Price Analysis & Conclusion
We’ve reviewed quite a few extravagant configurations lately. The MSI GT73VR Titan SLI contained two Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070s. The Acer Predator 21 X raised the bar further with two GTX 1080s and an outrageous $9,000 price tag. The Origin PC EON17-SLX one-upped the Predator with a desktop-class processor. It’s nice to see a (somewhat) more grounded GTX 1080-based laptop that we'd still frankly call a high-end system.
The Aorus X7 DT v7 hits solid ground in most of our synthetic tests. CPU-bound benchmarks such as 3DMark’s physics tests and Cinebench’s single and multi-core tests favor the Eurocom laptop's desktop-class CPU, but the Aorus still delivers impressive performance in its own right. In GPU-heavy tests, the X7 evenly matches the Tornado F5 and frequently gives the MSI Titan SLI a run for its money. The 256GB Samsung SM951 SSD in the Aorus machine provided great 4K random speeds and outstanding 128K sequential speeds.
However, we care most about gaming performance. Our suite features many platform-based tests, which saw the Aorus falling short against the more aptly equipped Eurocom. However, GPU-reliant benchmarks saw the Aorus stand out; in titles like Metro: Last Light Redux and Rise of the Tomb Raider, the performance difference between the X7 and Tornado is negligible, and in The Division the X7 even manages to outperform the Eurocom system.
Thermal dissipation is always a primary concern when dealing with gaming laptops, especially when the laptop contains a power-hungry GPU. The X7 is considerably thinner than the Tornado F5 or the Titan SLI, and thus has a smaller cooling solution to work with. As a result, it places second to last during our Furmark stress test, with only the Asus ROG Zephyrus running hotter. Still, maxing out at 75°C is nothing to be worried about.
You would expect a laptop with power-hungry components such as the Intel Core i7-7820HK and a GTX 1080 to deliver poor battery life. We were pleasantly surprised to find the Aorus taking first place in our Tomb Raider battery rundown. Comparatively, the Eurocom barely delivers over an hour of battery life, and the MSI systems needs to disable one of its GTX 1070s to raise its longevity. The Zephyrus draws less power because of its Max-Q GTX 1080, but it also has a smaller battery. The Alienware comes closest to dethroning the Aorus, but it has less powerful components to support.
Another thing that surprised us was the Aorus display’s performance. The TN panel provided less than stellar contrasts, but everything else was spot on. The RGB levels were well balanced, resulting in a high grayscale accuracy. Similarly, the Aorus display exhibited the highest color accuracy out of the laptops tested. Most important, the display will run at QHD; with even beefy laptops unable to drive UHD displays at high frame rates, QHD might just be the sweet spot gamers are looking for, especially with that 1080 GPU.
The Aorus X7 DT v7’s build quality is superb and almost perfect. Almost. The aluminum chassis is robust and hefty, and at first inspection we had no doubt that the X7 could take a beating. However, the lid exhibited quite a bit of flex, which is disappointing consider how well built the rest of the laptop is. The lid is especially crucial because it houses the display.
The X7 configuration we received will set you back $2,900, but Gigabyte offers another model with a 4K display for an additional $500. Still, $2,900 is a lot to ask when you can build a desktop system much cheaper. That portability tax is inherent in all gaming laptops, however, and in this class (the "reasonable high end" class), $2,900 is actually a decent value.
For example, it isn’t as expensive as two of our other systems: at the time of this writing, the Eurocom Tornado F5 costs $3,100, and with that you receive a more powerful, desktop-based processor. This certainly helps in platform-based titles and CPU-heavy tasks, but in games like RotTR, you’re better off saving a few hundred bucks. In fact, in almost all games, the performance is close enough to draw that conclusion practically every time.
Alternatively, you can get the MSI GT73VR Titan SLI for $3,600, which will trade the single GTX 1080 for two GTX 1070s. This comes with a 4K display; unfortunately, the two GPUs can’t always handle that resolution.
For about $400 less you can get the Alienware 15. It has a lesser CPU and GPU, so you'll have to make some compromises in game settings. Maybe that savings is worth it.
If you want a robust laptop with great battery life, a stunning display, and excellent performance, we would recommend the Aorus X7 DT v7. It's one of the best high-end laptops we've tested.
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