Hardly anyone knew much about Aorus till it made a splash at last year's CES trade show with the X7 gaming laptop.
What was remarkable about the X7 was that it packed two Nvidia graphics chips despite being barely thicker than an ultrabook. Gaming PC brands, such as MSI and Razer, offer slim gaming laptops, but none of them have ever packed two graphics chips into a skinny laptop.
Aorus, which turned out to be a gaming brand by motherboard vendor Gigabyte, has been prompt in upgrading these graphics chips with newer versions when they became available.
In fact, the Aorus X7 Pro is the third iteration with the latest GeForce GTX 970M chips. This configuration can outperform a single GeForce GTX 980M, Nvidia's flagship graphics chip.
The X7 Pro has a matte black aluminium chassis, with a silver falcon logo on the lid. Cooling vents are located at the sides and the rear of the laptop. Compared with flashier rivals, the X7 Pro looks clean and elegant.
This gaming laptop weighs around 3kg, which is light for a 17-inch model. Even its external power adaptor is not as heavy as the ones included with other gaming laptops.
The keyboard has an extra row of keys on the left which can be assigned to game controls and custom game macros by the user. There are up to 25 different key combinations. However, the keyboard feels shallow.
I did not like the laptop's glass touchpad because it has quite a bit of friction. But this is a minor grouse as most users will use a mouse.
Viewing angles are good despite the X7 Pro's use of a non-IPS matte display. This screen has a typical 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution. It is far from the best display you will find on gaming laptops, but it is acceptable.
The laptop is equipped with two solid-state drives configured in Raid 0. This is the primary storage device for Windows 8.1 and other apps. A secondary hard drive stores large files such as photos and videos.
The pre-loaded Command and Control app is useful. You can disable the Windows logo key or turn off the keyboard backlight with a few mouse clicks via the app.
Gaming performance was solid. The X7 Pro scored a smooth 60 frames per second (fps) in Crysis 3 at Very High settings, about 20fps more than the Aftershock S-17, which has a single GeForce GTX 980M. Battery life, at just under two hours, is typical for a gaming laptop.
The laptop's cooling fans can get very noisy when running at full speed. Despite this, the top of the keyboard gets quite warm when it is running a game.
Since last year, Aorus laptops have been available at GamePro Shop, its exclusive distributor, which has outlets at Funan DigitaLife Mall and Sim Lim Square. The X7 Pro has a recommended retail price of $4,499.
Aorus did well to fit two graphics chips into this slim gaming laptop. Headphones are recommended because of the laptop's noisy fans.
Processor: Intel Core i7-4870HQ (2.5GHz)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M SLI 6GB GDDR5
Screen size: 17.3 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
Connectivity: 3 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, HDMI, mini-DisplayPort, VGA, Surround port, Ethernet port, SD card slot, audio jacks
Battery: 73 watt-hour
Value for money: 3/5
Battery life: 2/5
This article was first published on Feb 18, 2015.
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