Gigabyte has long been a well-known brand among desktop PC gamers who build their own PCs, but the Gigabyte Aorus line of laptops is getting ready to shake things up for notebook gamers. Gigabyte announced three all-new gaming notebooks at Computex 2014 in Taipei and we were there to take a closer look at what makes these gaming laptops more interesting than a typical gaming rig.
The 17-inch Aorus X7 features a FHD (1920 x 1080) display powered by fourth-generation Intel Core i7 processors, dual Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M graphics, up to four storage drives, four memory slots and a gaming keyboard with built-in macro keys. That might sound like typical fanfare for a 17-inch gaming notebook, but what makes the Aorus X7 so exciting is that Gigabyte managed to build those specs into a dramatically thin and light chassis design (well, thin and light for a 17-inch gaming notebook). A typical 17-inch gaming rig is about 2.17 inches (55mm) thick and 8.5lbs (3.9kg) heavy, but the Aorus X7 is less than half as thick at just under 1 inch thick (22.9mm) and only 6.6lbs (3kg).
Our biggest concern with dual GTX 860M GPUs inside a thin laptop is that high-end graphics generate heat. While Nvidia claims the new 800M series GPUs run at lower thermals than previous generation graphics, it’s still nice to know that Gigabyte designed an all-new cooling system with five separate heat pipes, two fans (one in each rear corner on the Aorus X7) and four vents to optimize air flow and keep heat away from the GPUs and away from the gamer.
Add to that the ability to have up to 2TB of storage (three 512MB mSATA SSDs plus a 1.5TB HDD in RAID 0) and up to 32GB of DDR3L RAM running at 1866MHz and you’ve got the makings of a killer mobile gaming rig.
Aorus X3 and X3 Plus
If a thinner and lighter 17-inch gaming notebook is still too big for you then Gigabyte should have you covered with the Aorus X3 and X3 Plus. The Aorus X3 features a 13.3-inch QHD display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 4th generation Intel Core i7 processor and a single Nvidia GeForce GTX 870M graphics card (which Gigabyte claims delivers P7104 in 3DMark 11) in a thin and light chassis. The X3 Plus is essentially the same notebook with a 13.9-inch display and a QHD+ resolution of 3200 x 1800 and a 72% NTSC color gamut for superior color accuracy (so the blood looks more realistic in the next Call of Duty game).
Even though the X3 and X3 Plus only have a single high-end GPU, these notebooks feature a new thermal cooling system using two massive heat pipes, two fans and two vents to keep the notebook as cool as possible. The X3 chassis needs all that cooling because the Core i7 processor and GTX 870M graphics have been squeezed into a laptop chassis that is less than an inch thick at just 22.9 mm and weighs just 4.12lbs (1.87kg)
Both the X3 and X3 Plus have two RAM slots for up to 16GB of system memory and space for two M.2 SATA SSDs (each of those stick-like SSDs are similar to the single SSD found inside a MacBook Air). The X3 and X3 Plus also feature five dedicated macro keys (similar to the keyboard on the X7) and a glossy black glass trackpad that looks amazing until you touch it and get your fingerprints all over it.
Gigabyte hasn’t settled on final pricing for the Aorus X7, X3 or X3 Plus at the time of this writing, but we were told that an estimated street price of between $2,299 and $2,499 is not out of the question for the Aorus X3 Plus and its 13.9-inch QHD+ display. Frankly, we’re hoping both the X3 and X3 Plus can find their way to stores for less than $2,000 … but we won’t hold our breath.