Notebookcheck

Review Aorus X7 Notebook

Florian Glaser (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 03/04/2014

Grab bag. A thin 17-inch chassis with a dual GPU solution: This is how the Taiwanese manufacturer imagines the perfect gaming notebook. We have a closer look at the exciting concept. Does the unusual hardware combination reveal any drawbacks?

Aorus logo

For the original German review, see here.

Aorus is a new brand and the X7 will be its very first notebook offering. Besides the X7, the brand also includes a keyboard (Thunder K7), a headset (Thunder H7) as well as a mouse (Thunder M7).

According to the supplier, the high-end device should be available in Europe by the end of February and in the United States soon after. A price of 2,000 Euros (or $2099 in the U.S.) means it is designed for hardcore gamers who are often on the road and appreciate the thin and stylish chassis.

However, the most interesting part is the hardware equipment. Aorus manages to integrate a quad-core CPU as well as two high-end Nvidia GPUs, despite the limited space. The SLI version of the GeForce GTX 765M should provide a lot of 3D performance.

Otherwise, our review unit has 16 GB DDR3 RAM (2x 8,192 MB) and three hard drives. The 1 TB hard drive is not really spectacular, but the two mSATA SSDs in a RAID 0 configuration are certainly interesting. As it should be for a current gaming notebook, we get an anti-reflective panel with 1920x1080 pixels. An optical drive on the other hand is not available. 

Case

Appealing design
Appealing design

The Aorus X7 is the right device if you are looking for a nice looking notebook without exaggerated color and design experiments. The deep black and mainly aluminum surfaces remind us of gaming products from Razer and MSI (Blade 14 and GS70 respectively), even though the distinctive back has similarities with the Asus G750. Overall, the X7 looks nice and should appeal to most gamers.

One of the most important unique features is the thin chassis construction. The Aorus X7 is one of the thinnest high-end notebooks in general (standard: more than four centimeters; ~1.6 inches) at just 2.5 centimeters (~1.0 inches). A weight of 3.25 kilograms (~7.2 pounds) is also low for a 17-inch gaming notebook. Some competitors like the Alienware 17 or Medion Erazer X7825 weigh more than 3.5 or even four kilograms (~7.7 and 8.8 pounds). The difference is even bigger when you compare it with other SLI notebooks. Clevo's P370SM barebones (One K73-3SSchenker XMG P723) looks like a real monster in comparison. Almost 30% more weight and twice the height discourage carrying it around on a daily basis. It will be interesting to see the emissions of the X7.

But back to the topic: The build quality could be better when you consider the retail price of 2,000 Euros ($2099 in the U.S.). It starts with the keyboard, where we could see an uneven gap between it and the palm rest. However, this could also simply be a result of slight damage during shipment or an engineering defect on our particular sample. In addition, the top display frame did not permanently lock, which resulted in another visible gap. It is also not a good sign that the background illumination shines through the display frame at some spots. However, the quality impression is still on a good and competitive level when you consider all aspects.

The 17-inch device is also decent with regards to the stability. Both the lid and the keyboard could have been a bit more torsion-resistant, but the stability is acceptable for an ultrabook-like device. This also applies for the hinges and you can easily open the lid with one hand.

Connectivity

Ports

Apart from the meager audio connectivity (headphones + microphone) and the missing eSATA or FireWire port, respectively, the port variety is lush. We especially want to mention the digital video ports (Mini DisplayPort, HDMI & Surround), which enable a triple-screen setup with three external displays. Five USB ports (3x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0) also deserve credit.

The high connectivity rating also benefits from the Kensington Lock, SD card reader and a VGA port. All the ports are distributed across the back and the two sides, so neither left nor right-handers should have any problems.

Communication

The network adaptor Killer e2200 Gigabit Ethernet controller is provided by Qualcomm Atheros. You can monitor and, if necessary, adjust the data traffic via the preloaded Network Manager.

Wireless connections are supported by the Intel Centrino Wireless-AC 7260 adaptor. It supports – as the name already suggests – the latest ac-standard. WLAN 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 are obviously available as well and you can use 2.4 and 5 GHz networks.

Left side: Kensington Lock, Ethernet, Surround port, VGA, USB 3.0, headphones, microphone
Left side: Kensington Lock, Ethernet, Surround port, VGA, USB 3.0, headphones, microphone
Back: AC power, 2x USB 2.0
Back: AC power, 2x USB 2.0
Right side: Card reader, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort
Right side: Card reader, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort

Maintenance

You can remove the whole bottom cover if you have reasonable muscle power and a Tx5 Torx screwdriver. Under this cover is a clever cooling system, which consists of two fans and several heat pipes (compare the pictures on the right).

Furthermore, you get access to a 2.5-inch drive bay, two mSATA slots and four memory slots. The wireless module and the battery are also accessible, but dismantling the latter can be tricky. Both the processor and the graphics cards are soldered onto the mainboard; a future upgrade is therefore not an option.

Software

Preloaded software
Preloaded software

Aorus does not include a lot of unnecessary bloatware and preloads the notebook with some of its own tools instead. Let us start with a tool called Power Switch, which can be found in the task bar so you can comfortably turn the notebook off (keyword Windows 8). Even more interesting is the so-called Command & Control, which combines several settings in one simple tool. Amongst others, you can change the fan mode (Stealth, Auto & Turbo).

On the left, next to the keyboard are some macro keys (G1-G5) that can be configured via the Macro Hub. The application Drivers Update (see screenshot below) is also a nice idea. Finally, you get a media player from Cyberlink and a tool for system backups. PDF-files are handled by Acrobat Reader XI and other documents can be edited with a trial version of Office 365.

Power Switch
Power Switch
Command & Control
Command & Control
Macro Hub
Macro Hub
Drivers Update
Drivers Update
Killer Network Manager
Killer Network Manager
PowerDVD 10
PowerDVD 10
System Backup
System Backup
 

Accessories

The scope of delivery is a bit disappointing for a 2,000 Euros ($2099 in the U.S.) notebook. Besides a 153 x 75 x 30 millimeters (~6 x 3 x 1.2 inches) 180-Watt power supply unit, customers only get a cleaning cloth and a small manual. Neither recovery DVDs nor driver DVDs are provided.

Warranty

The manufacturer grants a warranty of two years for the notebook (12 months for the battery).

Input Devices

White illumination
White illumination

Keyboard

The chiclet keyboard holds a few surprises for the user. First of all, you get a two-stage background illumination, so you can comfortably use the Aorus X7 in dark environments.

Another highlight is the already mentioned macro keys, which can be assigned with five functions each. Passionate gamers therefore have 25 additional keys. The macro area does however take some time getting used to. The standard keyboard does not start directly at the left side of the case, so you might get some occasional typos.

It is a good keyboard, but not an excellent one; there is still room for improvement. Pressure point and stroke are usable, and the same applies for the typing noise as well as the layout. We were convinced by the layout, except for the combined Ins/Del key. Gamers will be happy about the specially marked WASD keys and the standard sized arrow keys.

Appropriate size: The keys are convenient at 15 x 15 millimeters (spacing: ~3 millimeters). The half-size F-row can convince us with dozens of comfort features. Besides an audio and multimedia control, the X7 also has a switch for the wireless adapter, the display, the touchpad as well as the webcam.

Touchpad

The touchpad is certainly one of the biggest problems. Aorus decided to integrate a glossy ClickPad (Elan Smart-Pad) that has no dedicated buttons. Similar to other ClickPads, the model does lack some stability and feedback. Left and right clicks, respectively, are not always recognized reliably. The sticky coating also results in a high susceptibility towards dirt and moderate gliding capabilities.

We also want to highlight the good multi-touch support, which allows fast scrolling, zooming and turning. The size is not bad either at 10.0 x 7.0 centimeters (~4 x 2.8 inches) and the precision is not affected by the moderate gliding capabilities.

Keyboard
Keyboard
Touchpad
Touchpad

Display

The 17.3-inch display has the designation AU Optronics B173HW02 V1. Compared to standard panels, which are often used in inexpensive multimedia and office notebooks, the display does pretty well, but you should not expect any new records.

258
cd/m²
265
cd/m²
251
cd/m²
289
cd/m²
304
cd/m²
277
cd/m²
284
cd/m²
296
cd/m²
276
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 304 cd/m²
Average: 277.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 83 %
Center on Battery: 282 cd/m²
Black: 0.57 cd/m²
Contrast: 533:1

An average brightness of 278 cd/m² is more than 15% behind the very popular Chi Mei N173HGE (~320 cd/m² @ Schenker XMG C703) that is used for many rivals. The difference is even bigger in regard to the contrast ratio: Almost 1000:1 for the Chi Mei while the AU Optronics inside the X7 manages around 530:1. This result is not bad by any means, but not overwhelming either. The main reason for the average contrast is the mediocre black value: 0.57 cd/m² lets black contents appear slightly grayish.

Demanding users could be annoyed by the slight screen bleeding on the left and right of the display frame as well as the fine pixel grid. However, you can only see the latter from a very short distance. We also have to criticize the color accuracy. Our CalMAN measurements show a fairly high deviation for the Aorus X7 in terms of grayscale presentation and color balance. Similar to most rivals there is a shift towards blue.

Aorus X7 vs. sRGB (Grid)
Aorus X7 vs. sRGB (Grid)
Aorus X7 vs. AdobeRGB (Grid)
Aorus X7 vs. AdobeRGB (Grid)
Aorus X7 vs. MSI GS70 (Grid)
Aorus X7 vs. MSI GS70 (Grid)
CalMAN: Grayscale
CalMAN: Grayscale
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: ColorChecker

There is hardly any criticism from a gamer’s perspective because the picture is rich and saturated. Subjectively, the picture is not very different from the Chi Mei N173HGE and the color space is even slightly bigger with 64 to 58% AdobeRGB. Even though the brightness is reduced on battery power, you can still use the Aorus X7 outdoors. Annoying reflections are tolerable thanks to the matte display surface.

Outdoor use Aorus X7
Outdoor use Aorus X7
Outdoor use Aorus X7

As expected, the viewing angle stability cannot keep up with an IPS panel. Vertical changes quickly result in picture distortions. The situation is much better with horizontal shifts, so the overall rating is still good. Note: The brightness is automatically controlled out of the box; we deactivated this feature for our review (Command & Control).

Viewing angles Aorus X7
Viewing angles Aorus X7

Performance

Haswell
Haswell

Processor

The Core i7-4700HQ is a powerful high-end CPU from Intel's Haswell generation (22 nm manufacturing) with four native and four virtual cores. Besides Hyperthreading, the quad-core also supports automatic overclocking via Turbo Boost.

Similar to its sibling Core i7-4700MQ, the clock can be raised from 2.4 up to 3.4 GHz under load. TDP and L3 cache are also identical with 47 Watts and 6 MB, respectively. The integrated HD Graphics 4600 GPU is deactivated in the Aorus X7; Nvidia's Optimus technology is not supported because of the SLI configuration.

System info CPUZ CPU
System info CPUZ Cache
System info CPUZ Mainboard
System info CPUZ Memory
System info CPUZ SPD
System info GPUZ
System info HWiNFO
System info CrystalDiskMark (SSD)
System info CrystalDiskMark (HDD)
System info DPC Latency
System information Aorus X7

Turbo Boost

The Turbo Boost can live up to expectations during normal operation. 3.2-3.4 GHz during single-core applications and 3.0-3.2 GHz during multi-core applications indicate high performance. Only extreme conditions, which hardly occur in practice, result in the nominal clock of the Core i7-4700HQ. Our impractical stress test showed a slight throttling to around 2 GHz. Both GeForce GPUs always ran with their maximum clock (902 MHz via GPU Boost) during 3D operation.

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

CPU Performance

The processor performance is on a typical level for a Core i7-4700HQ. The Gigabyte P34G or Asus N56JR could also produce results of 134 points in the Single-CPU test of Cinebench R15 and 633 points in the Multi-CPU test. For comparison: The Core i7-4700MQ inside the Medion Erazer X7825 managed equal 135 and 634 points in our review. Higher cost quad-cores are of limited value for gamers.

Cinebench R11.5
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Core i7-4700HQ
Aorus X7
6.9 Points ∼39%
Core i7-4700MQ
Toshiba Qosmio X70
6.91 Points ∼39% 0%
Core i7-4800MQ
Schenker W503
7.61 Points ∼43% +10%
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Core i7-4700HQ
Aorus X7
1.5 Points ∼81%
Core i7-4700MQ
Toshiba Qosmio X70
1.51 Points ∼82% +1%
Core i7-4800MQ
Schenker W503
1.68 Points ∼91% +12%
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.5 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
6.9 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
59.4 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
134 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
633 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
88.42 fps
Help

Graphics

SLI settings
SLI settings

An SLI configuration with two GTX 765M cards is not only very rare, but also extremely powerful. The high-end chip does not set any records with 768 Unified Shaders and 2 GB GDDR5 memory via a 128-bit memory interface, but the combination of two cards can actually threaten the currently fastest GPU.

The current top version GTX 780M, which is also produced in 28 nm, has 1,536 CUDA cores and 4,096 MB video memory (interface: 256-bit). Clocks on the other hand, are very similar: The core of the GTX 765M usually runs at 850 MHz and the GTX 780M is specified at 823 MHz.

GPU Performance

Our GPU benchmarks show that the SLI configuration is at the very top performance level. A 3DMark Fire Strike GPU score of 4,795 points for the Aorus X7 is roughly 70% faster than a notebook with a single GTX 765M (2,768 points @ Schenker XMG A503) and the GeForce GTX 770M is beaten as well, even though it only falls behind by around 25% (3,569 points @ Gigabyte P25W). The fastest card is the GTX 780M, which managed 14% more points (5,465 points) inside the Alienware 17.

The Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (1920x1080, High, Tessellation normal) supports this order: 69.9 fps are closer to the result of the GTX 780M (76 fps @ Schenker XMG P703) than to the result of the GTX 770M (49.5 fps @ One K73-3N). A single GTX 765 on the other hand has no chance (34.3 fpsAlienware 14).

All GPU results were determined with the fan setting Auto. We do not recommend using the Turbo mode of the Command & Control center. The temperature does not really improve, but the notebook gets noticeably louder and it does not seem to have any effect on the performance, either. 3DMark 2013 more or less shows the same result.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 765M SLI (332.28)
Aorus X7
7991 Points ∼50%
GeForce GTX 765M (327.23)
Schenker XMG A503
4105 Points ∼26% -49%
GeForce GTX 770M (332.21)
Medion Erazer X7825
4817 Points ∼30% -40%
GeForce GTX 780M (326.45)
Alienware 17
7449 Points ∼47% -7%
3DMark Vantage - 1280x1024 P GPU no PhysX (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 765M SLI (332.28)
Aorus X7
25579 Points ∼55%
GeForce GTX 765M (327.23)
Schenker XMG A503
13584 Points ∼29% -47%
GeForce GTX 770M (332.21)
Medion Erazer X7825
18129 Points ∼39% -29%
GeForce GTX 780M (326.45)
Alienware 17
27075 Points ∼59% +6%
3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
26226 points
3DMark Vantage24399 points
3DMark 117355 points
3DMark Ice Storm123538 points
3DMark Cloud Gate17729 points
3DMark Fire Strike4158 points
Help

Storage Solution

AS SSD Benchmark
AS SSD Benchmark

The Aorus X7 does show off in relation to the storage solution. Aorus equips the 17-inch device with two SSDs in a RAID 0 configuration. More precisely two mSATA models with a capacity of 128 GB each (Lite-On LMT-128M6M). The RAID configuration guarantees excellent performance that clearly beats larger 2.5-inch drives like the Samsung SSD 840 Evo.

sequential transfer rate of 950 MB/s (read) is currently beyond reach for a Solid State Drive without RAID. The same applies for the sequential writes of almost 600 MB/s. The 250 GB version of the Samsung 840 Evo inside the Schenker XMG A503 ‘only’ managed 510 and 462 MB/s, respectively. Access times of 0.077 ms and 0.066 ms are also very good (840 Evo: 0.057 @ read, 0.034 ms @ write). Only the performance of small 4K data blocks falls behind.

The two mSATA drives are accompanied by a 1,000 GB HDD from Toshiba. It has the designation MQ01ABD100 and is very popular amongst notebook manufacturers, which is not surprising when you look at the performance. Even though the large drive does not run at 7,200 rpm, CrystalDiskMark still determines sequential transfer rates of more than 110 MB/s while most 5,400 rpm drives stay below 100 MB/s. However, you will probably only use the conventional drive for videos, pictures and music once you have experienced the advantages of an SSD.

2x Lite-On LMT-128M6M (RAID 0)
Sequential Read: 993.6 MB/s
Sequential Write: 637 MB/s
512K Read: 679.8 MB/s
512K Write: 607.9 MB/s
4K Read: 29.11 MB/s
4K Write: 62.99 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 506.1 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 485.9 MB/s

System Performance

The RAID configuration can really improve the system performance. A PCMark 7 score of 5,825 points is at the top of our charts and the Aorus X7 does not have to hide behind bulkier gaming notebooks like the Asus G750JH-T4080H (5,838 points) or Bullman C-Class 5 (5,790 points).

PC Mark
PCMark 75825 points
PCMark 8 Home v23857 points
PCMark 8 Creative v23922 points
PCMark 8 Work v24587 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Torch up for the GTX 765M SLI
Torch up for the GTX 765M SLI

It is apparent that Nvidia creates good drivers when you look at the gaming benchmarks. We noticed a massive performance improvement with the second GPU in 13 of 14 tested titles, most of the time up to 100% (ForceWare 332.28). Only X-Plane 10, which is not perfectly optimized in general, did not show any improvement and was comparable to a single GTX 765M.

Otherwise the SLI combination does not have any problems with current titles either. Even complex games like Battlefield 4Metro: Last Light or Call of Duty: Ghosts run with more than 30 fps at the maximum settings. There are just a few exceptions where you will see dropped frames (e.g. Crysis 3), but almost every game runs smoothly and looks good if you do not exaggerate the settings or the anti-aliasing.

However, there are well-known problems like the high driver dependency and micro-stutters, so we would still recommend a single high-end GPU for core gamers as well as less experienced users. The GeForce GTX 780M offers roughly the same level of performance as the SLI combination; a GTX 770M is around 30% slower.

GPU Overall Performance @ Ultra Settings
GeForce GTX 765M SLI Base (average of 10 games, rounded)
GeForce GTX 780M +/-0%
GeForce GTX 770M -30%
GeForce GTX 765M -50%
low med.high ultra
Guild Wars 2 (2012) 62.241.8fps
Hitman: Absolution (2012) 52.229.5fps
Far Cry 3 (2012) 79.530.7fps
Crysis 3 (2013) 71.523.7fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 135.164.2fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 142.157.4fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 5133fps
GRID 2 (2013) 128.565.4fps
Dota 2 (2013) 119.2115.6102fps
Saints Row IV (2013) 83.772.662.848.8fps
F1 2013 (2013) 11911511196fps
Battlefield 4 (2013) 181.1136.9101.940.3fps
Call of Duty: Ghosts (2013) 91.483.36540.7fps
X-Plane 10.25 (2013) 103.449.426.414.5fps

Emissions

System Noise

The Aorus X7 is pretty quiet during idle and the fans are even completely deactivated if there is absolutely no load. All you can hear in this case is the slight murmur of the hard drive (~30-31 dB(A)), and it is completely silent once the hard drive is deactivated. The fans are however activated during light workloads (office, video, web browsing etc.) and audible at around 32 dB(A), so we recommend you adjust the Fan Tweak in the Command & Control center and – as long as you don't play any games – activate the Stealth mode.

More complex 3D applications, however, require the Auto fan setting. 3DMark 06, which is the basis for our load operation, results in clearly audible and for many users annoying 46 dB(A), whereby the noise fluctuates between 41 and 48 dB(A) in our GPU tests. 51 dB(A) during the CPU tests and 51 dB(A) under maximum load are also very loud (54 dB(A) @ Turbo). MSI's GS70, which is also very thin, but only has a single GPU, is louder during idle (~34-35 dB(A)), but the load results are around 2 dB(A) lower in return.

Noise Level

Idle 30.4 / 30.6 / 30.8 dB(A)
Load 46.3 / 51.0 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test
Stress test

Another problem is the temperature development. Similar to most thin notebooks we can see that the components get really warm – clever cooling or not. Our stress test with Prime95 and the Unigine Heaven benchmark almost resulted in 90 °C (194 °F) for one of the two GeForce GPUs (you can see why we did not use FurMark in the Energy Management section).

However, the main problem is the Core i7-4700HQ, which can reach up to 100 °C (212 °F) under extreme circumstances (according to CPUID HWMonitor). We already know this phenomenon from other reviews, Intel's Haswell generation seems to be pretty hot-headed in general. A maximum temperature of 37 °C (98.6 °F) for the storage is not low, either. 

Another issue is the surface temperatures that get perceptibly warm during idle. We can measure 33 °C (91.4 °F) at the top and 35 °C (95 °F) at the bottom on average. The MSI GS70 Stealth is significantly cooler (25/26 °C; 77/78.8 °F). Our measurements during the stress test cannot be compared because of the different software. A maximum temperature of 51 °C (123.8 °F) around the fan and up to 41 °C (105.8 °F) at the palm rest certainly indicates a powerful hardware combination. Thicker gaming notebooks like the Schenker XMG P703 or the One K73-3N are much cooler in this scenario.

Max. Load
 46.7 °C48.5 °C43.5 °C 
 44.1 °C44.9 °C43.1 °C 
 38.5 °C40.5 °C38.2 °C 
Maximum: 48.5 °C
Average: 43.1 °C
45.4 °C49.7 °C50.5 °C
43.6 °C45.9 °C45.3 °C
37.6 °C39.3 °C38.3 °C
Maximum: 50.5 °C
Average: 44 °C
Power Supply (max.)  48.3 °C | Room Temperature 24 °C | Voltcraft IR-550

Speakers

The sound quality cannot really meet the high-end expectations, either. Movies, games and music do not sound very good, despite the decent preconditions (two speakers at the front + two subwoofers). However, it is very common for notebooks that the speakers lack precision, balance and naturalness. Sound enthusiasts without a headset or external speakers should look for another device. The Dynaudio system inside the MSI GT70 is currently the reference.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

We use the similarly powerful Schenker XMG P723 (Core i7-4800MQ & GeForce GTX 765M SLI) to assess the power consumption. The dual GPU notebook is based on the Clevo P370SM barebones and consumes a bit more during idle. While the Aorus rival consumes between 34 and 45 Watts, we can measure between 26-34 Watts for the Aorus X7. 3DMark 06 changes the situation, even though the difference (122 vs. 130 Watts) is negligible.

Unfortunately, we could not perform the stress test with the tools FurMark and Prime95 because the power supply shut down after a short time and the notebook only ran on battery power. We think the power supply unit is overstrained under extreme load and the provided 180 Watts are not sufficient. Even the Unigine Heaven benchmark, which does not stress the system as much, resulted in a consumption of up to 192 Watts at the socket according to our measurement device.

We would strongly recommend that the manufacturer integrate a larger power supply unit with 200-240 Watts. Some gamers might ignore the notebook otherwise.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.1 / 1.1 Watt
Idle 26.0 / 31.0 / 33.6 Watt
Load 130.4 / 192.0 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

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

Besides the emissions and consumption measurements, we also performed the battery runtime tests with activated keyboard illumination and the second GTX 765M. 1.5-3 hours are okay for an SLI notebook. The XMG P723 is on the same level, despite the larger battery (89 vs. 73 Wh).

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
3h 05min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
2h 14min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 44min

Verdict

Thin SLI notebook
Thin SLI notebook

Too good to be true? This question crossed our minds when the Aorus X7 was introduced. An ultra-thin chassis with two high-end GPUs is an absolute novelty and certainly deserves the related attention.

Our review, however, showed that it was not a full success. Yes, the manufacturer managed a small wonder with the realization, but nice looks and the thin construction are not very important when the device gets inconveniently warm and loud during gaming. The Aorus is definitely not the right choice for sensitive gamers.

Other issues like the bad gliding capabilities of the touchpad surface and the insufficient power supply unit also affect the overall rating. Build quality and the sound system could be improved as well.

Ignore these points of criticism and the Aorus X7 can justify its price tag. The SLI system and the SSD RAID provide excellent performance, both with 3D applications and everyday tasks.

The possibility to play games on three displays is also tempting. Thanks to the decent non-glare panel, you will also have a good experience with the integrated display. The manufacturer uses its own solutions for the keyboard (macro keys), the software and the design. The detachable bottom cover improves maintainability (Torx screwdriver required!).

Overall, the price of 2,000 Euros ($2099 in the U.S.) is reasonable given the pros and cons of the manufacturer's first notebook outing.

In Comparison

Call of Duty: Ghosts - 1920x1080 Extra / High / HBAO+ / No dynamic fur AA:4x MS (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 765M SLI (332.28)
Aorus X7
40.7 fps ∼50%
GeForce GTX 765M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
21 fps ∼26% -48%
GeForce GTX 770M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
28.4 fps ∼35% -30%
GeForce GTX 780M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
40.5 fps ∼50% 0%
Battlefield 4 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 765M SLI (332.28)
Aorus X7
40.3 fps ∼45%
GeForce GTX 765M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
19.7 fps ∼22% -51%
GeForce GTX 770M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
26.5 fps ∼30% -34%
GeForce GTX 780M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
40 fps ∼45% -1%
F1 2013 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 765M SLI (332.28)
Aorus X7
96 fps ∼85%
GeForce GTX 765M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
67 fps ∼59% -30%
GeForce GTX 770M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
86 fps ∼76% -10%
GeForce GTX 780M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
95 fps ∼84% -1%
Saints Row IV - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:8x MS AF:16x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 765M SLI (332.28)
Aorus X7
48.8 fps ∼61%
GeForce GTX 765M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
25.7 fps ∼32% -47%
GeForce GTX 770M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
35.9 fps ∼45% -26%
GeForce GTX 780M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
51.9 fps ∼64% +6%
Dota 2 - 1920x1080 High / On, Render Quality: 100 % (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 765M SLI (332.28)
Aorus X7
102 fps ∼86%
GeForce GTX 765M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
47.2 fps ∼40% -54%
GeForce GTX 770M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
58.9 fps ∼50% -42%
GeForce GTX 780M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
75.7 fps ∼64% -26%
GRID 2 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4xMS (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 765M SLI (332.28)
Aorus X7
65.4 fps ∼50%
Metro: Last Light - 1920x1080 Very High (DX11) AF:16x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 765M SLI (332.28)
Aorus X7
33 fps ∼41%
BioShock Infinite - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF) (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 765M SLI (332.28)
Aorus X7
57.4 fps ∼49%
GeForce GTX 765M (311.27)
Schenker W503
23.6 fps ∼20% -59%
GeForce GTX 770M (311.27)
One K73-3N
30.8 fps ∼26% -46%
GeForce GTX 780M (311.27)
Schenker XMG P703
46.8 fps ∼40% -18%
Tomb Raider - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:FX AF:16x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 765M SLI (332.28)
Aorus X7
64.2 fps ∼43%
GeForce GTX 765M (311.27)
Schenker W503
31.7 fps ∼21% -51%
GeForce GTX 770M (311.27)
One K73-3N
41.9 fps ∼28% -35%
GeForce GTX 780M (311.27)
Schenker XMG P703
65.5 fps ∼44% +2%
Crysis 3 - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:2xSM AF:16x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 765M SLI (332.28)
Aorus X7
23.7 fps ∼39%
GeForce GTX 765M (311.27)
Schenker W503
14.2 fps ∼24% -40%
GeForce GTX 770M (311.27)
One K73-3N
19.3 fps ∼32% -19%
GeForce GTX 780M (311.27)
Schenker XMG P703
29.2 fps ∼48% +23%
Far Cry 3 - 1920x1080 DX11 Ultra Preset (HDAO, Enhanced Alpha To Coverage) AA:4x MS (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 765M SLI (332.28)
Aorus X7
30.7 fps ∼47%
GeForce GTX 765M (311.27)
Schenker W503
14.4 fps ∼22% -53%
GeForce GTX 770M (311.27)
One K73-3N
20 fps ∼30% -35%
GeForce GTX 780M (311.27)
Schenker XMG P703
30.4 fps ∼46% -1%
Hitman: Absolution - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4xMS AF:16x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 765M SLI (332.28)
Aorus X7
29.5 fps ∼40%
GeForce GTX 765M (311.27)
Schenker W503
13.4 fps ∼18% -55%
GeForce GTX 770M (311.27)
One K73-3N
21.2 fps ∼29% -28%
GeForce GTX 780M (311.27)
Schenker XMG P703
33.8 fps ∼46% +15%
Guild Wars 2 - 1920x1080 All Maximum / On AA:FX (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 765M SLI (332.28)
Aorus X7
41.8 fps ∼63%
GeForce GTX 765M (311.27)
Schenker W503
21.8 fps ∼33% -48%
GeForce GTX 770M (311.27)
One K73-3N
28.6 fps ∼43% -32%
GeForce GTX 780M (311.27)
Schenker XMG P703
41 fps ∼62% -2%

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In Review: Aorus X7
In Review: Aorus X7

Specifications

Aorus X7

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel HM87 (Lynx Point)
:: Memory
16384 MB, 2x 8 GB SO-DIMM DDR3L-SDRAM PC3-12800 (1600 MHz), 4 slots (two occupied), up to 32 GB
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M SLI - 2x 2048 MB, Core: 850 MHz, Memory: 1000 MHz, GDDR5, ForceWare 332.28
:: Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, AU Optronics B173HW02 V1 (AUO219D), TN LCD, Full HD, glossy: no
:: Harddisk
2x Lite-On LMT-128M6M (RAID 0) , 256 GB mSATA + Toshiba MQ01ABD100, 1000 GB HDD, 5.400 rpm
:: Soundcard
Realtek ALC282 @ Intel Lynx Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
2 USB 2.0, 3 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Headphones (S/PDIF), Microphone, Card Reader: SD, Surround (HDMI)
:: Networking
Qualcomm Killer e2200 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Wireless-AC 7260 (a b g n ac), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 23 x 428 x 305
:: Weight
3.25 kg Power Supply: 0.656 kg
:: Battery
73.26 Wh Lithium-Polymer
:: Price
$2099 USD, ~1530 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 1.3 Megapixel, Speakers: 2x 2 Watts + 2x Subwoofer, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, PSU: 180 Watts, Manual, Cleaning cloth, Adobe Reader XI, CyberLink PowerDVD 10, Microsoft Office 365 Trial, Windows Essentials 2012, 24 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
The Aorus X7 has two GPUs, ...
The Aorus X7 has two GPUs, ...
...despite the thin chassis.
...despite the thin chassis.
Not an easy job for the cooling solution under load.
Not an easy job for the cooling solution under load.
Hardly any gaming notebook is thinner than 3 centimeters.
Hardly any gaming notebook is thinner than 3 centimeters.
The maximum opening angle could be bigger.
The maximum opening angle could be bigger.
The back reminds us of the Asus G750.
The back reminds us of the Asus G750.
Main competitor is the MSI GS70.
Main competitor is the MSI GS70.
All components can be accessed with a Torx screwdriver.
All components can be accessed with a Torx screwdriver.
A mixture of metal and plastic surfaces.
A mixture of metal and plastic surfaces.
Modern look in combination with powerful hardware.
Modern look in combination with powerful hardware.
The build quality does not really suit the high retail price.
The build quality does not really suit the high retail price.
The bottom cover is secured by 12 screws.
The bottom cover is secured by 12 screws.
The internal layout reminds us of an ultrabook.
The internal layout reminds us of an ultrabook.
The 17-inch device does not only have one...
The 17-inch device does not only have one...
...but two fans.
...but two fans.
Several heat pipes take care of the heat.
Several heat pipes take care of the heat.
The sound system is at the bottom as well.
The sound system is at the bottom as well.
The manufacturer integrates several speakers and subwoofers.
The manufacturer integrates several speakers and subwoofers.
Two of the four memory slots are empty (up to 32 GB).
Two of the four memory slots are empty (up to 32 GB).
The two mSATA SSDs run in a RAID 0 configuration.
The two mSATA SSDs run in a RAID 0 configuration.
But you also get a 5,400 HDD with 1 TB storage.
But you also get a 5,400 HDD with 1 TB storage.
You can mostly hear the sound from the front.
You can mostly hear the sound from the front.
Right next to the webcam is a brightness sensor.
Right next to the webcam is a brightness sensor.
Power button with a white illumination.
Power button with a white illumination.
Aorus is a new gaming brand.
Aorus is a new gaming brand.
The keyboard has a background illumination as well.
The keyboard has a background illumination as well.
Macro keys can be a nice addition for gamers.
Macro keys can be a nice addition for gamers.
WSAD keys with a special marking.
WSAD keys with a special marking.
Standard sized arrow keys.
Standard sized arrow keys.
You can also see the status LEDs when the lid is closed.
You can also see the status LEDs when the lid is closed.
The glossy touchpad surface quickly attracts dirt.
The glossy touchpad surface quickly attracts dirt.
The device can get really loud, even without the Turbo mode.
The device can get really loud, even without the Turbo mode.
Two USB 2.0 ports are at the back.
Two USB 2.0 ports are at the back.
Kensington Lock on the right.
Kensington Lock on the right.
We would have appreciated more audio ports.
We would have appreciated more audio ports.
No, this is not a fan exhaust.
No, this is not a fan exhaust.
You get four video ports in total.
You get four video ports in total.
The high-end notebooks comes in a very dignified box.
The high-end notebooks comes in a very dignified box.
The scope of delivery however is pretty meager.
The scope of delivery however is pretty meager.
PSU weighs more than 600 grams (1.3 lbs.)
PSU weighs more than 600 grams (1.3 lbs.)

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Links

Compare Prices

Pro

+All components are accessible
+Excellent performance
+RAID 0 mSATA SSDs
+Anti-reflective display
+Illuminated keyboard
+Many ports
+Handy features
+Modern look
+Thin profile
+Macro keys
 

Cons

-Sensitive touchpad with annoying surface
-PSU is deactivated under maximum load
-Notebook can get very warm
-Enormous noise development
-CPU throttling during the stress test
-Poor battery runtimes
-Non-removable battery
-Meager sound

Shortcut

What we like

The manufacturer can differentiate itself from the masses and has a focus on individuality.

What we miss

The Aorus X7 is not a good choice if you are sensitive to noise.

What surprises us

SLI in an ultrabook-like chassis? Quite a risk.

The competition

Thin gaming notebooks like the Gigabyte P34GRazer Blade 14Schenker XMG C703 or MSI GS70 Stealth.

Rating

Aorus X7
07/22/2014 v4
Florian Glaser

Chassis
80 / 98 → 82%
Keyboard
81%
Pointing Device
56%
Connectivity
71 / 91 → 78%
Weight
55 / 66 → 80%
Battery
72%
Display
78%
Games Performance
96%
Application Performance
91%
Temperature
70 / 95 → 74%
Noise
68 / 90 → 76%
Audio
55%
Average
73%
81%
Gaming *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review Aorus X7 Notebook
Author: Florian Glaser, 2014-03- 4 (Update: 2014-03- 5)