XoticPC Reveiw: Aorus X3 v5 - Summer 2016

Discussion in 'Gigabyte and Aorus' started by ThePriceIsWrong, Mar 17, 2017.

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  1. ThePriceIsWrong

    ThePriceIsWrong Newbie

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    Its been about 6 months since I got my custom built Auros x3v5 from Xotic, Ive had enough time with it and interaction with Xotic that I feel I can give a fairly unbiased review of the hardware and customer experience.

    I was looking for a sub 15" quad core laptop for development purposes, not gaming, as I do a lot of virtualization and database processing and I spend a lot of time traveling, hence the sub 15". My short list of laptops were Dell XPS13, Razor Blade and the Aorus X3. The blade has horrible battery life and XPS was a but small and expensive.

    I wanted to max out the RAM and Xotic offered the upgraded 32GB of G.Skill DDR4 2800Mhz which wasnt available preconfigured anywhere else. Aside from that there wasnt any other reason to go with Xotic except I liked the engraving options and a tuned up laptop that would be ready to go out of the gate as I have little free time between life on the road and two kids.

    They say their laptops ship in 9-15 days, i was hoping for closer to 9 but they had some problems getting some of the parts and I received my laptop about 37 days after placing my order.

    My impressions of the laptop it self....I have to say the its a beautiful chassis. The fan vents at the back make it look super sexy and the engraving I had on the lid gets people talking on airplanes, conference rooms and coffee shops the world over. The keyboard isnt too bad but making the move from using ThinkPads for 15 years was difficult. I use the gaming macro buttons for keyboard shortcuts which makes up for the compacted layout.

    Battery life was terrible (about 2 hours) until I turned off the overclocking, now I can get 4-5 hours out of it with the screen dimmed to about 25%. Super bummed that I cant charge it on an airplanes as the outlets only push about 60V and this a 90V system. Ive read on some forums that a 60V charger can recharge a 90V system in sleep mode but ive yet to try that.

    Once I turned on the system I had issues right out of the gate, before installing any of my software. The most glaring was the fact that Bluetooth was missing from system settings. I tried everything, updating drivers, uninstalling the wifi adapter and uninstalling and reinstalling network protocols. I opened a ticket with XoticPC and was told by the support tech that hed had issues with the Killer Network wifi card and his X7 so he recommended I have that replaced. I had purchased the extended warranty ($350) but that didnt cover this of course and as with all RMAs at Xotic youre on the hook for shipping. The support tech recommended that if i was comfortable with it to buy the intel card, have it shipped, replace it myself and ship back the Killer card and get a refund on the card and upgrade (but not the $20 in shipping costs). Not so much the money and time I lost on this but why is Xotic offering a customization for this machine that they know has an issue? Better yet, did they really NOT test Bluetooth connectivity before they shipped it? 4 days later and I get the intel card, replace it, install drivers and still no bluetooth.

    Now I have to go on the road to a client. I get to the client site and I cant even connect to wifi. My backup laptop connects, my phone connects but not the X3. To compound the issue the network adapter was not connecting either. After back and forth with support I determined (not support) that the issue was when they had me uninstall the Killer software when I installed the intel card it uninstalled the drivers for the network card which was also Killer. Once I reinstalled that I was able to connect using the network adapter.

    Meanwhile, all this time I was having two other constant issues. The first, which was right out of the box, was a hung reboot. Every time Id reboot the machine after some sort of software update, it would hang on the splash screen (Aorus logo). No prompt to get into BIOS. I would have to cold boot the machine to get it past that screen. Again with support we tried several fixes, BIOS flash, updates, changing boot order, nothing resolved it. In the end they recommended reinstalling the OS (which would wipe all customization done by Xotic in the lab).

    The 3rd and most frustrating was the blue screens. Once I installed basic software (MS Office, SnagIt, Oracle VirtualBox and some others) I started getting blue screens multiple times a day. When opening a ticket with Xotic I was told the errors were software related conflicts and that it had something to do with the software I installed. I understand they cant be responsible for every person who installs a ton of software and they have no idea of the stability or compatibility but for this machine to be blue screening right out of the gate with fairly common software is pretty ridiculous.

    I even tried gaming on this laptop (Left 4 Dead 2) and got major display distortion and audio warble. On the airplane the display would flicker like a UHF TV signal going bad. I had to open it up and reseed the video card! This never happened again so it wasnt like the video card got dislodged because i dropped it, I think it was just put in haphazardly.

    After I reported all these issues the only suggestion was I got was to send it back, allow 2-3 weeks and I pay for shipping. Otherwise they suggested I reinstall the OS myself. When I asked for a refund on the warranty and service package I purchased so that I could get a local shop to fix this massively flawed build I was flat out told no.

    This was a $3000 build which included their top tier service/warranty package (3 Year Parts & LIFETIME Ltd Labor Warranty Tech Support w/ LCD Accidental Damage Protection). I purchased this from Xotic because I didnt want to have to mess around with the details but all I got was a poorly built machine and a pay-per-use customer service.

    I never sent this back because I was on the road non-stop from Oct-Mar and now that I have a break Ive finally got this thing tuned where it isnt glitching every other hour except for the fact that Bluetooth STILL is not working (makes those free bluetooth headphones they sent me with the machine real useful).

    The next time I will just buy the machine direct from the manufacturer and buy the upgraded components myself. This has been a very disappointing experience, especially when I was trying to make the transition away from Lenovo to a US based vendor. Ignoring the failure of the QA on this build, I imagine the glitchiness of the machine could be attributed to Aorus and not Xotic but as someone that relies on my laptop as my source of income I cant work with someone that makes the RMA process so long and arduous while charging me the price that all other vendors charge for onsite support (Dell, Lenovo, Apple all have onsite warranty/service packages at about the $400 range).
     
  2. Galm

    Galm "Stand By, We're Analyzing The Situation!"

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    Yeesh thats a bad experience. Just note Aorus would probably be worse than Xotic. Go with a higher end reseller like HIDEvolution if customer service is very important to you (though I'm not sure if they cover shipping inside the U.S. or only outside it) But yeah something seems wrong with that machine... Did the bluescreens have any specific messages?

    Not sure I expect much from them here but I'll tag @pat@XOTICPC and @Tanner@XoticPC so they pass this on or something.
     
  3. ThePriceIsWrong

    ThePriceIsWrong Newbie

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    At one point I had all the Bluescreen messages, ran WhoCrashed. Most were application faults with a couple hardware and System faults. SystemServiceException was a frequent one. HIDEvolution indeed does cover shipping in the US and 2 instances per year of global shipping with their support packages. However they dont offer the high end RAM, which is why I went with Xotic in the first place.

    Tanner worked with me on the WiFi card replacement, Barry was my main contact though I feel like he was either over tasked or tired of my issue (perhaps me?) as responsiveness waxed and waned throughout the 2 months I was trying to get this machine fixed. I had planned on sending it back in November but then I had to go overseas for a month in mid-dec and wasnt confident Id get it back with the thanksgiving holiday season in the middle of the RMA window.
     
  4. Support.2@XOTIC PC

    Support.2@XOTIC PC Company Representative

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    Hi @ThePriceIsWrong , sorry to hear about this, can you PM me your case number so I can look into this for you?
     
  5. ThePriceIsWrong

    ThePriceIsWrong Newbie

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    aaaaand it continues. One year later and the of course one week after the factory warranty expired the hinge broke violently on a simple opening of the laptop, splitting the screen case wide open. at the same time the backlit keyboard stopped working.

    I sent in for repairs (at my own expense of $200 because Im overseas), I sent the charger because the USB port was faulty from the start but I needed the laptop and decided to live with it (USB cables become disconnected at the slightest movement, such as the undulation of my desk while typing).

    They came back and said they would only repair panel A and that C&D they would not as it was due to "man made damage". Additionally they said they wouldnt repair the backlit keyboard because there was an "oil stain" they think caused it. They provided no other details so I have no idea how big or where the oil stain is but the fact that the keyboard LED stopped working right when the hinge exploded on me (seriously, pieces of plastic went flying out of the side) seems like they are just trying to find a way not to pay for another part.

    I have an extended warranty which covers lifetime labor but they are also trying to charge me for labor in addition to paying for the panels and a new LED board. I can deal with the C&D panel not being covered but the backlit keyboard and certainly the charger is a big deal. I was trying to find a schematic that shows where the LED power source is so I can understand if my assumption that its connected to the hinge break can be at all substantiated but I doubt even if I did that Id be able to convince them otherwise.

    I cant even post to the Aorus official forum because they implemented this silly random question to filter out spammers. It doesnt seem to be keeping out the spammers but I cant seem to figure out what the answer to the question is. You even have to answer the question to send a support request. Ive tried every iteration of an answer for "What is the next upcoming gaming event in Germany (Aug)?" and "What GPU model is in the X7 v7?" that I can come up with an cant seem to get it to take.

    Any suggestions, anyone have an x3 schematic?
     
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