7.3 Awesome

Better than its predecessor 2017 model; The new X9 DT offers an Intel i9-8920HK processor with GTX 1080 8GB graphics card. A better cooling system and 1TB pre-installed SSD. The TechSeer will give it a 7.3 out of a solid 10.

Aorus X9 DT 2018 is considered one of the top spec laptops when it comes to hardcore gaming. Its predecessor Aorus X9 2017 model was a hardcore built with a dual graphics card but did not get much fame due to various issues. Gigabyte has upgraded this year’s model with a new processor, a latest graphics card, and some other improvements. Let’s have a look at what changed this year.

Gigabyte Aorus X9 DT 2018 Review

Model Aorus X9 2017 Aorus X9 DT 2018
Processor I7-7820HK I9-8950HK
CPU Quad-Core 6 Core
Screen QHD FHD
Panel 120 Hz TN panel with no G-sync 144 Hz IPS panel with G sync
RAM 2444 MHz 2666 MHz
Connectivity No USB 3.1 Gen 2 USB 3.1 Gen 2

 

Gigabyte Aorus X9Pros

  • Outstanding GPU performance
  • Mechanical Keyboard
  • A better cooling system now
  • Comes with pre-installed 1TB SSD

Cons

  • 243 nits brightness level only
  • Thermal throttling when overclocked
  • Goes hot and noisy on heavy use

Price & Availability.

Aorus X9 DT has followed in the footsteps of its predecessor 2017 model and managed to cost around 3800 USD. Our review unit has a starting price of $3,799 USD/ £3899 or $6000AUD, this 17-inch laptop offers an Intel core i9-8950HK processor and replaced with Nvidia GTX 1080 8 GB GDDR5X VRAM graphics cards with 32 GB of DDR4 RAM (2x 16 GB).  An FHD IPS display with 144 Hz IPS panel with G-Sync. 1TB of SSD combined with 1TB of HDD. There is no Hybrid State Drive.

It is more expensive than its rival, Razer Blade 2018 (Costs AU$3,600 and $2,599 USD) which comes with a 15-inch display and GTX 1070. However, it is almost the same price as its other rivals such as Alienware 17 R5 and ASUS ROG G703GI (Costs $ 3,699 USD) with almost same specs. The availability is currently an issue as it is not available in some parts of the world and you have to import it from resellers and third-party dealers even in Australia.

Specs Board.

Feature Specs Offered
CPU Intel® Core™i9-8950HK Overclockable Processor (2.9~4.8Ghz)
Graphics NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1080 GDDR5X 8GB
RAM 32GB DDR4 (2,600MHz)
Display
  • 17.3″ FHD 1920×1080 144Hz IPS Anti-Glare Display
  • X-Rite™ Pantone® Certified Display
Ports
  • Thunderbolt 3.0 x 1
  • HDMI 2.0 x 1
  • mini DP 1.4 x 1
  • RJ45 x 1
  • USB 3.1 Gen.2 (Type-A) x 2
  • 3.1USB Gen.1 (Type-A) x 1
  • USB 3.1 Gen.2 (Type-C) x 1
  • Audio Jack : Earphone (HiFi / SPDIF) x 1
  • MIC in x 1, SD Card Reader (UHS-II) x 1
  • DC Jack x 1
Connectivity
  • Killer™ Doubleshot Pro LAN,
  • Wireless-AC 1535 (802.11ac, a/b/g/n),
  • Bluetooth V4.1
Weight 3.59kg, 7.9 lbs
Size 16.9 x 12.4 x 0.91-1.18 inches
Storage Tri-Storage : Up to 2X PCI-E Gen 3 NVMe SSDs and 1X 2TB HDD

 

Design.

Stylish Exterior: Aorus X9 DT does a commendable job in bringing a design that appeals somehow to all alien tech enthusiasts and surprisingly at the same time expensive car aesthetics. The design overall is as stereotypical as it can get when it comes to gaming laptops trying to look serious mean machines. It’s loud and edgy. The exterior is a matte black aluminum lid that resembles the hood of a car, inspired by Lamborghini probably with a LED-lit falcon logo.

Light-show: What really appeals is the RGB lighting setup that comes with a completely customizable 16.7 million-color backlit keyboard and multiple light slits around the chassis. One could take their sweet time enjoying the light show really.

Another impressive detail is the presence of three prominent LEDs beneath the power button and the 11 LEDs built into the tiny light bars just above the logo. The lighting is just for show sadly. It would’ve been a massive treat if the light show could be somehow be coupled with the ongoing gaming.

Inside, the speakers positioned right above the keyboard are also backlit and the touchpad has the Aorus falcon on it in gold. Despite being ultra-thin, it is just as thin as Alienware 17 R5. The Razor Blade 2018 takes the lead out of these three in being the thinnest.

Display.

Aorus X9 DT boasts off a 17.3-inch, 144-Hz, 1080p Pantone-certified display with G-sync. The company claims that the panel color-calibration is updated to a next level. The display is truly beautiful and Aorus has done a commendable job in upping their display game as compared to X9’s predecessor. However, it is not as vivid as the claims. The color tuning is great along with excellent color accuracy and contrasts. But it only went up to 250 nits during our brightness test in low lights. Gigabyte claims to have it improved through Pantone Colour Correction but we did not see much improvement apart from G-sync and 144Hz instead of 120Hz.

The added HEVC10b and VP9 decoding, as the company claims, adds that extra crispness to the 4K playback smoothness. All in all, the display is one of the most appealing features of this laptop.

Keyboard & Touchpad.

Spacious Keyboard: The Aorus X9 DT has a pretty spacious keyboard with large physical keys and an adequate amount of spacing between each of them. The mechanical keyboard is better than most of the membrane keyboards that are normally available on laptops. Although a matter of preference, the Aorus X9 DT keyboard may appear bland to some with a key travel of 2.3 millimeters requiring approximately 72 grams of force to stimulate the keys.

We, however, liked it. The responsiveness is A-class. Pressing keys meet no resistance and its gamer friendly. Furthermore, the keyboard like the rest of the laptop is RGB-backlit as well. It can be customized per-key basis with the Aorus Fusion app.

Mediocre touchpad: The 4.1 x 2.7 inches Elantech touchpad has a golden Aorus falcon logo on it. It has average precision and isn’t comfortable to use. One can pinch to zoom and do the two-finger scroll but its cursor is sluggish and can be simply tiresome to use. Also, somehow the sensors keep on getting activated while typing. The palm rejection setting is not much of a help either.

In short, the touchpad will test your patience. It will make you want to whip out a gaming mouse within the first few minutes of use.

Audio & Webcam.

Good Speakers: The speakers on the Aorus X9 DT are pretty powerful. They produce clear audio with a pretty good quality. They aren’t the type to play music on and expect the sound to fill the entire room. But they make the gaming experience worthwhile. There’s also the option of switching among four presets in the Aorus Fusion app for different sound settings for different types of games. If audio isn’t your thing, the default RPG setting is fine to remain with.

Passable Webcam: The 720p webcam is not something the setup can boast about. It is good enough for calls and online ventures. Picture quality is good in natural or daylight. In the lesser light, the image becomes pixelated and that’s alright because it happens with all normal cameras.

Performance.

This 17-inch gaming beast performed amazingly in the tests it was put through. Intel claims that i9-8720HK could reach up to 4.8 GHz but this model reached up to 3.99 GHz on stock and our testing showed GPU settling at 1820 Mhz. You can boost the CPU to about 4.3 GHz on all cores when overclocked and GPU at around 1900 Mhz. There was thermal throttling when it was pushed to its limits during overclocking. The laptop handled every game pretty nicely thrown its way. It’s more than enough to play latest 2018 games on ultra settings and for your video editing needs.

Ventilation: The Aorus X9 DT tends to get too hot on heavy gaming. We played Call of Duty WW2 on ultra settings and after 30 minutes of gameplay; we found the bottom was heated up to 110 degrees which is not very common. But it has got equally good ventilation system to make sure the heat doesn’t mess with the performance of this beast. Still, it was better than its predecessor which went up to 140 degrees after a 30 minute of heavy gameplay. It seems like the company did a good job of improving its fans and thermals to some extent.

There are four fans that perform the task of tirelessly pulling cool air from top to the bottom which tends to get the hottest when running heavy duty games. This leads to the system getting loud. The continuous whirring sound could be bothersome for most of the regular users and you cannot do much about it. The noise is still a lot less as compared to laptops like MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro, that are another level of intolerable loud. The loud noise can reach up to 60 decibels.

FPS: When played Middle-Earth: Shadow of War on ultra settings at 1080p, the game rendered between 100 and 115 fps. As for the Rise of Tomb Raider benchmark, the game ran at a smooth 92 fps calling it ties with the Razer Blade 2018.

As for the VR part, the X9 scored a very healthy 11. That’s the top mark possible in the StreamVR performance test. You can use this device without any lags with your HTC Vive Pro and other wearables.

Battery Life.

Aorus X9 DT has a 94 Watt/hours battery. It performed better than its predecessor which offered 1 hour and 9 minutes of heavy gameplay but this model gave us around 2 hours with the same gameplay. It is quite amazing given that it has the same weight and battery as of the last model. You can get 30 more minutes if you put it on power saving mode during your gameplay. You will need only one power brick to charge this laptop, unlike ASUS ROG 703GI which needs 2.

Configuration.

This high-end laptop does not come with a lot of upgrades. It itself is a complete package deal just like its predecessor. Although the company does offer a few features that can be replaced. For example, if users want to double up their flash storage, the price of Aorus X9 DT jumps to US $4100 or AU$6,700. You can also upgrade the RAM to 64GB DDR4 2,666Hz at an additional cost.

Our Take:

The Aorus X9 DT seems to be the kind of laptop created to serve the most hardcore gamers and video editors. The kind that is all about heavy-duty graphics and gets a kick out of pushing their consoles to their max limit. No doubt the laptop is a beautiful piece of machinery with its outstanding display and impressive GTX 1080 performance. Every gamer, no matter how amateur, would want to get their hands on it. Regardless of its impressive performance and mechanical keyboard, it has an average battery life and heat/noise problems on heavy gaming.

Apart from that, the Aorus X9 DT will not disappoint. The graphics output is unbeatable and none of its rivals come close when it comes to this feature. But from a more practical point of view, for the amount of money its worth and the nearly non-existent options of customizability, one can always look for other options in this price range.

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