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Last month we took a look at Gigabyte’s latest 14-inch gaming laptop, the Gigabyte P34W v3. Now, we’re back to look at its bigger brother, the 17-inch P37X. This gaming laptop is impressively equipped, with a 4th-gen Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and the best GPU available to gaming laptops: Nvidia’s GTX 980M with 8GB of GDDR5 memory. That kind of firepower should make for a top notch gaming laptop, so it’s remarkable to see that the chassis of the P37X measures just 22.5 millimetres. Let’s see how well it performs!

 

Features

  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 980M GDDR5 8GB
  • Super slim & light 17” Extreme Gaming Laptop
  • Unique Macro Hub for Gamers
  • Exclusive Supra-cool Technology
  • Quad-storage with Hot Swappable Bay
  • Full HD IPS Display with Wide Viewing Angle
  • High Speed 802.11ac Wi-Fi
 

Specifications

Here are the specifications of our review unit. Various storage options are available, including an SSD of up to 512GB and a mechanical hard drive of up to 2TB.

17.3-inch 1920 x 1080p IPS LCD2x 120GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Mobile Intel HM87 Express2x 1.5W speaker (Dolby Digital Plus)
Intel Core i7-4720HQ 2.6GHz ~ 3.6GHz
Haswell 22 nm, 47W TDP
4x USB (3.0+2.0), HDMI, VGA, mini DP
LAN, 2x 3.5mm, SD card, DC-in
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M 8GBSuper Multi DVD RW drive
16GB 1600MHz DDR3 RAM417 x 287 x 22.5mm, 2.8kg
Gigabit ethernet, WiFi n, BT 4.075.81 Whr Li-polymer battery
Windows 8.1 ProBacklit keyboard
 

Design

The Gigabyte P37X has a similar design to its smaller brother, with a combination of aluminium and plastic used in its construction. The lid is a good preview of the rest of the design: flat and smooth with gently rounded corners, and little ornamentation beyond an etched Gigabyte logo.

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Open up the laptop, and you’ll see the traditional arrangement of screen, keyboard and trackpad (this ain’t no Acer R7). The screen is 17.3 inches across the diagonal, and sits at 1920 x 1080. That’s reasonably sharp, and makes for a more achievable resolution target than 1440p or higher when playing games.

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The keyboard is fairly standard, with a near-full layout that nonetheless combines the main board and a numberpad into a conjoined arrangement. There are also six G macro keys on the left side. Backlighting is present behind each key, and can be set to three levels (off, bright, brightest).

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Above the keyboard we have a surprisingly spongey circular power button, wrapped with four speaker grilles. The trackpad is centred below the main section of the keyboard, as is customary, with no separated button area as we saw on the P34W V3. Multi-touch is supported, including edge gestures for Windows 8.

There are quite a few ports on the laptop’s left and right sides. On the left we have a Kensington lock, ethernet, two USB 2.0 ports, an SD card reader, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a 3.5mm microphone jack.

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On the right, there’s the DC input, VGA, HDMI, two USB 3.0 ports and a mini DisplayPort.

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On the front of the laptop, we have some LED indicators and a DVD-RW drive (which can be swapped for a hard drive).

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The bottom has plenty of grilles and a few stickers, along with a panel for accessing the laptop’s hard drive.

 

Testing

We used the Gigabyte P37X for work and play over a period of three weeks. Games played included Civilization V, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. We also ran a series of benchmarks to get a quantitative feel of the laptop’s potency.

Gaming

The Gigabyte P37X is kind of amazing. You take it out, and it basically gets playable frame rates at 1080p resolution and high detail settings, no matter what game you try. Civilization, Counter-Strike and Deus Ex all ran smoothly throughout; this is one of the few laptops I actually felt confident playing ranked matches on. When it comes time to move on, the laptop’s light enough to not feel a massive burden.

Of course, there are some downsides. Firstly, this thing gets loud as soon as you start a game, and the more you demand of it, the louder it gets. That means simple 2D titles are a noticeable hum, and the latest games ensure you have to really crank the internal speakers to actually hear what’s going on. Headphones are a must here.

You’re going to be using a mouse for any serious PC gaming (or a controller), but you might also consider plugging in a keyboard. The laptop’s internal keyboard is incredibly shallow, making it hard to play RTS or MMO games that require a lot of keyboard work (FPS or MOBA titles, which use relatively fewer buttons, are okay).

Otherwise though, the P37X achieves its goal of top-notch PC gaming. But how is it for all those boring non-gaming tasks?

Work

To keep this brief – the P37X is almost perfect for work. Its gaming specifications are overkill for most office applications, and creative apps like Photoshop and Premiere work great too (even if the CPU provided isn’t the very best available on a laptop). The dual solid state drives ensure Windows loads up quickly, and there’s not too much crapware to get rid of on your first boot.

The only real issue here is the keyboard, which again has a tiny amount of travel and really feels bad to use. I actually wussed out of completing this review on the keyboard, and instead plugged in one of my faithful mechanicals. With a 17-inch chassis you’d think that there’d be room enough for a good keyboard, but sadly Gigabyte have chosen to neglect this area, and that hurts productivity.

 

Synthetic Benchmarks

Now – how does the P37X compare to other laptops on the market, from Gigabyte and others? Let’s take a look.

3DMark

image (1)

 

The P37X comes right out of the gate with a ridiculously high Fire Strike score, beating the XMG P505 by a massive 20%. What have Gigabyte built here? Either they’ve heavily optimised for this particular test (possible), or this is genuinely a beastly gaming PC (also possible).

 

3DMarkIce StormCloud GateSky DiverFire Strike
P37X v311674818591199018187
P505 (980)10918119869155776755
P34W v311951319695178306674
X7 v2 (SLI)12631417026163484783
P35W v211079216097142974286
X3 Plus8981316474145484193
X7 (SLI)116534175864171
P34G v25486213102112693735
P505 (970)74417841191743409
P25W4469998963228
P35K86517131542675
P27K58487123722557
U24424243044631147
ZBOX EI73078178870952751138
Aspire S7341133928548
Aspire V5328413633474

 

Cinebench

 

image (2)

 

image (3)

 

The Gigabyte P37X is decidely less impressive in the Cinebench test, showing reasonable but not chart-topping performance. Still, the test proves that both the CPU and graphics card are up to snuff.

 

Cinebench R15OpenGL (fps)CPU (cb)
P505 (970)132.23705
X7 v2 (SLI)123.18609
X3 Plus118.56630
P35W v2103.04603
P37X v3101.35608
P505 (980)100.28652
P34W v399.27622
P34G v291.1532
X7 (SLI)88.42641
P35K82.34636
P27K82.24560
P25W58.18330
EI73051.57451

GeekBench

GeekBench is an excellent free benchmark for testing CPU performance, both for single-threaded and multi-threaded tasks. It’s a good way to see how well a given machine will perform on CPU-intensive tasks, which includes some games and creative endeavours (like rendering video, transcoding MP3s or brute-forcing an encrypted file).

image

 

The Gigabyte P37X doesn’t come with a particularly tremendous processor, and that’s reflected in these tests, where the better-equipped X3 Plus and P505 hold a small but significant lead. If you’re looking for a laptop for processor-intensive tasks (such as rendering video or playing CPU-bound games), then other laptops might be more suitable for the money.

 

GeekBench 3.1.3Single-coreMulti-core
X3 Plus328712631
P505 (970)317312581
P35W v2318612262
X7319612044
P35K323311993
X7 v2324011784
P34W v3294211773
P505 (980)297311703
P37X v3303911183
P34G v2283810241
P27K282010212
EI73028759108
P25W16936170
pico PC7022200
Micro PC6131841

CrystalDiskMark

CrystalDiskMark is my favourite benchmark for testing drive speeds. The dual SSD setup here produces some of the fastest speeds we’ve seen, with a solid 850MB/s read and 650 MB/s write. RAID0 provides no added reliability, but for gaming you can certainly use the extra speed.

image (4)

 

CDM3 ReadSeq512K4K4K QD32
X7 v2SSD x31331917.732.21434.5
X7SSD x2998.6674.728.97417.1
P35W v2SSD x2988.8674.929.26502.5
P505SSD PCI-e950.1622.427.77327.7
P35KSSD x2926.8679.624.55494.6
P37X v3SSD848.9654.925.35441.6
Aspire S7SSD x2793.133322.3193.3
P34W v3SSD515.7403.133.21389.6
P34G v2SSD511.2370.829.97315.1
P25WSSD505.7371.630.34312.2
P27KSSD474.5353.821.37312.3
U2442SSD46833921.72282.6
pico PCeMMC167.3156.110.826.93
Micro PCeMMC145.8122.411.314.03
Aspire V5Mech107.235.650.4171.003

image (5)

 

CDM3 WriteSeq512K4K4K QD32
X7 v2SSD x3941.7847.281.21398.7
P505PCI-e761.2605.268.13197.6
P37X v3SSD649.4625.983.7481.6
X7SSD x2631.6627.362.59375
P35W v2SSD x2627.8630.164.07481.9
P35KSSD x2624.2574.156.59473.7
Aspire S7SSD x2509.8229.270.3961.71
P34W v3SSD325.8322.875.33262.3
P25WSSD320.3322.766.48279.7
P34G v2SSD320.232165.3294.1
P27KSSD317320.740.1262
U2442SSD177.9178.246.07150.2
Aspire V5Mech106.750.470.9731.147
pico PCeMMC47.342.6913.6119.69
Micro PCeMMC45.9641.944.4435.085
 

Game Benchmarks

Metro: Last Light

Metro: Last Light is almost a last-generation game at this stage, but is still provides a good challenge for both CPU and GPU at its highest settings. We’re running on the DirectX 11 version at 1080p, high settings, with AF 4x filtering, normal motion blur. We haven’t enabled SSAA, DirectX 11 tessellation or advanced PhysX.

image

 

The results are pretty strong here, with the P37X v3 just barely trailing the titanic XMG P505 with a result of 54 fps. That’s highly playable, and a stronger result than any other Gigabyte laptop we’ve yet tested.

Metro: Last LightAverage fpsGPUCPU
XMG P505 (970)80GTX 970i7-4870
Gigabyte P37X v362GTX 980i7-4720
XMG P505 (980)54GTX 980i7-4710
Aorus X7 v249GTX 860 SLIi7-4860
Aorus X745GTX 765 SLIi7-4700
Gigabyte P25W35GTX 770i7-4700
Gigabyte P35W v234GTX 870i7-4710
Aorus X3 Plus31GTX 860i7-4860
Gigabyte P35K31GTX 765i7-4700
Gigabyte P34G v230GTX 860i7-4700
Gigabyte P27K28GTX 765i7-4700

BioShock Infinite

BioShock Infinite is a well-crafted game in many ways, and that includes its benchmark. The game uses the popular Unreal engine, making it a good barometer for many other titles that use the same engine.

bioshock

 

The Gigabyte P37X shows that its earlier 3DMark result isn’t a fluke – this is a serious gaming machine for titles that stress the GPU over the CPU. The result of 144 fps is a good 30 fps higher than any we’ve seen before, and ensures buttery smooth performance at 1080p.

Bioshock InfiniteAverage fpsGPUCPU
Gigabyte P37X v3144GTX 980i7-4720
Gigabyte P34W v3114GTX 970i7-4720
XMG P505 (970)114GTX 970i7-4870
Aorus X3 Plus85GTX 860i7-4860
XMG P505 (980)83GTX 980i7-4710

 

Company of Heroes 2

CoH 2 is an interesting title to benchmark because it is CPU-bound and only makes use of a single graphics card (no SLI support here!).

coh2

 

The P37X records the highest result we’ve seen from a Gigabyte machine by a considerable margin at 62 fps. That’s an excellent result given the intensity of the benchmark.

 

CoH 2Average fpsGPUCPU
XMG P505 (970)68GTX 970i7-4870
XMG P505 (980)62GTX 980i7-4710
Gigabyte P37X v362GTX 980i7-4720
Gigabyte P34W v348GTX 970i7-4720
Aorus X3 Plus47GTX 860i7-4860
Gigabyte P34G v242GTX 860i7-4700
Gigabyte P35W v240GTX 870i7-4710
Aorus X7 v237GTX 860 SLIi7-4860
Gigabyte P25W27GTX 770i7-4700
Gigabyte P35K24GTX 765i7-4700
Gigabyte P27K23GTX 765i7-4700
Aorus X720GTX 765 SLIi7-4700

Total War: Rome 2

Our final game benchmark is Total War: Rome 2. As you can see, this is a new addition to our benchmark pool, with only a couple of results (and one of them is my gaming PC, which for the record has a Core i7 2600k processor and a GTX 980 GPU).

image (6)

 

The P37X comes neatly between its two competitors, scoring a highly playable 80 fps. Given that we’re operating at 1080p and Ultra settings, that’s quite remarkable, and really underscores the flexibility and strength of the laptop’s hardware.

 

Rome 2Average FPSGPUCPU
Gaming Desktop115.9GTX 980i7-2600k
Gigabyte P37X v380.2GTX 980i7-4720
Gigabyte P34W v354.7GTX 970i7-4720

 

 

Conclusion

The Gigabyte P37X is an impressive laptop, packing a lot of gaming firepower into a very small space (for a 17-inch machine, at least). While there are some noticeable flaws – poor battery life, very loud fans and a crappy keyboard – these are acceptable given its focus. If you’re looking for a desktop replacement gaming PC that still fits in your bag, then the P37X is a fantastic choice.

Pros

  • Excellent performance in and out of games
  • Surprisingly slim and light for its hardware
  • Simple, understated design

Cons

  • Gets very loud while gaming
  • Keyboard is surprisingly shallow and ineffectual
  • Battery life is disappointing

Score

  • 8 / 10

score8

Links

About The Author
William Judd

Editor-in-Chief for XSReviews. Find me @wsjudd or on G+.

  • I always love those gigabyte gaming laptop. Those are really cool & graphics card is so high quality. I also love that process how you explain it. Can i share it on my blog: http://www.xiontech.net/