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Gigabyte P37X Review (17.3″, i7, GTX 980M)

Gigabyte P37X Review (17.3″, i7, GTX 980M)

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Gigabyte P37X Review – The System

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That 2.7Kg weight is dependant on one factor, the front bay of the system. In the image above we have it populated by an optical drive which raises the weight to 2.8Kg however Gigabyte also include a SATA caddy which lets us swap for a SSD/HDD or just sit empty minimising the weight.

Round at the right side of the system we find a 4K capable mini-DisplayPort connector, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI, VGA and power input for our 180w PSU (Delta Electronics). Down the left edge of the system are kensington lock slot, GB LAN, dual 2xUSB 2.0, SD card reader and 3.5mm audio in/out (the system does have 2×1.5w speakers powered by the Realtek 7.1 audio).

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Upon opening the system we see that the metal construction continues and that the power button sits dead centre behind the keyboard. The mouse pad is slightly off to the left and incorporates the buttons. A num pad is present, one of the benefits of using a 17″ chassis, and there is a HD resolution webcam/mic in the bezel. As far as the screen goes, this is a 17.3″ 1920×1080 model with matt finish.

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For the keyboard there are two key features. The first is a set of macro buttons off to the left and secondly, this is a backlit keyboard which has ambient light sensor which adjusts the LEDs based on the condition we are sitting in.

Gigabyte P37X Review – Components

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Inside the P37X for the CPU we have a Haswell based Intel Core i7-4720HQ. It is a 47w quad core processor with HyperThreading which gives us 8 threads running at 2.6GHz with turbo up to 3.6GHz. Memory wise, our sample used 2x8GB of Transcend DDR3-1600 (Cas 11). Our GPUs come in the form of the integrated Intel HD4600 for desktop/productivity tasks and for more advanced operations such as gaming the machine switches automatically to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M. This is an 8GB part with 256bit memory bus and features 1536 cores along with 64 ROPS and 96 TMUs. Gigabyte go with a core speed of 1038MHz, boosting to 1127MHz and the Samsung GDDR5 is 1253MHz. DirectX12 is of course supported as are 4k displays (and multiple displays).

Gigabyte will offer various drive configurations depending on the retailer but generally they are an SSD solution mixed with HDD (speed on one, storage capacity on the other). RAID options are supported also which combines multiple SSDs for maximum performance. Our sample uses 2x 128GB SSDs (mSATA) in RAID with a 1TB Hitachi mechanical storage drive. Wireless-ac is supported, as is Bluetooth 4.0 and our battery is a Li-Polymer model with 75.81Wh rating.

Gigabyte P37X Review – Software

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Gigabyte install Windows 8.1 on the P37X and having been freshly re-built with the factory image we can see that they do install some updates at the factory. Additional software is minimal, which is great…

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…basically we get Gigabytes Smart Manager which gives us control over key aspects such as wifi, volume, fan etc. Macro Hub lets us configure the extra keys on our system and LAN Optimiser allows us to prioritise traffic. There is also a nice app which monitors our drivers and BIOS for updates and allows us to grab the latest.

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As far as the BIOS goes, no surprises here. A standard Aptio version with all of the key options we would expect.

Gigabyte P37X Review – Performance

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Gigabyte P37X Review – Conclusion

Starting with the build quality of the P37X we have a system which immediately feels well built as we unbox it. The metal chassis feels solid and we like the minimal branding and curved edges. The parts used by Gigabyte for the key components are all from quality brands and little touches like adding in an ambient light sensor for the keyboard LEDs help elevate this aspect to a higher level. Looking around the system we are happy with the port layout and choice of connectors. Maybe all USB 3.0 would have been nice but thats about it.

We were pleased to see that there is no horribly bloated software suite on the P37X, Gigabyte only install the essentials, a few of their useful apps and then leave the user to install the applications they prefer. Elsewhere the other Gigabyte features such as extra macro keys are a nice bonus, the swappable front bay is a good addition and it is always good to see a manufacturer go with the latest tech such as Wireless-ac.

That brings us to performance where two of the key items start us off well. The quality of screen used by Gigabyte is good, both in clarity/vibrance and viewing angles. Battery life is decent for this marketplace at 1.5hrs for gaming and 4-5hrs productivity. As is almost always the case on a thin laptop the speakers are at best average, so make sure you have a decent set of headphones for key tasks.

CPU performance is bang on where we would expect it to be for the model used, if not a touch faster than some of the competition. The drive configurations offered are ideal, a nice mix of speed from the SSD for daily tasks and capacity from the mechanical drive and we noted no issues with USB speed or network performance. When really pushing the system the fans do get noticeable (again solved by headphones) but in general use the system is quiet. As for gaming, that is where the system really shines. The GTX 980M and i7 combo offers excellent performance in modern games, regardless of their genre.

Summary: A premium price however build quality, performance and features make it worthy of the cost.

Performance Award

Available from Ebuyer.

About Author

Stuart Davidson