GIGABYTE at CES 2018: Aero 15x and AORUS X9 Gaming Laptops

Among some of the other announcements GIGABYTE made this year at CES 2018, it also displayed some of their existing gaming laptops in the Aero 15X (now available in pure black) as well as the AORUS X9, a very thin, dual GPU laptop using true laptop mechanical switches.

AORUS X9

The AORUS X9’s claim to fame is how thin it is and able to shoehorn in dual Geforce GTX 1070s in the chassis, as well as its Kailh brown mechanical keys with 2.5mm of key travel. Gigabyte states it is the thinnest laptop in the world with dual GPUs and mechanical keys. The flagship X9 laptop has a 17.3-inch panel available in two resolutions, either QHD (2560×1440) 120Hz WVA panel, or a 4K UHD (3840×2160) with Adobe RGB.

The design of the chassis is said to be inspired by supercars, fighter jets, and a Falcon which is the motif in the base and used as a cooling vent. The chassis is made from aluminum, giving the device a more high-end feel. The AORUS RGB lighting is not only for show but can provide users with information such as volume, battery indicator, CPU/GPU temperature and more. It is also able to sync up with the surrounding RGB chassis lighting (four RGB LED strips and keyboard). The big selling point is just how thin the laptop is measuring just 1.18” tall and able to stuff two GTX 1070s as well as using full travel mechanical keys.

Internally, there is a quad-fan cooling solution which uses a total of eight heat pipes to dissipate the heat created by the dual GPUs, CPU, and the chipset. Cool air is taken in through the falcon shaped vents on the base and exhausted out the back away from the user. This creates a notable rake on the keyboard, but this could be beneficial on the wrists for extended periods of use.

 

The only processor option is the i7-7820HK quad-core which comes in at a base clock of 2.9 GHz with a maximum turbo frequency of 3.9 GHz, all in a 45W package. The processor is overclockable as well. Memory capacity is a maximum of 64GB through its four SO-DIMM slots and is able to support speeds up to DDR4-2400, although exact capacity will vary depending on the retailer. There are three possible locations for internal storage with two 1TB NVMe M.2 SSDs and bulk storage handled by a 2TB 7200 RPM HDD.

There is a range of updated connectivity on the X9, starting from Thunderbolt 3 (1 x Type-C), USB 3.1 Type-C (10 Gbps), three USB 3.1 (5 Gbps) ports, a Mini-DisplayPort (v1.3) and a HDMI 2.0 output. Additionally, it includes a single 3.5mm headphone out, a 3.5mm microphone input, and a single SD card reader. Network duties are handled by a Killer E2500 Ethernet port and a Killer AC 1535 dual-band Wi-Fi card supporting Killer’s Doubleshot Pro functionality which is able to route traffic to the hardwired E2500 or the wireless adapters depending on priority.

Two configurations have been available since the end of October, the first SKU, X9-KL4K4M which has the i7-7820HK CPU, 17.3” UHD IPS screen, GTX 1070 SLI, 2 x 16GB DDR4-2400, 1 x 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD and 1 TB HDD has an MSRP of $3,649. The second SKU is a Newegg exclusive which adds another 512GB PCIe NVMe drive for a total of 2 x 512GB and removes the 1 TB HDD.

AORUS X9 (KL4K4M)
On amazon
GIGABYTE AORUS X9
Max Specifications X9-KL4K4M Newegg Exclusive
Warranty Period 2 Year Warranty
Product Page N/A
Price ($US) Starting at $1749 $3649 $$$$
Type Gaming Laptop
Processor Family 7th Generation Intel Core i7
Processors i7-7820HK (2.9 GHz base, 3.9 GHz Turbo)
Memory 4×16 GB DDR4-2400 2 x 16 GB DDR4-2400
Network Connectivity Rivet Networks E2500 GbE
Killer Wireless AC1535
Internal Storage 2 x M.2 PCIe SSD
1 x 2.5″ HDD
1 x 512GB SSD
1 x 1TB HDD
2 x 512GB SSD
Graphics 2 x NVIDIA GTX 1070 SLI GDDR5 8GB
Expansion Slots 1 x SD card reader (UHS-II, PCIe)
Display UHD IPS or
QHD 120Hz WVA
17.3″ UHD 3840×2160 IPS
Ports and Connectors 1 x Thunderbolt 3 (Type-C)
1 x USB 3.1 (10 Gbps) Type-C
3 x USB 3.1 (5 Gbps) Type-A
1 x Mini-DisplayPort (v 1.3)
1 x HDMI (v2.0)
1 x 3.5mm Headphone (HiFi, SPDIF)
1 x 3.5mm Mic-In
1 x SD Card Reader (UHS-II, PCIe)
Input Device RGB Mechanical Keyboard (Brown keys)
Camera HD Camera
Power 330W External AC Power adapter,
94.24Wh Battery, Li-Po
Dimensions 16.9″ x 12.4″ x 0.9-1.18″
Weight 7.9 lbs+

 

Aero 15X

The Aero 15X, like the X9, is a thin laptop primarily designed for gaming. The Aero 15X, however, is a bit more understated in its design in that, one could easily put this laptop on a boardroom table, and nobody would be the wiser that the intent would be a gaming machine. The Aero 15X uses NVIDIA’s Max-Q GPUs which are designed with thermals in mind with the physical designm and allows for a slim gaming laptop which is able to support a powerful GPU like the GTX 1080 (Max-Q will have three variants GTX 1080, 1070, and 1060). It is ever so slightly thicker and heavier at 4.8 pounds and 0.8-inches thick compared to the MSI GS63VT Stealth Pro (4.2 lbs 0.7-inches), but it packs a wallop for its small size.

The exterior design is an all-black chassis with the back of the monitor using some carbon fiber at the bottom with the Gigabyte name in silver prominently placed in the middle. Any colors will have to come from the RGB LED per-key backlit keyboard. The regular X models did come with color options, but this simply comes in black or pure black.

Gigabyte uses a 15.6-inch full-HD display and is X-Rite Pantone color calibrated like the X9. The panel covers 106% of the sRGB color gamut and only has 5mm bezels.  Due to the beze size, the camera has been placed in the hinge between the main base and the panel. The Aero 15X uses an NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1070 8GB with Max-Q design which should easily drive the FHD panel. Pushing all the data around is a 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.8 GHz-3.8 GHz). Memory support ranges from 8 to 16GB of DDR4-2400 in two slots (maximum of 32GB). Storage options are only available in M.2 form supporting NVME PCIe x4 and SATA modules.

Lenovo recalls ThinkPad X1 Carbon laptops over fire concerns

Lenovo has announced a recall for some of its 5th-generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon laptops. If you own a ThinkPad X1 Carbon that was manufactured between December 2016 and October 2017, there’s a chance it’s included in the recall, which was issued over potential overheating and fire concerns. All told, approximately 78,000 units could be affected, plus 5,500 more that were sold in Canada.

Lenovo says “a limited number of such laptops may have an unfastened screw that could damage the laptop’s battery causing overheating, potentially posing a fire hazard.” So far, the company hasn’t received any reports of overheating in the US, but says it’s gotten three global reports about overheating that led to damage of the laptop. No damage to other property or users themselves has been reported, according to the company. Lenovo also claims devices manufactured after November 2017 aren’t at risk of having the loose screw.

There’s a website where ThinkPad X1 Carbon owners can go to enter their serial number and machine type and see whether their device is affected. Lenovo is urging anyone with an at-risk machine to stop using it immediately until it can be inspected for the loose screw. Any repairs related to the recall will be provided free-of-charge, as they should be.

Not every X1 Carbon that was built in the specified timeframe is automatically part of the recall; Lenovo says systems that remained in factory inventory when the issue was discovered were screened for the unfastened screw before shipping. The company has known about the problem for “several weeks,” time that it claims was spent investigating the cause and then alerting the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). “Once the CPSC becomes involved, we are obligated to follow their guidelines and recommendations,” Lenovo says.

This is an unfortunate black eye for the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which has been a well-regarded Windows 10 laptop. Vlad described it as a “pure, distilled laptop” in The Verge review. But it’s always good to see a company responding quickly to troubling reports and working to ensure the safety of other customers. So long as your ThinkPad X1 Carbon doesn’t have a loose screw somewhere inside, you’ve still got a terrific product.

Apple rolls out live news in TV app for iOS and Apple TV

Apple’s TV app now supports live news, a feature first shown off on stage at the September event that saw the announcement of the Apple TV 4K. US viewers should now see live news sources appear in the TV app for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. 9to5Mac spotted the update.

Initial news sources include CNN, CBS, Fox News, Bloomberg, CNBC, and Cheddar, all appearing in the primary Watch Now section of the app on iOS and tvOS 11.2.5. The TV app also got support for live sports programming with an update back in December.

iPhone battery replacement waits are shortening, analyst says

Some good news if you’re hoping to swap out your iPhone’s battery now that Apple has slashed prices on replacements: the wait time to get a new one appears to be dropping. As reported by Business Insider, a Barclays analyst says that the waiting period to get a new battery has dropped from an average of four weeks back in January to an average of two weeks today. The maximum wait had also fallen, dropping from six weeks to four and a half, likely depending on phone model and location.

The figures come from Barclays’ study of 30 Apple Stores, which it’s been calling to track times for replacements. Shortly after battery replacements were cut to $29, several battery models were said to be in short supply, particularly for the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, and iPhone 6S Plus. That may have put off potential customers — although the discounts will stay in place for the rest of the year, so the only rush is how badly anyone wants to get their phone up to full speed and their battery life extended. But given how quickly batteries deteriorate, that could be a big deal for a lot of people.

As part of Barclays’ research, the analyst also says that Apple’s battery replacement discounts could convince more people to repair their current iPhone instead of buying a new one, which would be bad news for the company and its investors. That may be so, but it’s good news for customers, who previously may have believed the only way to get a full-speed iPhone again is to buy a new one. At $29, replacing your phone’s battery and getting more time out of an otherwise usable device may be the way to go.