Gigabyte P35K Ultrablade Gaming Laptop Review
Hot on the heels of the Gigabyte P25, Gigabyte have sent us a slimmer, sleeker looking Gaming laptop the Gigabyte P35K Ultrablade. The P35K packs a quad core (with Hyperthreading) Intel Core i7-4700HQ processor, 16GB of RAM, a Nvidia GTX 765M GPU and x2 128GB mSSDs in RAID 0. All of this can be found in an ultra slim (just 22mm thick) chassis with a 15.6″ (1920×1080) IPS LCD screen and a DVD drive, featuring a Swappable Storage Bay. The P35K comes in many configurations (see Specifications/Features below), our review sample (P35K-CF3) came with Windows 8 64Bit pre-installed.
The Gigabyte P35K came in a mainly black box with very tittle given away on the outside, maybe Gigabyte are going for the wolf in sheep’s clothing approach…
Taking a look inside we can see that the P35K comes well packaged with the laptop itself nesting within soft foam. The main power cords were found at the front (cardboard section) with the rest of the accessories lying beneath the laptop in the bottom of the box.
Within the box we find the two main power cords, a bag containing all of the associated paperwork and the rather unusual (but very useful) drive bay adapter.
The paperwork consists of a User’s Manual, CyberLink Power DVD 10, Warranty Card and a strange bracket (sorry no idea what it’s for!?).
At the time of writing the Gigabyte P35K Laptop is retailing for approximately £1300 and comes with a 2 year warranty.
courtesy of Gigabyte
Windows 8.1 Pro
Windows 8 Pro
Windows 7 Home Premium
Windows 7 Professional
|CPU||4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4700HQ 2.4-3.4GHz|
|Display||15.6″ Full HD 1920×1080 IPS LCD
15.6″ Full HD 1920×1080 LCD
|System Memory||4/8GB DDRIIIL 1600, 2 slots (Max 16GB)|
|Chipset||Mobile Intel® HM87 Express Chipset|
|Video Graphics||Intel® HD Graphics 4600
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 765M GDDR5 2GB
Supports NVIDIA® Optimus™ Technology
|Storage||*Supports Quadruple-Storage System
128/256GB mSATA SSD
128/256GB mSATA SSD + 500/750GB/1TB 2.5″ HDD 5400/7200rpm
128/256GB mSATA SSD + 128/256GB mSATA SSD + 500/750GB/1TB 2.5″ HDD 5400/7200rpm
500/750GB/1TB 2.5″ HDD 5400/7200rpm
|Keyboard Type||Full-sized Auto-Adjusting Backlit Keyboard|
|Optical Disk Drive||Blu-ray Rewritable Drive with BDXL Support
Blu-ray DVD Combo Drive
Super Multi DVD RW
|I/O Port||USB(3.0)*2, USB(2.0)*2, HDMI, D-sub, RJ46, Mic-in, Earphone-out (SPDIF), SD Card Reader, DC-in Jack|
|Audio||1.5 Watt Speaker*2, Woofer speaker*1, Microphone, Dolby® Home Theater® v4|
|Communications||LAN: 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet
Wireless LAN: 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth: Bluetooth V4.0
|Battery||Li-Polymer, 11.1V, 75.81Wh|
|Dimensions||385(W) x 270(D) x 21(H) mm|
|Weight||~2.16kg (w/Li-polymer battery)
~2.26kg (w/ODD and Li-polymer battery)
First impressions are very good, the P35K is one smart, sleek and undeniably thin laptop, it certainly looks far better than the P25 that we saw a month or so ago. It’s pretty light too with a weight of just 2.26kg. Now let’s take a tour around the Gigabyte P35K Ultrablade Gaming Laptop…
The lid, adorned with a silver Gigabyte logo is extremely thin, worryingly so! Grabbing it from any corner to close the lid causes it to flex a fair amount, which is a little disconcerting at first, although this doesn’t seem to have any detrimental effect of the screen itself!
On the left of the P35K we find a Kensington Lock slot, Ethernet port, x2 USB 2.0 ports, Heaphone Jack (this one actually illuminates Red for easy identification, very cool!), Microphone Jack and an SD Card reader.
On the right we find a Thunderbolt port (optical), USB 3.0 port, USB 3.0 port (USB Charge), HDMI port, External Display (VGA port) and the main power DC-in Jack.
Of course on opening the lid we get to see all of those so important Endorsement Stickers (damn I hate these things!), quite why they need to be stuck in such a prominent place I don’t know. But as the laptop needs to be sent back I guess I’ll have to leave them there! At the very top of the screen (not shown) the P35K has a webcam with its associated Light Sensor and Status LED Indicator. To the left and right of the camera we find two microphones.
The keyboard is a standard condensed laptop layout, similar to the Gigabyte P25, with no notable oddities other than the Function (Fn) key that has been squeezed to the left of the space-bar (this is common), meaning that the space-bar itself is a little shorter than normal. The keyboard is also backlit (white) and has two levels of brightness and off, controlled via Fn + space-bar. This is a good laptop keyboard from Gigabyte with nice feeling keys and a good response. The WASD keys have also been highlighted with a white surround providing an extra Gaming touch to the otherwise standard, yet sleek looking laptop.
The P35K’s touchpad is located left of the main unit and seems to feature an oversize style of pad. The touchpad has specific left and right zones, indicated by the small line at the base of the pad.
On the front of the chassis we find the five main LED indicators (from left to right); Bluetooth Status, Wireless LAN Status, HDD Status, Battery Status and Power Status.
At the back of the keyboard we find the what appears to be the main speaker section with a centrally located Power button. But it’s not speakers…
The speakers are actually at the very front of the chassis, one on each side. These Stereo speakers are also complemented by a sub-woofer located on the base of the unit. Situated between the speakers we also find the Swappable Storage Bay (see image below right), with a Optical drive fitted by default. Using the adapter provided, an additional 2.5″ drive can be added, such as an SSD. Personally I think this is a really useful feature and not one that I have seen before…
At the back we can see the two main cooling vents of the P35K.
Taking a look at the P35K’s underside we can see the centrally mounted memory compartment and a host of cooling vents, with the vent for the subwoofer on the right. There are also four rubber feet, one in each corner.
As notebooks/laptops often come pre configured with a host of specific settings and with a wealth of (often unwanted) software installed, for testing purposes we test the notebook as is, as it comes out of the box! This is after all how most users are likely to use it. Although Graphics Card Drivers are updated if necessary. The Gigabyte P35K came pre-configured with Windows 8.0 64 Bit.
The following games were used during testing:
- Battlefield 4
- Batman Arkham Origins (benchmark)
- Metro Last Light (benchmark)
- Unigine Heaven (benchmark)
Let’s start off by taking a look at our benchmarks, to allow us to gauge what Gaming Performance Level the Gigabyte P35K offers. It’s also worth noting that a Notebook/Laptop will never offer the same level of performance when compared to a similar priced Desktop. Sorry guys that’s just how it is…
|Notebook Model||Batman Arkham Origins||Metro Last Light||Tomb Raider||UNiGiNE Heaven||3DMark (Fire Strike)|
|MSI GS70 Stealth||55.00||17.00||19.80||311||2402|
The Gigabyte P35K performed about on par for the Nvidia GTX 765M GPU that’s fitted within, although it did perform a little better than the MSI Stealth that’s also fitted with the same GPU. As you can see it just can’t compete with the top two laptops fitted with the far superior Nvidia GTX 770M GPU (this is the current go for GPU when it comes to mobile Gaming in our opinion). One thing that I did notice while testing was that there seemed to be no slowdown when the GPU was stressed hard and hot; at over 80 degrees Celsius the GPU still seemed to be capable of turning out the same benchmarks scores as when it was at 60 degrees (as long as it’s plugged in, of course)!
I did see a couple of crashes while testing mainly when using Batman Arkham Origins, was this down to heat? Well that’s difficult to say, but there were a couple of random crashes nonetheless! The P35K did seem to exhaust its heat well though via the ports at the back of the chassis, this is the best place for the heat to be vented as some laptops exhaust the heat out of the the side directly at your mouse hand!
When I tried to overclock the P35K, I also found that the GPU Core seemed to be artificially locked, the situation was the same with the 770M equipped Toshiba. I was also unable to overclock the GPU’s RAM via MSI’s Afterburner due to the fact that the numbers just seemed to read a nonsense, when a basic overclock was dialled in!?
When Gaming in both Battlefield 4 and TitanFall the P35K performed quite well, keeping frame rates above 25FPS in TitanFall with maximum settings (No AA) making the game quite playable at the native resolution of 1920×1080. Similarly Battlefield 4 was also playable on Ultra, with framerates not dipping much below 30 Frames per second. While these frame rates are adequate, they’re still far from ideal and the P35K would benefit from the far Superior GPU found in its sister laptop the P25!
The 15.6″ screen is actually very good although it could do with a little more brightness, although a high brightness also comes at the cost of battery life of course. Throughout testing I had the brightness set at 100%. The screen has a good colour range and also has very good viewing angles thanks to that IPS panel.
Sound as you can image, is somewhat lacklustre, despite the inclusion of a so called subwoofer. Although I’m not sure that this should/would bother many prospective buyers as most will use a headset while playing Games, watching movies etc. While listening via headset the sound was very good, with a good deal of power/volume on offer.
Battery life for the Gigabyte P35K was similar to others recently tested, being able to run the Unigine Heaven benchmark for only about a hour before dying! Yes, that’s right you’re not going to be Gaming for long on the train, all Gaming laptops still work best when plugged in I’m afraid.
The backlit keyboard was nice to see and the keyboard itself performed well during general Gaming. The same can’t be said for the touchpad I’m afraid (but who uses these right!?), as I found my self slipping and missing clicks constantly. The touchpad just seemed way to sensitive for my liking…
But the real Achilles heal of the Gigabyte P35K is the noise! The fans just spin up and down all the time and seem to be set very aggressively. You only have to open a Zip file in Windows and all the fans spin up like you’re trying to decrypt an encyclopaedia. There are some fan Profiles (Auto, Stealth and Turbo) via the handy Gigabyte Smart program, but even then while Gaming using the Silent option the fans spin up eventually making a rather high pitched whine.
There’s no doubt that aesthetically the Gigabyte P35K Ultrablade Gaming Laptop is a great improvement over the P25 seen a few weeks go, in fact the Gigabyte P35K Ultrablade Gaming Laptop is a good looking, sleek (just 22mm thick) and light Gaming laptop. But does it have it where it counts? Well yes and no…
The P35K has the looks and features a great 15.6 (1920×1080) IPS screen that has good colour representation and great viewing angles. The Dual RAID 0 (x2 128GB SSD) setup works well meaning that the P35K boots in no time and Games load about as fast as I have seen. The swappable bay at the front of the chassis is a neat feature too, allowing you to replace the ODD with a 2.5″ drive such as an SSD should you need more storage. The laptop also features a good array of ports including x2 USB 2.0, x2 USB 3.0 ports and a TunderBolt port.
Of course this is all well and good but probably the most important aspect of a true Gaming laptop is its performance. It is here that the P35K disappoints a little as Gigabyte have opted to use an Nvidia GTX 765M GPU, while is up to the task (just!), it lacks the raw power of the far superior GTX 770M (see benchmarks above). While the frame rates in Games, such as TitanFall and Battlefield 4 (using max settings) are averaging around 40-50 FPS, dips into the low twenties are still apparent, meaning that the overall experience is not as good as it could/should be.
What then ads to the frustration is the fact that the power delivered via the Intel Core i7-4700HQ and the Nvidia GTX 765M GPU is also accompanied by a whole host of noise from the on-board fans. This is not so much of a problem when in game with a Headset on, but the P35K has a habit of making an awful lot of noise when you’re just doing simple tasks within Windows. It would seem to me that the fan Profiles (you can actually choose from three) all seem to be far too aggressive, meaning that the fans seem to be constantly winding (or is the whining) up and down.
Overall the Gigabyte P35K Ultrablade Gaming Laptop is a good looking, light and sleek Gaming laptop, let down by a lacklustre (for modern Games) mobile GPU and poor cooling control. Increase the performance via a better GPU and sort the cooling and Gigabyte would have a winner on their hands…
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Many thanks to Gigabyte for providing this sample for review