This has been quite a year for portable gaming machines (opens in new tab). AMD launched its Ryzen 6000 series mobile CPUs, Intel released Alder Lake for the same market, and Nvidia has added the existing mobile GPU series with the RTX 3080 Ti and RTX 3070 Ti. Given that things were already pretty healthy on laptops, these latest releases have given laptop manufacturers many choices when it comes to assembling powerful computers.
For the new Aorus 17 XE4, Gigabyte has decided to put Intel’s Alder Lake to work with the more sensible of Nvidia’s new offerings. More specifically, you look at an Intel Core i7 12700H that runs alongside an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti. This is a solid interconnection that is able to produce strong characters in both games and more serious applications without breaking the bank completely.
The Intel Core i7 12700H is not the top chip, but it still has many cores and a high clock speed to make sure you do not feel like it. You get a total of 14 cores here, consisting of six Performance cores and eight Efficient cores, to give Windows a total of 20 threads to play with. These performance cores can turbo up to 4.7 GHz, while the Efficient cores are a maximum of 3.5 GHz. Fast.
When it comes to GPUs, the RTX 3070 Ti is an impressive piece of modern silicon that can hit stupid numbers on this monitor’s original 1080p. With 130W, the RTX 3070 Ti inside the Aorus 17 is more powerful than any RTX 3080 we’ve seen from other manufacturers. It’s really not just about how fast a GPU is anymore, or how many CUDA cores a GPU has, but how much power the GPU can set aside for its own goals. And 130W is much more than many laptops can handle – especially the thin and light computers that look good but do not have the cooling to handle such powerful GPUs.
Gigabyte Aorus 17 XE4 specifications
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7 12700H
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti (130W)
RAM: 16 GB (2x 8 GB) DDR4-3200
Show: 17.3 inches
Original resolution: 1920 x 1080
Refresh rate: 360 Hz
Storage: 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
I / O: 1x gigabit LAN, 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x headphone / microphone, 1x Mini DisplayPort 1.4, 1x Thunderbolt 4, 2x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A
Dimensions: 398 x 254 x 27 mm
Weight: 2.7 kg
Price: $ 2099 (opens in new tab) | £ 1,999 (opens in new tab)
Aorus 17 makes a smart impression of a thin and light laptop. The base cuts away from the thickest part of the chassis on the front edge, so when you actually use it, you can easily be fooled into thinking that it is thinner than it actually is. More importantly, this means that it is actually thick enough to house a proper cooling system, one that has a good chance of keeping the said CPU and GPU cool.
However, there is one annoying mistake on the styling front: the power button. Although this is obviously still a gaming machine, due to its thickness, it is a mostly subdued affair with a pure aesthetic. Especially if you turn back on the keyboard’s standard RGB light show. But the squishy-looking power button would not look out of place on a child’s toy. Not something you would expect to see on a machine that rolls in for $ 2000.
The rest of the specs are pretty much what you expect, with a fast 1TB NVMe SSD that keeps things moving and 16GB of RAM by default, although Gigabyte has stuck to DDR4 here and not gone with DDR5. A sensible choice given the value / performance suggestion of the newer memory standard, although you can not help but feel that you are missing out on the latest when looking down the specification list, despite the fact that you can not really see the difference in practice.
Before moving on to the important performance, it is worth highlighting the keyboard, which is spacious and responsive. It’s even a full numeric keypad, though there’s no demarcation between it and the main keyboard, which can feel weird at times. Still, the keyboard as a whole is comfortable to type on and more than capable of handling your gaming needs. The touchpad is also generous, though not particularly useful when it comes to gaming. As always, you really want a decent mouse if you are serious about playing on the go.
The last important part of the portable game puzzle is the 360Hz 1080p screen, and here you see a relatively massive 17.3-inch panel squeezed into what Gigabyte suggests is a 15-inch chassis. Although physics will take issue with that proposal, it has a good screen-to-laptop ratio with thin frames on the top and sides, and the laptop itself is never so little smaller than some traditional 17-inch gaming laptops . I mean it’s big, get me wrong, but it can get even bigger.
This brings us to the show. And this is where the Gigabyte Aorus 17 XE4 shines the strongest. It may not be the fastest machine we’ve ever seen, nor is it the thinnest or quietest, but for the money it takes some serious beating to balance all of these things and focus on what really matters to most players: performance. Here, this machine is mostly at the top of the game, and able to outperform more expensive laptops.
That 130W Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti is the key ingredient here, but the fact that Gigabyte has paired it with a Core i7 chip as opposed to the much more expensive Core i9, pays off in the effort that gives value for money. Either way, you look at steady frame rates in pretty much every game you throw at it. Metro Exodus manages 76 frames per second with RTX beauties on, Horizon Zero Dawn 117 frames per second and F1 2020 tops with silky smooth 180 frames per second.
You could argue that an RTX 3070 Ti is overkill for a 1080p display, but that would be forgetting the 360Hz refresh rate. This machine, more than most, actually has a good chance of getting a frame rate close to that refresh rate. If you like a good game with Apex Legends, Valorant or CS: GO, you will hit honestly ridiculous frame rates (300 frames per second in Apex is quite easy to achieve), and know that your losses are due to your reactions, not this one. laptop’s inability to keep up.
One downside is that pushing this laptop hard will punish your ears. Aorus 17 XE4 can be annoyingly high in use. To the point that you will find yourself either reaching for a headset while playing, or pushing the volume up high to try to drown out the “Windforce Infinity Cooling System” at full speed. You at least have the ability to play in Silence Mode, and there is still plenty of power on offer if you prefer the quiet life, at least it is if you tackle the game’s settings screen.
Obviously, £ 1,999 ($ 2,099) is still a big bag of money to put on any laptop, even one that is as gamey as this one. It’s a little cruel that so much money no longer buys top components for you, even though throwing the entire top set into a laptop rarely actually pays off, with thermal limits often keeping such dream machines in check. Basically, you pay a lot more than this, and you are in an area with declining returns.
The real question you have to ask yourself is do you want your gaming to be a little more portable? I must admit that I prefer something more modest myself, these 13- and 14-inch laptops are often far more versatile, even if they do not have the same game punch that this one can muster. Still, if you are looking for a serious replacement for your desktop, then there is a lot to love here. Especially when it comes to actual gaming. It’s just a shame it’s so loud about it.