Aorus is a new brand on the market, but that hasn’t stopped them from becoming a well-known and established brand of gaming laptops, keyboards, mice and other accessories. The’re a subsidiary of Gigabyte and they became popular when they released the X7 back in the beginning of 2014, a super high-performing 17-inch gaming laptop. The Taiwanese company have also released the smaller sized X3, which is only 13.3-inches. Both X3 and X7 have SLI setup variants, which makes even the heaviest games run smoothly.
For a lot of people, 17.3-inches is too large and 13.3 is too small, and this is where the Aorus X5-CF1 comes in. With the 15.6-inch screen, it makes the perfect gaming laptop candidate for these users. It was first shown back at CES 2015 in January, but has since lost a lot of attention. It has paid off for patient people who waited since January for this laptop to launch, since this is the world’s first gaming laptop with an Intel Broadwell CPU and support for NVIDIA G-SYNC technology.
Upon first look, the Aorus X5 has a nice, sleek and aesthetic look that is very appealing. It looks very similar to the larger model, X7, with vents on the front edges, triangle-shaped exhausts on the rear and a laser-engraved cross on the front tip. Furthermore, the laptop weighs 2,5kg, which isn’t exactly MacBook lightweight, but when you take into account the gear it has hidden under the hood, it’s not that bad. When closed, the laptop measures a 15.35″ width, 8.66″ depth and a 0.9″ height, making it easily fit in a bag or rucksack that you can bring with you anywhere you go. All in all, it’s a very thin and light compared to other laptops that have similar specs.
The laptop has an overall good build quality with an aluminium chassis that hides two NVIDIA 965M chips underneath along with a 1TB hard disk drive (HDD) and two 256GB solid state drives (SSD), totaling a whopping 512 SSD storage. That’s plenty of space to store all your favorite games in and use the 1TB HDD as storage. It also has a range of additional features that are gaming-specific, such as the five programmable macro keys to the left of the keyboard and the integrated numpad. The keyboard is also equipped with full LED backlightning and an ambient light sensor. The full-size keyboard has low, high and off backlighting settings, so that you’re able to turn it off to optimize battery life. The keyboard is very good and so is the trackpad. It has a nice mirror-ish look to it with a matte finish, and the bottom section is textured to better highlight the buttons. The texture has a nice feel to it, but unfortunately it’s not touch sensitive. The other negative thing is the imprinted logo inside the trackpad, which is really unnecessary. You will rarely use the trackpad for gaming anyways, so it’s not really a big issue anyways. The notebook also allows you to add your own dedicated hardware encoder, which takes care of livestreaming and recording the gameplay instead of letting your CPU handling it. This is without a doubt a very strong gaming machine capable of running high-demanding AAA or AAA+ games at high resolution while maintaining a stable frame rate.
As far as connectivity goes, the laptop has Killer Gigabit Ethernet, Wireless AC, four USB 3.0 ports, two HDMI ports, one mini-DisplayPort connector, one VGA port, an SD card reader, audio jacks and a power supply connector for the 200W adapter. It also has Bluetooth 4.0 support, so you can easily connect to your favorite Bluetooth devices, such as your wireless Bluetooth headset if you got one.
Something that you will immediately notice when you turn on this laptop is the display. The Aorus X5 has an 15.6-inch IPS display, which is manufactured by Panasonic and has the model numberÂMEI96A2. The matte IPS screen gives great viewing angles, superior color quality and deep blacks. Furthermore, it has an impressive native resolution of 2880×1620 (WQHD+/3K) and a 60Hz refresh rate. The older MSI Ghost Pro laptops also have the same resolution as this laptop, but a lot have improved in the tech field the last year and the Aorus X5 is the better choice at the present moment.
The display also supports NVIDIA G-SYNC technology, which is what makes this laptop really unique. This is the world’s first 15.6-inch laptop with full G-SYNC support, allowing you to enjoy a tear-free gameplay without stuttering and high input lag. This is a technology that you just have to experience first hand to fully realize what you’re missing. Once you have first enjoyed G-SYNC gaming, you will find it very hard to go back to gaming on a regular screen without NVIDIA G-SYNC that we have all become used to until the recent years, where G-SYNC has gained more and more attention. The screen along with the insides makes this a 15.6-inch gaming laptop that you simply won’t find anywhere else.
Now you may think that the 2880×1620 resolution requires some serious processing power to drive. That is 100% correct, but Aorus have taken care of that by equipping the laptop with a new Intel Broadwell CPU, the fifth-generation quad-core Intel Core i7-5700HQ processor. With 47W power use and Hyper-Threading technology, the processor can reach speeds up to 3.5GHz and it has an integrated Intel HD 5600 graphics unit. Since this is a gaming laptop with a 3K native resolution, Aorus has chosen to equip the laptop with something more extreme. The X5 features two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M discrete graphics cards in SLI configuration. Each GPU has 4GB of raw GDDR5 memory and 2048 shader units. This is what makes gaming at the laptop’s native resolution possible at nice frame rates, but the SLI configuration is bad for battery life, since Optimus can not switch to the low power-consuming Intel IGP when necessary.
It takes a lot of cooling to prevent the three heat-generating processors from overheating and Aorus have done a good job with their cooling array. The black aluminum body has several exhaust ports, which helps facilitate the heavy cooling necessary to run the Aorus X5. The side vents also have the racing-car style to it, and the rear vents quickly signals that there’s a lot of power under the hood. The downside with the aesthetic and good looking design is that the fans get really noisy when the laptop is performing heavy CPU or GPU activities. You can eliminate the fan noise with software, but it greatly diminishes the performance that makes this laptop so appealing.
Going through the rest of the very promising specifications this laptop have, we’ll find that the laptop has 16GB DDR3L RAM running at 1866MHz, with two additional slots allowing for a total of 32GB RAM. A very nice extra feature that Aorus has added in the laptop is the AverMedia CM311B HD capture device, which takes a lot of stress from your CPU when streaming games. The specs alone makes this one the best gaming laptops under $2500, but how well does it perform?
As you can see from the benchmarks above, the quad-core mobile Broadwell Intel Core i7-5700HQ processor is very good. The Sager NP9773, which has the non-mobile Intel i7-4790K unlocked at 4.0GHz, completely dominates all the benchmarks. Its processing power is unlike we have ever seen, but that’s because it doesn’t use a mobile CPU and therefore falls short on battery time instead. And what is the point of a laptop when it has an extremely short battery time with a low portability?
The fifth-generation Intel CPU have been tweaked so that instruction throughput per clock cycle are greater than its Haswell counterparts. This performance boost is nonexistent in the single-threaded PiFast benchmark, but can easily be seen in the multi-threaded Cinebench and HandBrake benchmarks. The Aorus X5 delivers the best CPU performance of all the laptops that we have tested with a mobile CPU and we have not tested a 15.6-inch laptop with a better performance than this notebook device.
With 16GB DDR3L RAM running at 1866MHz, the laptop does great in the tests as you can see in the benchmarks above.
The X5 is equipped with two 256GB M.2 SSD’s, which does pretty well in the tests. The differences between the SSD benchmarks are negligible, but it’s interesting to see that the X5 is capable of hitting a whopping 997 MB/s reading speed in the CrystalDiskMark Sequential Read benchmark.
Benchmarks: Graphics Card
With two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M in SLI, you would expect that the laptop would be getting great benchmark results, and that is indeed the case. With a PCMark score of roughly 4300 points and a 3DMark score of almost eight thousand puts this at the top of 15.6-inch gaming laptops. It’s beaten in performance by the Aorus X7 Pro Sync-CF1 and the MSI GT72 Dominator Pro G-1423, which have GTX 970M in SLI and GTX 980M in SLI, respectively. You’d also expect them to get better results.
The X5 also gets great results at all the Heaven and Valley benchmarks, getting over the desired 60FPS in each test. This means that the laptop can easily run the latest AAA games at 3K WQHD+ resolution with graphics set to max well above 30FPS. At the tests we ran at 3K WQHD+ resolution, we got a stable 50FPS in BioShock Infinite (max quality settings) and 35FPS in Battlefield 4 (max quality settings). When we set the resolution to 1920×1080 (Full HD), we got 100FPS in BioShock Infinite and 70FPS in Battlefield 4. So if you find the gameplay choppy at the 3K resolution, you can easily downscale the resolution for a nice boost to frame rates.
We also ran the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, a visually high-demanding AAA+ game, and we got an impressive 50FPS at 1080p resolution with graphics quality set to high. The NVIDIA G-SYNC also makes the gameplay buttery smooth with super clear motion clarity, no stuttering and low input lag. The benchmarks along with the fact that this is the world’s first and currently also the only 15.6-inch G-SYNC gaming laptop, makes this laptop the Editor’s Pick 2015. Games have never looked so good on a laptop! If you’re looking for a high-performing 15.6-inch gaming laptop, then this laptop is the one to get.
Benchmarks: Cooling System
The Aorux X5-CF1 does pretty well, considering it has to cool down an Intel Core i7-5700HQ and two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M graphics cards. It can get hot during heavy load, but it keeps at very reasonable temperatures considering it’s a gaming laptop after all and you probably wont be sitting with it on your lap running high-demanding games. What is annoying though is the noise that the fans produce when performing heavy computations, but that can, as previously mentioned, be adjusted with a fan adjusting software. You just have to be careful not to blindly mess around with the fan settings, as it may cause damages to your system and void your warranty.
Benchmarks: Power Use and Battery Life
The other weak point of this laptop is its battery life. It’s simply too short to enjoy longer periods of
The trackpad and fan noise have been the X5’s two weak links thus far, and we’ve almost inevitably come across the third: battery life. It’s a bit on the low end and you will have to stay closely attached to a power outlet almost all the time. When we did our battery test, we had the brightness set to 30 percent and had a 10-hour long video play at full screen, and we found that the non-removable 73Wh battery would be used up after roughly three hours of usage. So if you need a gaming laptop that can last very long time, the Aorus X5 might not be for you, but we don’t think that a lot of the gaming audience would find this a big deal. We weren’t bothered with it so much and we didn’t give it a large weight in our total score.
This extremely powerful mobile gaming PC with a gorgeous screen takes whatever is thrown at it with ease, but you will find yourself closely attached to a power outlet nearby. Hopefully Aorus makes a new version of this laptop with greater battery life and a less noisy fan profile out of the box. For now, this is the Editor’s Choice 2015, as we find it the best 15.6-inch gaming laptop.
- NVIDIA G-SYNC redefines how you look at games
- Beautiful screen with WQHD+ resolution
- Excellent gaming performance and faster than most desktops
- Quad-core Intel Broadwell CPU
- Good looking keyboard
- Gamer-specific features
- Lots of high-speed storage
- Fan noise
- Battery life