Aorus X3 Plus v3 Laptop With GeForce GTX 970M Review And Benchmark Videos

Written by Jon Sutton on Sun, Aug 30, 2015 2:00 PM

When people think of gaming laptops they typically think of hefty beasts with 17” screens that need biceps the size of Arnie’s midriff to lug around. The Aorus X3 Plus v3 takes a different tack, opting for the Razer Blade route of a smaller, lighter gaming laptop.

Specs and Features

Clocking in at just 13.9”, this is considerably smaller than even your typical laptop. For gaming on the go it’s hard to argue the size of it’s a winner. Underneath the hood however, the X3 Plus v3 is packing some serious power. What you’re getting is Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 970M mobile graphics card with 6GB GDDR5 memory. This is backed up by an Intel core i7-4710HQ CPU clocked at 2.5GHz, with a boost clock of 3.5GHz. To top it all off, the gaming laptop comes a with a hefty 16GB DDR3 memory, on a pair of 1600MHz 8GB sticks.

With all this power behind it, you’re expecting a top-notch display to look at it on. The 13.9” wide-viewing LCD screen clocks in at a hefty 3200 x 1800 native resolution, with a 16:9 aspect ratio. It’s a vivid display with great viewing angles, so on that front it can’t be faulted.

What is a problem however is the native resolution itself. While you can increase Windows scaling to double to get the desktop environment looking suitable, there are a number of niggly problems caused by it. Steam’s fine, but some other launchers don’t scale effectively and look absolutely tiny at native resolution. Battle.net and the Star Wars: The Old Republic launcher are the chief culprits. On the latter you can barely see what you’re typing when trying to login, let alone read the update notes.

The problem extends to gaming. Some titles just don’t play nice with Windows DPI scaling. You could argue this is a fault with Windows itself, but if you’re going to make a laptop with a native resolution outside of Windows’ remit, you need to make the experience as user-friendly as possible. Civilization V has some incredibly small icons when played at 3200 x 1800, while Crysis runs in a boxed out window. Setting the resolution to 1920 x 1080 eliminates the problem, but then it feels like a waste of such a lovely screen.

The X3 Plus v3 comes with all the usual mod cons, including a pair of built in microphones, webcam, light sensor, touchpad, ethernet port, DC in charging jack, speakers, headphone port, microphone, HDMI out, Mini DisplayPort, a pair of USB 3.0 ports and an integrated SD card reader.

On the front you’ve got a fairly run of the mill keyboard setup which was good enough quality, quick and responsive to use. The only aspect here which really sets itself apart is the series of Macro keys down the left-hand side. THere’s a total of five colour coded ‘Gaming’ keys, along with another button to switch between Macro groups, changing the LED backlight colour to help identify which set. This means there’s a total of 25 Macro keys which can be used for advanced operating, whether gaming or work. I myself haven’t had much use for macros for use, but I’m presuming plenty of MMO players still do.

Audio

It's unfortunate Aorus has taken the decision to put the speakers on the bottom of X3, it has a real knock-on effect on sound quality. It's going to depend what surface it's on, but typically the sound is muted and muffled. This isn't conducive to immersive gaming and it's certainly not cutting it for music. If you're wanting to get down to some serious gaming on this then a pair of decent headphones are a must. 

Battery Life and Heat

One aspect where the Aorus X3 Plus v3 excels in battery life. We're used to machines of this power giving up the ghost within the hour if not connected to a power supply but the X3 Plus offers some impressive results. From our tests you're looking at close to six hours life when it comes to normal use, although this is cut down drastically during high-end gaming. Performance is throttled without a power supply so if you want to game then you're going to be best off plugging the X3 Plus in. 

The laptop typically runs fairly silent during normal use, but load up a game and you can hear it whir into life. It's not annoyingly loud but you can tell it's getting a workout, which has a knock-on effect to the temperature. The Aorus X3 Plus v3 can get mighty hot at times, so if you're thinking about gaming away with it on your lap, our best advice for you and your potential children is not to try this. 

Aorus X3 Plus v3 GeForce GTX 970M Gaming Benchmarks

Onto the gaming benchmarks, and the Aorus X3 Plus v3 is a bit of a beast here. I messed around plenty with the GeForce GTX 970M and compared it to its desktop sibling, the GeForce GTX 970. What you’re getting here equates to around 65-70% of the performance in the mobile GPU, as compared to the desktop variant. For some that might still be too large a drop-off, but it’s still some fantastic mobile gaming performance which can make a mockery of the bulkier consoles.

The vast majority of the games of Steam can be played maxed out no problem, while the more recent titles can all hit High / Very High, with Dying Light in particular achieving very near parity to when I benched the desktop version. There is a caveat to this, however, and that is that the Aorus X3 Plus v3 achieves all this, but at 1920 x 1080 resolution. Attempting to play some of the current benchmark kings at the native 3200 x 1800 resolution slows frame rates down to a crawl unless settings are dropped down low.

Aorus X3 Plus v3 GeForce GTX 970M Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor 1080p / 1400p / 1800p High & Ultra Benchmarks

Shadow of Mordor performs surprisingly well on the Aorus, averaging close to 30 frames per second when played at Very High. The 6GB GDDR5 video memory is likely a big help with this, and we saw Shadow of Mordor was the main title which played havoc with the 3.5GB high-speed video RAM on the desktop GTX 970.

Aorus X3 Plus v3 GeForce GTX 970M - Dying Light 1080p vs 1800p Ultra Benchmark

With Max View distance and High settings, the GTX 970M achieves impressive results at 1080p, averaging around 50fps and never dropping below 37 frames per second. Drop the viewing distance down to 50%, which has very little impact on visual quality, if any at all, and you can see the frame rate climb up to the 60s.

However, if you want to crank the screen resolution up to 3200 x 1800, you’re going to need to take a graphics hit. Playing at Medium has the frame rate occasionally dropping down into the 20s, so any higher settings than this and you're playing with fire.

GTX 970M - Alien Isolation 1080p vs 3200x1800 Ultra Benchmark

As we’ve come to expect for Creative Assembly’s incredible sci-fi horror game, the GTX 970M perfects great, even at higher resolutions. It’s worth bearing in mind the PlayStation 4 version runs at 1080p on High equivalent settings at 30fps with occasional notable drops. The 970M runs in Ultra at an average of 115 frames per second, which is quite staggering really for a mobile device. Even when played at 3200 x 1800 it never dips below 33, with an average of 43fps. Obviously Alien Isolation is set within very confined spaces, but it goes to show the mobile GPU can achieve some impressive visual fidelity.

GTX 970M - Total War Attila 1080p vs 3200x1800 High Benchmark

The Total War series is extremely CPU-driven, and Total War: Attila is no different. This is a great test of the i7-4710HQ processor inside the X3 Plus v3. Attila takes no prisoners and can bring down even the most powerful of PCs at max settings, so these benchmarks at the Quality setting, which is the High equivalent. You can see okay frame rates on display, usually into the 30s or 40s, but Total War: Attila is an example of a game that really begins to suffer when opting for 3200 x 18000 resolution.

Pricing

Now then, it's that awkward moment where we move onto price. Game laptops aren't cheap, and this problem is only exacerbated by trying to cram all of this into smaller hardware like a 13.9" device. If you shop around you can find the Aorus X3 Plus v3 for in the region of £1680, which could get an absolutely monstrous desktop PC that could be upgraded further down the line. We all know the limitations of laptops by now, but people who tend to pick up gaming laptops have a good idea what they're letting themselves in for. 

With a powerful card like the GeForce GTX 970M, the i7-4710HQ CPU and the hefty 16GB of RAM, this gaming laptop is well built for the future. For the next two or three years, we'd expect this to storm through most games at 1080p resolution. When that time's up, however, you're looking at upgrade time, which will require a whole new laptop. What you're essentially doing is paying £600 a year for this laptop, so whether you think it's worth is going to come down to how much cash you've got available. 

In Conclusion

The Aorus X3 Plus v3 is a well made and hugely competent laptop let down by a few niggling problems and a hefty price point. The speakers are weak and muffled, it can run extremely hot and it suffers some teething issues with resolution scaling that will put off many. Despite this, if you've got the cash, this offers genuine portability thanks to its diminutive size, capped off by a 970M which can pull in some impressive performance. 

Login or Register to join the debate

Rep
1
Offline
03:06 Sep-01-2015

I prefer Illegear than this.I can get almost same spec laptop as on op for 1000 bucks.

0
Rep
49
Offline
01:04 Sep-01-2015

am i getting this wrong or does the mobile 970 in this have 6gb ddr5 ? just thinking if its less powerful than its desktop cousin why does it have 6gb mem especially after the whole 3.5 fiasco, kinda just seems like a slap in the face to me, must have my wires crossed

0
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
02:03 Sep-01-2015

Yes 6GB VRAM. All of the upper end mobile GPUs are stacked up on VRAM. They do that so companies that want to can offer better SLI performance in the more expensive laptops. 970M SLI can theoretically use the 6GB, but a single 970M would be fine with just 3GB. Because there is no real market for mobile GPU sales they just slap the higher amount in them all & charge more money.


Like my 780M SLI. Each card is 4GB, & because of SLI it has the bandwidth to actually use it.

3
Rep
49
Offline
02:12 Sep-01-2015

ahh i get you, thanks for explaining that makes alot more sense to me now lol :) seems abit silly tho not to offer a 6gb version of the desktop 970 for sli aswell guess that would cost 980 ti sales or something, kinda a shame tho be nice to have more choice

1
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
02:19 Sep-01-2015

Well they did that with the desktop 780 & 780ti. At first there was only 3GB versions & then later they released 6GB versions that were way better for pairing up in SLI. The 3GB versions would hit a VRAM limit at higher resolutions which defeated the purpose of running SLI. So after many complaints nVidia started offering 6GB models as well. I am not sure why they haven't done the same for the 970 & 980 yet. I guess because they expect people to just get a 6GB 980ti now.

2
Rep
49
Offline
02:30 Sep-01-2015

it probably is that like they did the maths n the 980 ti just made more sense over a sli 6gb 970 setup or something, just thinking of it they did split the 960 into 2gb n 4gb variants im grateful for that at least :)

1
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
02:41 Sep-01-2015

Yeah more options are always better, & it is good that they offer 2GB & 4GB versions of the 960. The problem is that many people don't realize that a single 960 can't really use 4GB because of bandwidth restriction. So then you have people buying a 4GB 960 thinking that it will perform better than the 2GB version when it actually won't. The 4GB version is for the people that plan on going with SLI. You wouldn't believe how many arguments that I have had on this subject. ;)

2
Rep
49
Offline
02:50 Sep-01-2015

can imagine lol when i was new to building my own pcs i bought a 4gb gt 640 cause i didnt know how much i needed then after having the card awhile i realized it didnt even have the power to use that much lol live n learn :)

1
Rep
3
Offline
04:54 Sep-05-2015

gta v and whatever WILL use 2-4GB even on a 750 ti / 850m ddr3

0
Rep
7
Offline
18:27 Aug-31-2015

I love how many people are ignorant of the fact that gaming (yes,gaming) laptops are portable. Desktops ,indeed, are much cheaper,better but they're heavy + monitor. I travel 3-4 times a year with airplane and bringing PC is not a choice.

1
Rep
6
Offline
08:33 Sep-08-2015
0
Rep
72
Offline
13:31 Aug-31-2015

Stupid how they try to put that kind of resolution on such a small screen with a gpu that can hardly handle any decent games on it. Drop it down to 1080p and take 200-300 off of it and it is a much more reasonable product.

4
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
17:04 Aug-31-2015

Exactly my thoughts! That GPU is no slouch, but only at 1080p or less for newer games! And such a high DPI on this small screen would require big scaling on Windows side to compensate...

2
Rep
-3
Offline
09:50 Aug-31-2015

Toys for people with too much money....

4
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
17:03 Aug-31-2015

Just for the record - I wouldn't buy it. So I'd say it's for people with more money than brains!

4
Rep
6
Offline
02:59 Aug-31-2015

Just don't think it is worth it.

2
Rep
31
Offline
admin approved badge
19:31 Aug-30-2015

The title should have basically been : Review of a machine that could be bought for much less with same performance if we decided to just buy a desktop and make our lifes easier.


Kappa

4
Rep
45
Offline
19:45 Aug-30-2015

Haha, exactly
If you buy it for gaming, don't buy a laptop.
You could even be better of buying a cheaper laptop for work plus a gaming desktop instead of just one gaming laptop

1
Rep
31
Offline
admin approved badge
19:52 Aug-30-2015

haha yeah , I had a laptop for like 3 years and I was playing a lot of games on it , It was a cheap laptop , I even played a lot of 3A new titles that came out this year on it and I liked this laptop but almost all the rest of my life I was using desktop steadily and I am using a desktop now as well

1
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
20:17 Aug-30-2015

Unless you are like me & travel too much to ever make use of a desktop. It would have been foolish for me to buy a gaming desktop when I could only play it for 2 or 3 days out of a month. By having a gaming laptop I can play every night no matter where I happen to be staying. ;)

0
Rep
31
Offline
admin approved badge
20:55 Aug-30-2015

Well , spending 3200 euros on a Laptop seems way too much for me

1
Rep
45
Offline
17:48 Aug-31-2015

Yes ofcourse, in your case a gaming laptop is the only way to go.

1
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
17:51 Aug-31-2015

I bought mine (same as LeadStar's) over two years ago and It's still ripping through games. And I bought it because I like the space saving and the merits of being able to take my gaming rig easily to another room or to my friend's place. You ALWAYS pay more to get something more, in this case you pay more money to save space and be mobile, so what. If you don't need it - it's fine! Nobody REALLY needs a Ferrari and you don't have to buy it, right? :)

-1
Rep
45
Offline
18:48 Aug-31-2015

Good argument Xquatrox
I, however, treat my desktop pc as a laptop sometimes.
I'm dogsitting at my dad's house for 2 weeks. No way that I won't be able to play games: pc in the trunk, 24 inch screen in the backseat, keyboard, mouse and controller in the suitcase xD

1
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
19:54 Aug-31-2015

hah :D

1
Rep
2
Offline
00:44 Aug-31-2015

I agree, but since I am going to do a few changes around my place and "swtiching" my bedroom to another, smaller room, I am going to have to buy a gaimg notebook for that room.

1
Rep
4
Offline
03:50 Sep-01-2015

Laptops are nice for games that don't require too much cpu and gpu work,since these components get heated up easily.I agree with what Xquatrox said about getting MORE when you PAY more.You get MORE heat when you pay MORE for a gaming laptop

0
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
04:55 Sep-01-2015

Depends on the laptop. One as thin as the laptop listed in the article probably will run hot on some of the more demanding games. However a fat boy laptop like mine never gets hot because it has plenty of room for good airflow. Plus mine has 3 fans. One for each individual piece of hardware with the whole bottom back half vented.

2
Rep
4
Offline
06:09 Sep-01-2015

That's true. I was pretty much referring about these slim and portable gaming laptops, just like the one in the that produce heat when the components are working hard to run these demanding games.

0
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
15:20 Sep-01-2015

+1 - Our Alienware 18s are beefy powerhouses. Heck, almost 3 years old mine is and still trashes games :)
I recently got into RAGE and playing that at 4K + MSAA on highest settings at 60fps no drops - LOVING IT!
I paid £2000 for mine at the time and I say it was well worth it!

0
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
14:23 Aug-30-2015

Well that looks really cool, but why in the world would a 13" laptop with a single 970M have a 3200x1800 resolution screen? 13 inches is small enough to only need 1600x900. 1080p at the very most. If it was 1600x900 that hardware would be able to max out almost every game with good 60+fps performance. However at 3200x1800 it will be damn lucky to pull even medium settings with 60+fps. Just seems like a waste to me to put that high of a resolution with current mobile hardware

12
Rep
49
Offline
01:13 Sep-01-2015

its maybe just a virtual resolution and you can turn it off to just be a 1080p display no idea but its abit weird having it so high yea lol

1
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
02:14 Sep-01-2015

First thing I would do is downscale it to 1600x900 so that I could max out all games on that thing. With a screen that small it should have been 1600x900 anyway instead of double that at 3200x1800. That really doesn't make any sense for a mobile 970M even if it does have a lot of VRAM available. It still has a bandwidth restriction which makes the 6GB VRAM & 3200x1800 resolution basically worthless except for maybe high resolution pictures or videos.

3
Rep
4
Offline
03:53 Sep-01-2015

You can run games at 900/1080p, but the image quality would be affected negatively, since any resolution that's not "native" wouldn't look good.

0
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
04:41 Sep-01-2015

On a 13 inch screen I doubt anyone would notice the downscale as long as they stay at or above 1600x900. 13 inch is tiny. If it was a 17 inch then I would suggest not going below 1920x1080. Also 1600x900 is in the exact same 16:9 scale as the native 3200x1800 so it shouldn't cause any noticeable pixelation on such a small screen.

2
Rep
82
Offline
14:14 Aug-30-2015

The specs are great,and so is the performance.But for gaming,and even work for longer hours,i prefer a bigger screen,like 15. inches at least.I would just bother my eyes if I played on this for longer periods.

3
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
14:25 Aug-30-2015

I agree. What kills me about it is that insanely high resolution. That is totally unnecessary for such a small screen. Plus games would play much better on that mobile 970M at a little lower resolution.

4
Rep
82
Offline
19:55 Aug-30-2015

Yeah,this whole laptop just doesn't make sense.

2
Rep
4
Offline
03:55 Sep-01-2015

Plus the 970M is not designed for a resolution like (3200x1800), which means that the resolution would be lowered, which effects the image's quality. Also playing on fullscreen means stretching the image, so that isn't very pleasant.

0

Can They Run... |

| 30FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-9300H 4-Core 2.4GHz GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile 8GB
Core i3-2100 3.1GHz Radeon HD 6570 4GB
| 30FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 MSI Gaming X 6G Edition 16GB
| 30FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 MSI Gaming X 6G Edition 16GB
Core i7-4770K 4-Core 3.5GHz GeForce RTX 2060 MSI Ventus XS OC 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i7-2600 4-Core 3.40GHz Radeon R9 280X MSI Gaming 3GB Edition 8GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
Ryzen 5 5600X 6-Core 3.7GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gainward Ghost 8GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 7 3750H 4-Core 2.3 GHz GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600H 6-Core 3.3GHz GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile 16GB
0% No [1 votes]