The launch of new mobile processor and GPU platforms is a perfect opportunity for manufacturers to refresh their flagship offerings. Gigabyte is joining the party with its Aorus gaming laptop line, offering the Aorus 17 XE with Intel’s 12th-generation “Elder Lake” CPU and Nvidia’s new GeForce RTX 30 Ti graphics. We tested the base model for $2,449, which takes advantage of a GeForce RTX 3070 Ti and a Core i7-12700H, making for great effect for both media tasks and gaming at peak image-quality settings. The system is bulky and bulky, and the build isn’t much to write home about, but with a solid mix of connectivity, battery life, and gaming features (specifically, a 360Hz display), the Aorus is a good choice in the High The is-end, big-screen segment.
a power-focused design
While the Aorus 17 XE doesn’t have the flashy colors or gaudy design of gaming notebooks, you’ll probably still find it to be a gaming rig by its size alone. This machine is all about power, and while its engineers tried to trim its size as much as possible without affecting performance, it still comes in at 0.94 by 15.7 by 10 inches and 5.95 pounds.
Coming in at less than an inch in thickness is a plus, compared to 17-inch gaming laptops from years past, but this machine is still bulky. I’m easily convinced that it weighs a few pounds more than its actual weight, because it’s too heavy and cumbersome to carry. The system is best for those who will primarily keep it at their desk and occasionally take it to a gaming party, not those who want to use it as a daily driver outside the home.
To its credit, the Aorus is as sleek as you can get for its size, an all-black chassis with a smooth finish and minimal logo on the lid. The design won’t win any awards, but it’s stylish enough and feels well made. Additionally, the power brick is no bigger than your average laptop AC adapter, so it doesn’t make a non-portable situation as bad as many 17-inch systems do.
The keyboard is spacious, and the inclusion of a full number pad is always nice, but the typing experience isn’t as satisfying as it might seem. I found the palm rest to be a bit too big and the keys a little too small considering the size of the laptop (partly because of that numeric keypad). The actual keypresses feel fine – not mushy, with decent feedback – but it’s not an exceptional experience. The touchpad is serviceable, but the keyboard deck overall shows some flex when you apply pressure.
Beyond the performance advantage, the other advantage of the 17 XE’s bulk is its massive display. The 17-inch IPS panel combines full-HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) resolution with a 360Hz refresh rate that’s perfect for fast-paced gaming. You can expect a high native resolution on such a big, pricey machine, but manufacturers are sticking with 1080p to reach the ceiling offered by the high-refresh panels. A 1440p or 4K display will demand to reach 360 frames per second (fps) in most titles.
The beefy chassis offers a decent selection of ports, starting with a USB 3.1 Type-A port, HDMI and Mini DisplayPort video outputs, and an Ethernet jack on the left flank. The right edge houses a USB-C port with support for Thunderbolt 4 and another USB-A 3.1 port. Connectivity is rounded out with Wi-Fi 6e, Bluetooth 5.2, and a Windows Hello-compatible face recognition webcam.
Components and configuration
Our $2,449 test unit doesn’t have the very top components available, but it comes close. This includes a 12th-generation Intel Core 7-12700H processor, 16GB of memory, a 1TB solid-state drive, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU. This base model is the only 17-inch option available at this writing, but Gigabyte says Core i9 versions are coming.
Manufacturers can set Nvidia’s 30-series GPUs to a power delivery level that suits their design goals and thermal limits, resulting in different wattages even for the same GPU. In some cases, this means that one high-wattage RTX 3070 may outperform an RTX 3080, or that two different RTX 3070 laptops may perform very differently. This can be confusing for buyers, but it does mean that it’s more important than ever to check our practical benchmark results. The GeForce RTX 3070 Ti in Aorus is configured with a maximum power of 130 watts.
Performance test: ‘Elder Lake’ moves on
It’s a powerful machine, which means some top-end competition. Below are a bunch of gaming rigs that we’ll be comparing the Aorus 17 XE to in benchmark testing.
These systems cover a range of CPU competitors, from previous-generation Intel Core i7 chips to AMD Ryzen 7 and 9 offerings. We’ve only reviewed a Ryzen 6000 series laptop so far, but it’s a compact 14-inch, so it wouldn’t be fair to compare it to 17-inch machines, so we leave it to the 5000 series for AMD’s take. Will give flag here. All of these machines cost over $2,000, so it’s a level and expensive playing field.
UL’s PCMark 10 core benchmarks simulate a variety of real-world productivity and content-creation workflows, measuring overall performance for office-focused tasks such as word processing, spreadsheets, web browsing, and videoconferencing. We also run PCMark 10’s full system drive test to assess the load time and throughput of the laptop’s storage.
The three benchmarks focus on the CPU, using all available cores and threads, to rate the suitability of a PC for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 uses that company’s Cinema 4D engine to render a complex scene, while Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5.4 Pro emulates popular apps ranging from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine learning. Finally, we use the open-source video transcoder Handbrake 1.4 to convert a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p resolution (the shorter the time the better).
We also normally run an Adobe Photoshop performance test, but for unknown reasons the script kept crashing on the Aorus 17 XE, so it’s not on the charts here.
It’s worth noting at the top that these were the result of the Aurus’s Turbo mode, which you can toggle on in the provided Gigabyte control panel software. We first tested the system in the default performance mode, and it posted competing numbers, but it was clear that the CPU was not being used to its full potential. The downside is that Turbo Mode is loud (it constantly pushes the cooling fans to full speed), and some users may decide against it or forget to activate it. Still, limiting the machine isn’t worth it, as most hardcore gamers will run it at maximum power when needed. We’ve found in many other systems that the modest performance gains of such modes are not worth the fan noise, but in this case the improvements are significant.
That caveat aside, suffice it to say that the 17XE is a powerhouse at maximum capacity, suitable for users who will be using it for content creation or professional work when they’re not gaming.
graphics and gaming test
We test Windows PC’s graphics with two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL’s 3DMark: Night Raid (suitable for more modest, laptops with integrated graphics) and Time Spy (for gaming rigs with more demanding, discrete GPUs) Suitable).
In addition, we run three real-world game tests using F1 2021’s built-in benchmarks, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Rainbow Six Siege. These represent simulation, open-world action-adventure and competitive esports shooter games respectively. Valhalla and Siege are run twice (Valhalla in its Medium and Ultra quality presets, Siege at Low and Ultra quality), while F1 2021 is run twice with and without Nvidia’s performance-enhancing DLSS anti-aliasing at max settings. is run.
The Aorus’ Turbo Mode didn’t boost the score here; It seems to help CPU tests more than it does in graphics-intensive games (the F1 frame rate, for example, only increased to 2fps). A different gaming mode didn’t increase the frame rate at all, so the scores reported here are from the default mode. The latter keeps the fans from getting super-loud for long stretches of gaming, unlike the short bursts you can endure in content tasks.
At any rate, the 17 XE delivered generally strong numbers here, with even the strongest performing in Valhalla, the most demanding title, at an impressive 82fps. In the other two sports its results were more in line with the competition. You can get super-high frame rates in Rainbow Six Siege, though you won’t come near the screen’s refresh-rate ceiling even at low settings. The Alienware x17 was the best performer across the board, but it’s even heavier, when a bit thinner than the Aurus.
Battery and performance testing
We test a laptop’s battery life by playing a locally stored 720p video file with display brightness at 50% and audio volume at 100% until the system is turned off. We make sure the battery is fully charged, with Wi-Fi and keyboard backlighting turned off before testing.
I was drawn to the Aorus 17 XE to deliver moderate battery life considering its size and powerful parts, but its six-hour runtime is fine for a 17-inch gaming laptop. These aren’t the most road-ready systems by any stretch, but when you need to take your rig with you (or just want to use it on the couch) you won’t need to go back to the charger right away.
The screen’s color coverage is fine, but no worse than the others in this bunch—only the Alienware x17’s display stands out in this regard. You can say a lot for brightness; The Auras result is not the best but max 360 nits is serviceable.
a high-end straight shooter
The Aorus 17 XE is a straightforward offering in almost every aspect – what you see is what you get. The construction is large and simple, but it is visually sleek and not overly heavy. Performance is great, as you’d expect from a component array; There are no real surprises or superlative moments, although the 12th generation processors are given room to fly with the fans at full speed. It’s hardly the most attractive way to spend over $2,000 on a laptop, nor is it travel-friendly, but Aorus largely delivers on its promises. Lenovo Legion 7 and Alienware x17 have outperformed this competitive segment in terms of performance and design.