Review: Gigabyte P57X

Introduction and design

The first wave of GTX 10-series notebooks has been all about extremes. The more powerful ones configured with GTX 1080 GPUs are typically hefty beasts with sizable cases, while at the very opposite end of the spectrum is Razer’s GTX 1060-powered Blade that almost feels like waving a MacBook Air above your head in comparison.

Gigabyte’s P57X v6 is one of the one of the physically larger Pascal-based offerings, but it’s not overly bulky or heavy – and you won’t even mind gaming with it on your lap for extended periods. Its 17.3-inch display means you could get away without using an external monitor for playing games or watching movies, so long as you’re not bothered about a lack of real-state on the desktop. That’s right: despite its sizable frame, the sixth iteration of the P57X swims in the safe waters of 1080p.

Division

Even so, it can be equipped with either a GTX 1060 or 1070 for maximum graphics grunt. Gigabyte could have probably slipped a 1080 inside, but there’s more than enough performance on tap here considering its standard display resolution.

Tiger stripes

Design-wise, the P57X is instantly recognizable as one of Gigabyte’s gaming laptops from recent years. The company’s laptops tend to be much more down to Earth in the looks department compared to ones by its subsidiary company, Aorus, and the P57X is no departure.

Gigabyte P57Xv6

Its two-tone black-and-orange color scheme is understated yet eye-catching, refreshingly absent of ostentatious design flourishes like Mayan patterns, flashing RGB lighting and capacitive LCD displays. If you like your gaming laptops a little bit plain and practical – but not dull – then you’ll enjoy what the P57X has to offer. Along the bottom of the base is a strip of lights that indicate whether Bluetooth is turned on and when battery power is low.

There isn’t much here in the way of premium materials, however. If you don’t like your gaming laptops to feel like oversized plastic lunchboxes, then the P57X won’t be for you. It doesn’t feel cheap, but the absence of any metal in the P57X’s construction means you won’t get build quality on a par with, say, the Asus ROG G752.

Gigabyte P57Xv6

Having an all-plastic construction has its downsides. Pressing down hard enough on the keyboard or trackpad causes the body to flex, and it’s too easy to bend the lid by placing each hand along a side edge and giving it a sharp twist. You wouldn’t pick up the P57Xv6 anywhere other than its base just to be on the safe side.

The upshot is that all of this helps keep the weight down. At 6.6 pounds it’s noticeably lighter than the ROG G752’s back-breaking 9.7 pounds. It’s also more appealing than a slew of 17-inch "potable" gaming monsters including the 2015 Alienware 17 (8.33 pounds), Acer Predator 17 (8.71 pounds) and the Origin EON17-SLX (10.5 pounds).

Cool under pressure

One of the neat things about the P57X is that it has a cooling system that heat is expelled through two fan grilles on the underside of the machine, in addition to ones located on the corners around the front. This prevents it from becoming too hot when you’re gaming, and you can even sit it on your lap for extended sessions without things getting uncomfortable.

Gigabyte P57Xv6

The P57X runs incredibly quiet when you’re not gaming, with the low hum of the hard disk drive being the only audible noise. This changes when the fans kick in, but you’ll never hear it blasting air out like an over-excited extractor fan.

Specifications, performance and features

It’s a case of get what you’re given when it comes to the P57X, which exists in a single configuration. Thankfully it’s a well-balanced one, engineered to provide an optimal gaming experience rather than one that’s going to let you watch 4K movies or get through a ton of work when you’re not fragging hapless opponents online.

The bad news is that you’ll have to pay through the nose for the privilege. Found for £1,900 (around $2,532 or $3,509) online, it’s comparable to what you would previously have paid for a gaming laptop with two GTX 980M or 970M GPUs configured in SLI – such as the Aorus X7 Pro Sync.

Given the choice, a single card solution tends to be preferable; and considering the GTX 1070 is practically a desktop part with vastly superior architecture compared to the Maxwell M-suffixed solutions of old, the P57X represents a huge generational leap in power. It’s not cheap, but you can expect this setup to play the latest games at high frame rates for a good few years.

Gigabyte P57Xv6

The Gigabyte P57v6’s spec sheet makes for impressive reading. Our review sample came with an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor clocked at 2.6GHz backed up by 16GB of RAM. Storage is split between a 256GB SSD that Windows is stored on, and a 1TB spinning hard disk for installing your ample-sized Steam collection.

Spec sheet

Here is the Gigabyte P57Xv6 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ (Quad core, 6M cache, up to 3.5GHz with Turbo Boost)
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5 memory)
  • RAM: 16GB (DDR4, 2133MHz)
  • Screen: 17.3-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS Anti-Glare Display LCD
  • Storage: 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD (7,200RPM)
  • Ports:1 x USB 3.0 (Type-A), USB 3.1 (Type-C), HDMI 2.0, D-Sub, RJ45, Mic-in, Earphone-out, SD Card Reader, DC-in Jack
  • Connectivity: Ethernet, Wireless LAN 802.11ac a/g/b/n. Bluetooth
  • Camera: HD Camera
  • Weight: 3kg (6.6 pounds)
  • Dimensions: 421 x 290 x 28.6 (W x D x H)

In terms of ports, the left-hand edge has an Ethernet port, two USB 3.0 ports, an SDcard slot and microphone and headphone ports. On the right there’s HDMI, USB-C, USB-A, a VGA connection and the power port. The P57X’s power brick isn’t far off the size of an actual brick and isn’t the most fun to lug around.

Gigabyte P57Xv6

Performance

Slightly positioned to the left, the trackpad is a decent size and allows for smooth navigation of the desktop and in games. It’s not as precise as the one on Dell’s slimmed down XPS 15, but we imagine most of you will be hooking up a gaming mouse anyway.

Gigabyte P57Xv6

Gigabyte has opted for a standard 1080p panel for the P57X. It’s an interesting choice, particularly as many of its rivals have opted for 2K, 3K and Ultra HD displays to take advantage of the power of GTX 10-series GPUs.

It’s undoubtedly a decision that helps keep cost down, and one that leaves you with a gaming laptop that can chew through pretty much any game at the screen’s native resolution maxed out while hitting the golden 60 fps mark. But more on that in the next section.

if you’re interested in using the ample horsepower under the hood to run games at higher resolutions, the P57X’s USB-C and HDMI (2.0) ports mean you can easily hook up an external monitor to do so.

Benchmarks

Here’s how the Gigabyte P57X performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

  • 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 22,656; Sky Diver: 26,398 ; Fire Strike: 13,063
  • Cinebench CPU: 680 points; Graphics: 105.41 fps
  • GeekBench: 3,791 (single-core); 13,524 (multi-core)
  • PCMark 8 (Home Test): 4,088 points
  • PCMark 8 (Battery): 2 hours 56 minutes
  • Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 4 hours and 47 minutes
  • GTA V: (1080p, Ultra): 53.48 fps; (1080p, Low): 136.14 fps
  • The Division: (1080p, Ultra): 76.5 ; (1080p, Low): 155.9 fps
  • Steam VR Bench: Ready

Before Pascal laptops came along, the only way to get hold of desktop-class power in a notebook was to splash out on one loaded with a GTX 980. Nvidia has positioned the GTX 1070 as that card’s successor, which is backed up by the benchmark scores produces. The P57X reached an impressive 13,063 points in 3DMark’s Fire Strike test, outpacing the 980-powered Asus ROG GX700‘s 9,824 points.

Gigabyte’s machine is much more capable at 1080p, managing to almost hit 60 fps in GTA V with every setting maxed out – no mean fit and a struggle for even the beefiest graphics cards. The P57X managed 53.48 fps, versus 21 fps scored by the GX700.

The good news is that anything capable of chewing through GTA V’s punching benchmark can run anything at 1080p. We ran through bouts of The Division, Doom and Fallout 4, with each and every game managing to hit well above the 60 fps mark without breaking a sweat. Some games, such as Rise of the Tomb Raider, even peaked in the early hundreds.

Gigabyte P57Xv6

That headroom at 1080p means that there’s enough power to game fluidly at 1440p, with Doom hovering between 50 – 65 fps on Ultra settings using the Vulcan graphics API and V-Sync set to Adaptive. The FPS counter’s stats diminish further with the resolution upped to 4K. Ultra HD gaming is certainly possible, but expect frames counted to lie closer to the mid-40s rather than the 50s in demanding titles.

Verdict

Even in the age of Pascal, gaming on the go at 1080p is getting a new lease of life. The Gigabyte P57X may not have 2K, 3K or even 4K display, but it leaves you safe in the knowledge that each and every game is going to run flawlessly at its native Full HD resolution. There’s the nagging feeling, however, Gigabyte has played things a little too safe.

We liked

The P57X brings the power – oodles of it. There’s a beautiful simplicity in whacking the graphics settings to Ultra without giving the frame rate a second thought; and watching the FPS counter in cutting-edge titles bounce between anything from 60 fps all the way up to 110 fps never became boring.

The unit’s display might not pack in the pixels, but it’s clear, bright and a great size for playing games and streaming 1080p video. Its mature, yet appealing design marks a refreshing change from the hyperactive norm, and despite having a large chassis the P57X is surprisingly light compared to rival 17-inch machines.

We disliked

If you’re not too interested in hooking up the P57X to an external monitor, it’s hard to ignore the fact that some of the horsepower you’re paying for is going to waste. While we agree that 1080p remains a sensible choice for a gaming laptop, the P57X is crying out for a 120Hz panel to put those extra frames to good use. There are some minor gripes in other areas – its build quality feels a bit cheap in places, the power brick is ostentatiously large and, Gigabyte, is a DVD drive really necessary in 2016?

Final verdict

The Gigabyte P57Xv6 is a solid gaming machine that focuses on providing an exemplary experience at 1080p – and beyond if you have a high-resolution monitor. It sports a classy design that’s eye-catching without being over-the-top, has a smooth grippable rounded chassis and isn’t too heavy to realistically carry around everywhere. If you’re not fussed about features such as an aluminum chassis or 4K (or indeed high refresh rate) display, the omission of these features helps the P57Xv6 achieve gaming performance that eclipses Maxwell-based machines that you could pick up for a similar price just a few months ago. Sure, it’s expensive, but this is a portable machine that’s destined to dine at the table of maxed-out 1080p gaming for some time to come.

Source: Tech Radar