PC gaming is an expensive endeavor. Whether you're purchasing a desktop rig or something more portable, building your own or buying a prebuilt system, or just picking up a Steam Machine, expect to drop a significant chunk of change.
A few machines try to offer decent performance for a bargain, including the Acer Aspire V15 and the Digital Storm Triton. Now, the latest model to join this affordable space is the Gigabyte P35K v3, and with it brings Nvidia's newest entry-level GPU, the GeForce GTX 965M, for an extra bump in performance.
Gigabyte has classically been known to stuff its machines with value, and this model looks to be no different with a vibrant IPS screen and slim-line drive bay. On paper, the Gigabyte P35K v3 looks to be the full package, but how does it handle the latest PC games?
This machine is by no means the most eye-catching device in the world. The laptop's spanning footprint is on par with just about any 15.6-inch laptop, but it comes in a significantly thinner profile.
The shorter height is a signature feature of Gigabyte's designs, but at the same time it makes the system slightly unappealing with its oddly lanky proportions. Open up the laptop, and you'll be greeted with some equally unattractive bezels, especially the two-inch piece of plastic that sits between the bottom of the screen and the hinge.
Both the screen lid and notebook interior panel are made with solid aluminum panels, making this one sturdy rig. The P35K v3 went through its fair share of dings and scuffs while I transported it on several cramped New York City subway rides for a week; it looked no worse for the wear.
Surprisingly, the base of the notebook is made out of plastic, whereas most thin gaming laptops have opted for a metal underside to help with passive cooling. Although it's not as tough as the rest of the aluminum chassis, the underside blends in well, thanks to Gigabyte perfectly color matching the different materials.
One other neat addition is the super skinny drive bay users will find at the front of the laptop. Not only is it an incredibly compact disc drive, but it can also hold a solid state drive for additional storage. Alternatively, you could also slide in the same hot swappable storage drive holder without an actual drive to shave off a few extra ounces.
A bit too vanilla
Users seeking a stealthy gaming rig will love the P35K v3's reserved styling. You won't find any superfluous, gamer-influenced design cues on this laptop, such as tribal stamps or bold red lines, as with the Asus ROG GL551. Gigabyte has instead gone with a purely simple gray and black look for the bulk of this device, plus a white keyboard backlight for those who like to type in the dark.
Save for little white box outlines surrounding the WASD keys and the simple Gigabyte logo embroidered on the laptop's lid, you could almost mistake this machine for one of Dell's budget multimedia offerings. With this in mind, the Gigabyte P35K v3 is a bit too boring, especially compared to the sharp-looking Aspire V15 Nitro.