Gigabyte Debuts Aorus Gaming Brand at CES 2014
By Hank Tolman
Gigabyte unveiled a new brand specifically for gamers, called Aorus (pronounced Orus). I was told the “A” is silent.
Aorus parts should be available starting the end of February and will launch with the thinnest and lightest GTX SLI gaming laptop available, called the X7. The X7 is customizable and comes loaded with a Core i7 CPU, lots of RAM, up to 2 mSATA SSDs plus an HDD up to 2.5TB. It has a full 1080p 300 nit display powered by two GTX 765M video cards. All that power has to run hot, so Aorus has built a custom cooling solution with 5 heat pipes and side and back vents in addition to the bottom vents to whisk that heat away. You get 5 separate profiles with 5 macro keys each on the X7. The whole package weighs in at just under 6.5lbs and is a mere .9 inches thick.
The Aorus team is also unleashing a lineup of gaming peripherals, specifically one each of a keyboard, mouse, and headset. Following the naming convention started with the laptop, the Aorus parts include the Thunder K7 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, the Thunder M7 MMO Gaming Mouse and the Thunder H7 Professional Gaming Headset.
The Aorus K7 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard aims to solve all of your gaming problems while letting you quickly revert back to productivity as well. The typical number pad on the right side of the keyboard is completely detachable and can be re-attached to the right side of the keyboard and fully customized to your gaming preferences using the Aorus Macro Engine. The K7 uses Cherry MX Red switches, long hailed as choice for gamers due to low actuation force and no distance between the actuation and reset. The K7 is rated for 50 million key strokes, which has become the sweet-spot for mechanical keyboards.
Instead of your typical FN keys for backlight or volume adjustment, the K7 uses wheel rollers at the top left of the keyboard. The Thunder K7 also uses the Anti-Ghosting Matrix Key-Switch design which is intended to wipe-out key ghosting that is so commonly present on membrane-switch keyboards. This technology should alleviate any third key misses and let you accomplish everything you need to in your gaming session. The Thunder K7 utilizes the Aorus Macro Engine and allows for 6 gaming profiles with up to 20 mechanical macro hotkeys each.
The Aorus M7 is a gaming mouse designed for MMO gaming and fully loaded with 16 programmable mouse buttons. The thing I usually hate the most about so-called MMO gaming mice is that half of the buttons are so hard to reach or in such uncomfortable locations that I end up not using them at all. For the most part, this isn’t the case with the M7. The buttons are designed to be easy to locate and toggle. The buttons near your thumb include a few buttons under the thumb for pressing directly and buttons above those that are toggled by pushing upward. I liked that. It made it easier to distinguish between the two, even though they are located very close to each other.
The M7 laser sensor has a resolution up to 8200dpi and 150ips tracking speed. I wouldn’t suggest the highest settings if you are using a single monitor, unless it happens to be 4K. Of course, Aorus had a triple monitor setup playing Batman: Arkham Asylum in surround, so a higher dpi setting was useful. The M7 allows for up to 5 different gaming profiles so you can easily switch between different games without having to try and modify existing functions.
The final piece of equipment showcased by Aorus at their launch event was the H7 Gaming Headset. The H7 comes fully stocked with 8 individual sound drivers to give a 5.1 channel surround sound experience. Those 8 drivers should be excellent for games, especially the likes of BF4 or CoD so you can hear all around you. Aorus says that the H7 ear cup has a 360 degree rotatable design and ergonomic fit that conforms to every shape of face. I didn’t get a chance to figure out exactly what that meant, but they were quite comfortable. The leather is very breathable and didn’t feel stifling or congesting.
The H7 Gaming Headset is very portable, as well. They fold up easily for carrying and have a retractable microphone. A lot of gaming headsets have a detachable microphone, but I tend to misplace things like that. The retractable microphone seems like a great idea to me. The control box for the H7 Gaming Headset is pretty cool as well. You touch an icon to select the function you want to control, whether that is volume, bass depth, or otherwise, and then slide your finger up or down to increase or decrease that value. You can also easily mute the microphone or the volume with a single touch.
I’m always excited to see new players in the PC gaming market and I think Aorus if off to a fine start. Building off of Gigabyte’s extensive knowledge of the industry, I’m sure they will rapidly become a favorite. I can’t wait to get my hands on some of this gear and test it out more extensively.