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Aorus RTX 2080 Ti Gaming Box review: A Thunderbolt 3 dock with a liquid-cooled GeForce RTX 2080 Ti

By Koh Wanzi - 13 Dec 2019
Launch SRP: S$2269

Performance benchmarks

Test setup and performance

Here's a look at the systems we're comparing:

  • Razer Blade Stealth 13 (Late 2019) + Aorus RTX 2080 Ti Gaming Box
  • Razer Blade Stealth 13 (Late 2019)
  • Aftershock Forge 15 Pro
  • Razer Blade 15

I'll be comparing the new Razer Blade Stealth 13 and its GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q against the Blade Stealth paired with the Gaming Box. In addition, the Aftershock Forge 15 Pro and Razer Blade 15 have been included as well to show how the Gaming Box and ultrabook combination stacks up against more conventional gaming laptops with a GeForce RTX 2060 and 2070 Max-Q.

Test notebooks compared
  Razer Blade Stealth 13 (GeForce GTX 1650) Aftershock Forge 15 Pro Razer Blade 15 (9th Gen)
  Razer Blade Stealth 13 (GeForce GTX 1650) Aftershock Forge 15 Pro Razer Blade 15 (9th Gen)
Launch SRP
  • From S$2899.9
  • From S$2080
  • From S$3839
Processor and Chipset
  • Intel Core i7-1065G7 (1.30GHz, 8MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-9750H (2.6GHz, 12MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-9750H (2.6GHz, 12MB L3 cache)
Operating System
  • Windows 10 Home
  • Windows 10
  • Windows 10
System Memory
  • 16GB LPDDR4 3,773MHz dual-channel onboard memory
  • 16GB DDR4-2666 dual-channel RAM
  • 16GB DDR4-2666 dual-channel RAM
Video & Display
  • 13.3-inch 1,920 x 1,080-pixel display
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
  • 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080-pixel 144Hz AHVA display
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
  • 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080-pixel 240Hz IPS display
Storage
  • 512GB PCIe SSD
  • 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
  • Samsung PM981 PCIe 256GB M.2 SSD
Optical Drive
  • None
  • None
  • None
Connectivity
  • Intel Wireless-AX 201 (2x2, 160MHz, up to 2.4Gbps)
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Intel Wireless-AC 9560
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Intel Wireless-AX200
  • Bluetooth 5.0
Audio
  • 4 x speakers + smart amp
  • 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo port
  • Built-in stereo speakers
  • Built-in stereo speakers
I/O Ports
  • 1x Thunderbolt 3
  • 1x USB-C 3.1 (Gen 2)
  • 2x USB 3.1 (Gen 1) Type-A
  • 1x USB 2.0 port
  • 1x USB 3.0 (USB 3.1 Gen 1) port
  • 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 port (Type A)
  • 1x DisplayPort 1.3 over USB 3.1 Gen 2 (Type-C)
  • 1x Mini Display 1.2 port
  • 1x HDMI 2.0 output port (with HDCP)
  • 1x 2-in-1 Audio Jack (Headphone / Microphone)
  • 1x Microphone jack
  • 1x RJ-45 LAN port
  • 1x Thunderbolt 3
  • 3x USB 3.1 (Gen 2) Type-A
Battery Type
  • 53.1 Wh lithium-ion
  • 47Wh
  • 80Wh
Dimensions
  • 304.6 x 210 x 15.3mm
  • 361 x 258 x 27.9mm
  • 355 x 235 x 17.8mm
Weight
  • 1.42kg
  • 2.2 kg
  • 2.15kg

I ran the notebooks through the following benchmarks:

  • PCMark 10
  • 3DMark
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
  • Far Cry 5
  • Metro Exodus
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  • Tom Clancy's The Division 2

 

How good is it for work?

PCMark 10 Extended evaluates systems based on workloads that can be categorized into four distinct groups, comprising Essentials, Productivity, Digital Content Creation, and Gaming. This includes tests such as app start-up times, web browsing, word processing and spreadsheets, photo and video editing, and rendering and visualization tasks. Finally, gaming performance is evaluated using the Fire Strike benchmark. 

The Razer Blade Stealth 13 and Aorus RTX 2080 Ti Gaming Box combination leapt to an 18 per cent lead over the Blade Stealth 13. That's mostly owed to the vastly improved gaming performance though, as the laptop and gaming dock combination oddly saw a decrease in Essentials and Productivity scores. 

However, the Gaming Box still couldn't help the Blade Stealth 13 overtake the Aftershock Forge 15 Pro or Razer Blade 15.

 

How fast is it in games?

I couldn't get the Blade Stealth 13 to run 3DMark Fire Strike, even with the dock, so I'm missing results for that particular benchmark. That aside, the Gaming Box propelled the Blade Stealth 13 to a big 83 per cent jump over its original numbers in Time Spy with the GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q. In addition, it also managed to inch ahead of the Blade 15 by 4 per cent. 

In games however, the limitations of the Core i7-1065G7 start to become very clear. In Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the Gaming Box helped the Blade Stealth 13 improve by a solid 81 per cent at Ultra settings, but you'll also notice that the results were practically unchanged at High settings, a typical sign of the CPU being a bottleneck.

In fact, the amount of improvement you see is pretty much dependent on how important CPU performance is to the game in question. In Far Cry 5, which isn't particularly GPU-intensive, the Gaming Box saw just a 20 per cent boost in performance. It's not terrible, but it's also a lot less impressive than we saw in Mankind Divided. On the other hand, Metro Exodus and Tom Clancy's The Division 2 seem to stress the GPU a lot more, and the Gaming Box recorded a 106 and 67 per cent increase respectively. Shadow of the Tomb Raider saw a 43 per cent increase at Highest settings.

Separately, I should also point out that you almost never see the Blade Stealth 13 and Gaming Box combo overtake the Blade 15, which has an Intel Core i7-9750H and GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q. This only happens at Extreme settings in Metro Exodus, which is a particularly GPU-intensive title. This further shows how much the Core i7-1065G7 constrains the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. 

It's also likely that the Thunderbolt 3 interface is limiting the GPU's performance. After all, you get just four PCIe 3.0 lanes, compared to the usual 16 on a desktop. 

7.5
  • Performance 7
  • Features 8.5
  • Value 6
The Good
Liquid-cooled GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is the first of its kind in an external GPU dock
Decent selection of ports and connectors
The Bad
Severely limited by ultrabook-class CPUs
GPU not upgradeable