Notebookcheck

Aorus X9 (i7-7820HK, GTX 1070 SLI, QHD) Laptop Review

Florian Glaser, Manuel Masiero (translated by Katherine Bodner), 10/23/2017

Twin Turbo. While most manufacturers give their gaming notebooks only one dedicated graphics unit, Gigabyte has presented its brand-new 17-inch Aorus X9 with two Nvidia GPUs. We will find out whether it makes sense to use a GeForce GTX 1070 in SLI mode or if this feature has more disadvantages than advantages.

For the original German review, click here.

After the X3, the X5 and the X7, Gigabyte has now presented its latest high-end laptop, the X9. This is supposed to stand out with its slim exterior and plenty of power inside. While the 13 - 17-inch siblings (some of which are significantly cheaper) have to make do with a classic Single-GPU, the X9 is powered by two Nvidia chips. Usually, the GeForce GTX 1080 is the limit for any gaming device, but a double pack of GeForce GTX 1070s promises to lift the device into significantly higher levels of performance. 

In order for the Dual-GPU system to reach its full potential, the device is equipped with an Intel Core i7-7820HK processor that can optionally be overclocked to up to 4.3 GHz. The X9 also has other great features. For example, our test configuration is equipped with 32 GB of DDR4 RAM (2x 16 GB @ 2400 MHz) and a 512 GB M.2 SSD. 

The package is completed by a matte QHD display that has a resolution of 2560x1440 pixels and supports 120 Hz. According to Gigabyte, the Aorus X9 will also be available with a UHD panel (3840x2160), which will only support 60 Hz, but offer a particularly wide color space instead. Both displays are certified for X-Rite Pantone, which should mean good color accuracy.

But these great features come at a price: The Aorus X9 will be available for either $3649 or $3799. The second configuration is supposed to be equipped with a 500 GB SSD and 1 TB HDD. 

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Aorus X9 (X9 Series)
Processor
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop) - 2x 8192 MB, Core: 1493 MHz, Memory: 8000 MHz, GDDR5, ForceWare 387.92
Memory
32768 MB 
, 2x 16 GB SO-DIMM DDR4-2400, Dual-Channel, two of four slots occupied, max. 64 GB
Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 2560 x 1440 pixel 170 PPI, AUO B173QTN01.3 (AUO1396), TN, QHD, 120 HZ, X-Rite Pantone certified, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM175 (Skylake PCH-H)
Storage
Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e, 512 GB 
, SSD. drive bays: 2x M2 Type 2280 (PCIe/NVMe or SATA-III) & 1x 2.5-inch
Soundcard
Realtek ALC1220 @ Intel Sunrise Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 2 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 2 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: headphone (S/PDIF), microphone, Card Reader: SD, SDHC, SDXC, Brightness Sensor
Networking
Killer E2500 Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000/2500/5000MBit/s), Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter (b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 4.1
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 30 x 428 x 314 ( = 1.18 x 16.85 x 12.36 in)
Battery
94.24 Wh, 6200 mAh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD
Additional features
Speakers: 2x 2-watt speaker + 2x 2-watt woofer, Keyboard: chiclet, RGB, mechanical, Keyboard Light: yes, 330-watt power supply, Aorus sticker, cleaning cloth, QuickStart guide, warranty information, USB stick with drivers, dobe Reader XI, CyberLink PowerDVD 12, Killer Performance Suite, MS Office 365 Trial, XSplit Broadcaster Trial, XSplit Gamecaster Trial, various tools from manufacturer , 24 Months Warranty
Weight
3.634 kg ( = 128.19 oz / 8.01 pounds), Power Supply: 1.168 kg ( = 41.2 oz / 2.57 pounds)
Price
3600 EUR
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

While some of Gigabyte's gaming notebooks have a rather subtle design, the manufacturer has taken a more daring approach to the design of the Aorus models. The X9 is no exception. Starting with the display cover, which does not only feature a backlit logo, but also a relief that reminds us of a Formula 1 car.

Opening the X9 unveils a whole range of fancy design features. They include striking ventilation slots that should get lots of fresh air into the device as well as an enormous Aorus logo on the touchpad. We were not so excited by the massive arch between the two fragile-looking hinges. The light strips around the hinges are not just decoration: they can display information on fan speed, battery level as well as CPU and GPU temperature. 

The sides and display cover are very angular. You rarely see such unusual forms in the notebook segment. The manufacturer even thought of including the bottom of the base unit in its all-round design process. As you can see from our gallery, the ventilation slots are formed like some flying animal.

Gigabyte deserves respect for the quality of the case. Both the display cover and the base unit are made of aluminum. Therefore, the X9 did very well in our pressure test. The surfaces gave way only minimally (if at all) under high pressure. Unfortunately, the case does seem to attract dirt. Our test unit was covered with fingerprints and smears very quickly - despite normal use.

The X9 has good build quality. Only under close scrutiny did we notice that the gap dimensions could be a little cleaner in some areas. Backlighting enthusiasts will be very pleased: Like the Alienware products, Gigabyte has also decided to highlight additional elements of the X9 and not just the keyboard. The device is covered in light strips both on the front and back.

The X9 also looks good on the scales. 3.6 kg (~7.9 lb) is a decent weight for a 17-inch Dual-GPU notebook. Our comparison devices, the MSI GT75VR, the Alienware 17 R4, the Acer Predator 17 and the Asus G752VS all weigh significantly more at 4 kg (~8.8 lbs) despite having only one GPU. At 3.0 cm (~1.18 in), the X9 is also one of the slimmer gaming laptops. Only the Alienware 17 can keep up with this; all other competitors are quite a bit thicker (4.0 to 5.8 cm / 1.57 to 2.28 in). This makes us very curious to find out about the performance of the cooling system.

Size Comparison

428 mm / 16.9 inch 314 mm / 12.4 inch 58 mm / 2.28 inch 4.6 kg10.1 lbs428 mm / 16.9 inch 334 mm / 13.1 inch 53 mm / 2.09 inch 4.5 kg9.88 lbs423 mm / 16.7 inch 322 mm / 12.7 inch 40 mm / 1.575 inch 4.3 kg9.57 lbs428 mm / 16.9 inch 314 mm / 12.4 inch 30 mm / 1.181 inch 3.6 kg8.01 lbs424 mm / 16.7 inch 332 mm / 13.1 inch 29.9 mm / 1.177 inch 4.4 kg9.74 lbs

Connectivity

Ports

The 17-inch device offers exactly what you would expect from a modern-day gaming notebook - except for a Kensington Lock. While the back has only the power supply connector, the left side features an RJ45 port, a card reader, two audio jacks (headphone & microphone) as well as a USB 3.0 port. Most connections are placed on the right side: two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 2 port and a Thunderbolt 3 port. A Mini-DisplayPort 1.3 or an HDMI 2.0 ([email protected]) take care of video output. Combined with the Thunderbolt 3 port, this means that you can connect three external screens.

The port distribution is decent, although we would have liked a second USB port on the left side, and in the author’s opinion the ports on the right side could have been spaced a little wider. As Gigabyte has positioned all the ports towards the center, you are a little limited in your movements with an external mouse, which can collide with connected cables.

left side: RJ45 LAN, USB-A 3.0, card reader, headphone jack, microphone jack
left side: RJ45 LAN, USB-A 3.0, card reader, headphone jack, microphone jack
back: power supply
back: power supply
right: 2x USB-A 3.0, Thunderbolt 3, USB-C 3.1 Gen2, Mini-DisplayPort 1.3, HDMI 2.0
right: 2x USB-A 3.0, Thunderbolt 3, USB-C 3.1 Gen2, Mini-DisplayPort 1.3, HDMI 2.0

SD card reader

The performance of the card reader is way ahead of its competitors. It can make almost full use of our Toshiba reference card (max 260 MB/s) with a maximum speed of 240 MB/s (sequential reading). 199 MB/s when transferring photos is also a great result. Our comparison devices have to make do with between 78 and 89 MB/s in both tests, which is on par with USB 3.0 speeds.

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Aorus X9
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
199 MB/s ∼100%
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
83 MB/s ∼42% -58%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
79 MB/s ∼40% -60%
Asus G752VS-BA338T
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
78 MB/s ∼39% -61%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Aorus X9
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
240 MB/s ∼100%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
89 MB/s ∼37% -63%
Asus G752VS-BA338T
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
88 MB/s ∼37% -63%
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
88 MB/s ∼37% -63%

Communication

Our 17-inch test unit did not do quite as well in our Wi-Fi speed test. Although Gigabyte has equipped our device with the very successful Killer module Wireless-AC 1535, which is made specifically for gamers (supports Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/B/ac and Bluetooth 4.1), the results of the Wi-Fi test are only mediocre. The module manages an average of 536 MBit/s when sending and 396 MBit/s when receiving data, speeds that can be easily overtaken by the competition. The E2500 Gigabit Ethernet controller, also from Killer, takes care of the internet connection via cable.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
700 MBit/s ∼100% +77%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
694 MBit/s ∼99% +75%
Asus G752VS-BA338T
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
681 MBit/s ∼97% +72%
Alienware 17 R4
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter
606 MBit/s ∼87% +53%
Aorus X9
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
396 MBit/s ∼57%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
624 MBit/s ∼100% +16%
Alienware 17 R4
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter
589 MBit/s ∼94% +10%
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
558 MBit/s ∼89% +4%
Aorus X9
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
536 MBit/s ∼86%
Asus G752VS-BA338T
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
512 MBit/s ∼82% -4%

Accessories

Buyers of the X9 receive a cleaning cloth, warranty information, a QuickStart guide and an Aorus sticker together with their device. We liked the enclosed USB stick, which has various drivers on it. The 20 x 10 x 3.5 cm (~7.8 x 3.9 x 1.3 in) power supply offers 330 watts and weighs over 1.1 kg (~2.4 lbs), which is quite heavy.

Maintenance

The maintenance options of the 17-inch device gave us mixed feelings. It has become normal by now that you have to remove the entire bottom cover of the base unit to access the insides, but in this case, the bottom cover is fixed with not only 16 (!) Torx screws (TX6), but also secured with several clips that are so tight that you need to apply a lot of force to open them and risk damaging the device. Gigabyte could also improve the dust protection. A large part of the motherboard was covered in fine dust particles after only 10 hours of use (see photos). We have not encountered this much dust in any other gaming notebook. This is probably the "fault" of the many ventilation slots on the device. In addition, the battery is not screwed into the device and can easily drop out of the case when opening the base unit.

Apart from that, maintenance looks promising. The wireless module, the RAM (four slots for a maximum of 64 GB) and storage devices (two M.2 2280 slots with PCIe/NVMe support & 2.5-inch bay) can be upgraded or removed. The cooling system consists of two cooling fans, each of which has four heatpipes for CPU and GPUs.

Software

With the development of the X9, Gigabyte has also reworked its most important Tuning software, Command & Control. Of course, it still includes the most popular features. Core gamers will be pleased about the fan control and OC possibility for CPU and GPU. While the Core i7-7820HK can be accelerated in four steps from 3.9 to a maximum of 4.3 GHz, the core clock rate of the GeForce GTX 1070 also has four levels from a standard 1443 to 1645 MHz up to 1543 to 1745 MHz. We ran our tests at medium overclocking, which created speeds of 4.1 GHz for the CPU and 1493 to1695 MHz for the GPU. We set the Fan Control to Gaming (as recommended by Gigabyte).

BIOS

Below, you can see images of the various BIOS menus. Typically for notebooks, there are not a lot of areas you can influence.

Warranty

The device comes with a 24-month warranty. Please see our Guarantees, Return Policies & Warranties FAQ for country-specific information.

Input Devices

Keyboard

After the MSI started the trend in 2015 (see the GT80), more and more gaming notebooks are now equipped with a mechanical keyboard. While the models in the Acer Triton 700 and the Razer Blade Pro have relatively short travel, the version in the Aorus X9 is aiming to emulate its fully-grown desktop equivalents. Just as you would expect from a mechanical keyboard, typing on the X9's keyboard is very clear and precise - and very loud.

About the layout: The arrow keys slot in between the main keyboard area and the number pad. We were disappointed to see that "Insert" and "Print Screen" are both secondary functions and you need to press the Fn key to run them.

We had nothing to complain in terms of the key size. Even the number block and F-row have the full 15 x 15 mm (~0.59 x 0.59 in). A further highlight is the integrated RGB backlighting. With the help of the Aorus Fusion software, every key can be targeted individually and macros assigned to them. Unfortunately, we cannot say anything about the brightness of the backlighting as it simply refused to work on our test unit. But thanks to the bright lettering, it was easy to read the keys without backlighting.

Keyboard
Keyboard
Touchpad
Touchpad

Touchpad

Let us move on to the touchpad, which also gave us a good impression in most respects. Although the mouse replacement has a rubbery surface, fingers glide easily over the smooth surface (provided they are dry). Precision is very good, but the Multi-Touch support could do with a few improvements. While the Aorus X9 usually recognizes the supported gestures reliably, we felt that it responded a little slowly to the zoom and scroll commands via two-finger gesture. 

As the Gigabyte decided to use a ClickPad, the left and right mouse keys are directly integrated into the 10.6 x 7.0 cm (~4.1 x 2.7 in) touchpad. Feedback and sound of the mouse keys are good and the ClickPads of other gaming notebooks felt a lot less stable.

Display

The QHD display is really satisfactory in only some respects. While the brightness is high enough with an average of 326 cd/m², the contrast is disappointingly low at about 640:1. Normally, gaming laptops top the 1000 mark. The reason for these low results is the poor black value of 0.54 cd/m² that makes dark areas slide off into grays, which can be bothersome in dark game and film scenes

324
cd/m²
337
cd/m²
327
cd/m²
343
cd/m²
346
cd/m²
338
cd/m²
304
cd/m²
304
cd/m²
307
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
AUO B173QTN01.3 (AUO1396)
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 346 cd/m² Average: 325.6 cd/m² Minimum: 18 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Center on Battery: 346 cd/m²
Contrast: 641:1 (Black: 0.54 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.98 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 5.47 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
84% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 55% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.21
Aorus X9
AUO B173QTN01.3 (AUO1396), 2560x1440, 17.3
Alienware 17 R4
2560x1440, 17.3
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
CMN N173HHE-G32 (CMN1747), 1920x1080, 17.3
Asus G752VS-BA338T
AU Optronics B173HAN01.1 (AUO119D), 1920x1080, 17.3
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
AU Optronics B173ZAN01.0 (AUO109B), 3840x2160, 17.3
Response Times
-67%
22%
-181%
-210%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
21.6 (11.6, 10)
30 (18.8, 11.2)
-39%
11.6 (6.4, 5.2)
46%
36 (18, 18)
-67%
50 (24.4, 25.6)
-131%
Response Time Black / White *
6.6 (4.6, 2)
12.8 (10.8, 2)
-94%
6.8 (4.8, 2)
-3%
26 (14.4, 11.6)
-294%
25.6 (11.2, 14.4)
-288%
PWM Frequency
25000 (15)
Screen
3%
36%
5%
29%
Brightness middle
346
402.3
16%
274
-21%
307
-11%
343
-1%
Brightness
326
372
14%
262
-20%
300
-8%
328
1%
Brightness Distribution
88
86
-2%
87
-1%
88
0%
84
-5%
Black Level *
0.54
0.62
-15%
0.26
52%
0.32
41%
0.29
46%
Contrast
641
649
1%
1054
64%
959
50%
1183
85%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.98
5.6
6%
1.36
77%
5.53
8%
4.01
33%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
9.77
9.8
-0%
4.1
58%
11.54
-18%
6.03
38%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.47
4.7
14%
0.64
88%
7
-28%
4.7
14%
Gamma
2.21 100%
2.14 103%
2.19 100%
2.48 89%
2.4 92%
CCT
7721 84%
7519 86%
6551 99%
8103 80%
6451 101%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
55
53.7
-2%
77
40%
58
5%
88
60%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
84
82.2
-2%
100
19%
90
7%
100
19%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-32% / -9%
29% / 33%
-88% / -26%
-91% / -11%

* ... smaller is better

Due to the mediocre contrast, the image also appears paler than you would expect from a notebook priced at over $3500. But at least our test unit does not have any screen bleeding.

While the image mode "Native Color" is on in the Command & Control software, the color accuracy is only mediocre and the image has a heavy blue cast. Professional users should definitely use the pre-installed X-Rite Pantone profile, which decreases the DelteE-2000 deviations from 5.47 (gray scales) and 5.98 (ColorChecker) to 3 and 3.5. We managed to get an even better result with our own calibration. As usual, you can find our ICC file above. Our measurement tool measured a decent 84% (sRGB) and 55% (AdobeRGB) color space coverage. 

CalMAN: Grayscale (Native Color)
CalMAN: Grayscale (Native Color)
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps (Native Color)
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps (Native Color)
CalMAN: ColorChecker (Native Color)
CalMAN: ColorChecker (Native Color)
Aorus X9 vs. sRGB (84%)
Aorus X9 vs. sRGB (84%)
CalMAN: Grayscale (X-Rite Pantone)
CalMAN: Grayscale (X-Rite Pantone)
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps (X-Rite Pantone)
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps (X-Rite Pantone)
CalMAN: ColorChecker (X-Rite Pantone)
CalMAN: ColorChecker (X-Rite Pantone)
Aorus X9 vs. AdobeRGB (55%)
Aorus X9 vs. AdobeRGB (55%)

We would say that the greatest disadvantage of the QHD panel is the low viewing angle stability. Looking at the screen from above or below soon leads to changes in color and brightness. Other TN panels do better, let alone IPS and OLED panels. 

An important advantage of TN technology is the short reaction time. 6.6 ms black-to-white and 21.6 ms gray-to-gray remain a pipe dream for most notebook displays. 120 Hz might also be a strong selling point, although it is a shame that the Aorus X9 does not support G-Sync.

outdoor use
outdoor use
Subpixel
Subpixel
viewing angles
viewing angles

Overall, we were not particularly impressed by the image quality - X-Rite Pantone and 120 HZ or not. If possible, we would recommend choosing the (probably better) 4K edition with an IPS screen. For this, Gigabyte promises 100% AdobeRGB coverage. By the way, although the panel name and measured results are similar, the Alienware 17 R4 that we tested has a slightly different screen.

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
6.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 4.6 ms rise
↘ 2 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 6 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (24.8 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
21.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 11.6 ms rise
↘ 10 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 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 13 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (39.4 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 not detected

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9338 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Performance

With 32 GB of RAM, PCIe SSD and GeForce GTX 1070 SLI, the Aorus X9 definitely belongs to the upper high-end segment, which is currently being dominated by Intel and Nvidia. Therefore, it fits that the device is powered by an overclocked quad-core processor.

Processor

In order to justify the high price of the device, Gigabyte has equipped it with one of the strongest notebook CPUs from Intel's Kaby-Lake generation, the Core i7-7820HK. Compared to the much-used Core i7-7700HQ, the more expensive 14-nm model offers 8 instead of 6 MB of L3 cache, an additional 100 MHz of clock rate and a free multiplier that makes overclocking easier.

single-core rendering
single-core rendering
multi-core rendering
multi-core rendering
GPU load
GPU load

Gigabyte has enabled comfortable one-click tuning via Command & Control/System Gauge, which is easy to understand and use even for amateurs and does not require a reboot or similar. The middle setting, or to be more precise: 4.1 GHz is a good compromise between performance and heat production.

Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.97 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
9.19 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
174 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
837 Points
Help

When the OC function is activated, the X9 can sprint past most gaming notebooks. While devices based on the 7700HQ are beaten by 12 to 14% in the Multi-Core benchmarks (Asus G752VS & Acer Predator 17), the X9 is only about 10% faster than a non-overclocked Core 17-7820HK (MSI GT75VR).

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Aorus X9
Intel Core i7-7820HK
174 Points ∼100%
Alienware 17 R4
Intel Core i7-7820HK
171 Points ∼98% -2%
Asus G752VS-BA338T
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
161 Points ∼93% -7%
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
Intel Core i7-7820HK
160 Points ∼92% -8%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
157 Points ∼90% -10%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Alienware 17 R4
Intel Core i7-7820HK
867 Points ∼100% +4%
Aorus X9
Intel Core i7-7820HK
837 Points ∼97%
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
Intel Core i7-7820HK
758 Points ∼87% -9%
Asus G752VS-BA338T
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
742 Points ∼86% -11%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
732 Points ∼84% -13%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
Aorus X9
Intel Core i7-7820HK
1.97 Points ∼100%
Asus G752VS-BA338T
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.83 Points ∼93% -7%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.81 Points ∼92% -8%
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
Intel Core i7-7820HK
1.81 Points ∼92% -8%
Alienware 17 R4
Intel Core i7-7820HK
1.69 Points ∼86% -14%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Alienware 17 R4
Intel Core i7-7820HK
9.53 Points ∼100% +4%
Aorus X9
Intel Core i7-7820HK
9.19 Points ∼96%
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
Intel Core i7-7820HK
8.34 Points ∼88% -9%
Asus G752VS-BA338T
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.19 Points ∼86% -11%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.09 Points ∼85% -12%

The Aorus X9 handled long periods of load without any difficulties. Its results remained steady after half an hour of Cinebench R15 tests.

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Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit

System Performance

The system tests were also ideal. The 17-inch device kept up with its competition both in the Home and the Work Suite of the PCMark8. It even landed 8% ahead of the MSI GT75VR 7RF in the PCMark 10. Thanks to the SSD, Windows boots incredibly quickly and reacts well in general.

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, 2x Samsung SM961 MZVPW256HEGL NVMe (RAID 0)
5444 Points ∼100% +4%
Asus G752VS-BA338T
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
5410 Points ∼99% +3%
Aorus X9
GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 7820HK, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
5240 Points ∼96%
Alienware 17 R4
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, SK Hynix PC300 NVMe 512 GB
5088 Points ∼93% -3%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
4541 Points ∼83% -13%
Home Score Accelerated v2
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, 2x Samsung SM961 MZVPW256HEGL NVMe (RAID 0)
5237 Points ∼100% +4%
Asus G752VS-BA338T
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
5103 Points ∼97% +2%
Alienware 17 R4
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, SK Hynix PC300 NVMe 512 GB
5064 Points ∼97% +1%
Aorus X9
GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 7820HK, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
5020 Points ∼96%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
4395 Points ∼84% -12%
PCMark 10 - Score
Aorus X9
GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 7820HK, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
5611 Points ∼100%
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, 2x Samsung SM961 MZVPW256HEGL NVMe (RAID 0)
5211 Points ∼93% -7%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
5020 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
5240 points
Help

Storage Devices

If you do not own a large collection of games, films or music, you might get along fine with the available storage space. The M.2 drive that Gigabyte has given our test unit offers 512 GB and comes from Samsung. The SM961 is known for its lavish performance. The AS SSD benchmark measured about 2695 MB/s during sequential reading and 1678 MB/s during sequential writing. These are top marks that only the MSI GT75VR 7RF can beat with its RAID system. Compact files that often come up in everyday Windows use are also dealt with very quickly by the Samsung SSD.

Should storage space become tight eventually, the device still has a free M.2 slot and empty 2.5-inch drive bay available.

Aorus X9
Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
Alienware 17 R4
SK Hynix PC300 NVMe 512 GB
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
2x Samsung SM961 MZVPW256HEGL NVMe (RAID 0)
Asus G752VS-BA338T
Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
AS SSD
-72%
1%
-11%
-26%
Access Time Write *
0.028
0.123
-339%
0.029
-4%
0.027
4%
0.033
-18%
Access Time Read *
0.039
0.042
-8%
0.041
-5%
0.058
-49%
0.052
-33%
4K-64 Write
1175.9
671.01
-43%
924.67
-21%
1185.29
1%
646.46
-45%
4K-64 Read
1213.85
620.48
-49%
1047.94
-14%
744.47
-39%
851.25
-30%
4K Write
134.28
113.36
-16%
128.75
-4%
138.94
3%
120.78
-10%
4K Read
50.63
35.61
-30%
50.12
-1%
49.71
-2%
37.51
-26%
Seq Write
1677.74
734.8
-56%
2352.3
40%
1553.97
-7%
1230.12
-27%
Seq Read
2694.9
1752.03
-35%
3136.95
16%
2824.25
5%
2236.52
-17%

* ... smaller is better

Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
CDM 5/6 Read Seq Q32T1: 3450 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write Seq Q32T1: 1705 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K Q32T1: 642.6 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K Q32T1: 546.9 MB/s
CDM 5 Read Seq: 2275 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq: 1694 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K: 55.86 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K: 160.5 MB/s

Graphics

Two graphics units connected as a Dual-GPU combination - whether this is via SLI (Nvidia) or CrossFire (AMD) - offers several advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, we have the theoretical performance level, which would not be possible with a single GPU. Even Nvidia's strongest notebook chip, the GTX 1080, reaches its limits in 4K.

SLI system ...
SLI system ...
... with two GTX-1070 chips ...
... with two GTX-1070 chips ...
... and 120-Hz display
... and 120-Hz display

Unfortunately, the speed of the SLI or CrossFire system cannot always be used, as the GPU driver or relevant program needs to have the suitable support. Of the 16 games that we tested, four (so 1/4) did not benefit from the second GTX 1070 (“Call of Duty Infinite Warfare”, “Resident Evil 7”, “Dirt 4” & “F1 2017”) in any way. And this despite the Nvidia driver (ForceWare 387.92) being up-to-date. 

Then come other weaknesses such as the very high power consumption and the need for cooling as well as problems connected to micro-stutters. Particularly with low frame rates, the image can seem to have more stuttering than on single-chip notebooks with identical performance. The latter is also connected to the missing G-Sync technology.

3DMark
2560x1440 Time Spy Graphics
Aorus X9
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop)
10603 Points ∼100%
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
7166 Points ∼68% -32%
Asus G752VS-BA338T
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
5651 Points ∼53% -47%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
5238 Points ∼49% -51%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Aorus X9
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop)
32640 Points ∼100%
Alienware 17 R4
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
21846 Points ∼67% -33%
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
21366 Points ∼65% -35%
Asus G752VS-BA338T
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
18346 Points ∼56% -44%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
16847 Points ∼52% -48%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Aorus X9
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop)
41469 Points ∼100%
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
29109 Points ∼70% -30%
Alienware 17 R4
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
26438 Points ∼64% -36%
Asus G752VS-BA338T
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
24349 Points ∼59% -41%
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
22510 Points ∼54% -46%

Judging by the benchmark results alone, the SLI pair looks very impressive. In the Fire-Strike and Time-Spy test of the current 3DMark, the Aorus X9 reaches results that are between 80 and 100% better than a GTX 1070 notebook and about 50% better than a GTX 1080 laptop.

3DMark 11 Performance
23326 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
166876 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
32510 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
20379 points
3DMark Time Spy Score
8931 points
Help

The fact that Gigabyte has created a suitable cooling system is proven by our “Witcher 3” tests at 1920x1080 pixels (which are interpolated well) and set to full details. After one hour, both GTX 1070 chips reach a temperature of only 70 °C (~158 °F) at a clock rate of 1600 to 1700 MHz. In the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark, it clocked between 1600 and 1800 MHz. As Nvidia has given the Pascal series a very generous turbo, the core can even manage up to 1926 MHz at medium overclocking (Render test from GPU-Z).

0123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930313233343536373839404142434445464748495051525354555657585960616263646566676869707172737475767778798081828384858687888990919293949596979899100101Tooltip
The Witcher 3 ultra

Gaming Performance

As usual, we ran our gaming benchmarks in the resolutions 1920x1080 and 3840x2160. To be clear: If a game supports SLI, the second GTX 1070 offers a significant increase in performance that can range from 28% (“FIFA 18”) all the way to 93% (“For Honor”). On average, the frame rate increases by about 60%, which clearly justifies the high price for some buyers.

The Witcher 3 - 3840x2160 High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off)
Aorus X9
GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 7820HK
69.3 fps ∼100%
Guru Mars K
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7700
52.6 fps ∼76% -24%
Schenker XMG U727 2017
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7700K
50.4 fps ∼73% -27%
Battlefield 1 - 3840x2160 High Preset AA:T
Aorus X9
GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 7820HK
74.1 fps ∼100%
Schenker XMG U727 2017
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7700K
58.7 fps ∼79% -21%
Asus G752VS
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
50.9 (min: 43) fps ∼69% -31%
Titanfall 2 - 3840x2160 High / Enabled AA:TS AF:8x
Aorus X9
GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 7820HK
68.4 fps ∼100%
Schenker XMG U727 2017
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7700K
56.8 fps ∼83% -17%
Asus G752VS
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
41.7 (min: 30) fps ∼61% -39%
Call of Duty Infinite Warfare - 3840x2160 High / On AA:FX
Schenker XMG U727 2017
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7700K
73.1 fps ∼100% +25%
Aorus X9
GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 7820HK
58.6 fps ∼80%
Asus G752VS
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
58.3 (min: 43) fps ∼80% -1%
Dishonored 2 - 3840x2160 High Preset AA:TX
Aorus X9
GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 7820HK
60 fps ∼100%
Schenker XMG U727 2017
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7700K
52.3 fps ∼87% -13%
Asus G752VS
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
35.9 (min: 30) fps ∼60% -40%
Watch Dogs 2 - 3840x2160 High Preset
Aorus X9
GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 7820HK
59 fps ∼100%
Schenker XMG U727 2017
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7700K
41.1 fps ∼70% -30%
Asus G752VS
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
34.6 (min: 31) fps ∼59% -41%
Resident Evil 7 - 3840x2160 High / On AA:FXAA+T
Schenker XMG U727 2017
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7700K
55.6 fps ∼100% +32%
Asus G752VS
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
43.4 (min: 36) fps ∼78% +3%
Aorus X9
GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 7820HK
42 fps ∼76%
For Honor - 3840x2160 High Preset AA:T AF:8x
Aorus X9
GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 7820HK
83.9 fps ∼100%
Schenker XMG U727 2017
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7700K
53 fps ∼63% -37%
Asus G752VS
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
43.4 (min: 34) fps ∼52% -48%
Ghost Recon Wildlands - 3840x2160 Very High Preset AA:T AF:8x
Aorus X9
GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 7820HK
53.1 fps ∼100%
Guru Mars K
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7700
40.9 fps ∼77% -23%
Asus G752VS
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
32 (min: 24) fps ∼60% -40%
Prey - 3840x2160 High Preset AA:2TX SM AF:8x
Aorus X9
GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 7820HK
79.1 fps ∼100%
Guru Mars K
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7700
68.2 fps ∼86% -14%
Asus G752VS
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
51.7 (min: 43) fps ∼65% -35%
Rocket League - 3840x2160 High Quality AA:High FX
Aorus X9
GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 7820HK
141 fps ∼100%
Guru Mars K
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7700
110 fps ∼78% -22%
Asus G752VS
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
85.3 (min: 72) fps ∼60% -40%
F1 2017 - 3840x2160 Ultra High Preset AA:T AF:16x
Guru Mars K
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7700
58 fps ∼100% +38%
Asus G752VS
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
45 (min: 41) fps ∼78% +7%
Aorus X9
GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 7820HK
42 fps ∼72%
Ark Survival Evolved - 3840x2160 Epic Preset (100 % Resolution Scale)
Aorus X9
GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 7820HK
25.8 fps ∼100%
Guru Mars K
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7700
17.2 fps ∼67% -33%
Asus G752VS
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
13.8 (min: 13) fps ∼53% -47%
FIFA 18 - 3840x2160 Ultra Preset
Guru Mars K
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7700
198 fps ∼100% +6%
Aorus X9
GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 7820HK
187 fps ∼94%
Asus G752VS
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
155 (min: 128) fps ∼78% -17%

Basically, you can play all current games in 4K with settings set to High or Ultra, although the 120 Hz would not be a lot of use and you would often have to make do with less than 60 FPS. Our device can significantly overtake notebooks with the GTX 1080, particularly at higher resolutions.

low med. high ultra4K
The Witcher 3 (2015) 167 99.9 69.3 fps
Battlefield 1 (2016) 143 129 74.1 fps
Titanfall 2 (2016) 143 141 68.4 fps
Call of Duty Infinite Warfare (2016) 122 111 58.6 fps
Dishonored 2 (2016) 92.4 78.6 60 fps
Watch Dogs 2 (2016) 111 90.9 59 fps
Resident Evil 7 (2017) 146 123 42 fps
For Honor (2017) 177 163 83.9 fps
Ghost Recon Wildlands (2017) 112 68.8 53.1 fps
Prey (2017) 140 137 79.1 fps
Rocket League (2017) 219 141 fps
Dirt 4 (2017) 115 70.4 fps
Playerunknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) (2017) 102 93.3 37.1 fps
F1 2017 (2017) 132 89 42 fps
Ark Survival Evolved (2017) 88.6 53 25.8 fps
FIFA 18 (2017) 330 310 187 fps

Emissions

System Noise

The fact that a 3-cm notebook with two graphics chips and an overclocked CPU is not silent, should not come as a surprise to anyone. The Aorus X9 is quite noticeable even while idling at 35-37 dB(A). The cooling fans run constantly. This can even increase to over 40 dB(A) when turning the device on and opening programs. 

The cooling fans really get going under load. An average of 49 dB(A) in the 3DMark 06 and 56 dB(A) in “The Witcher 3” represent a distractingly loud noise level, that makes it almost necessary to use a headset. The stress test with the FurMark and Prime95 tools led to very high noise development up to 60 dB(A). Only the MSI GT75VR 7RF was even louder.

noise level idle
noise level idle
noise level load
noise level load
noise level speaker
noise level speaker

We have to deduct a few points due to the fact that an unidentified component tends to make a whistling noise while idling and because there is some coil whine at the higher FPS rates. In short: Users that are sensitive to system noise should avoid the X9, although hardly any high-end notebook can be considered quiet. Extra tip: You can calm the X9 down during simple tasks such as using Office, watching videos or surfing the web by setting the fan mode to "Quiet".

Noise Level

Idle
35 / 37 / 43 dB(A)
Load
49 / 60 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 30 dB(A)
Aorus X9
GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 7820HK
Alienware 17 R4
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
Asus G752VS-BA338T
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
Noise
7%
5%
14%
11%
off / environment *
30
28.2
6%
30
-0%
30
-0%
31
-3%
Idle Minimum *
35
35.6
-2%
33
6%
30
14%
32
9%
Idle Average *
37
35.6
4%
34
8%
32
14%
35
5%
Idle Maximum *
43
35.7
17%
38
12%
36
16%
38
12%
Load Average *
49
50.2
-2%
44
10%
43
12%
42
14%
Witcher 3 ultra *
56
50.2
10%
56
-0%
43
23%
44
21%
Load Maximum *
60
50.2
16%
62
-3%
49
18%
50
17%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

The temperatures are not optimal either. Although the case remains comfortably cool between 24 and 30 °C (~75.2 to 86 °F) while idling, the bottom of the base unit can heat up to over 60 °C (~140 °F) under full load. We would therefore not recommend having gaming sessions on your lap. The situation is a little better on the top of the case. Here, our measurement tool showed a maximum of 47 °C (~116.6 °F), although the wrist rest still heats up more than many buyers might like.

stress test
stress test
full load top (Optris PI 640)
full load top (Optris PI 640)
full load bottom (Optris PI 640)
full load bottom (Optris PI 640)

On the inside of the device, it is mainly the CPU that heats up. After an hour of the stress test, the Core i7-7820HK settled down around 94 °C (~201 °F). The graphics chips reached only 72 °C (~161.6 °F). There was no throttling despite the high CPU temperature. Only a few devices can manage 3.5 GHz under full load.

Max. Load
 45 °C
113 F
47 °C
117 F
46 °C
115 F
 
 45 °C
113 F
46 °C
115 F
46 °C
115 F
 
 40 °C
104 F
43 °C
109 F
44 °C
111 F
 
Maximum: 47 °C = 117 F
Average: 44.7 °C = 112 F
61 °C
142 F
62 °C
144 F
59 °C
138 F
61 °C
142 F
61 °C
142 F
56 °C
133 F
44 °C
111 F
52 °C
126 F
43 °C
109 F
Maximum: 62 °C = 144 F
Average: 55.4 °C = 132 F
Power Supply (max.)  52 °C = 126 F | Room Temperature 20 °C = 68 F | Voltcraft IR-900
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 44.7 °C / 112 F, compared to the average of 33.2 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Gaming.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 47 °C / 117 F, compared to the average of 39.6 °C / 103 F, ranging from 21.6 to 68.8 °C for the class Gaming.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 62 °C / 144 F, compared to the average of 42.3 °C / 108 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 27.3 °C / 81 F, compared to the device average of 33.2 °C / 92 F.
(-) Playing The Witcher 3, the average temperature for the upper side is 42.1 °C / 108 F, compared to the device average of 33.2 °C / 92 F.
(-) The palmrests and touchpad can get very hot to the touch with a maximum of 44 °C / 111.2 F.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.8 °C / 83.8 F (-15.2 °C / -27.4 F).
Aorus X9
GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 7820HK
Alienware 17 R4
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
Asus G752VS-BA338T
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
Heat
2%
-5%
16%
17%
Maximum Upper Side *
47
49.6
-6%
46
2%
41
13%
39.1
17%
Maximum Bottom *
62
56
10%
57
8%
39.3
37%
42.1
32%
Idle Upper Side *
30
29.6
1%
34
-13%
28.8
4%
27.9
7%
Idle Bottom *
30
29.2
3%
35
-17%
27.3
9%
26.1
13%

* ... smaller is better

Speakers

Hats off to the X9 for its surprisingly good sound. It is equipped with the Realtek ALC1220, one of the best audio chips currently available for notebooks. The sound system is based on two speakers and two woofers, which manage up to 81 dB(A) (loud enough for small and medium-sized rooms). 

The Audio Equalizer tool takes care of sound optimization. There, you can find several profiles (separated by genres) and microphone settings. In practice, the 2.2 system does a great job. For a notebook, the X9 has a strong, natural and full sound that could only have slightly better bass frequencies (low tones could be more precise).

But this is just nit-picking as almost no laptop can keep up with the sound quality of our 17-inch test unit. (Look at the values of the Alienware 17 R4 and Asus G752VS, for example). In our test group, only the MSI GT75VR 7RF and the Acer Predator 17 have a similar sound profile. But these notebooks simply offer more space for a good sound due to their chunkier build. Therefore, we can say that Gigabyte has really made the most of what it has.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2042.750.12537.540.83130.834.14037.7385030.829.96327.329.98026.337.610025.242.812523.242.416021.650.220022.555.625021.760.831520.265.840018.765.150017.566.563017.769.380017.569.910001772.1125017.168.2160017.665.9200017.469.4250017.168.6315017.572.9400017.568500017.569.4630017.468.1800017.359.31000018.2601250017.859.61600017.158.3SPL29.880.9N1.351.8median 17.5median 65.9Delta1.65.238.43834.534.235.135.231.833.23334.431.733.231.234.731.341.130.248.42853.127.551.427.851.52753.527.455.827.166.926.67126.67226.671.826.473.125.569.724.865.623.86822.772.322.47522.172.521.865.121.763.621.658.121.659.521.754.936.782.62.753.7median 26.4median 65.12.58.9hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseAorus X9Alienware 17 R4
Aorus X9 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (81 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 13% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (9.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.6% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (4.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4.3% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (6.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (12.8% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 19% of all tested devices in this class were better, 6% similar, 75% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 17%, worst was 37%
Compared to all devices tested
» 8% of all tested devices were better, 2% similar, 90% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Alienware 17 R4 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (74.99 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 15.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (9.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.5% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (8.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 5.1% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (9.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (21% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 73% of all tested devices in this class were better, 6% similar, 21% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 17%, worst was 37%
Compared to all devices tested
» 48% of all tested devices were better, 9% similar, 43% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Frequency diagram in comparison (checkboxes can be turned on/off!)

Energy Management

Due to the missing graphics switching feature, the Aorus X9 consumes a lot of power even while idling. 29 to 42 watts is lower than the MSI GT75VR's consumption (34 to 50 watts), but noticeably more than that of the Asus G752VS (21 to 32 watts). The Alienware 17 R4 and the Acer Predator 17 have similar consumption rates while idling.

Under load, you can start to feel the second graphics card. Throughout all the 3D tests, the Aorus X9 consumed the most power, while the 17-inch device also offered the best performance. Considering this, the performance-to-watt ratio is not that bad compared to a GTX 1080. The power supply seems to be large enough at 330 watts. The 334 watts maximum consumption sounds like a lot at first, but you will have to take the device's performance into account as well as the fact that overclocking was active during all our measurements (Level 2 out of 4).

Power Consumption

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.5 / 1.5 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 29 / 35 / 42 Watt
Load midlight 140 / 334 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Aorus X9
GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 7820HK
Alienware 17 R4
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
Asus G752VS-BA338T
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
Power Consumption
7%
-2%
33%
23%
Idle Minimum *
29
37.5
-29%
34
-17%
21
28%
23
21%
Idle Average *
35
37.6
-7%
41
-17%
27
23%
33
6%
Idle Maximum *
42
37.6
10%
50
-19%
32
24%
40
5%
Load Average *
140
122.4
13%
106
24%
86
39%
94
33%
Load Maximum *
334
277.4
17%
320
4%
206
38%
228
32%
Witcher 3 ultra *
295
180.3
39%
257
13%
165
44%
177
40%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

Only a few gaming laptops are blessed with high battery runtimes. The Aorus X9 is definitely not made for mobile use. Even when you reduce the display brightness to minimum and let the system run without load, the 94-Wh battery does not even last three hours. The results were not much better during our realistic measurements. 2:18h when playing HD films is just as disappointing as 2:14 hours of surfing on Wi-Fi (always at medium brightness).

Playing games on battery is no fun either as performance decreases significantly (-90% in “The Witcher 3”!) and it is game-over after just over an hour. While the Alienware 17 R4 and the MSI GT75VR have better results in some tests, the Acer Predator 17 and  the Asus G752VS in particular, offer significantly higher battery runtimes.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
2h 54min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
2h 14min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
2h 18min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 11min
Aorus X9
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1070 SLI (Laptop), 94.24 Wh
Alienware 17 R4
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 99 Wh
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 75 Wh
Asus G752VS-BA338T
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 90 Wh
Acer Predator 17 G9-793-70PJ
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 88 Wh
Battery Runtime
30%
3%
99%
59%
Reader / Idle
174
276
59%
182
5%
445
156%
323
86%
H.264
138
148
7%
257
86%
WiFi v1.3
134
181
35%
144
7%
293
119%
218
63%
Load
71
69
-3%
65
-8%
96
35%
91
28%

Verdict

Pros

+ up to 3x storage devices and 4x RAM
+ mechanical keyboard with RGB-backlighting
+ high-quality and rather slim case
+ practical tools (incl. fan control)
+ optional CPU & GPU overclocking
+ excellent performance
+ X-Rite Pantone certified
+ Thunderbolt 3
+ good sound
+ 120 Hz

Cons

- typical SLI weaknesses (micro-stutters, dependence on drivers)
- mediocre QHD panel (viewing angles, black value, contrast)
- surfaces and mainboard get dirty quickly
- bottom of base unit heats up
- problems with system noise
- low battery runtime
- very large power supply
- no G-Sync
Aorus X9, test unit provided by Gigabyte Germany.
Aorus X9, test unit provided by Gigabyte Germany.

Although the X9 is equipped with two graphics units, Gigabyte has presented a very slim and, considering its performance, rather light-weight gaming notebook that can impress with its high-quality metal case, playful design (whether you like it or not) and a mechanical keyboard.

The latter is particularly good news and separates the 17-inch device from many other high-end laptops. It also has good connectivity that can keep up with the competition. For example, the X9 is equipped with a modern Thunderbolt 3 port.

We were less happy with the QHD display, which supports 120 Hz, has low response times and is certified for X-Rite Pantone, but also has a poor contrast ratio and black value and unstable viewing angles. We were also disappointed by the battery runtime and the system noise. The 17-inch device simply becomes too loud during 3D applications for our taste. The good sound system cannot fully make up for these problems.

Choosing to use SLI technology has created additional advantages and difficulties. On the one hand, the Aorus X9 can offer exceeding performance in Dual-GPU-compatible programs, which even put notebooks with the GTX 1080 to shame. On the other, the second GPU - surprise, surprise - has a negative impact on cooling (temperature, system noise,...), power consumption and mobility - on top of the fact that not all current games even support SLI, making the second GTX 1070 superfluous in these cases.

With the high driver dependence and tendency for micro stuttering, dual-GPU systems are made for real enthusiasts rather than the average gamer. If you simply want to turn on the device and play, without having to bother about constant driver updates while still expecting good performance for resolutions above 1920x1080, you should stick to a straightforward single-GPU notebook (with a GeForce GTX 1070 or GTX 1080). Overall, the Aorus X9 is not quite good enough to enter the ranks of our Top 10 Gamers.

Aorus X9 - 04/14/2018 v6(old)
Florian Glaser

Chassis
78 / 98 → 79%
Keyboard
87%
Pointing Device
78%
Connectivity
66 / 81 → 81%
Weight
52 / 10-66 → 76%
Battery
64%
Display
82%
Games Performance
99%
Application Performance
97%
Temperature
68 / 95 → 72%
Noise
46 / 90 → 51%
Audio
85%
Average
75%
84%
Gaming - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Aorus X9 (i7-7820HK, GTX 1070 SLI, QHD) Laptop Review
Florian Glaser, 2017-10-23 (Update: 2019-03-31)