand out from the competition, Aorus installs two premium-range chips in a high-quality, yet not particularly well-built 17-inch casing that can only deal with the enormous cooling requirement to a certain degree.

The slim build naturally looks quite good, but what good is that when the fans speed up to such an extent in gaming operation? Beyond 50 dB(A) is certainly not for users with a nervous disposition. Aorus also carries things to extremes in the other categories. Besides the battery life, it is primarily the temperature development that disappoints. The power consumption is also extreme. The unnecessary shortcomings, such as the sensitive touchpad or the power supply's tight capacity, add to that.

The brute power is, of course, on the pro side. No single-GPU laptop is currently a challenger for the X7 Pro. Three mSATA slots and a 2.5-centimeter thin aluminum chassis is not seen every day either. The bundle is rounded off by an illuminated keyboard (macro-hub) and nifty software.

Although the basic idea is quite interesting, we would wish for a thicker casing for the successor. The cooling seems a bit overloaded in the present design.

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In review: Aorus X7 Pro. Review sample courtesy of Freaks 4U Gaming GmbH.
In review: Aorus X7 Pro. Review sample courtesy of Freaks 4U Gaming GmbH.

Specifications

Aorus X7 Pro (X7 Series)
Processor
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M SLI - 2x 3072 MB, Core: 924 MHz, Memory: 2500 MHz, GDDR5, ForceWare 344.48
Memory
16384 MB 
, 2x 8 GB SO-DIMM DDR3-RAM PC3-14200 (1866 MHz), 2 of 4 Slots filled max. 32 GB
Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, AU Optronics B173HW01 V5 (AUO159D), TN LED, Full HD, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM87 (Lynx Point)
Storage
2x Lite-On LMT-256L9M (RAID 0) , 512 GB 
, | slots: 3x mSATA & 1x 2.5"
Soundcard
Realtek ALC282 @ Intel Lynx Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
2 USB 2.0, 3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: headphone (S/PDIF), microphone, Card Reader: SD, Sensors: ambient light, surround port (HDMI)
Networking
Qualcomm Killer e2200 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 23 x 428 x 305 ( = 0.91 x 16.85 x 12.01 in)
Battery
73 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 1.0 megapixels
Additional features
Speakers: 2 speakers + 2 subwoofers, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, power supply: 200 watts; polishing cloth, Adobe Reader XI, Killer Network Manager, Microsoft Office 365 trial, CyberLink PowerDVD 10, Windows Essentials 2012, various manufacturer tools, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
3.08 kg ( = 108.64 oz / 6.79 pounds), Power Supply: 840 g ( = 29.63 oz / 1.85 pounds)
Price
2540 Euro

 

Since the casing has not been modified,...
Since the casing has not been modified,...
...the majority of screenshots come from prior tests.
...the majority of screenshots come from prior tests.
Quite a bit has changed under the hood.
Quite a bit has changed under the hood.
The laptop looks like a cross between MSI's GS70 and Asus' G750.
The laptop looks like a cross between MSI's GS70 and Asus' G750.
Aorus mostly uses matte surfaces.
Aorus mostly uses matte surfaces.
Only the touchpad is glossy.
Only the touchpad is glossy.
The keyboard does not close perfectly flush with its surroundings.
The keyboard does not close perfectly flush with its surroundings.
Twelve Torx screws fix the underside.
Twelve Torx screws fix the underside.
The inside exhibits ultrabook inclinations.
The inside exhibits ultrabook inclinations.
A 2.5-inch model can be installed in this slot.
A 2.5-inch model can be installed in this slot.
The battery is connected to the motherboard with a cable.
The battery is connected to the motherboard with a cable.
Two of the four RAM slots are filled.
Two of the four RAM slots are filled.
The manufacturer installs two mSATA SSDs ex-factory.
The manufacturer installs two mSATA SSDs ex-factory.
A triple-SSD RAID would theoretically be possible.
A triple-SSD RAID would theoretically be possible.
The cooling system finds its limits in 3D operation.
The cooling system finds its limits in 3D operation.
The speakers are located on the casing's front.
The speakers are located on the casing's front.
A brightness sensor is located beside the webcam.
A brightness sensor is located beside the webcam.
The power button lights up in white.
The power button lights up in white.
Aorus is a Gigabyte brand.
Aorus is a Gigabyte brand.
The macro-hub needs some getting used to.
The macro-hub needs some getting used to.
The WASD keys are highlighted.
The WASD keys are highlighted.
Of course, a numpad is a must.
Of course, a numpad is a must.
The keyboard has a two-level light.
The keyboard has a two-level light.
The ClickPad is again not enthralling.
The ClickPad is again not enthralling.
The speakers are hidden behind these slits.
The speakers are hidden behind these slits.
External monitors can be connected via VGA, HDMI, and mini-DisplayPort.
External monitors can be connected via VGA, HDMI, and mini-DisplayPort.
The chassis is amazingly thin.
The chassis is amazingly thin.
Some USB ports are on the rear.
Some USB ports are on the rear.
The surfaces attract fingerprints.
The surfaces attract fingerprints.
Two audio jacks is a bit stingy.
Two audio jacks is a bit stingy.
The 17-inch laptop is shipped in a stylish box.
The 17-inch laptop is shipped in a stylish box.
We find 200 watts a bit too close to the limits.
We find 200 watts a bit too close to the limits.

Similar Laptops

Devices from a different Manufacturer and/or with a different CPU

Aorus X7 Pro v5 Notebook Review
GeForce GTX 970M SLI, Core i7 6820HK

Devices with the same GPU and/or Screen Size

Schenker W724 (Clevo P370SM-A) Notebook Review
GeForce GTX 970M SLI, Core i7 4810MQ, 4.27 kg

Devices with the same GPU

MSI GT80 2QD Titan Notebook Review
GeForce GTX 970M SLI, Core i7 5700HQ, 18.4", 4.86 kg

Devices with Same Screen Size and/or Weight

Aorus X7 DT v6 Notebook Review
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), Core i7 6820HK, 17.3", 3.25 kg
Aorus X7 v6 Notebook Review
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), Core i7 6820HK, 17.3", 3.23 kg
Aorus X5 v6 Notebook Review
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), Core i7 6820HK, 15.6", 2.575 kg
Aorus X5S v5 Notebook Review
GeForce GTX 980M, Core i7 6700HQ, 15.6", 2.532 kg

Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

Pro

+Up to three mSATA SSDs
+Outstanding performance
+High-quality materials
+Backlit keyboard
+Acceptable weight
+Modern design
+Practical tools
+Thin casing
+Matte screen
+Macro hub
 

Cons

-Extreme temperature & noise development
-Wi-Fi range could be better
-Production flaws (keyboard)
-Less than perfect interface distribution
-Turbo Boost not maxed out
-Power supply & cooling close to the limit
-CPU throttling during full load
-High power consumption
-Glossy touchpad
-Poor battery life

Shortcut

What we like

Almost every game benefits from a second GPU.

What we'd like to see

It is quite astonishing just how loud the X7 Pro gets under load.

What surprises us

The chassis has been adopted without major modifications.

The competition

Dual-GPU laptops like the Alienware 18Notebookguru Earth VSchenker XMG P724 or MSI GT80 Titan.

Rating

Aorus X7 Pro - 11/04/2014 v4(old)
Florian Glaser

Chassis
78 / 98 → 80%
Keyboard
79%
Pointing Device
61%
Connectivity
73 / 81 → 90%
Weight
56 / 66 → 82%
Battery
72%
Display
83%
Games Performance
100%
Application Performance
98%
Temperature
60 / 95 → 63%
Noise
55 / 90 → 61%
Audio
60%
Average
73%
82%
Gaming - Weighted Average
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Aorus X7 Pro Notebook Review
Florian Glaser, 2014-11- 7 (Update: 2014-11- 7)