There was once a time when having a laptop with a desktop-grade graphics card meant lugging around a 20-lb behemoth that could game for a half an hour or less on its internal battery. Recent upgrades in the efficiency of Intel's CPUs and Nvidia's graphics chips have mostly brought those days to an end. Gigabyte's latest portable gaming beast, the Aorus X9, packs not one, but two Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics cards into a package just over an inch thick.
Gigabyte hopes that the first thing users notice about the Aorus X9 is the color-calibrated, high-resolution 17.3" screen available in two varieties—a 120-Hz display with 2560×1440 WVA resolution and a 5-ms response time, or a 60-Hz 3840×2160 IPS model. The second-brightest feature of the Aorus X9 might be its keyboard. The typing surface features per-key RGB LED illumination and "mechanical brown switches." The manufacturer has also bedazzled the machine with RGB LEDs on four sides to complement the light show from the keyboard. Users can control all the LEDs using Gigabyte's RGB Fusion software utility.
The third noticeable feature on the outside of the laptop is a set of grilles for the quartet of cooling fans. The thumping heart within the Aorus X9 is an Intel Core i7-7820HK overclockable processor with a stock boost clock of 3.9 GHz. That CPU fetches instructions and data from a pool of up to 64 GB of DDR4 memory spread across two channels and as many as four memory modules. All the pixels in the X9's display get their marching orders from two Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics cards in SLI. Each card has its own 8 GB of GDDR5 memory.
The Aorus X9 is big but not as large as one might expect considering the hardware within. The base configuration with 8 GB of memory and a single 256 GB SSD tips the scales at 7.9 lbs (3.6 kg). The laptop itself measures 16.9" wide, 12.4" deep, and 1.18" thick (43 cm x 31 cm x 3.1 cm). Gigabyte didn't talk battery capacity or life expectancy, but we don't think anyone is expecting all-day mobility from a machine like this. For peripheral connectivity, the X9 has three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a USB 3.1 Type-C connector, and a Thunderbolt 3 port. A mini-DisplayPort and an HDMI 2.0 output also join the party.
The company did say that two different configurations would be available by the end of October. Both specs share the 3840×2160 display, a Core i7-7820HK processor, the two Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics cards, and 16 GB of RAM. The first version has a 512 GB NVMe SSD and a 1 TB platter drive for a princely $3649. The second model deletes the spinning rust and adds a second 512 GB NVMe device for a $3749 asking price. Gigabyte says the Aorus X9 with two NVMe drives will be sold exclusively through Newegg.