Review: Gigabyte P37X v5 notebook
Gigabyte is back with the Skylake iteration of the P37X (version 5). The last machine I tested, P35X v3, had some serious heat issues, with the device transferring heat into the top of the device, making some parts almost too hot to be touched. So how have things changed?
The first thing I wanted to test, obviously, was heat. From the outside there is little indication that the device has had anything changed as it is still the same size and thickness. It is heavier, though I doubt this would upset anyone when a 2.5kg device changes to 2.7 kg.
So what about the insides? The heatsinks and transfer systems have obviously been reworked, because the heat from the machine transfers a lot less heat to the keyboard and top panel of the machine. It still hits quite high temperatures, but seems to cool back down in a short period of time. On average the machine runs cooler, though benchmarking still pushes the machine way up to noisy levels. To be fair, I tried to test the machine when my office was relatively cool, but with this heat-wave we have been experiencing, everything is running hot and fast at the moment.
Performance wise, the Skylake shows its few extra % of performance, helping the P37X v5 hit just shy of 8,500 where the v3 was just shy of 8,000. While it is an acceptable increase, it isn’t something worth upgrading for, at least not based on this performance. Other scores include:
Firestrike extreme: 4,235
If something a little more real world is needed for you to see what that power translates into, this is how the machine handles a benchmark of Batman: Arkham Origins with everything set to the highest possible settings.
An average of 57 frames on 1080p screen that only runs at 60Hz? That is perfect for what you want the device for: gaming. I even used the new Steam VR benchmark test and while the test took a bit of tweaking to make sure it used the 980M instead of the onboard Intel 530. It still says it is running on the 530 in the results, but the score is far too high for this to be true. It scores about 3/4 of the way through the “VR capable” bar, which is pretty impressive. I mean, that is higher than what my desktop machine got *cue tiny violin*.
CPU 6th Generation Intel® Core™i7-6700HQ (2.6GHz-3.5GHz)
Display: 17.3″ Full HD 1920×1080 IPS LCD
System Memory: 8GB/16GB DDR4 2133, 2 slots (Max 32GB)
Chipset: Mobile Intel® HM170 Express Chipset
Video Graphics: Intel® HD Graphics 530
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 980M GDDR5 8GB
Supports NVIDIA® Optimus™ Technology
Storage *Support Quadruple-Storage System
-2.5” HDD *1
-2 x M.2 SSD slots (Type 2280, supports NVMe PCIe X4 & SATA)
-Swappable Bay *1
Keyboard Type Full-sized Auto-Adjusting Backlit Keyboard
Individual Macro Keys
Optical Disk Drive Blu-ray Rewritable Drive (Optional)
Super Multi DVD RW
I/O Port HDMI 2.0, Mini DisplayPort, D-Sub, RJ45, USB3.0 (Type-A)*3, USB3.1 (Type C)*1, Earphone (SPDIF), Mic-in, SD Card Reader, DC jack
Audio 1.5 Watt Speaker*2, Microphone, Dolby® Digital Plus™ Home Theater
Communications LAN: 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet
Wireless LAN: 802.11ac/b/g/n
Bluetooth: Bluetooth V4.1
Webcam HD Camera
Security Kensington Lock
Battery Li-Polymer, 11.1V, 75.81Wh
Dimensions 417(W) x 287(D) x 22.5(H) mm
Weight ~2.7kg (w/ Li-polymer Battery)
~2.8kg (w/ODD and Li-polymer Battery)
The styling, shape and size make this feel like a very incremental increase to the P37X range. The bright orange spacer around the USB 3.1 port makes it look like they took the exact same chassis and modified it a bit for the newer motherboard to fit. Regardless of this, it is great that the heating issues have been done sorted, at least the transfer of heat from the components into the keyboard has pretty much been stopped altogether, which is something that put me off an otherwise impressive v3. The v5 is no different: it is a no-nonsense heavy hitter, just use headphones if you want real sound.