Gigabyte Aorus X5 MD hands-on: GTX 1080 + NVIDIA Max-Q

Aorus X5 MD

NVIDIA's Max-Q technology, unveiled at Computex 2017 in Taipei this week, has opened the floodgates for a new class of more portable high-end gaming notebooks. And the new Gigabyte Aorus X5 MD — an updated version of the GTX 1070-toting X5 V7 — is among the first to boast Max-Q status.

The company was demonstrating the X5 MD at its Computex booth this week, with a design almost identical to that of its predecessor, only with significantly improved performance — a measure of what Max-Q can achieve compared to the technology of just six months ago.

The power of NVIDIA Max-Q puts a GTX 1080 into a laptop which previously maxed out at a 1070.

The Aorus X5 MD isn't quite as thin as ASUS's ROG Zephyrus, which also runs a GTX 1080. (The Zephyrus is 17.9mm, compared to the 22.9mm of the Aorus X5 MD.) However, its design is much more conventional for a laptop — even one designed with gaming in mind. While there are plenty of vents located around the outer walls, the keyboard is placed right in the middle, with the trackpad below it. So while there's certainly some proprietary cooling magic going on here, there's no craziness with reserving that front portion of the chassis for cooling alone.

So just how much faster is the new model, with the Max-Q-equipped GTX 1080? Gigabyte claims a speed bump of around 15 percent compared to the X5 v7, with GTX 1070. That's impressive considering almost everything else appears to be the same, and a 15 percent improvement is enough to make a noticeable difference in frame rates.

Besides the shiny new GTX 1080, Gigabyte hasn't shaken up the X5's spec sheet too much.

Other specs, like the X5's 15.6-inch display size and 4K Ultra HD resolution hasn't changed — though for what it's worth there's no longer a lower-res "3K" display option on the X5 MD, it's 4K or nothing.

Add in 8 or 16GB of RAM, an overclocked seventh-gen Intel Core i7-7820HK processor and an ample loadout of ports including HDMI, USB-A, USB-C and Thunderbolt 3, and you've got all your bases covered for high-powered PC gaming on the go.

Aorus X5 MD

Besides that, the design retains Aorus's edgy, slightly industrial aesthetic, with ample branding on all sides, and the now mandatory programmable colored keyboard LEDs. In other words, this isn't trying to be anything other than a gaming laptop, but it's not as over-the-top as some 17-inchers we've seen this week at Computex.

No word on pricing or availability for the new Aorus X5 MD just yet, but expect it to be somewhere north of the $2,400 price of the X5 V7.

Alex Dobie