Gigabyte Aorus 17x review: super-powerful gaming on the go

The Gigabyte Aorus 17x packs in plenty of power and makes plenty of noise

Gigabyte Aorus 17x
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

We've yet to see a gaming laptop that perfectly balances performance, price and size, but the Gigabyte Aorus 17x gives it a good go. If you have plenty of money to spend and you want the best laptop specs in return, then it's one to put on your shortlist of options.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Super-powerful specs

  • +

    Smart optimisation tools

  • +

    Excellent keyboard

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Gets rather loud

  • -

    It's going to cost you

  • -

    Heavy and bulky

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The Gigabyte Aorus 17x is a seriously heavy duty gaming laptop – that much is obvious when you take it out of the box and realise it needs not one but two power cables to properly run. It speaks to the quality and power of the components packed in here.

You can take your pick of the best 10th-gen Intel Core i9 and i7 processors, and the best Nvidia GeForce RTX and GTX graphics options when it comes to configuring the Aorus 17x, and that's all helping to light up a generously sized 17.3-inch panel running at 240Hz.

As you would expect, this is a hot and heavy laptop too, and one that's not particularly good at keeping a battery charge while you're away from a power socket. However, if you're putting down money for this, those are probably trade-offs you're willing to make.

We've been putting the Gigabyte Aorus 17x to the test over the past few days and you can read on for our verdict – it's definitely up there with the elite gaming laptops of the moment, but there are plenty of alternatives to consider in this competitive market.

Gigabyte Aorus 17x review: screen and design

Gigabyte Aorus 17x

(Image credit: Gigabyte)

The Gigabyte Aorus 17x is a big, chunky, heavy and relatively stylish laptop – stylish if you like a lot of angular lines and bright lights, anyway. It tips the scales at 3.75 kg (8.27 pounds) though of course this is to be expected from a gaming laptop, especially one with so many top-end components: you can carry it from one place to another without breaking your back, but don't expect to be propping it open on the train or doing a bit of gaming on your lap in the local coffee shop.

This size and weight comes with its benefits, including a really impressive 1,920 x 1,080 pixel, IPS LCD, 17.3-inch display which we like a lot. It's bright and sharp, and the thin bezels everywhere except the bottom keep the focus on your gaming. If you're after the very best specs you might want to push to a 4K panel, but whether the extra resolution is worth it on a laptop screen is debatable. Another stand-out feature here is the 240Hz refresh rate, meaning super-smooth frame rates for your gaming.

The laptop is packed with ports too, including the usual headphone and mic jacks, plus 3 x USB-A, 1 x USB-C, 1 x Thunderbolt (USB-C), 1 x DisplayPort (USB-C), 1 x HDMI and 1 x Ethernet. There's also an SD card reader here, if you need it. As usual for a gaming laptop, there's a neat light show going on – through the software on board the computer, you can adjust the 'atmosphere lighting' around the sides, plus the backlight for the keys on the mechanical keyboard.

Those mechanical keys are custom-made by Omrom and give you 2.5 mm of travel with a satisfying click – so satisfying that we wrote out a lot of this review on the Aorus 17x as well. As far as the design goes, it's a superb and carefully thought-out all-round package, though beauty is to some extent in the eye of the beholder.

Gigabyte Aorus 17x review: performance and features

Gigabyte Aorus 17x

(Image credit: Future)

Our test laptop came with an eight-core 10th-gen Intel Core i9-10980HK 2.4GHz processor, 32GB of RAM, 3GB of HDD/SSD storage, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super graphics card – other configurations are available but this is the very best of the best. As you would expect, performance was excellent, with hardly a slowdown to speak of – even with the graphics settings ramped up to the max, games such as Firewatch and GTA V were returning close to 200 frames per second.

In the synthetic 3DMark Time Spy benchmark, the Gigabyte Aorus scored 10,306, which is the best we've seen yet from a laptop on that particular test. It beats out the 3DMark averages for a gaming laptop (5,730) and a gaming PC (9,216), and is closing in on a high-end gaming PC (11,085). A premium gaming PC scores 19,871, by the way. It's better than 89 percent of all results.

As on some of its other newer gaming laptops, the Auros 17x comes with an AI engine running in the background designed to use Microsoft Azure machine learning to better manage GPU and CPU load. We're not exactly sure how much difference it makes, but you certainly get plenty of options when it comes to customising your gaming setup, helped by the comprehensive Control Centre application that Gigabyte provides as well.

Gigabyte says its Windforce cooling system is better than ever, with four exhaust vents, but this is still a loud laptop – and one that gets reasonably hot under a heavy load. You would expect that on a portable computer with this amount of tech packed in, but be prepared to turn up the volume to drown out the fans. On the battery side, obviously it's not the main selling point of the Aorus 17x, but an hour of light video streaming in battery saver mode knocked the level down from 100 percent to 57 percent.

Gigabyte Aorus 17x review: price and verdict

Gigabyte Aorus 17x

(Image credit: Gigabyte)

Start shopping for a gaming laptop and straight away you know you're going to be making compromises when it comes to size, noise, heat and battery life. Those compromises are all in evidence when it comes to the Gigabyte Aorus 17x, but it has plenty in its favour too, including some of the best components you can get in a laptop, and some smart optimisation technology running in the background.

Gaming performance was mostly excellent, with high frame rates and smooth gameplay, though we did notice the occasional stutter on GTA V – whether it was the hardware or the game trying to catch up isn't clear, but we didn't notice it in any other titles. The CPU and GPU packed in here should certainly have no problems with even the best games on the market, as its benchmark score showed.

One of the advantages of not having a 4K display is higher frame rates, and the 17.3-inch screen is another reason to buy the Gigabyte Aorus 17x – it's a fine-looking panel, and with the mechanical keyboard and GPU power on offer here, this will do double duty as a powerhouse for creatives too (as long as you don't mind the whirring fans). We're also fans of the number of customisation options the built-in Gigabyte software offers you, too.

The price is high, as you would expect – £3,699 for the most expensive model in the range, though check the widgets on this page for the most recent pricing and online deals. In such a busy, competitive market it's difficult to say whether this is the best value gaming laptop around right now, but it's undoubtedly one of the most impressive in terms of its performance and it's customisation options.

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.