Gigabyte's P37X v4 doesn't disappoint. When we first received it, we expected a similar experience to that of the P34W v3 we previously tested. They have similar aesthetics and ergonomics, after all. Cooling was the main concern, as this was one of the biggest detriments to the P34W's gaming performance.
We were pleased to find that the P37X's slim profile did not hinder its performance; under full load, the system's GTX 980M maintained its advertised GPU Boost frequency. The impressive cooling doesn't come without consequence; the fans are extremely loud under load. Noise-conscious gamers would have to use the quiet fan profile in public. It would be interesting to test the thermal performance on Gigabyte's P35X v4. It has the same processor and GPU as the P37X, but in a 15-inch body. The results would illustrate whether the larger heat sink on the P37X made the difference.
On the processing side, a fifth-generation Core i7-5700HQ showed a major performance increase over the previous -4720HQ in productivity and synthetic benchmarks. In battery benchmarks, the Core i7-5700 showed modest increases, which can be attributed to Broadwell’s greater efficiency. Battery life, on the other hand, suffers in comparison, though this is likely due to the larger screen the battery drives.
There aren't many gaming laptops that offer this kind of performance in the 17-inch class. Surely, this sleek design and excellent performance must come at a premium, right? The model we were sent, with 256GB of solid-state storage and a 1TB hard drive, can be found on Newegg for $2179. Compared to conventional laptops and desktop machines, this is a hefty price tag. But this quite affordable relative to gaming laptop prices.
Razer has yet to release a Blade with a current-generation processor, and the Razer Blade Pro, its family of 17-inch laptops, tops out at a 960M. In the most comparative model, a 17.3-inch system with 256GB of solid-state storage and a 500GB hard drive costs $2500.
Does Asus beat Gigabyte in price?
Asus' ROG G751JY might fit the bill, but it's extremely bulky and lacks a current-generation Core i7. You can buy a G751JY on Asus’ website for $2199, which includes a 256GB SSD, a 1TB hard drive, 24GB of DDR3 memory with space for up to 32GB, and a G-Sync panel, but a GTX 980M with only 4GB. Its older brother that lacks G-Sync costs $100 more, oddly enough. The more appropriately sized GL771 can be purchased from Newegg for $1000. It has 12GB of DDR3 memory with room for up to 16GB, and it lacks a Broadwell-based processor. Also, it only has a GeForce GTX 860M.
MSI’s 17.3-inch Dominator systems include the 8GB version of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 980M, but they're also incredibly bulky. XoticPC offers a competitive model of the GT72 Dominator Pro with the same Broadwell CPU, 16GB of memory, a 256GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive for $2208. On the other hand, its thin Stealth laptops top out at a 970M.
There are a few laptops that stand out alongside Gigabyte’s P37X. Dell’s new Alienware 17 is available for $1999. It includes the 8GB 980M and a Skylake-based CPU. However, it doesn’t seem to have an SSD option. Digital Storm’s Krypton customized to match the P37X we reviewed would cost $2216. The company's Harker, which is marketed as a slim system, offers at least a Core i5-4690K desktop processor and up to a 6GB GeForce GTX 970M. If the 980M’s power is absolutely necessary, XoticPC offers the Sager NP8678, which can be configured similarly to our P37X for $1856.58, saving over $300.
Though a number of competing notebooks come close to its overall polish, Gigabyte's P37X v4 offers great value and performance within a sleek enclosure. Clearly, Gigabyte believes it can charge a premium for the P37X’s thin enclosure, sleek design and excellent build quality.