Hugely expensive, yet hugely powerful.
G igabyte has been on a bit of a roll when it comes to laptops of late. Its spin-off corporation, Aorus, has been releasing crackers for the last year, while Gigabyte’s in-house models aren’t anything to sniffle at either. Now along comes the P37X, the world’s lightest 17.3 inch laptop to feature Nvidia’s blazing new GTX 980M. As one of the most expensive gaming laptops around, the P37X has a lot to prove, so let’s see if it’s got the goods to back up the price tag.
The P37X is simultaneously massive yet tiny. In terms of the length and width, it’s a whopper thanks to the large 17.3 inch display, yet it measures a tiny 22.5mm deep. Most gaming laptops with a screen of this size tip the scales well in excess of three or four kilograms, but Gigabyte has trimmed the fat to lower the weight to just 2.7kg (add another hundred grams if you included the optical drive). This makes it surprisingly portable for such a behemoth, proving that road warriors needn’t totally compromise mobility for performance.
Built from a mixture of aluminium and plastic, the P37X foregoes the bold colours and flashy backlight of other gaming notebooks, instead adopting a very utilitarian, black businesslike exterior. Despite the screen’s large dimensions, it sticks with the good old 1920 x 1080 HD resolution, yet the image quality hasn’t suffered. Pixel structure is impossible to notice, and the anti-glare finish makes it easy to see in bright environs.
The large chiclet keyboard is easy to use, as is the responsive touchpad. There’s even room for six macro keys down the left hand side of the laptop, it’s that spacious. It all feels nice and solid in spite of the very thin base, suggesting it’s got a stronger internal chassis than most laptops.
Thanks to the large dimensions, owners will be spoilt for choice when it comes to I/O ports. Four USB ports are included, two each of the 3.0 and 2.0 varieties, while HDMI, mini DisplayPort and D-sub provides several video output options. Gigabit Ethernet is a given, as is the headphone/SPDIF out. Finally there’s the ubiquitous SD card reader. 802.11b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0 provide wireless connectivity.
Delving under the hood reveals a machine stacked to the brim with high-powered components. At its heart is Intel’s speedy i7-4720HQ quad-cored HyperThreaded processor, which peaks under load at 3.6GHz. 16GB of DDR3 memory is also included, and it’s of the speedier 1866MHz variety. The storage subsystem hasn’t been neglected either, with twin 128GB SSDs providing the primary partition, while two 5,400RPM drives are hooked up in RAID0 mode to deliver 2TB of speedy long term storage.
But it’s the GTX 980M that gives this machine its true gaming credentials. Rather than put it through our usual laptop benchmarks, we gave this laptop a true gaming torture test, running the same tests that we use for desktop graphics cards. Grid Autosport was run at 1920 x 1080, 4XMSAA and Ultra detail, and the P37X blitzed the test with a minimum framerate of 59, while the average was 76. Even the demanding Thief benchmark ran beautifully at high detail, HD resolution, with a minimum framerate of 32 and average of 59. Battery life was surprisingly good for such a bruiser, clocking in at 2 hours and 57 minutes.
There is a price to pay for this performance, in the form of relatively high fan noise. There’s also the fact that it costs just over three grand. Still, if you’re looking for a true gaming laptop and don’t mind paying for it, the P37X is a potent performer.