Notebookcheck

Aorus X3 Plus v7 (i7-7820HK, GTX 1060) Xotic PC Edition Laptop Review

Small screamer. The Aorus X3 Plus v7 brings a lot of power in a tiny package. While the internals are impressive, thermals and noise present problems. Emissions aside, the X3 Plus v7 is a capable and portable gaming notebook.

Working For Notebookcheck

Are you a loyal reader of notebookcheck? Are you a techie who knows how to write? Then join our Team!

Especially wanted: 
English-Swedish-Translator - 
Details here
Review Editor - 
Details here
News Editor - Details here

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aorus has built a name for itself by pushing the limits of how compact a gaming notebook can be. The premium line is known for its high-end specifications and thing, light, well-crafted notebook bodies. The X3 Plus is its smallest notebook line, featuring a 13.9-inch display and a small chassis. We reviewed the previous Aorus X3 Plus v5 a year and a half ago. While the newer device is physically very similar, there are some minor updates and tweaks to the case, keyboard, and ports. Be sure to check out the review of the Aorus X3 Plus v5 to see how the line has evolved over time.

Despite its lilliputian design, the X3 Plus v7 packs some serious power thanks to a Kaby Lake Intel Core i7-7820HK and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060. Both the CPU and GPU can be overclocked, a rarity in notebooks and even less common in devices this small. We've seen overclockable CPUs in other devices, notably the Acer Predator 17 X and Alienware 17 R4, but these are hulking beasts compared to the thin-and-light X3 Plus v7. 

The rest of the Aorus X3 is quite impressive as well. Rounding out the device are high-end specs, including a 512 GB NVMe SSD, 16 GB of RAM (upgradeable to 32 GB), a high-resolution 3200x1800 display, a bevy of overclocking and customization tools, and high-end networking solutions from Killer and Intel. All this is packed in a small, well-built aluminum package for about $2,000 USD. Will this notebook be able to keep everything under control, or will it lose its cool? We'll find out in this review. 

The Aorus X3 Plus v7 is well-suited to compete against other smaller gaming notebooks. The most obvious rivals are the new Alienware 13 R3 and Gigabyte's new Aero 14, both of which currently sit at the top of our Lightweight Gaming Notebook Top 10 list. The popular 2017 Razer Blade 14 also directly competes with the X3. We will also compare the X3 to the Eurocom Tornado F5 and last year's Aorus x5 v6, both of which also feature overclocked CPUs (albeit in larger cases). Rounding out our comparison will be other thin-and-lights that offer a larger chassis, the Gigabyte Aero 15 and MSI GS63VR

Aorus x3 Plus v7 (X3 Series)
Processor
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop) - 6144 MB, Core: 1582 MHz, Overclocked, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 21.21.13.7654, Nvidia Optimus
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4-2400, PC4-19200
Display
13.9 inch 16:9, 3200x1800 pixel 264 PPI, No, Sharp SHP1401, IGZO TFT, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM175
Storage
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7, 512 GB 
, 512 GB, PCIe NVMe, 463 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Skylake PCH-H High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Mikrofon / Kopfhörer, getrennte Ein- und Ausgänge, Card Reader: SD/SDXC/SDHC, Brightness Sensor
Networking
Qualcomm Killer e2200 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 (a/b/g/n/ac)
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 22.9 x 327 x 263.5 ( = 0.9 x 12.87 x 10.37 in)
Battery
74 Wh Lithium-Polymer, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 7.5 h
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p
Additional features
Speakers: 2 2-Watt-Lautsprecher (stereo), Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Aorus Command&Control, XSplit Broadcaster, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
1.8 kg ( = 63.49 oz / 3.97 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)
Price
2000 USD

 

Case

Aorus notebooks are famous for their beautiful, well-built cases. The X3 Plus v7 aims to continue this trend and mostly succeeds. The aluminum chassis is thin. If the notebook has been sitting idle or off, the body feels cool to the touch (like metal should). However, under any load, the body warms to room temperature, making it feel like cheaper plastic. The aluminum no doubt helps with dissipating internal heat but is thin and doesn't feel as premium as the price would lead one to expect. 

Although the casing is thin, it is still very sturdy. Flex is minimal. There are weak points in the middle of the keyboard deck and in the center of the underside, but these will only bend under direct pressure. During normal use, the device remains solid. Gaps and seams around the body are uniform and tight, although the junction of the keyboard deck and main body has a slightly larger space that likes to collect dust and grime. There is no noise of any kind when the chassis is depressed.

The display housing is the primary shortcoming in the otherwise solid chassis. The hinge tension is well tuned and allows for easy one-handed opening, but the screen will wiggle for a second when opened. Once set, the hinge does not budge while typing. There is quite a bit of screen flex, however, and the housing bends when pressed from the back side. Also, if the user closes the display from anywhere but dead center, the display will bend to a noticeable degree. No creaking can be heard when pressing on the display housing.

The overall aesthetic strikes a nice balance between the elegance of a premium notebook and the overblown tackiness that plagues gaming-oriented devices. The device as a whole has a very angular and aggressive look to it, but the matte black finish gives an understated look to the overall aesthetic. The back of the lid is marked only by Aorus' eagle logo, and our specific review model sports a wrap from Xotic PC, which is an option available from the retailer. The finish on the case is also resistant to fingerprint smudges, and while oils will show on the keyboard after some use, they are easily wiped away. All considered, the notebook has a premium look. This is a device that can feel as much at home in the boardroom as it can at a LAN party.

Compared to other gaming notebooks, the Aorus X3 Plus v7 has a small footprint. The display and main body are very thin, but the massive exhaust vents in the rear add to the overall thickness of the device. At it's tallest point, the X3 is comparable to the Alienware 13. This is really only true of the tall exhaust vents; the rest of the case is much thinner. The rest of the X3's footprint is similar to the Alienware. This no small feat, considering the X3's 13.9-inch display is larger than the Alienware's 13.3-inch screen. 

Connectivity

Despite its smaller footprint, the Aorus X3 Plus v7 has a strong port selection. Connectivity options include three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a single USB 3.1 Type-C port, a mini DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, and a half-size SD card slot. The X3 also features dedicated line in and audio out ports for use with gaming headsets. Sadly, there is no Thunderbolt 3; as such, high-end displays, storage, and eGPUs are not options here. Port layout is good with no cause for complaint.

Left: Kensington lock, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.0 Type-A, mic jack, headphone jack, USB 3.1 Type-C (not Thunderbolt)
Left: Kensington lock, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.0 Type-A, mic jack, headphone jack, USB 3.1 Type-C (not Thunderbolt)
Right: SD card reader, 2x USB 3.0 Type-A, power button
Right: SD card reader, 2x USB 3.0 Type-A, power button
Front: Status LEDs (on left side)
Front: Status LEDs (on left side)
Rear: power in, Gigabit Ethernet
Rear: power in, Gigabit Ethernet

SD Card Reader

The half-size SD Card Reader provides average transfer speeds. Using our Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB USD-II reference card, we see about 80 MB/s in our JPG copy test and about 91 MB/s in AS SSD. This is in line with the competition from Gigabyte, but far behind the Eurocom Tornado F5. While the Card Reader isn't slow, it's not particularly noteworthy either.

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Eurocom Tornado F5
159.5 MB/s ∼100% +101%
Aorus x3 Plus v7
79.4 MB/s ∼50%
Gigabyte Aero 15
78 MB/s ∼49% -2%
Gigabyte Aero 14
73 MB/s ∼46% -8%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
23.59 MB/s ∼15% -70%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Eurocom Tornado F5
191.9 MB/s ∼100% +110%
Aorus x3 Plus v7
91.4 MB/s ∼48%
Gigabyte Aero 15
89 MB/s ∼46% -3%
Gigabyte Aero 14
87 MB/s ∼45% -5%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
20.96 MB/s ∼11% -77%

Communication

WiFi connections are in line with other gaming laptops. At 502 Mbit/s sending and 626 Mbit/s receiving, users should find WiFi speeds more than adequate for their needs. The Intel dual band AC 8260 WiFi card performs well with no dropped connections during our testing time.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Gigabyte Aero 14
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
684 MBit/s ∼100% +9%
Gigabyte Aero 15
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
678 MBit/s ∼99% +8%
Alienware 13 R3
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter
667 MBit/s ∼98% +7%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
662 MBit/s ∼97% +6%
Aorus x3 Plus v7
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
626 MBit/s ∼92%
Eurocom Tornado F5
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
558 MBit/s ∼82% -11%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
594 MBit/s ∼100% +18%
Alienware 13 R3
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter
571 MBit/s ∼96% +14%
Eurocom Tornado F5
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
569 MBit/s ∼96% +13%
Gigabyte Aero 14
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
503 MBit/s ∼85% 0%
Aorus x3 Plus v7
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
502 MBit/s ∼85%
Gigabyte Aero 15
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
346 MBit/s ∼58% -31%

Accessories and Software

Our unit was provided by Xotic PC. In the box, users will find the notebook, the 150 W power adapter, a large microfiber cleaning cloth, and a synthetic laptop sleeve sporting the Aorus logo. There is also a small USB storage drive with drivers and Aorus software in case they need to be reinstalled.

Aorus includes several software suites to sweeten the X3 Plus v7. Users will find Xsplit Gamecaster for use in streaming and screen sharing, the Aorus Audio Equalizer for tuning the speakers and connected audio devices, and Aorus' COMMAND&CONTROL hub. COMMAND&CONTROLl gives full access to some hardware tweaks, including a CPU and GPU overclocking tool, fan control profiles, mouse cursor speed and sensitivity, and a blue light filter to ease eye strain. The overclocking tool is very straightforward; simply slide the tuner to the desired clock speed (for the CPU) or overclock factor (for the GPU), and the software will boost the components accordingly. We will explore this overclocking feature in the performance sections below.

COMMAND&CONTROL
COMMAND&CONTROL
OC GAUGE: Simple overclocking with hardware monitors
OC GAUGE: Simple overclocking with hardware monitors
Overclock: even simpler overclocking
Overclock: even simpler overclocking
Fan profiles
Fan profiles

Maintenance

Users will need a Torx T6 bit to access the internals. A pry tool may also help.
Users will need a Torx T6 bit to access the internals. A pry tool may also help.

Upgrading the X3 Plus v7 is relatively simple, given that you have the correct tools. The back panel is held on by 10 Torx T-6 screws. The four screws at the front of the case are shorter than the other 6. Once the screws are removed, the bottom aluminum panel can be removed after disengaging a few plastic clips. Once inside, users will have full access to the battery, two DDR4 RAM slots, two M.2 drive slots (compatible with NVMe SSDs), the wireless card, and the CPU and GPU heat sink array. Everything except the CPU and GPU can be replaced or upgraded with ease. Should users feel inclined, it's also fairly simple to remove the CPU/GPU heat sinks to clean the fans or reapply thermal paste for better cooling.

Every component is readily available.
Every component is readily available.
There is space for more RAM and another NVMe SSD.
There is space for more RAM and another NVMe SSD.
CPU and GPU fans and heat sink array.
CPU and GPU fans and heat sink array.

Warranty

Aorus offers a two year warranty on the X3 Plus v7 and its power supply. The battery is covered for one year. 

Input Devices

Keyboard

The Keyboard is average. Travel is decent and there is a well-defined pressure point, but the plastic key caps clatter loudly when typing. The layout features the usual keys (e.g., function keys that double as system controls) with some additions gamers may appreciate. The WASD keys are outlined in white and there are 5 macro keys in a column on the left side of the keyboard deck, separated by enough space to make them feel distinct from the rest of the keys. Users can set up to 5 different profiles using the G key at the top of this column, with each profile indicated by a different color. This requires the Aorus Macro Engine, which was strangely not present on our review unit but can be downloaded online. The keyboard also features a two-stage white backlight. Unfortunately, the customizable RGB lighting from Aorus' other notebooks doesn't make the transition to their smaller device.

Touchpad  

The touchpad is a weak point for this notebook. While its glass finish and subtle Aorus logo look stunning, the pad itself is difficult to use. Tracking is smooth, but multi-finger gestures (such as two-finger scrolling) doesn't always register and is jumpy when it does. Palm rejection is also non-existent, and the touchpad frequently registers inputs from a user's palm while typing, resulting in frustrating cursor jumps and unintended clicks. Thankfully, there is a function key dedicated to turning the touchpad off; this feature is a godsend during gaming and long typing sessions. The bottom portion is textured and does not register tracking. The center of the textured section is completely immobile, so users are forced to click in the bottom left and right corners in a seesaw-like motion. The clicking mechanism is very stiff and not pleasing to use. Overall, the touchpad is poor and will leave users reaching for an external mouse. 

Keyboard and glass touchpad.
Keyboard and glass touchpad.
5 macro keys with 5 separate profiles.
5 macro keys with 5 separate profiles.
Keyboard backlight.
Keyboard backlight.

Display

One of the defining features of the X3 Plus v7 is its gorgeous 3200x1800 IGZO display. Images and text are crisp and tack sharp. While the resolution offers a high amount of detail, the 13.9" size is a bit small for this many pixels. Users will likely opt to scale the display to 150% for a more usable experience, but the option for more screen real estate is there. In gaming, the native resolution is out of reach for the GPU in our unit, a factor we will explore further in the performance sections below. Suffice it to say the high resolution makes for some stunning images but likely won't be used in favor of legibility and reduced eye strain.

Response times are in line with other gaming notebooks, although the lightning fast OLED panel of the Alienware 13 is much quicker. The panel also has a relatively low PWM frequency of about 200 Hz that is noticeable at about 50% brightness and below. Backlight bleed is minimal and only noticeable in the bottom corners under very dark settings. It won't distract from regular use in even low-lit environments. The screen gets very bright, peaking at an average of 359 nits. This, coupled with the matte finish, makes the device usable in almost any lighting condition. The screen is still usable in direct sunlight and remains vibrant in the shade.

Color space is good at 96% of sRGB and 62% of AdobeRGB. This rivals the great color space of the Alienware 13 and trounces rivals, which tend to have a more limited range of colors. 

Subpixel array
Subpixel array
Even backlight with minimal bleeding along the bottom.
Even backlight with minimal bleeding along the bottom.
In shade
In shade
In direct sunlight
In direct sunlight
411.1
cd/m²
374.4
cd/m²
373.5
cd/m²
380.7
cd/m²
348
cd/m²
320
cd/m²
386.4
cd/m²
338
cd/m²
300
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 411.1 cd/m² Average: 359.1 cd/m² Minimum: 10.79 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 73 %
Center on Battery: 348 cd/m²
Contrast: 1200:1 (Black: 0.29 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 2.4 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 2.3 | - Ø
96% sRGB (Argyll) 62% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.21
Aorus x3 Plus v7
Sharp SHP1401, IGZO TFT, 13.9, 3200x1800
Alienware 13 R3
JJT6C_133KL05 (SDCA029), OLED, 13.3, 2560x1440
Gigabyte Aero 14
LG Philips LP140QH1-SPF1 (LGD049A), IPS, 14, 2560x1440
Razer Blade (2017)
LP140WF3-SPD1, IPS, 14, 1920x1080
Gigabyte Aero 15
N156HCA-EA1 (CMN15D7), IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Eurocom Tornado F5
IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
IPS, 15.6, 3840x2160
Aorus X5 v6 AO-S107W516-PL-002
Panasonic MEI96A2 / VVX16T028J00, , 15.6, 2880x1620
Response Times
54%
-5%
3511%
4251%
-8%
200%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
38 (19.6, 18.4)
41 (17, 24)
-8%
25.2 (18, 17.2)
34%
42.8 (23.6, 19.2)
-13%
33.6 (8.4, 25.2)
12%
28 (15.6, 12.4)
26%
Response Time Black / White *
24.4 (11.2, 13.2)
2.8 (1.2, 1.6)
89%
25 (4, 21)
-2%
24.8 (13.2, 11.6)
-2%
32 (18.8, 13.2)
-31%
31.2 (4.4, 26.8)
-28%
23.6 (15.2, 8.4)
3%
PWM Frequency
201.6 (50)
240 (100)
19%
21370
10500%
26000 (20)
12797%
1351 (39)
570%
Screen
11%
-29%
-27%
-38%
-30%
-85%
-19%
Brightness
359
310
-14%
257
-28%
277
-23%
316
-12%
310
-14%
263
-27%
296
-18%
Brightness Distribution
73
87
19%
79
8%
84
15%
90
23%
90
23%
92
26%
79
8%
Black Level *
0.29
0.3
-3%
0.26
10%
0.36
-24%
0.33
-14%
0.44
-52%
0.4
-38%
Contrast
1200
967
-19%
1046
-13%
889
-26%
957
-20%
623
-48%
875
-27%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.4
2.54
-6%
4.59
-91%
4.59
-91%
4.62
-93%
5
-108%
8
-233%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.3
1.43
38%
4.32
-88%
4.28
-86%
6
-161%
4.2
-83%
9.1
-296%
Gamma
2.21 109%
2.3 104%
2.25 107%
2.23 108%
2.46 98%
2.12 113%
2.24 107%
CCT
6206 105%
6337 103%
7320 89%
6848 95%
6761 96%
6107 106%
5020 129%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
62
78
26%
59
-5%
55
-11%
60
-3%
54.5
-12%
45.7
-26%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
96
97
1%
92
-4%
83
-14%
92
-4%
83
-14%
72.1
-25%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
33% / 22%
-17% / -24%
1742% / 938%
2107% / 1132%
-19% / -26%
58% / -7%
-19% / -19%

* ... smaller is better

Colors are vibrant and fairly accurate; our measurements peg the screen at a delta of 2.4. Generally, deltas lower than 3 are acceptable for professional work. With calibration, deltas fall to 1.6, which is phenomenal and should be more than acceptable for must color professionals. Greyscale deltas are also fantastic at 2.4; only the Alienware's OLED display (which can turn off individual pixels for true blacks) beats it. When calibrated, this number falls to an outstanding 1.1. The high resolution and excellent color reproduction could make the X3 suitable for professional video and photo work on the go.

CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker (calibrated)
CalMAN ColorChecker (calibrated)
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale (calibrated)
CalMAN Grayscale (calibrated)
Saturation Sweeps
Saturation Sweeps
Saturation Sweeps (calibrated)
Saturation Sweeps (calibrated)
vs sRGB: 96%
vs sRGB: 96%
vs AdobeRGB: 62%
vs AdobeRGB: 62%

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
24.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 11.2 ms rise
↘ 13.2 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 34 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (26.7 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
38 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 19.6 ms rise
↘ 18.4 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 636 (maximum) ms. » 34 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (42.8 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 201.6 Hz50 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 201.6 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 50 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 201.6 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 57 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 6272 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

The IGZO panel has good viewing angles, but can't quite match those of an IPS display. When viewing the screen past 45°, colors begin to wash out and the screen looks dimmer. Text is still very legible, but images lose their punch. White colors also take on a yellowish tint at these angles. The screen is still good when used off-center, but quality quickly diminishes as viewing angles increase. 

Viewing Angles
Viewing Angles
Colors begin to wash out...
Colors begin to wash out...
...when viewed from off-center.
...when viewed from off-center.

Performance

The Aorus X3 Plus v7 has a unique setup for a thin-and-light gaming laptop. While the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 is becoming standard fare for smaller gaming notebooks like the Alienware 13 and Aero 14, the unlocked Intel Core i7-7820HK is an interesting choice for a notebook this small. Aorus includes software that allows users to overclock the CPU and GPU using a simple slider. We will examine whether or not these overclocking options provide any real-world benefits and see if the notebook can handle the additional power requirements and heat output.

Processor

In keeping with its philosophy of making powerful, premium notebooks, Aorus has equipped the X3 Plus v7 with an unlocked Intel Core i7-7820HK. With an L3 cache of 8 MB, a base clock of 2.9 GHz, and a boost clock up to 3.9 GHz, the 7820HK is powerful right out of the box. However, users can overclock the CPU to 4.3 GHz using the included COMMAND&CONTROL software package. All benchmarks recorded in the tables below were run at this overclock unless otherwise specified.

In Cinebench R15, the X3 Plus v7 puts up quite a show with a single-core score of 181 CB and a multi-core score of 819 CB. The roughly 10% gain in maximum clock results in about a 15-20% bump in performance over the Intel Core i7-7700HQ more commonly seen in gaming notebooks. It also outperforms the previous generation Core i7-6820HK (seen in last year's Aorus notebooks) by about 6-7%. The 7820HK only falls behind the i7-7700K found in the Eurocom Tornado F5, a 91 W processor made for desktops. Even then, the Tornado F5's 7700K (which has a TDP twice as high as the 7820HK) beats the X3 by a mere 10% in multi-threaded workloads. There's no doubt that the 7820HK packs some serious power.

When running the CPU at its pre-configured settings, the performance gap is greatly reduced. Cinebench R15 scores are still in the X3's favor, if only by about 5%. Users that opt to run the 7820HK at its standard clock speeds to increase battery life and reduce heat emissions can expect slightly better performance than its rivals in CPU intensive tasks.

The CPU is rock solid over long term use. Running Cinebench R15 multiple times in a row yielded similar results, which shows that the 7820HK performs at the same level over long periods of use.

Update (24/05/2017): Further testing confirms that the Core i7-7820HK is capped at the non-overclocked boost of 3.9 GHz when on battery. Users can expect a lower level of performance when unplugged.

For more information and benchmarks on the Intel Core i7-7820HK, check out our dedicated page on the CPU here.

Cinebench R10
Cinebench R10
Cinebench R11.5 (default clock)
Cinebench R11.5 (default clock)
Cinebench R11.5 (overclocked)
Cinebench R11.5 (overclocked)
Cinebench R15 (default clock)
Cinebench R15 (default clock)
Cinebench R15 (overclocked)
Cinebench R15 (overclocked)

Overclocking Performance

Single core Single core (OC) Multi-core Multi-core (OC)
Cinebench R11.5 1.86 2.08 8.62 8.86
Cinebench R15 166 181 788 819
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670680690700710720730740750760770780790800810820Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
190 Points ∼97% +5%
Aorus x3 Plus v7
Intel Core i7-7820HK
181 Points ∼93%
Aorus X5 v6 AO-S107W516-PL-002
Intel Core i7-6820HK
170 Points ∼87% -6%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
162 Points ∼83% -10%
Gigabyte Aero 15
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
161 Points ∼83% -11%
Alienware 13 R3
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
159 Points ∼82% -12%
Gigabyte Aero 14
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
159 Points ∼82% -12%
Razer Blade (2017)
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
154 Points ∼79% -15%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
897 Points ∼42% +10%
Aorus x3 Plus v7
Intel Core i7-7820HK
819 Points ∼38%
Aorus X5 v6 AO-S107W516-PL-002
Intel Core i7-6820HK
769 Points ∼36% -6%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
742 Points ∼35% -9%
Gigabyte Aero 15
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
742 Points ∼35% -9%
Alienware 13 R3
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
737 Points ∼34% -10%
Gigabyte Aero 14
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
730 Points ∼34% -11%
Razer Blade (2017)
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
729 Points ∼34% -11%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
2.19 Points ∼99% +5%
Aorus x3 Plus v7
Intel Core i7-7820HK
2.08 Points ∼94%
Gigabyte Aero 15
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.84 Points ∼83% -12%
Alienware 13 R3
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.81 Points ∼82% -13%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.77 Points ∼80% -15%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
9.78 Points ∼41% +10%
Aorus x3 Plus v7
Intel Core i7-7820HK
8.86 Points ∼37%
Gigabyte Aero 15
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.23 Points ∼34% -7%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.18 Points ∼34% -8%
Alienware 13 R3
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.1 Points ∼34% -9%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single 32Bit
Aorus x3 Plus v7
Intel Core i7-7820HK
8872 Points ∼100%
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
7222 Points ∼81% -19%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
5747 Points ∼65% -35%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
Aorus x3 Plus v7
Intel Core i7-7820HK
32510 Points ∼65%
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
28189 Points ∼57% -13%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
22217 Points ∼45% -32%
wPrime 2.0x - 1024m
Aorus x3 Plus v7
Intel Core i7-7820HK
327.1 s * ∼4%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
236 s * ∼3% +28%
Aorus X5 v6 AO-S107W516-PL-002
Intel Core i7-6820HK
229.953 s * ∼3% +30%
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
176.329 s * ∼2% +46%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - ---
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
579.909 Seconds * ∼3% -11%
Aorus x3 Plus v7
Intel Core i7-7820HK
521.8 Seconds * ∼2%
Aorus X5 v6 AO-S107W516-PL-002
Intel Core i7-6820HK
487.544 Seconds * ∼2% +7%
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
440.036 Seconds * ∼2% +16%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
8872
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
32510
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6830
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
2.08 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
8.86 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
181 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
819 Points
Help

System Performance

Overall system performance is snappy. The NVMe SSD opens files quickly, and the CPU and GPU pair to make a blazing fast combo. We have no cause for complaint in the overall responsiveness of the device; during our review period, we were never left waiting for the notebook to catch up.

Using PCMark 8, we yield some interesting results. In spite of the fact that the X3 has the same GPU and a higher-clocked CPU than its rivals, it falls in dead last by a wide margin in every single test. We suspect this may be due to the newer 7820HK; there could be a driver issue at play here. The scores below may not be indicative of real-world performance. In our opinion, the X3 is incredibly fast and should perform on par with or better than its rivals.

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Eurocom Tornado F5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700K, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
6515 Points ∼100% +41%
Gigabyte Aero 15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
5290 Points ∼81% +15%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
5268 Points ∼81% +14%
Razer Blade (2017)
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
5008 Points ∼77% +9%
Alienware 13 R3
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
4799 Points ∼74% +4%
Gigabyte Aero 14
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, LiteOn CX2-8B256
4702 Points ∼72% +2%
Aorus x3 Plus v7
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
4605 Points ∼71%
Creative Score Accelerated v2
Eurocom Tornado F5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700K, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
8593 Points ∼92% +101%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
5318 Points ∼57% +24%
Alienware 13 R3
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
5200 Points ∼56% +22%
Aorus x3 Plus v7
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
4278 Points ∼46%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Eurocom Tornado F5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700K, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
5476 Points ∼92% +68%
Gigabyte Aero 15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
4248 Points ∼71% +30%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
4141 Points ∼69% +27%
Razer Blade (2017)
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
3958 Points ∼66% +21%
Alienware 13 R3
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
3894 Points ∼65% +19%
Gigabyte Aero 14
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, LiteOn CX2-8B256
3717 Points ∼62% +14%
Aorus x3 Plus v7
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
3266 Points ∼55%
PCMark 7 Score
5966 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3266 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
4278 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4605 points
Help

Storage Devices

The Toshiba NVMe SSD in the X3 is lightning quick, but performance is inconsistent. CrystalDiskMark returned average read and write scores of 1498 and 1324, respectively. Applications and programs load quickly, and load times in games are fast. The X3 bests the LiteOn NVMe SSDs used by the Aero 14 and Aero 15, but the Samsung SSDs found in the Tornado F5 and MSI GS63VR offer faster performance. 

AS SSD
AS SSD
CrystalDiskMark
CrystalDiskMark
Aorus x3 Plus v7
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
Alienware 13 R3
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
Gigabyte Aero 14
LiteOn CX2-8B256
Razer Blade (2017)
Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
Gigabyte Aero 15
Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
Eurocom Tornado F5
Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
Aorus X5 v6 AO-S107W516-PL-002
LiteOn CX2-8B256
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
-23%
-14%
-38%
-6%
12%
7%
-12%
Write 4k QD32
516.7
311.2
-40%
441
-15%
308
-40%
490.5
-5%
634
23%
526.9
2%
486.2
-6%
Read 4k QD32
699.8
593.1
-15%
601.6
-14%
565
-19%
644.8
-8%
744.4
6%
631.7
-10%
644.3
-8%
Write 4k
156
140.2
-10%
131.2
-16%
134.3
-14%
123.3
-21%
180.6
16%
158.2
1%
143.2
-8%
Read 4k
44.8
37.65
-16%
44.93
0%
34.8
-22%
44.7
0%
55.94
25%
54.2
21%
46.13
3%
Write 512
1221
405.6
-67%
814.2
-33%
310
-75%
1069
-12%
966.7
-21%
1531
25%
723.7
-41%
Read 512
966.3
1070
11%
984.7
2%
682
-29%
890.7
-8%
715.3
-26%
499.7
-48%
952.1
-1%
Write Seq
1324
789.4
-40%
794.6
-40%
311
-77%
1133
-14%
1724
30%
1621
22%
767.4
-42%
Read Seq
1498
1373
-8%
1584
6%
1122
-25%
1769
18%
2145
43%
2141
43%
1605
7%
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
Transfer Rate Minimum: 292.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 1311.4 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 630.7 MB/s
Access Time: 0.07 ms
Burst Rate: 602.9 MB/s
CPU Usage: 2.2 %

GPU Performance

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 is quickly becoming the go-to GPU solution for mid-tier gaming notebooks, and it's no surprise why. The 1060 is well-suited to use at Full HD. It dominates 1080p gaming and even opens the door to 1440p gameplay, albeit at lower settings. Our model uses the higher-specced version of the 1060 with 6 GB of GDDR5 VRAM. The GPU can be pushed to its limits by using Aorus' included overclocking tools. This feature can squeeze out a few more frames, and we will explore it in the section on Gaming Performance. Suffice it to say that, coupled with the powerful 7820HK, the 1060 tears through graphically heavy tasks. The X3 scored 12298 in the Fire Strike Graphics benchmark, beating out its rivals by 5-9%. Therefore, users can expect a bit more performance out of this machine than other notebooks equipped with the GTX 1060. The X3 performs at a similar level while running on battery power, making 3D intensive tasks as smooth away from the outlet as they are when plugged in.

UPDATE (24/05/2017): After further testing, we can confirm that GPU clock speeds can hit the overclocked speeds while on battery power, but the average clock will be lower. The result is about a 10-15% performance hit in Fire Strike Extreme. While this drop is significant, it doesn't affect real world usage; we did not notice any notable difference in frame rates while running the Witcher 3 on battery.

For more information about the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 and other benchmarks, please visit our page dedicated to the GPU here.

Ice Storm
Ice Storm
Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate
Fire Strike (default clock)
Fire Strike (default clock)
Fire Strike (overclocked)
Fire Strike (overclocked)
Fire Strike Extreme (default clock)
Fire Strike Extreme (default clock)
Fire Strike Extreme (overclocked)
Fire Strike Extreme (overclocked)
Fire Strike Ultra (overclocked)
Fire Strike Ultra (overclocked)
 
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Aorus X5 v6 AO-S107W516-PL-002
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
17393 Points ∼43% +41%
Eurocom Tornado F5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700K
17321 Points ∼43% +41%
Aorus x3 Plus v7
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7820HK
12298 Points ∼30%
Gigabyte Aero 14
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
11625 Points ∼29% -5%
Alienware 13 R3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
11323 Points ∼28% -8%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
11261 Points ∼28% -8%
Gigabyte Aero 15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
11173 Points ∼27% -9%
Razer Blade (2017)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
10853 Points ∼27% -12%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Eurocom Tornado F5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700K
114095 Points ∼70% +163%
Aorus X5 v6 AO-S107W516-PL-002
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
102589 Points ∼63% +136%
Gigabyte Aero 15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
77755 Points ∼48% +79%
Alienware 13 R3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
54974 Points ∼34% +27%
Aorus x3 Plus v7
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7820HK
43388 Points ∼27%
Gigabyte Aero 14
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
41631 Points ∼25% -4%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
32344 Points ∼20% -25%
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
33625 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
20785 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
10361 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
5532 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The GTX 1060 performs with aplomb at Full HD gaming. Even GPU intensive games like Mafia 3 and Ashes of the Singularity run fairly smoothly at 45 and 50 frames per second, respectively. There isn't a current title that the X3 can't handle at 1080p, regardless of settings. Compared to similarly equipped rivals, the X3 Plus v7 posts about 8-10% better frames in most titles, owed mainly to the pairing of the GTX 1060 and i7-7820HK. Gamers will enjoy smooth frame rates and maximum settings when gaming at full HD.

Overclocking the GPU brings a small bump in performance. DOOM and Rise of the Tomb Raider gain 4 fps, but since the panel only has a 60 Hz refresh rate, anything over 60 fps likely won't be noticeable. Most games run well enough at the default settings, so gamers may want to save on power and run the GPU in its standard mode. For more demanding titles and future games, the overclocking option is a nice tool to have.

Gaming at the notebook's native resolution of 3200x1800 is another story. When playing games at the highest settings at the native QHD+ resolution, performance takes a massive hit. DOOM drops from 97 to 45 fps, and both Rise of the Tomb Raider and Metro: Last Light see frame rates cut by more than half. It's a wonder, then, why Aorus used such a high-resolution panel. The increased pixel density at this screen size is questionably useful, and performance at 1800p isn't worth the increase in detail. Older and well-optimized titles are playable, but the latest AAA games will require settings to be scaled back in order to play smoothly at the native resolution. 

Using our Witcher 3 long-term test, the X3 offers fairly consistent performance. While playing the game for an hour at 1080p on Ultra settings, frame rates varied from 37 to 43 fps. This variance could be explained by the day/night cycles in the game and other ambient effects. That considered, the X3 remains steady even over long gameplay sessions. 

Gaming Performance: Overclocking, Native Resolution

Default clock, 1920x1080 Overclocked, 1920x1080 Overclocked, 3200x1800
DOOM 93 97 45
Rise of the Tomb Raider 61 65 28
Metro: Last Light 81 82 40
0123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930313233343536373839404142434445Tooltip
The Witcher 3 ultra
BioShock Infinite - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF) (sort by value)
Aorus x3 Plus v7
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
109 fps ∼51%
Eurocom Tornado F5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700K, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
149.6 fps ∼70% +37%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
100.6 fps ∼47% -8%
Aorus X5 v6 AO-S107W516-PL-002
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK, LiteOn CX2-8B256
135.5 fps ∼63% +24%
Metro: Last Light - 1920x1080 Very High (DX11) AF:16x (sort by value)
Aorus x3 Plus v7
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
82 fps ∼55%
Eurocom Tornado F5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700K, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
117.6 fps ∼79% +43%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
78.1 fps ∼52% -5%
Thief - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FXAA & High SS AF:8x (sort by value)
Aorus x3 Plus v7
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
42 fps ∼33%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
74.9 fps ∼60% +78%
Aorus X5 v6 AO-S107W516-PL-002
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK, LiteOn CX2-8B256
108.2 fps ∼86% +158%
The Witcher 3 - 1920x1080 Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+) (sort by value)
Aorus x3 Plus v7
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
40 fps ∼35%
Gigabyte Aero 14
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, LiteOn CX2-8B256
38.3 fps ∼33% -4%
Razer Blade (2017)
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
37 fps ∼32% -7%
Gigabyte Aero 15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
37.7 fps ∼33% -6%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
39.4 fps ∼34% -1%
Aorus X5 v6 AO-S107W516-PL-002
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK, LiteOn CX2-8B256
60.6 fps ∼53% +52%
Rise of the Tomb Raider - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FX AF:16x (sort by value)
Aorus x3 Plus v7
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
65 fps ∼40%
Razer Blade (2017)
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
57 fps ∼35% -12%
Eurocom Tornado F5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700K, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
98 fps ∼61% +51%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
64.1 fps ∼40% -1%
Ashes of the Singularity - 1920x1080 high (sort by value)
Aorus x3 Plus v7
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
50 fps ∼57%
Eurocom Tornado F5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700K, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
78.2 fps ∼89% +56%
Doom - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:SM (sort by value)
Aorus x3 Plus v7
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
97 fps ∼49%
Eurocom Tornado F5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700K, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
136.5 fps ∼68% +41%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
92.3 fps ∼46% -5%
Fallout 4 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:T AF:16x (sort by value)
Aorus x3 Plus v7
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
77 fps ∼52%
Eurocom Tornado F5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700K, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
107.6 fps ∼72% +40%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
64 fps ∼43% -17%
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 109fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 82fps
Thief (2014) 42fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 40fps
Fallout 4 (2015) 77fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 65fps
Ashes of the Singularity (2016) 50fps
Doom (2016) 97fps
Mafia 3 (2016) 45fps

Stress Test

Here lies the Achilles Heel of the Aorus X3 Plus v7. The small chassis struggles to keep the immense power of the overclocked CPU and GPU reined in, and the result is some harsh thermal throttling. Using Prime95 to synthetically stress the device and tax the CPU far beyond the strain of real-world use, we see the 7820HK boost to its overclocked maximum of 4.3 GHz for a short time. After coming under strain for about 10 minutes, however, the CPU quickly reduces its clock speed back to a more conservative 3.6 GHz in order to keep temperatures in check. While boosting, we see a maximum of 100º C on the CPU package, which is Intel's advised threshold to prevent damage. Once clock speeds come back down, the CPU sits at about 95-96º C. While this is still hot, it's within tolerance. If users are going to tax the X3, they should ensure the notebook is well ventilated and receiving enough fresh air.

FurMark creates an unrealistically heavy workload for the GPU. When strained by the benchmark, the GTX 1060 performs admirably. Maximum temperatures reach 88º C but average at about 82º C. This is a good result considering the GPU is able to hit its overclocked speed of 1650 MHz periodically throughout the test. The CPU  reaches 99º C for a brief moment (likely due to heat runoff from the GPU) but keeps its cool after the fans dump the excess heat.

Running Prime95 and FurMark together is where problems begin. After running both stress tests concurrently for an hour, the 7820HK is brought to its knees and chokes back to 2.3 GHz. At the beginning of the test, the CPU reaches 4.0 GHz, but only briefly; most of the benchmark sees the 7820HK hovering around 2.3 - 2.5 GHz. Temperatures also reach 90-95º C across all four cores, which explains the lower clock. The GPU again does well here, reaching a maximum of 1632 MHz while averaging about 88º C. The GTX 1060 settles in between 1475 - 1500 MHz and sits there for most of the test. 

While the thermal throttling seen here may seem damning, keep in mind that Prime95 and FurMark are unrealistically difficult tests meant to place an inordinate amount of stress on the internals. Using an hour long play session of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, we gain better insight into real-world stress the X3 will actually see. While temperatures across the CPU die are still high and flirt with the 100º C threshold, the 7820HK hits its 4.3 GHz overclock before dialing back to 4.0 - 4.1 GHz. The GPU really shows the benefits of overclocking here; it hits a maximum clock of 2000 MHz and stays there throughout the test. Even at this level of performance, temperatures are still manageable at an average of 85º C.

While the internals will get hot, that's the price for increased performance. If users consider these temperatures too hot for their tastes, the CPU and GPU can both be dialed back to their defaults through software, resulting in lower temperatures at the cost of reduced performance. 

Prime95
Prime95
FurMark
FurMark
Prime95 + FurMark
Prime95 + FurMark
Witcher 3
Witcher 3

Stress Test - Prime95, FurMark, Witcher 3

CPU Clock (GHz) GPU Clock (MHz) Average CPU Temperature (°C) Average GPU Temperature (°C)
Prime95 Stress 3.6 - 97 -
FurMark Stress 4.0 1503 58 82
Prime95 + FurMark Stress 2.5 1492 94 88
Witcher 3 Stress 4.1 2009 99 85

Emissions

System Noise

Fan noise profile
Fan noise profile

This brings us to perhaps the weakest point in the Aorus X3 Plus v7: noise. In order to keep so much power under control in such a small chassis, the fans are forced to dump a lot of heat. While users can select conservative fan profiles with lower fan speeds using Aorus' included software, this can lead to inefficient heat management and thermal throttling under demanding tasks. For everyday work, though, this should be fine. Using the quietest fan profile ("Quiet"), the fans tend to stay spinning at a moderate speed to move heat and aren't terribly distracting, although they will ramp up occasionally.  

The default "Performance" fan profile is very aggressive and forces the fans to ramp up quickly and loudly. We measure a maximum noise level of 53.6 dB(A), which should not be considered an outlier. Even under light to moderate loads (such as browsing the Internet), the fans will speed up and become very loud very quickly. Making matters worse is the piercing, shrill tone the fans emit. It cuts through any background noise and can be easily heard across the room. Gamers will definitely want to use headphones of some sort in order to hear anything over the high-pitched whine during gameplay.

Noise Level

Idle
31.4 / 37 / 40.8 dB(A)
Load
50 / 53.6 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)   environment noise: 29.1 dB(A)
Aorus x3 Plus v7
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
Alienware 13 R3
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
Gigabyte Aero 14
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, LiteOn CX2-8B256
Razer Blade (2017)
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
Gigabyte Aero 15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
Eurocom Tornado F5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700K, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
Aorus X5 v6 AO-S107W516-PL-002
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK, LiteOn CX2-8B256
Noise
15%
9%
10%
10%
6%
11%
1%
off / environment *
29.1
29
-0%
31
-7%
31
-7%
29.4
-1%
28.8
1%
Idle Minimum *
31.4
29
8%
31
1%
30
4%
32
-2%
33.3
-6%
33.1
-5%
33.4
-6%
Idle Average *
37
30
19%
32
14%
30
19%
33
11%
33.5
9%
33.1
11%
34.2
8%
Idle Maximum *
40.8
31
24%
33
19%
30
26%
34
17%
33.5
18%
34
17%
35
14%
Load Average *
50
36
28%
42
16%
51
-2%
39
22%
44.2
12%
37.2
26%
53.3
-7%
Witcher 3 ultra *
53.6
45
16%
43
20%
46.1
14%
Load Maximum *
53.6
49
9%
53
1%
51
5%
50
7%
52.5
2%
47.1
12%
57
-6%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

The aggressive nature of the fans does have a benefit. Exterior heat is well controlled. Under max synthetic load, the hottest spot of the notebook is the back center of the bottom panel. This area is right where the CPU and GPU rest, so the aluminum chassis will transfer the most heat in this spot. Because of this, the notebook can't be held in the lap without considerable discomfort while gaming or other intensive tasks.

On the plus side, the keyboard deck stays relatively cool, especially the wrist rest and area around the WASD keys. This will be important to gamers; their hands won't get warm or sweaty during long gameplay sessions. The notebook's heat system is well engineered for gameplay.

Keyboard (synthetic stress test)
Keyboard (synthetic stress test)
Underside (synthetic stress test)
Underside (synthetic stress test)
Keyboard (Witcher 3)
Keyboard (Witcher 3)
Underside (Witcher 3)
Underside (Witcher 3)
Max. Load
 33 °C42 °C40.2 °C 
 29.6 °C46.8 °C35 °C 
 25.4 °C25 °C27 °C 
Maximum: 46.8 °C
Average: 33.8 °C
42.6 °C55.2 °C38.6 °C
37.2 °C43.4 °C31.6 °C
29 °C29.8 °C27.2 °C
Maximum: 55.2 °C
Average: 37.2 °C
Power Supply (max.)  53 °C | Room Temperature 21 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Therometer

Speakers

The speakers are average notebook affair. Highs and mids are clear and balanced, but the anemic bass leaves the overall sound thin and lacking body. The sound doesn't distort at maximum volume, and they don't rattle the case or cause any other unpleasant distortion. There's not much else to say; in a pinch, the speakers can produce acceptable sound for music and gameplay, but a headset of some kind is recommended for a better experience.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs203938.22535.135.63134.634.1403334.65034.435.36333.735.68031.831.210031.131.312530.231.516028.931.820028.1362502847.931527.255.740027.15750026.458.363026.154.680025.160.910002562125025.458.3160024.357.4200023.957.3250023.462315023.259.3400023.357.4500023.160.5630023.161.8800023.2631000023.366.11250023.463.61600023.250SPL36.572.5N2.731median 25Aorus x3 Plus v7median 57.4Delta1.86.539.337.838.636.22827.73332.529.230.127.727.631.232.627.736.423.739.222.144.521.85321.358.520.260.320.163.619.866.21868.517.272.417.368.817.16617.264.717.367.817.368.417.467.417.566.417.459.617.555.117.662.117.663.517.652.117.542.829.978.71.344.5median 17.6Alienware 13 R3median 63.51.67.2hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Aorus x3 Plus v7 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (72.49 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 18.4% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (12.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 1.6% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (8% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (22.1% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 77% of all tested devices in this class were better, 4% similar, 19% worse
» The best had a delta of 10%, average was 18%, worst was 34%
Compared to all devices tested
» 52% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 41% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%

Alienware 13 R3 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (79 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 14.8% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.8% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (6.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.6% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (6.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (16.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 46% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 48% worse
» The best had a delta of 10%, average was 18%, worst was 34%
Compared to all devices tested
» 24% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 70% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%

Frequency Comparison (Checkbox selectable!)
Graph 1: Pink Noise 100% Vol.; Graph 2: Audio off

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The Aorus X3 Plus v7 draws a lot of power from the wall to feed its hungry components. At idle, the notebook draws about 15.8 Watts, which is about average for this class. Under load, however, the X3 draws considerably more power than its rivals. When stressed, the X3 pulls about 111 Watts on average, compared to about 80 Watts from the competition. This is likely due to the powerful overclocked CPU. While both the 7700HQ and 7820HK are rated at a 45 W TDP, the 7820HK will obviously require more power when overclocked. 

This isn't terribly troubling by itself, but under maximum load, we see the X3 using 170 Watts. This is concerning, as the power supply shipped with our device is only rated at 150 W. Users should exercise caution when pushing the device. During our testing period, we also noticed that under extreme load (such as long periods of intense gameplay) or synthetic stress (i.e., Furmark and Prime95 running concurrently), the battery level of the notebook would drain slightly despite the unit being plugged in. This was only noticeable under the highest of stress, but it is a concern nonetheless.

The included power supply has a fairly small footprint at 168x62x22 mm (LxWxH). It also has a convenient 2.1 amp USB port for charging a phone or other mobile device. 

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.4 / 12.7 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 15.1 / 15.8 / 16.7 Watt
Load midlight 110.9 / 170.4 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Aorus x3 Plus v7
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7, IGZO TFT, 3200x1800, 13.9
Alienware 13 R3
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK, OLED, 2560x1440, 13.3
Gigabyte Aero 14
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), LiteOn CX2-8B256, IPS, 2560x1440, 14
Razer Blade (2017)
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256, IPS, 1920x1080, 14
Gigabyte Aero 15
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Eurocom Tornado F5
7700K, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e, IPS, 3840x2160, 15.6
Aorus X5 v6 AO-S107W516-PL-002
6820HK, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), LiteOn CX2-8B256, , 2880x1620, 15.6
Power Consumption
21%
18%
29%
9%
-46%
2%
-70%
Idle Minimum *
15.1
7
54%
8
47%
7.5
50%
12
21%
21.2
-40%
14.5
4%
23.3
-54%
Idle Average *
15.8
12
24%
13
18%
12.1
23%
15
5%
25.1
-59%
17.3
-9%
30.1
-91%
Idle Maximum *
16.7
18
-8%
20
-20%
14.3
14%
20
-20%
26.3
-57%
17.4
-4%
31
-86%
Load Average *
110.9
76
31%
78
30%
73.5
34%
82
26%
169.4
-53%
93
16%
195.8
-77%
Load Maximum *
170.4
161
6%
146
14%
110.2
35%
161
6%
202.4
-19%
242
-42%
Witcher 3 ultra *
135
110
19%
108
20%
111
18%
128.8
5%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Battery life falls in line with expectations. The 74 Wh battery can last quite a while, albeit with all radios turned off and settings tuned to longevity. However, this should be adequate for light office work while away from an outlet. Other gaming notebooks with comparable batteries offer similar or worse performance. Under load, the X3 gives a peculiar result. We expected the laptop to quickly shut down due to the overclocked processor, but the X3 lasts for 1h 40min. While this isn't a groundbreaking result, it is better than the Alienware 13. This is interesting as the Alienware has a slightly larger battery and pulls less power under load. This may be a result of the thermal throttling we see in the X3 when both the CPU and GPU are taxed. Clock speeds may be reduced, which would result in reduced power draw over the long haul.

Update (24/05/2017): We can now confirm that the CPU is capped at 3.9 GHz when running on the battery. The GPU can still hit its overclock, but only briefly. Average clock speeds for the GTX 1060 will be lower while on battery power. This will have an impact on synthetic benchmarks and CPU intensive tasks, but GPU-focused applications (like games) still run at very similar levels whether on battery or plugged in.

During our testing period, we were not able to accurately check the battery life on WiFi. We will update this review when we can produce a legitimate result. Update: WiFi battery testing (screen at 150 nits, Balanced power profile, loading a new webpage every 30-40 seconds) yields around 4 hours 53 minutes of battery life. This is nothing spectacular and falls far behind the competition from Gigabyte and Razer. Users will be able to get work done when out and about, but the slim power adapter shouldn't be left at home. It will be needed before the day is over.  

Note that Aorus advertises a SKU of the X3 Plus v7 with a 94 Wh battery. The increased battery size should give noticeably better battery life, but this model is difficult to find.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
7h 57min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
4h 53min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 40min
Aorus x3 Plus v7
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 74 Wh
Alienware 13 R3
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 76 Wh
Gigabyte Aero 14
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 94 Wh
Razer Blade (2017)
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 70 Wh
Gigabyte Aero 15
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 94.24 Wh
Eurocom Tornado F5
7700K, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 75.24 Wh
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 65 Wh
Aorus X5 v6 AO-S107W516-PL-002
6820HK, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 94.2 Wh
Battery Runtime
3%
66%
86%
30%
-33%
-22%
-49%
Reader / Idle
477
524
10%
909
91%
638
34%
291
-39%
386
-19%
242
-49%
WiFi v1.3
293
320
9%
524
79%
545
86%
422
44%
216
-26%
232
-21%
Load
100
90
-10%
129
29%
112
12%
67
-33%
75
-25%
WiFi
182

Pros

+ great design
+ premium materials
+ high performance
+ small and lightweight
+ excellent screen
+ unlocked CPU and GPU

Cons

- loud and annoying fans
- runs hot
- CPU throttles under load
- draws too much power for PSU under load
- frustrating touchpad

Verdict

In review: Aorus X3 Plus v7. Review unit courtesy of Xotic PC.
In review: Aorus X3 Plus v7. Review unit courtesy of Xotic PC.

The X3 Plus v7 is an ambitious device. It continues Aorus' push to fit powerful hardware into a compact case. Unfortunately, the X3 tries to have its cake and eat it too, and the end result is a notebook of compromise. While there are some definite highlights, there were corners cut to achieve this level of performance, and Aorus may have sliced the wrong edges.

The X3's design is excellent. The attractive finish coupled with the subtle accents make for a very handsome chassis, and the use of metal around the body makes the device feel expensive. The QHD+ screen is also stunning. Images and text are sharp enough to split a hair, colors are vibrant and accurate, and the screen stays bright and legible even under direct sunlight. We are also impressed by the gaming performance. It's amazing that users can now get desktop (or better!) level performance in a notebook this compact. Also, the option to overclock both the CPU and GPU are nice additions; more flexibility adds to the value.

Unfortunately, this performance comes at a cost. The chassis is too small to proficiently manage the heat generated by the powerful internals, which forces the fans to ramp up frequently and aggressively as they try to dump enough heat to keep things going. The end result is a loud notebook that will run hot and may thermally throttle under heavy strain. Also, the immense power draw that pulls more than the PSU can supply is cause for some concern. Again, users should exercise caution when pushing the notebook to its limits.

Overall, we like the Aorus X3 Plus v7. It's a great performer, but compared to the stiff competition from the likes of the Gigabyte Aero 14 and Alienware 13, the X3 falls short in other areas. The average keyboard, the frustrating touchpad, and the heat and noise problems keep the X3 back from the upper echelon of thin-and-light gaming notebooks.

While the Aorus X3 Plus v7 offers impressive performance in a small package, there are too many compromises for us to recommend the device. There are more balanced options for gamers in search of a portable device. 

Aorus x3 Plus v7 - 05/16/2017 v6
Sam Medley

Chassis
84 / 98 → 85%
Keyboard
74%
Pointing Device
69%
Connectivity
57 / 81 → 71%
Weight
65 / 66 → 99%
Battery
82%
Display
89%
Games Performance
93%
Application Performance
91%
Temperature
86 / 95 → 91%
Noise
58 / 90 → 64%
Audio
50%
Average
75%
82%
Gaming - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

Read all 7 comments / answer
static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment this article
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Aorus X3 Plus v7 (i7-7820HK, GTX 1060) Xotic PC Edition Laptop Review
Sam Medley, 2017-05-17 (Update: 2017-05-28)
Sam Medley
Sam Medley - Review Editor - @samuel_medley
I've been a "tech-head" my entire life. After graduating college with a degree in Mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a Systems Analyst for my local school district. I started working with Notebookcheck in October of 2016 and have enjoyed writing news articles and notebook reviews. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I'm not hunched over an electronic device or writing code for a new database, I'm either outside with my family, playing a decade-old video game, or sitting behind a drum set.