Gigabyte P37X v6
Gaming laptops with 4K displays were, for a long time, beautiful yet frustrating machines. High-resolution video, websites and icons may have looked razor-sharp on the desktop, but try to fire up a triple-A title and you’d be met with frame rates sludgier than a snail caught in a trail of treacle.
Thankfully, gaming laptops like the Gigabyte P37X are here to solve that. Powered by Nvidia’s new GTX 10-Series of graphics cards, they’re capable of desktop-like performance and make it possible to game at higher resolutions without games running like slideshows.
Right on cue, the sixth iteration of Gigabyte’s P37X has turned up packing beefy GTX 1070 graphics and rocking a pin-sharp 4K display. It follows on from its predecessor, the P37X v5, which we reviewed almost exactly one year ago.
The generational leap in graphics is reflected in this new model’s price tag. As configured, our review unit will set you back £1,949 ($2,499, about AU$3,442), which positions it out of reach of casual gamers.
At 22.7mm in thickness, the P37X v6 is ever-so-slightly thinner than its 23mm-thick predecessor. Its 17.3-inch screen is one of the biggest you’ll see on a gaming laptop these days, and its looks haven’t really changed since the last model, with the laptop being decked in a sea of black plastic.
A silver power button, which feels a little spongy to press and doesn’t always turn on the laptop at the first time of asking, is all that breaks that up. The P37X’s design is low-key enough not to draw too much attention if you got it out in public, which may feel like you’re not getting a machine with enough gamer-cred considering its substantial price tag.
For better or worse, having such a demure design on a 17-inch laptop is actually something of a rarity these days. And, although it’s fairly thin, the P37X is pretty wide, due to having both macro keys (to the left of the keyboard) and a full-sized number pad to its right.
If you’re concerned about fitting your gaming laptop into a narrow backpack, or on a on a train table, then this could easily be a problem.
On the connectivity front, you’ll get a plethora of ports, including HDMI 2.0 (for hooking up a compatible display) and USB 3.0.
Gigabyte still feels the need to include a VGA port for some reason, which is a curious decision considering that the P37X’s 4K display will be far better than any VGA-equipped monitor out there. And, it’s probably not for business users to hook up projectors, either.
The most interesting port here is the USB 3.1 connection, which uses the new USB Type-C standard. It doesn’t support DisplayPort Active, so you aren’t going to be using it to hook up an external USB-C monitor.
However, you can use it to connect a USB-C hard drive or any other number of compatible peripherals. We previously moaned about the not-so-subtle bright yellow USB-C port in the P37X V5, and Gigabyte has thankfully changed it to a black design for this edition.
The Gigabyte P37X v6 has a monster GPU in the form of the GTX 1070. It’s the mid-strength card in Nvidia’s new Pascal line-up, in front of the GTX 1060 but behind the GTX 1080, and it’s capable of powering the latest titles with graphics dialed up to maximum – in most instances, anyway.
It’s paired with a sixth-generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ Skylake processor, which doesn’t use the latest Kaby Lake architecture but still offers impressive performance.
That means it’s also great for video and photo editing, and it doesn’t break a sweat when you’re in full swing multi-tasking mode. Like the previous model, there’s a capacious 1TB HDD (7200rpm) drive that you can load games onto, while the 512GB SSD hosts Windows 10.
TKTK PLEASE ADD SHORT GRAPH HERE RE: SKUS OF THIS MODEL AND WHAT ONE OR TWO SIMILARLY-PRICED COMPETITORS GET YOU.
Keyboard, trackpad and display
The P37X’s keyboard and trackpad are identical to what has gone on the previous model. The keyboard is comfortable to type on, thanks its chiclet-spaced keys that offer a decent amount of key travel. It’s possible to really pick up speed after some practice, and there’s no noticable flex in the keyboard’s build quality. In fact, everything from the keyboard base to the lid is made of a rock hard plastic material that doesn’t easily succumb to flex.
We can’t say that we enjoyed using the trackpad on this year’s model, however – it’s simply too cramped and makes scrolling across the display with a single finger something of chore even if you increase its sensitivity.
One of the P37X’s best features is its colorful 4K display, which makes everything you do on the laptop – from gaming to productivity work – shine. It’s full of vibrancy and pleasingly bright once you’ve turn off Windows 10’s Adaptive Brightness setting.
You’ll be more than happy using its sizable screen to game on, though on the negative side it doesn’t feature Nvidia’s frame-syncing G-Sync tech, meaning you’re still going to have one reason to pick an external display. It’s not a huge loss and probably won’t be a deal-breaker for you, but considering the P37’s price tag, we would have liked to have seen G-Sync included.
Without G-Sync you’re going to drop a few frames here or there by activating V-Sync in game, but the P37X still serves up incredibly impressive performance, thanks to the GTX 1070 inside – particularly at 1080p.
In our benchmark tests, the P37X cranked out an impressive 12,495 points, slightly edging the more affordable HP Omen 17 that has the same graphics card.
It also fared well in our demanding GTA V benchmark, matching the Omen’s 52 fps. Ultimately, both laptops are excellent performers, achieving 70 fps in The Division set to Ultra graphics settings.
There’s even enough power here to game at the display’s native 4K resolution, though don’t expect to hit the golden 60 fps mark on the very latest titles without turning the graphics down a notch.
We achieved a healthy 45 fps in Doom (2016) played at 4K, compared to a much more playable 86 fps set to 1440p.
The P37X is a VR-ready machine. We put it through its paces by playing the demanding Raw Data, which can cripple a graphics card when robots begin to fly all over the screen. It coped admirably, maintaining a steady frame-rate on ‘High’, even if the action became too laggy when set to ‘Epic’.
As 2016 draws to a close, you’re going to need a GTX 1080 in your laptop to cope with VR’s most demanding scenarios.
And, the P37X is very loud. It’s something that we’ve become accustomed to when gaming on machines from Gigabyte and its subsidiary company Aorus. Running demanding VR titles, the P37X sounds like a hairdryer – such is the noise that it generates.
The fans are noticeably quieter when you’re playing older games, but if you’re going to push it to its limits (which, let’s face it, you are), then it’s not a good idea to play games on the P37X in the family room or while somebody’s sleeping, to put it mildly.
The Gigabyte P37X V6 hasn’t changed that much compared to its predecessor. The design has been smartened up slightly, and it’s a hair or two thinner, making it one of the slimmest and lightest GTX 1070-equipped laptops on the market, even if it’s also one of the widest.
That graphics card brings desktop-like power in a slim frame, and when paired with a 4K display you have a machine that can easily game at higher resolutions. Added to that, the P37X’s stellar build quality, attractive display, decent port selection and tactile keyboard add up to make a great gaming laptop.