Gigabyte P35X v3

Rivaling desktop graphics is tough for any notebook, but in a thin ’n’ light?

When nvidia pul LED the wraps offits GeForce GTX 980M mobile graphics chip, the  Internets burst alive with much rejoicing.
 At last, here was a laptop GPU that could  give the best desktop graphics cards a run  for their money. Well, kinda.
Make no mistake, the 980 looks mega on  paper.
With 1,536 Maxwell-style shaders  and a base clock north of 1GHz, the 980M  is one hell of a GPU by any metric, including  the desktop. It’s so good, we built our cover  feature around the notion that it made laptops truly competitive with desktops.
What it’s not, however, is unique  in history.

To reach what’s arguably  the golden age of laptop gaming you  have to wind the clock right back to  2005 and the GeForce Go 7800 GTX, a  mobile GPU with the same number of pipes  and shaders as the fastest desktop graphics of the day.
There’s no competition. The GTX 980M is the king of notebook graphics.
In that context, we’re very slightly disappointed the 980M doesn’t have all 2,048 of  its shaders switched on. The 980M is based  on the same GM204 chip as the desktop  980, after all.
That minor point aside, we can introduce  the vehicle for this second taste of the 980M  (we’ve also been hands on with Asus’s  980M-equipped ROG G751 for our laptop  versus desktop cover feature this month),  Gigabyte’s P35X v3.
We’ve seen the P35  before and all of what we previously liked  remains. It’s impressively thin and light for  such a powerful mobile gaming rig, especially given the P35 houses a quad-core  Intel Core i7-4710HQ chip. It’s the quad-core CPU du jour for this  kind of lappie and none the worse for it.
 With a base clock of 2.5GHz and a maximum Turbo speed of 3.5GHz, it has more  than enough grunt to deliver on the P35’s  gaming core competence.
That it also delivers nearly four hours of HD video playback on battery power is pretty nice, too.
Screen play Where this system differs from P35s passim is the screen. It’s a glorious IPS panel  with 2,880 by 1,620 pixels.
Immediately,  we’re worried about overkill.
After all,  this is a 15-inch mobile rig: surely 1080p  is plenty. And don’t forget about Windows’  traditional resolution scaling f-wittery. But  here’s the thing; the ultra-dense pixel grid  doesn’t just get close to making antialiasing redundant, it also means non-native  resolutions look less blurry.
 That’s intriguing because, although the  980M makes an incredibly good fist of gaming at that ludicrous 2,880 by 1,620 pixel  resolution, for truly smooth frames rates  you’re going to either need to play without  antialiasing or drop down to 1080p.
Our one major worry is heat management. This notebook is offensively loud ingame. We also doubt how it can realistically manage its high GPU temps. The Heaven  benchmark was reporting 85 C out of the  box and it’s not at all unusual for laptops  to develop fairly chronic cooling problems  over time. The P35’s thinness and lightness  looks great, but may end up being a longterm liability.

CPU  Intel Core i7-4710HQ
GPU GeForce GTX 980M
Memory 16GB
Storage 240GB SSD, 1TB HDD
Screen Size  15.6-inch
Native Resolution 2880×1620
(H x D x W)
15.1 x 0.8 x 10.6-inches
Weight 5lb

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