We live in a world where the demand for high-powered machinery on-the-go is ever increasing. Gigabyte helped pioneer that movement in 2015, with the creation of the Aorus X5, a laptop for gaming enthusiasts on-the-go. Gigabyte has gone back to the drawing board and redesigned their X5 to bring us its spiritual successor - the Aorus 15-X9.
Model: Gigabyte Aorus 15-X9
CPU: Intel i7-8750H 2.2Ghz
GPU: RTX 2070 8G
OS: Windows 10 Home
Display: LG 144Hz FHD IPS
System Memory: SAMSUNG 8GB/16GB/32GB DDR4 2666MHz, 2 slots (Max 64GB)
Storage: m.2(PCIe) SSD @ 512GB, HDD 2TB
Audio: Nahimic 3 powered audio drivers
Network: Killer Doubleshot Pro LAN
Weight: Estimated 2.5KG (including battery, M.2 SSD)
Price: Estimated R40 000
From the spec sheet alone, we can see that this is a no-compromise notebook, set to give the best possible gaming experience on the move. Gigabyte has selected some of the best components from the likes of Intel and Samsung to power this device and the performance rings through every interaction you have. The narrative for Gigabyte is pretty much set in stone with the Aorus 15-X9. You take the best parts money can buy, and put it into a compact package that offers near-to-no compromises.
If I were to compare the Aorus 15-X9 to anything, I’d say it looks like a blacked out Lamborghini; the lines are hidden by the colour, but at the right angle, the reflection lets you know that there’s something ready to maul you under the hood. That feeling is further emphasised by the Aorus logo and LED decals that give the notebook a subtle touch of sexiness. It is an understated, stealthy look which does just enough to remind innocent viewers that it’s not an ordinary notebook.
As per the gaming notebook laws, the Aorus 15-X9 is filled to the brim with RGB lights. It adds a bit of colour to an otherwise plain look, but the RGB lights themselves aren’t intrusive. The good thing is the GameCenter software allows you to customise these lights to your needs - even as far as turning it off entirely.
Thankfully, Gigabyte kept the webcam where it should be - at the top of the display. The bezels have been reduced, giving the Aorus 15-X9 a slimmer feel, while keeping you focused on the screen.
To be frank, the AORUS 15-X9 isn’t that thick in the first place. It measures at a weight of 2.4KG, which is still within a permissible range. The additional weight comes at a small compromise for those willing to get the extra performance.
The added thickness shows Gigabyte focused a lot of their efforts in cooling this machine, as most of the space within the system is taken up by fans and heat pipes. Turning the Aorus 15-X9 on its back and you will have the fan setup in full view. There are a total of 6 heat pipes and 9 air vents to make sure the full-sized Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 gets sufficient airflow.
Gigabyte didn’t just simply improve the cooling; they used the larger space to sneak in a 2TB built-in Hard Drive. There won’t be any concerns for storage space considering this 2TB is an additional block of storage over the Intel 760p SSD. Gigabyte took this a step further by giving us 2 x 8GB DDR4 SODIMM, instead of a single 16GB stick. This increases usable performance dramatically in Dual-Channel mode.
The speakers are where the dream notebook started to fall apart. The fans on the Aorus 15-X9 are rather loud, but the speakers tend to get washed out by the fans. The Nahimic audio integration does a good job and making the hardware on offer sound decent, but it isn’t particularly loud. Bass is lacking with a mid-
sounds slightly muffled and a greater focus on highs.
That being said, you’re not going to use the speakers on offer when gaming, as you will probably resort to using a headset. That is where Nahmic starts to shine. The Nahimic App will tune the audio profile and frequency focus of the speakers to suit different occasions. The level of immersion is far greater and audio performance increases, especially in FPS games.
Displays are one of the core-pillars to any gaming experience and Gigabyte tends to deliver on that front. The 144Hz high refresh rate makes everything feel more responsive, while making gaming feel a lot smoother than usual. The colour calibration out of the box was perfectly suited to my needs and using the notebook in outdoor environments didn’t hinder my experience. I wouldn’t say that this is the best display to ever grace a notebook, but the IPS display on offer is a remarkable all-rounder.
Of course, other than the display, the audio performance of a notebook holds equal importance to the whole user experience as well. Thanks to the Nahimic technology, the initially “flat” sounding music and sound effects were improved with better depth. This makes the sounds come to live. Where the speakers fell short during gaming, consuming content on the Aorus 15-X9 was a much better experience overall.
If you’re in the market for a notebook that provides good battery life, this is definitely not the one for you. The Aorus 15-X9 will last around 4 hours with light usage. Even just using it for day-to-day activities, the notebook consistently begged to be tethered to some form of power source. Unfortunately, this is the trade-off when it comes to wanting immense power in such a small notebook.
The RTX 2070 on offer is no slouch. I put the Aorus 15-X9 through its paces with Battlefield V to see how the Ray Tracing would affect the notebook, and to my surprise, it handled things with only minor hiccups. The Aorus 15-X9 definitely has the horsepower to run any modern game you throw at it. The small form-factor does mean that the RTX 2070 suffers minutely in performance, but it is almost negligible.
Many notebooks often come with a lot more compromises in order to gain a few advantages over the competition. The Aorus 15-X9 comes with almost no compromises and offers a package that many will find hard to refuse - given that you’re willing to pay the premium. That being said, a full-fledged RTX 2070 coupled with an 8th Generation Intel Core i7, makes this a worthy system for your favourite games.
Will defend anything Dragon Ball. Occasionally has two-way conversations with himself. Has sleepless nights about Half-Life 3 confirmed.
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9 April 2019
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