When it comes to performance, the Aorus X7 Pro improves across the board. Equipped with an 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7-4870HQ CPU, two SLI-enabled Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M GPUs for a total of 6 GB of GDDR5, 16 GB of RAM and two 256 GB SSDs in a RAID 0 mode the X7 Pro offers impressive power levels worthy of any gamer.
The only questionable decision is the inclusion of the expensive Intel Core i7-4870HQ CPU. Armed with impressive processing power the X7 makes quick work of most functions, but the main advantage of this chipset is its HD Graphics 5200, which is noticeably more potent than the HD Graphics 4600 found in standard Haswell chips. However, the X7 Pro does not offer graphics switching, meaning users can’t take advantage of the chip’s superior onboard graphics. In our opinion, it would have been nice to see Gigabyte opt for a cheaper standard quad-core to help lower the device’s steep $2,600 asking price.
The next sizeable addition to the X7 Pro is undoubtedly the pair of Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M GPUs. The 970M offers a substantial boost in performance as Aorus makes the jump to Nvidia’s Maxwell architecture. In terms of how effective the second SLI-enabled GPU will be, performance scaling is heavily dependent on how well the software (game) is optimized to take advantage of the second GPU. However, even in scenarios where the second GPU is not fully utilized, the X7 Pro will have no problem performing. Users can expect to edit 3D and 4k videos with ease and run the most demanding game titles at high settings with excellent performance. We tested the device running Dragon Age: Inquisition at the highest settings with 4x anti-aliasing. The laptop was able to play at a smooth 63fps without stuttering or lag.
Our review unit of the Aorus X7 Pro had the following specifications:
- Wiondows 8.1 (64-bit)
- Intel Core i7-4870HQ (2.5GHz)
- 17.3-inch Full HD(1920 x 1080) anti-glare LCD
- Dual Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M SLI GDDR5 6GB
- 16GB of DDR3
- mSATA 256GB x2 SSD (RAID 0)
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi
- Killer E2200 Ethernet
- Dimensions: 16.8 x 12 x 0.9 inches
- Weight: 6.9 pounds
- Cost: $2,600
wPrime processor comparisons (lower scores mean better performance):
PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):
PCMark8 Work (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for work-related productivity tasks (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark 11 is a benchmark that measures overall graphics card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test:
Heat and Noise
Packing so much power in such a small package comes at a price. The X7 Pro runs extremely hot and you can often hear the fans busting away at full speed trying to dispense that heat. The cooling system is audible anytime the system is being taxed, and can be distracting when in 3D mode. The back portion of the device near the vents always runs hot, even when the X7 Pro is idle. The laptop also heats up considerably while under duress; the bottom portion of the chassis becomes hot enough to the point where its uncomfortable to use as a laptop. This is our one area of concern, not just because of excessive heat on your lap, but because game play often becomes unstable if PC hardware gets too hot.
To test battery life, we used our new PowerMark benchmark in balanced mode. The test consists of a combination of automated web browsing, word processing, gaming and video playback workloads. The test is far more strenuous than our previous test, measuring the machine under a litany of scenarios to better simulate real life use. With the test being far more demanding the scores are understandably lower than our previous benchmark.
With improved specs, the Aorus X7 Pro has a more demanding powerload and as a result offers less battery life than its predecessor. In our tests the X7 Pro ran for 1 hour and 55 minutes before shutting down. Falling shy of the two hour mark, the X7 Pro offers weak battery life even relative to other gaming devices and considering the laptop does not offer graphics switching there is no way for users to lessen the demanding power consumption levels of the machine to extend battery life.