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Gigabyte P35X v3 Notebook Review: GTX 980M Gets Slim

Can Gigabyte fit true gaming performance into a 7/8”-slim notebook chassis? You do get a Core i7-4710HQ and GeForce GTX 980M, after all.

Our Verdict

A great gaming notebook with superb portability, the P35X v3 Pro begins to look like an even better value as we consider some of its lower-priced 1920x1080 panel options.

For

  • Supremely thin, light, and powerful by notebook gaming standards, every version of the P35X v3 contains the same powerful CPU and graphics solution as today’s top-model test unit.

Against

  • The test unit’s pricey 2880x1620 display seems a little gimmicky for the 15.6” market, with less brightness and contrast than might be expected at this price level. Also, the triple external display output can’t be used in Surround mode, as offered by certain competitors.

Gigabyte P35X v3 Gaming Notebook Review

Portability means different things to different people, and gamers probably have lower expectations than tablet users when it comes to a device's dimensions. It wasn’t so long ago that the word “slim” applied to any notebook under an inch thick, and it seems almost incredible that today’s manufacturers are able to fit a top-end gaming GPU into that old spec. When Gigabyte came to us offering the latest high-end notebook GPU in a 7/8” chassis, my first question was, “Great, but where did you put the battery?" But the company did so much more than add a battery to a high-end graphics processor!

Underneath its lighted keyboard (the lights are disabled by default) lies the heart of a true portable gaming machine, complete with 16GB of RAM in dual-channel mode, a Haswell-based CPU running at up to 3.5GHz with Turbo Boost, the aforementioned GeForce GTX 980M GPU and even…get this…a 1TB secondary storage drive and DVD writer. All of those parts are squeezed into the bottom ¾” of this machine.

Above that, we find Gigabyte’s optional 2880x1620 WQHD display, which brings us to a brief discussion of part numbers. Different versions of the P35X v3 come with either a 1920x1080 or WQHD display, along with various drive and memory configurations ranging in price from around $1800 to $2400. We got one of the top units.

Gigabyte P35XV3-CF3 Component List
PlatformGigabyte P35V3: Intel FCBGA1364, HM87 Express, BGA Discrete Graphics
CPUIntel Haswell-Based Core i7-4710HQ (2.5-3.5GHz, 47W Max TDP)
RAM2x Transcend TS1GSK64W6H (2x 8GB) DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM, CL11
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 980M: 1038MHz, 8GB GDDR5-5012
Display15.6" WQHD Glossy LCD, 2880x1620
WebcamGeneric HD Webcam
AudioRealtek ALC282 with Dolby Digital Plus software
SecurityKensington Security Slot
Storage
Hard DriveSystem: 2x Lite-On LMT-128L9M mSATA 6Gb/s SSD (Striped, 256GB) Storage: HGST HTS721010A9E630 1TB/7200RPM/2.5" HDD, 32MB Cache
Optical DrivePanasonic UJ8E2 DVD±R 8x DVD±R DL 6x DVD-RAM 5x Reader/Writer
Media DriveRTS5227 SD media card interface
Networking
Wireless LANIntel Dual Band (2x2) Wireless-AC 7260 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 867Mb/s Wi-Fi / Bluetooth Combo
Wireless PANIntegrated Bluetooth 4.0 Transceiver on Wireless Combo Card
Gigabit NetworkRTL8111E 10/100/1000Mb/s Ethernet
IEEE-1394None
TelephonyNone
Peripheral Interfaces
USB2x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0
Expansion CardNot Available
HDD(USB only)
AudioHeadphone, Microphone
VideoMini DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA
Power & Weight
AC AdapterDelta ADP-180MB 180W Power Brick, 100-240V AC to 19.5V DC
Battery11.1V 6830mAh (75.81Wh) Internal
WeightNotebook 5.5 lbs, AC Adapter 1.7 lbs, Total 7.2 pounds
Software
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 8.1, OEM
Service
WarrantyTwo years labor, two years parts
Price$2400

Newegg calls this the P35XV3-CF4, while XoticPC calls it the P35XV3-CF3. The box says this is a 9WP35XV33-UE-A-003 (CF3), though XoticPC clarifies that it should sport a matte (rather than gloss) version of the display. Since both parts have the same internal specs and price, we’ll leave it to you to read the specifications sheet of your seller.

Getting back to the portability scale, Gigabyte’s P35X v3 is lighter and thinner than even Lenovo’s Y50-70. The AC adapter is a little heavier, but that’s what it takes to run monster graphics. Questions about whether a system this thin can use all that power (without overheating) will certainly be answered by our benchmarks. But let’s first take a look inside to see how Gigabyte makes all of its high-end hardware fit into such a tiny chassis!