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Gigabyte P35K review: Gigabyte P35K

A gaming machine hidden in a business laptop’s clothing, the P35K is aimed at the discreet gamer.

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Bennett Ring
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Bennett Ring

Bennett Ring is a freelance writer and producer of content about tech, games and other assorted nonsense. He is fuelled entirely by home-brewed coffee and a small fusion reactor.

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4 min read

Not every gamer wants to advertise the fact that they're mowing down terrorists rather than working on quarterly budgets. The P35K aims to deliver a game-ready laptop trussed up in the looks and convenience of an ultrabook facade; but is it really possible to squeeze the powerful components necessary for game performance into such a slim and light package?

gigP35K_1.jpg
7.0

Gigabyte P35K

The Good

Low weight for a gamer. Excellent battery life. Solid performance.

The Bad

Can't handle ultra detail in today's games. Terrible touch pad.

The Bottom Line

If you're looking for an affordable and discreet gaming machine, the P35K is a solid alternative, provided you don't expect too much when it comes to graphics options.

Design and features

You'd be forgiven for walking straight past the P35K when shopping for a gaming laptop, as it doesn't have any of the garish colours or striking lines that signal a machine is itching for entertainment. The discreet chassis design is extremely simple and plain, looking like so many other corporate laptops. Weighing in at just 2.16kg, it's positively lightweight by gaming laptop standards, while the maximum height of just 21mm makes it one of the thinnest gamers we've seen.

The 15.6-inch LCD display uses in-plane switching (IPS) technology to deliver outstanding image quality, with especially strong colour performance over a wide range of viewing angles, making this a dab hand at displaying demonstrations to groups. The island keyboard displayed a little bit of flex during heavy-handed typing, and the lack of backlighting makes it tricky to use in nocturnal environments. It's a good thing most gamers pack their own gaming mice, as the touch pad employed on the P35K can only be described as dismal, with buttons that failed to register at least half of our button presses. Low-quality speakers will do in a pinch, but a set of dedicated headphones are a must.

Connections, performance and battery

A healthy range of I/O options skirt the base, with twin USB 3.0 ports alongside twin USB 2.0 ports, as well as HDMI out, D-sub out, Ethernet, mic-in, headphone/SPDIF out and an SD card reader. However, as a gaming machine, we're most interested in what lies beneath the keyboard, especially considering this is such a light machine.

Our sample came packing Intel's new i7-4700HQ CPU, a mid-range Haswell part that includes four Hyper-Threaded cores. Top speed whilst gaming is 3.4GHz, which is more than enough for the majority of today's titles. Unfortunately, this potent processor is let down by the entry-level Nvidia GTX 765M GPU. Despite being included in Nvidia's new 700 series, this is a base-level GPU by anybody's measure, as you'll soon see in our benchmark results. With 16GB of DDR3 memory running at 1600MHz, it delivers excellent short-term memory, and it's backed up by a speedy hard drive solution, in the form of a 256GB SSD drive alongside a 1TB mechanical drive.

Performance in today's games showed that the GPU simply can't keep pace with the intense demands of AAA games at high detail. In every test, bar Tomb Raider, the P35K exhibited basically unplayable performance. However, dropping detail levels to medium while disabling the more advanced graphical effects should deliver acceptable performance in most games.

While most gaming laptops struggle to deliver more than an hour or two of battery life, the P35K surprised with an exceptional result of 187 minutes in the demanding PowerMark test. This is one of the few gaming laptops that will last most of the day away from a power plug, provided you're not gaming your afternoon away. Given the relatively demure GPU, we were a little surprised to see how noisy the P35K gets while working, coming in as the second-loudest gaming laptop in our round-up, at 53dB.

3DMark 2013 — FireStrike Test, 1920x1080 (overall score)

  • 5180
  • Origin EON15-S
  • 3157
  • Toshiba Qosmio
  • 3131
  • Asus G750JX
  • 2436
  • Gigabyte P35K
  • 2242
  • MSI GS70

(Longer bar equals better performance)


PowerMark: 50 per cent brightness, normal mode (time)

  • 2h 09m
  • Origin EON15-S
  • 1h 03m
  • Toshiba Qosmio
  • 2h 39m
  • Asus G750JX
  • 3h 07m
  • Gigabyte P35K
  • 1h 55m
  • MSI GS70

(Longer bar equals better performance)


Peak Noise: dB (scaled to reflect log differentials)

  • 54
  • Origin EON15-S
  • 44
  • Toshiba Qosmio
  • 40
  • Asus G750JX
  • 53
  • Gigabyte P35K
  • 49
  • MSI GS70

(Shorter bar equals better performance)


Conclusion

The P35K delivers on its promise to pack gaming performance in a business body, provided you go easy when it comes to the graphics options in your favourite games. It'll blast through older games with ease, but the GTX 765M GPU struggles with the latest and greatest. It's one of the more affordable gaming laptops around, especially considering the cutting-edge processor and excellent SSD/HD combo, but the average build quality is a bit of a letdown.

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