Gigabyte equips the 17-inch gaming notebook of its AORUS division with some exciting upgrades. Under the hood, a current Intel Core i7-12700H and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti promise rich performance, while the webcam (finally!) finds room above the display. What else the gaming notebook has to offer and how it performs is clarified in our Gigabyte AORUS 17 XE4 review.
|Processor||Intel Core i7 12700H (14 cores, 20 threads, 2.3 – 4.7 GHz)|
|Graphics performance||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti (8GB GDDR6 VRAM); 130 W TDP|
|Display||17.3″ Full HD, 360 Hz|
|Storage||1TB SSD (M.2-2280 NVMe PCIe 4.0) installed|
|Memory||16 GB DDR4-3200 (2x 8 GB); maximum: 64 GB|
|Keyboard||Island-style AORUS Fusion Keyboard with single-key RGB backlight|
|Operating System||Windows 11 Home|
|Connectivity||Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX211; Bluetooth 5.2|
|Battery||Li-polymer; 99.9 watt-hours|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||398 x 254 x 27 mm|
|Weight||2.68 kg (without power supply)|
|Price||€ 1,799.00 *|
Gigabyte Aorus 17 XE4 review: the scope of delivery
Purely in terms of the scope of delivery, nothing has changed with the Gigabyte AORUS 17 XE4 compared to the gaming notebook generation. The features and the design of the packaging are largely the same as we already found in the test of the 15P YD in October 2021.
This means a black-orange cardboard box that only contains the notebook, power adapter and power cable, as well as a manual and warranty card.
Design and build quality
- Simple, classy design
- Comparatively compact
- Chassis made of Kunstftoff
The design of the Gigabyte AORUS 17 XE4 is also strongly reminiscent of the previous year’s model generation. The case is made of matte-black plastic with an anodized finish and thus does not feel quite as robust as we are used to from some (more expensive) competitors.
The most striking design element on the display lid is once again the manufacturer’s logo, which is also illuminated when you turn the notebook on. The design is relatively simple, which I still like very much.
Wide air vents on the rear sides, as well as on the back – including orange details – provide a sporty look and testify to the potent hardware installed. The robust hinges, which keep the display in position and still allow opening the notebook with one hand up to an angle of 130 degrees, also leave a very good impression.
I also like the fact that the Gigabyte AORUS 17 XE4 is comparatively compact for a 17-inch notebook. The notebook measures 398 x 254 x 27 mm and weighs around 2.7 kg, which is not much bigger than the Huawei Matebook 16s (our review), for example.
The underside can also be opened quickly and easily with the help of 12 screws to inspect the hardware or upgrade it if necessary. That pleases. Just like the workmanship, which is convincing despite the plastic chassis and comes without gaps or sharp edges. Of course, the whole thing is not quite as robust as an aluminum body, but that is all still within reason.
Features and ports of the Gigabyte Aorus 17 XE4
- Strong combination of CPU and GPU
- Expandable work and system memory
- Modern Wi-Fi 6E
As a willing buyer of the Gigabyte Aorus 17 XE4, you get quite a lot on offer. There is hardly anything left to be desired in terms of features. The manufacturer equips the gaming notebook with the latest Intel Core i7-12700H, which has 14 cores and 20 threads. The performance cores offer a clock rate of up to 4.7 GHz in Turbo mode.
A GeForce RTX 3070 Ti laptop from Nvidia with 8 GB GDDR6 RAM and a maximum TGP of 130 watts is used for the graphics calculation. In addition, there is 16 GB of DDR4-3200 working memory in dual-channel mode and a fast NVMe SSD from Gigabyte with a capacity of 1 TB.
Conveniently, both the working and system memory can be easily upgraded, and there is even a second M.2-2280 slot available for the mass storage.
In addition, there are two passably good-sounding 2.5-watt speakers that are located underneath the display. They also support DTS:X Ultra Audio. They are okay in terms of sound, but cannot replace real speakers or headphones.
Wirelessly, the gaming notebook communicates in the WLAN standards 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax and thus supports fast Wi-Fi 6E. The speeds in the WLAN test were excellent and allowed us to use almost the full bandwidth of our connection. This is complemented by fast Bluetooth 5.2 for connecting to wireless devices.
The HD webcam has a resolution of 720p (1,280 x 720 pixels) and is finally located above the display – a much better position than last year under the display. In return, the privacy shutter is omitted. The image sharpness is sufficient, but by no means impressive. However, at least the login via facial recognition with Windows Hello is practical.
The ports: Plenty of choice
The selection of ports is also pleasing. On the left side, you have a Gigabit LAN port, one HDMI 2.1, one Mini DisplayPort 1.4 and one USB 3.2 Gen 1 (USB-A) port at your disposal.
On the right, you’ll find a combined 3.5 mm jack, one USB 3.2 Gen 1 (USB A), one USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 (including DisplayPort function) and the power connector for connecting the power adapter. The only thing we would miss is a memory card reader in any form. The AORUS 15P YD from last year still had this. USB PowerDelivery would also be nice-to-have.
Keyboard and trackpad
- Full-size keyboard with good feedback and RGB lighting
- Practical additional features
Also from last year, we know the chiclet keyboard of the Gigabyte Aorus 17 XE4. It comes in full size, including a number pad, and shines in 16.7 million colors thanks to RGB lighting. N-Key rollover and anti-ghosting are also provided, while you can access other functions via the FN key.
These include media control, the ability to adjust the fan speed, or use the Ai functions. The key drop turns out relatively low, but all keys convince with a pleasant and clear pressure point, which is convincing when typing and gaming.
Below the convincing keyboard, Gigabyte has installed a 12.2 cm wide and 7.6 cm high trackpad, which is also multi-touch capable. The pressure point is also convincing here, but it is noticeable that the case yields comparatively strongly in the upper area when pressing – but this does not detract from the functionality.
The display: 360 Hz in Full HD
- 1080p resolution with 360 Hz
- Good color and contrast values
- Slightly disappointing brightness
The Gigabyte Aorus 17 XE4 relies on a matte IPS panel with a size of 17.3 inches. It resolves in Full HD with 1,920 x 1,080 pixels and offers a superior refresh rate of 360 Hz. Of course, a QHD panel would have been desirable for the display size, but the panel still scores with a pleasingly low response time and also works flicker-free.
In the gaming sector, this is a very good gaming experience even in fast titles, although the brightness of 300 cd/m² could have been higher. The color reproduction is on a good level, so the sRGB color space is covered by 99 percent.
Furthermore, the panel proves to be viewing angle stable and can be viewed from all sides without any problems. The color depth and contrasts are also pleasing. All in all, the display does not make any real mistakes.
Practical test: Intel Alder Lake and RTX 3070 Ti convince
- Convincing TGP of up to 130 watts
- Practical Control Center
In the practical test, the Gigabyte Aorus 17 XE4 also cuts a very good figure. The combination of CPU and GPU in conjunction with the fast SSD ensures excellent performance, and the RAM also cuts a good figure, although some competitors rely on faster DDR5-4800 memory here.
Current games as well as computationally intensive applications like Adobe Lightroom do not pose any serious problems for the gaming notebook. Especially since the graphics card can call up a TGP of up to 130 watts in gaming mode.
You can also influence the performance with the Gigabyte Control Center or let the AI select the operating mode. There are various options to choose from here. From a particularly quiet “Power Saving Silcende Mode” to the “Turbo Mode”, where the fans run permanently at full speed in order to get the maximum possible performance.
You can also further customize each mode and, for example, fine-tune the keyboard illumination, white balance or display brightness. The dashboard also provides information about the temperatures or fan speeds. A practical and cleanly structured tool.
Loudness and heat
- Very loud (50 dB) under load
- Relatively warm in gaming mode
Keyword fan: Under permanent load, the Gigabyte Aorus 17 XE4 actually gets very loud. I measured around 30 dB in normal office mode, and the fans then turn up to 50 dB in demanding games. That is really very loud, although not necessarily more than the current competition in the gaming notebook segment.
Especially since the notebook also gets comparatively warm under load in the long run. However, not to the extent that you can’t touch it anymore. Here, too, it is on par with many other gaming notebooks.
The automatic AI mode, with which the notebook automatically selects the operating mode suitable for the respective application, also proves to be a useful option. Thus, you get the maximum performance in gaming mode, while the volume is significantly lowered when surfing. I also used this for my benchmark test.
Benchmark: Productivity, System, SSD and Gaming
Benchmarks are a good keyword. Because in order to put the Gigabyte Aorus 17 XE4 through its paces, I consulted various test programs. PCMark 10 simulates different workflows that include word processing, web browsing and spreadsheets when running the benchmark. The notebook also had to prove itself in the Cinebench R23 benchmark test.
I also put the SSD’s speed under the microscope in two different tests, while the gaming notebook naturally also had to prove itself in the 3DMark tests, F1 22 and various other games.
In general, two points stand out at first: On the one hand, the automatic selection of the operating mode via AI works flawlessly, so that I could not determine any (or just very minimal) performance differences between auto AI and gaming mode in the gaming test, for example.
On the other hand, the performance is noticeably reduced in battery mode. Depending on how demanding your current game is, this can mean that you have to cope with a significantly lower frame rate. So, if you really want to get the most out of it, you’ll have to run the Aorus 17 XE4 on AC power.
However, less demanding games like GTA V, Hitman 3, or Rainbow Six: Siege run smoothly enough on battery power at maximum details.
PCMark 10 and Cinebench R23
In Cinebench R23, the Gigabyte Aorus 17 XE4 achieves a very good multi-core score of 14,497 points in our test and 1,780 points in single core. This is on the level that can be expected from the installed Intel Core i7-12700H CPU. This results in an MP rate of 8.14.
In the demanding PCMark 10 test, the notebook has to deal with all kinds of demanding tasks that put the system, the CPU and also the graphics unit to the test. A similarly convincing result is also seen here.
In the end, a total score of 7,775 points is recorded, with which the notebook only has to admit defeat to even better equipped competitors. The XE4 masters the essential tasks like starting applications or web browsing with flying colors (10,920 points), but there is also nothing to complain about in productivity (10,090 points) and digital content creation (11,576 points).
|Cinebench R23 Multi Core||14,497 points|
|Cinebench R23 Single Core||1,780 points|
|PCMark 10 total||7,775 points|
|PCMark 10 Essentials||10,920 points|
|PCMark 10 Productivity||10,090 points|
|PCMark 10 Digital Content Creation||11,576 points|
The installed PCIe 4.0 SSD from Gigabyte does a great job in the benchmark test and convinces with an excellent speed at the end, around 7,012 MB/s in sequential read and 5,000 MB/s in sequential write are recorded in CrystalDiskMark.
The values and especially the very low access times of 0.017 ms read and 0.013 ms write are also excellent and resulted in a total score of 6,820 points in the AS SSD benchmark. By the way, a total of around 936 GB of the 1 TB SSD is freely available.
Graphics performance: 3DMark and gaming tests
We measure the graphics and gaming performance with the help of the 3DMark benchmark. Here, 3D graphics are rendered with a very high level of detail. For this, we use the two tests that are available in the demo version: Fire Strike and Time Spy, which both rely on DirectX 11. In contrast to Fire Strike, Time Spy is aimed more at mid-range PC systems. Especially notebooks with an integrated graphics unit in the CPU can prove their performance here. Fire Strike, on the other hand, demands everything from even high-end PCs.
In normal use, the Gigabyte Aorus 17 XE4 uses the built-in Intel Iris Xe chip. Thanks to Nvidia Optimus, the powerful dedicated graphics card is only activated when you need it.
With 10,687 points in the Time Spy test (graphics score: 10,497 points) and a Fire Strike score of 23,723 (graphics score: 27,319 points), the gaming notebook can also convince in the gaming field.
However, the pure graphics score is slightly lower than last year’s AORUS 15P YD, which used an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 with 8 GB GDDR6 VRAM. However, when the physics calculations are added, the Aorus 17 XE4 easily overtakes its quasi-predecessor. Thus, the gain due to the 12th Intel Core generation is especially evident here.
|AORUS 17 XE4 (RTX 3070 Ti)||AORUS 15P YD (RTX 3080)|
|Fire Strike Total||23,723 pts||21,290 pts.|
|Fire Strike Graphics||27,319 pts||28,104 pts.|
|Fire Strike Physics||28,305 pts||23,309 pts.|
|Time Spy Total||10,687 pts||10.421 pts.|
|Time Spy Graphics||10,497 pts||10.626 pts.|
|Time Spy CPU||11,911 pts||9,396 pts.|
As already mentioned, however, the notebook can’t keep up in battery mode – and significantly so. Here, I only ran the Time Spy benchmark. The result is sobering: 4,596 total points, a graphics score of 4,745 points and a CPU score of 3,902 points jump out in the end – less than half as much and in the case of the CPU even only a third of the value with the power supply connected.
The current gaming notebook doesn’t have any lapses in the real gaming test and even displays the most complex games absolutely smoothly in maximum details. Once again, we will use the racing simulation F1 22 as an example, which holds an average of 60 FPS in ultra-high settings and with maximum ray tracing settings.
- Average battery life (8 hrs. and 29 min.)
- Under continuous load, the battery is drained quite quickly
The Gigabyte Aorus 17 XE4 is equipped with a 99.9 watt-hour battery that is powered by a 240 watt AC adapter. In our battery test, we reached a maximum of 8 hours and 29 minutes in idle mode (without WLAN use and with minimum brightness).
This is almost one hour more than last year’s 15-inch model, but significantly less than comparable notebooks. Under permanent maximum load and with the highest possible brightness, the notebook runs out of breath after just under one and a half hours. That is then again respectable.
Gigabyte Aorus 17 XE4 review: conclusion
The Gigabyte Aorus 17 XE4 delivers. The combination of fast CPU and GPU and no less performant SSD ensures excellent performance in current games or complex applications. The fast 360 Hz display is also quite appealing, even though the Full HD resolution is a bit tight for a size of 17.3 inches. The display could also be a bit brighter.
I also like the Control Center, which allows me to extensively influence performance, lighting and much more. The battery life, on the other hand, is only average and the notebook gets extremely loud and warm under permanent load – but that is the case with almost all gaming notebooks.
It is also a pity that USB PowerDelivery is not available. The DDR4 working memory would also like to have a higher clock rate, but that is complaining on a high level. The extreme throttling in battery mode is also annoying, but bearable.
All in all, the Gigabyte Aorus 17 XE4 is a convincing gaming notebook that meets current and future requirements very well with its features and expansion options.