Gigabyte P37X review

A powerful 17-inch gaming laptop that's great in almost every way

Gigabyte P37X
Gigabyte P37X

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Weighing 2.7kg and measuring 22.5mm high, while still relatively chunky and not exactly small enough to fit into a manila envelope, the P37X is less hefty than a lot of competing gaming laptops and mobile workstations. The design is refreshingly bland too, avoiding the plethora of flashing lights and garish logo designs employed by some manufacturers.

It's a portable monolith of high-performance gaming hardware, one which looks like a normal laptop in nearly every sense. The chassis is a nice dark gunmetal grey and it all has a rather elegant feel.

With the P37X, you get an Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M, the fastest single discrete mobile GPU currently available, with 8GB of dedicated GDDR5 video memory. 8GB of video memory is still quite a luxury even for desktop graphics, so finding it in a laptop is all the more extraordinary, and should provide a good performance boost in games.

There's a Haswell-based quad-core Intel Core i7-4720HQ processor, which runs at 2.6GHz but hits 3.6GHz in Turbo Mode, paired with a generous 16GB of DDR3 main system memory, configured as a pair of 8GB sticks. There are only two slots though, so upgrading further needs larger DIMMS, which aren't currently available.

Gigabyte P37X review

The display is a thing of beauty


  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.6GHz with turbo boost)
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M (8GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 4600
  • RAM: 16GB DDR3L (1600MHz)
  • Screen: 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 Wide Viewing Angle LCD
  • Storage: 2x 128GB mSATA SSD (Raid 0); 1TB HDD (7,200rpm)
  • Ports: 2 x USB 3.0 ports, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, D-sub, RJ45, Mic-in, Earphone-out, SD Card Reader, DC-in Jack, Mini DisplayPort
  • Connectivity: Ethernet, Wireless LAN: 802.11ac/b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0
  • Camera: Built-in 720P Video Camera
  • Weight: 2.7kg
  • Size: 417 x 287 x 22.5 mm (W x D x H)

Superb screen

This is a powerful specification that won't even break into a sweat when playing Battlefield 4, but the real star is the display – a 17.3-inch IPS panel that looks absolutely superb whatever angle it's viewed at. For gaming, it's a lot better than a 14 or 15-inch screen, as it provides a great view of the action, although such a large screen means there's more chassis space to squeeze in components, battery and cooling hardware.

It's only a 1080p-resolution screen rather than 4K, and higher-resolution options are only available on Gigabyte's (marginally) less powerful P35 laptop. In some ways, that's a good thing. Even the meaty mobile specification here is likely to struggle when running modern games at 4K resolution and high detail, plus there's the possibly irritating issue of less-than-perfect support for high-DPI on the Windows desktop.

There's nothing wrong with 1080p, the desktop is guaranteed to always render at the right size and it won't cause performance issues. It's a sensible choice for gaming, and if you're desperate to play at 4K, you can connect an external display to the DisplayPort 1.2 connector.

Gigabyte P37X ports

You get an Ethernet port for online gaming

Plenty of storage

Storage options vary depending on the P37X variant and customisation options you choose. If you wish, the P37X can be fully loaded with four storage devices, including internal space for a pair of mSATA drives that can be set up in Raid 0, ranging from 128GB to 512GB, along with a 2.5-inch drive, with another available if the hot-swappable DVD writer is replaced with a caddy.

If you want hard disks as well, up to 4TB can be squeezed into the P37X, for a maximum of 5TB of internal storage. There's also an option to put three SSDs into a Raid 0, not something regularly offered on laptops. The sample we reviewed came with a pair of 128GB mSATA SSDs, a 1TB hard disk and the optical drive in place.

There's also 802.11ac wireless networking, via an Intel 7260 2x2 wireless adaptor, which isn't the fastest wireless card you can get, but there's a Gigabit Ethernet connector to fall back on. External displays are catered for with HDMI, Mini DisplayPort and analogue D-Sub outputs, the latter of which is still useful for compatibility with an enormous number of legacy display devices.

Joining this list of connectors on the P37X are two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, an SD Card reader, audio jack, and a Kensington lock. Underneath the screen are a pair of 1.5W speakers and there's an HD webcam at the top.

Gigabyte P37X review

The WASD keys are highlighted

Keyboard highlights

With the keyboard, the W, S, A and D keys, which every gamer knows are the most important in FPS games, are somewhat pointlessly highlighted with a white square. The entire keyboard is backlit though, and there are programmable macro keys to the side, which many (but not all) gamers find useful.

The use of type-friendly island-style keys is predictable, given their near-universal pervasion in laptop design. Although gamers often show preference for more chunky mechanical keyboards, big and fat keys would have meant a thicker laptop chassis.

The trackpad is nothing special. It's of average size, with the usual pair of pressure-activated click buttons at the bottom. In my opinion, nothing beats the feel of the trackpads on Apple's MacBooks, which is somewhat helped by built-in support for gestures in OS X. Although that's promised with Windows 10, some manufacturers have already programmed their own trackpad gesture support into their software, mimicking the multi-touch gesture in OS X, but this is something Gigabyte hasn't done with the P37X.

It isn't a show-stopping issue, since a traditional mouse works so much better in most games anyway. You'd be sensible to pack one in your bag if you're lugging the P37X to a friend's house to play FPS or strategy games.