Gigabyte Aorus 17X Review
Electronics,  Technology

Gigabyte Aorus 17X Review – Most Powerful Gaming Laptop

Gigabyte Aorus 17X Intro

Gigabyte’s Gigabyte Aorus 17X gaming laptop fixes most of the problems that I had with the Aorus 17. It’s amazing what adding the letter X to a product can do! The first difference is that the 17X has Intel’s new 16-core, 24-thread CPU. My configuration also has Nvidia’s RTX 3070 Ti graphics and a 360Hz screen.

Gigabyte Aorus 17X General Specs

  • CPU : Intel core i9 – 12900HX (16C / 24T)
  • GPU : NVIDIA RTX 3070 Ti 125-130W
  • MEMORY : 32GB (16GB X 2) DDR 5 4800
  • HDD : 1TB NVME M.2 SSD
  • SCREEN : 17.3″ 1080P 360Hz
  • BATTERY : 99WH
  • NETWORK : Wi-Fi 6E, 2.5GB Ethernet
Gigabyte Aorus 17X
Gigabyte Aorus 17X

Build Quality & Design

The chassis of the 17X is the same 17 non-X, the whole thing has a black plastic finish, but the overall build quality felt good. Despite the plastic build, there’s only a bit of flex to the keyboard and screen.

Size & Weight

The Gigabyte Aorus 17X has a bigger cooler inside to keep up with the new 16-core processor, so it’s not surprising that it weighs a bit more than the non-X version. The extra power has to come from somewhere. The 17X also has a larger 280-watt power brick, so with cables included, the 17X ends up weighing 415g or 0.9lb more than the non-X. The width and depth are the same as the non-X version, but the 17X is slightly thicker at the tallest point, presumably to accommodate the extra cooling, but the difference is only small.

MUX Switch & Screen

TheGigabyte Aorus 17X has a MUX switch, another improvement compared to the non-X version, which does not have one, but there’s no advanced Optimus, so you have to reboot to swap. There’s still no G-Sync, but there’s adaptive sync with Optimus. The 1080p panel has an alright colour gamut for a gaming laptop and decent contrast. The brightness gets close to 360 nits, higher than the 300 that I want to see as a minimum, but this will vary a bit between individual panels.

The screen response time was excellent at 3.15ms. There was a little overshoot and undershot, which implies that there’s an overdrive mode active. I couldn’t find a way to disable it in software, so it’s just on by default. If it weren’t for the new 240Hz OLED screen in MSI’s GE67 that I only just tested, the Gigabyte Aorus 17X would have been the fastest laptop screen I’ve ever tested. We can see it’s quite a bit better compared to the same panel they used in the non-X version, as that one didn’t have a panel overdrive mode.

The total system latency is the amount of time between a mouse click and when a gunshot fire appears on the screen in CS: GO, and the fast screen of the Gigabyte Aorus 17X helps it do very well here. It’s more than 7ms faster compared to the non-X version, and part of that would be due to the addition of the MUX switch, as being able to disable Optimus further helps lower latency.

Camera & Microphones

There’s a 720p camera above the screen in the middle, and it’s got IR for Windows Hello face unlock. This is how the camera and microphone look and sound. This is how it sounds while typing on the keyboard, and as you can see, there is some wobble to the screen while doing this, and there’s also just a slight bit of a fan noise that you can hear. Even though to me right now, the fans are fairly quiet, you can still hear that whiny noise.

Speakers & Latencymon

The speakers are found underneath towards the front on the left and right sides. They get fairly loud, but I didn’t think they sounded great, below average compared to others with basically no bass while sounding tinny. The latencymon results weren’t too bad, though.

Keyboard & Touchpad

The keyboard has per-key RGB backlighting, but unfortunately, it doesn’t light up the secondary key functions, which I always find annoying. If you hold the function key, the keys you can interact with light up white, and this, in combination with the space bar, can be used to adjust key brightness between two levels.

A few different RGB lighting effects are built in, which can be changed through the Gigabyte Control Center software under the RGB Fusion tab. The effects can be customized a bit with different speeds and directions. The key brightness can also be adjusted in 10% increments here too. Typing on the keyboard was fine. The keys have a subtle clicky feel. There’s no caps lock light which I found annoying at times. The software does tell you on screen when you change it, but you can’t just look at the laptop and know if it’s on or off.

This also means if you remove the software or use a different operating system like Linux, you have no idea if it’s on or off. The right shift was a little short, which may annoy some people, but I only use the left shift, so I didn’t notice. The power button is above the keyboard in the center, and it lights up white with the Gigabyte Aorus 17X logo, with some air ventilation holes on either side. The touchpad was pretty good. It’s fairly large, it feels nice and smooth, and the clicks were accurate.

Gigabyte Aorus 17X Review

Keyboard Temperatures

Like most other laptops, the keyboard was around the low 30 degrees Celsius range when just sitting there idle. It’s only a little warmer with the stress tests running, the WASD area is cold, and the hot spot isn’t uncomfortable. The Meeting mode was quite similar, not surprising given the power levels were similar. The higher gaming mode was a little cooler and a very cold WASD area where you’d rest while playing games. Creator mode was much the same, and then turbo was a little cooler with the WASD area cold.

Gigabyte Aorus 17X Ports

The left has an air exhaust vent, 2.5-gigabit ethernet facing the preferred way, so you don’t have to lift the machine to unplug, HDMI 2.1 and mini DisplayPort 1.4 outputs, and a USB 3.2 Type-A port. The generation isn’t listed on the specs, so I’d assume slower Gen 1. The right has a 3.5mm audio combo jack, a second USB 3.2 Type-A port again, the generation isn’t listed, so I’d assume slower Gen 1, a Type-C Thunderbolt 4 port, the power input, and there’s an air exhaust on this side too.

There aren’t any ports on the back. There are just a couple of air exhaust vents towards the corners, while the middle has this orange sort of pattern. The Type-C port on the right can be used to charge the laptop, and although I think it’s meant to have display output like the lower tier non-X version when we connected an external monitor, nothing happened whether Optimus was on or off.

Display Outputs

Both the mini DisplayPort and HDMI outputs connect directly to the Nvidia graphics, whether or not Optimus is on or off. And we also confirmed that the HDMI port offers G-Sync support, so variable refresh rate, and it supports a 4K external screen at up to 120Hz 8-Bit

Getting Inside + Internals

There are 14 TR6 screws to remove to get inside, and the six towards the front are shorter than the rest. Once the screws were out, it was very easy to pry the bottom panel off using these pry tools, starting at the back hinge. Inside, we’ve got the battery down the front, two M.2 storage slots with one to the left of the battery and the other above on the right, two memory slots towards the middle, and a Wi-Fi 6E card to the left. Intel 12th gen supports either DDR4 or DDR5 memory, and while the non-X Aorus 17 is available with either option, this higher tier 17X only seems available with newer DDR5 memory.

Gigabyte Aorus 17X inside

Gigabyte Aorus 17X Wi-Fi Performance

Wi-Fi performance wasn’t very good for some reason, considering it’s got the same Wi-Fi card as the non-X and presumably the same antenna design. I ran this test multiple times, even after installing the latest drivers from Intel, but nothing helped improve it.

SSD Speed & Upgrade Options

Both M.2 slots offer PCIe Gen 4 storage support, and the installed 1TB SSD was performing quite well. The upgradeability score is the same as many others. Including the non-X Aorus 17, as there’s quite a bit, we can upgrade. As always, I removed half a point for the uncommon TR6 screws, but again the tools linked in the description have no problem with this.

Battery Life

The 17x is powered by a large 99Wh battery, but it’s barely lasting for three and a half hours in my YouTube video playback test. This is one of the worst recorded results and not much lower than the non-X Aorus 17. You can’t blame the HX CPU, given that the Scar 17 SE with a smaller battery lasts longer while MSI’s GT77 Titan was further ahead.

Thermals & Software Modes

The 17X has more heat pipes than the non-X, which makes sense considering that it’s got a higher tier processor and can run the GPU at a higher base power limit. The Gigabyte Control Center software lets us change between 5 different built-in performance modes. From lowest to highest, we’ve got power-saving silence, meeting, gaming, turbo, and creator modes.

For each setting preset, you can change things like keyboard brightness, screen white point and GPU boost, but I’ve done all testing with these on their defaults. A fan control tab with different fan curves is also available by default. I haven’t customized any of these for testing and have again stuck to the defaults, but this gives you some more flexibility to find what works for you. It’s also possible to toggle between these different fan modes by holding the function key and pressing the escape key, which has the fan icon. By default, turbo and gaming modes apply the following overclock to the GPU.

Temperatures / Clock Speed / TDP

The temperatures were a little warm when sitting there idle, but this doesn’t matter. The rest of the results are from combined CPU and GPU stress tests which aim to represent a worst-case workload. The power-saving silence and meeting modes were about the same; gaming mode was warmer, while creator mode was the most generous. Turbo mode was actually a fair bit cooler, and the cooling pad I tested with, linked below the video, lowered temperatures a bit more. These are the clock speeds for the same tests just shown.

Although the cooling pad didn’t change the temperatures too much, check out the performance differences. The clock speeds of the P cores are like 1GHz higher, quite a significant difference with the cooling pad. That said, creator mode was running at higher CPU clock speeds, which helps explain why it was running the warmest. Power-saving silence and meeting modes were about the same and honestly quite useless if you’re doing tasks that actually need any performance, but they’d be fine for what their names suggest, like sitting in a meeting, for instance, because nothing happens in those anyway.

The performance was low because there are only 15 watts to share over all 16 cores. Creator mode had the highest CPU temperature because the CPU power limit was the highest at close to 70 watts. Turbo mode was able to boost the GPU 10 watts higher, but the tradeoff is a much lower CPU power limit. With more cool air coming in with the cooling pad, though, the CPU was able to boost back up, but like creator mode, at the expense of a bit of GPU power. In a CPU-only workload like Cinebench, where the GPU is no longer active, the processor is able to boost to higher power limits which results in better performance.

Gigabyte Aorus 17X BIOS

The BIOS might not look as modern as other brands like ASUS, MSI or Lenovo, but the core basic functionality is still present. However, there’s nowhere near as much customization as others like MSI’s advanced BIOS. You can’t do any overclocking or undervolting of the unlocked HX processor in BIOS, so that would all be handled with software like Intel XTU.

Linux Support

Linux support was tested with an Ubuntu 22.04 LiveCD, but I had to use the safe graphical mode, or it would freeze during boot. This might be why the screen brightness adjustment keyboard shortcuts did not work, but the shortcuts to adjust volume and keyboard brightness worked fine. By default, the keyboard, touchpad, speakers, ethernet, Wi-Fi and camera all worked fine.

Is it Gaming Laptop For eSports Players?

It would have been better if Gigabyte also offered this laptop with a 1440p screen, as I think that’s generally a better resolution for the larger 17-inch size. But 1080p 360Hz seems to be the only option you can get, so based on this, I’m assuming that Gigabyte is targeting this laptop towards eSports players. And that’s perfectly fine if that’s the goal and who they’re after, and to be fair, this 17X does do a better job of that than the 17.

More CPU power from the HX chips will benefit those games, and adding a MUX switch and panel overdrive for the screen will increase average FPS and lower latency. All of which are pretty important things when it comes to eSports gaming. Backlight bleed was minor, I never noticed it during normal use, but this will vary between laptops.

Gigabyte Aorus 17X Gaming Comparison

Now let’s find out how the 17X performs in games and see how it compares against other laptops, including that non-X version of the Aorus 17. Cyberpunk 2077 was tested the same on all laptops, and I’ve got the 17X shown by the red highlight. It’s performing the same as the non-x with lower tier CPU and GPU just above it, while the higher tier 3080 Ti wasn’t much different. At least at 1080p, which we’re focusing on because the Aorus 17 only seems to sell with a 1080p screen.

Control is a GPU-heavy game, and despite the higher base power limit range of the 3070 Ti in the 17X, it’s still performing about the same as the non-X. The 1% low is a little higher here too, which could be due to the higher tier i9 CPU, but realistically it’s only a small difference. Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested with the game’s benchmark, and this time it’s slightly ahead of the non-X with higher tier RTX 3080 Ti.

Again it’s not exactly a difference you’d notice in playing, and honestly, it’s within the margin of error range, but the gap is at least a bit bigger now compared to the 3070 Ti in the non-X. The performance differences between the 17X and non-X will probably be bigger in games that need more CPU power. I will compare Intel’s Core i9-12900H and the i9-12900HX coming very soon, so make sure you’re subscribed to see all the differences.

Gigabyte Aorus 17X Intel graphics problem?

I think there might be something wrong with the Intel graphics drivers. I tried updating them to the latest version, and after a reboot, the screen would be black. You couldn’t use the laptop. I had to go into the BIOS and change it to Nvidia discrete graphics only, at which point it would work perfectly fine. So kind of coincidental that I update the Intel GPU drivers, and then I can’t use it in Optimus on mode.

I had to reinstall the older Intel drivers from Gigabyte’s website from this model with the Optimus mode off. Still, I should also note that this weird black screen issue did happen a couple of times before I attempted to upgrade the Intel drivers. So not sure what was going on there. There was also an instance where we opened the snipping tool in Windows, and it kind of just freaked out, and the brightness dipped to like 5%, and we couldn’t change it until it was rebooted.

So yeah, there were just a few random things that resulted in a pretty poor user experience. But the positive does seem to be that these seem to be software issues, so in theory, I would expect them to get fixed in future.

Conclusion – Gigabyte Aorus 17X Worth It?

And ultimately, that’s because theGigabyte Aorus 17X fixes most of the problems that I had with the non-X model. Based on the fact that it only comes with a 1080p 360Hz screen option, I’m going to assume that Gigabyte is targeting this laptop toward eSports gamers. The problem with the non-X version was that it didn’t have a screen overdrive mode, so the response time wasn’t fast enough for the 360Hz refresh rate.

This is fixed with the Gigabyte Aorus 17X, which now delivers the best response time I’ve ever seen – not counting that MSI GE67 OLED result. You’re going to want to make sure you’re subscribed for that review, by the way! The non-X version of the Aorus 17 also doesn’t have a MUX switch. Again something is resolved in this higher tier 17X model. And that’s just another thing that helps you get the most out of eSports games. The 17X also has more CPU power, again something that’s going to be important when it comes to eSports games.

Now that said, you’re not really going to notice a difference between 14 cores, 20 threads and 16 cores and 24 threads in most games, but as you’ll see in my 12900H vs 12900HX comparison, the HX can still offer a boost in eSports games. And I was also happy to see that they did improve the cooling in this model to help account for the higher GPU power limit and that 16-core HX processor, unfortunately. However, it seems like the battery life is even worse than the non-X Aorus 17, which already didn’t have great battery life.

I guess that’s not too unexpected, considering this has a more power-hungry CPU. The speakers also aren’t very good, but at least that can be fixed with headphones. I also didn’t have quite as many problems with the Gigabyte software compared to when I originally reviewed the Aorus 17 non-X, so maybe they’ve made some updates and improvements over that time. I wish the secondary functions of all keys on the keyboard lit up, though, because when you’re in a dark room, it’s harder to see.

Why RTX 3080 Ti Is Not Worth it?

I also think it makes way more sense to go for the 3070 Ti configuration I’ve got here rather than the more expensive 3080 Ti option. Because they perform about the same despite the big price difference, Or if you’re looking to spend less money and not get the 17X, you can check out a review of the non-X version.

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