Gigabyte P34W v3 Gaming Laptop Review

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I have this laptop. I'm not sure what brightness setting is 200 nits, but I find 50% good for daytime indoors, and 30% comfortable at night. I only feel the need to crank it above 50% if I'm by a sunny window. At 30% I get over 4 hours of battery life running office tasks and web browsing. Turning off hyperthreading in the BIOS extends that to almost 5 hours.

The thermal throttling is a problem. But other owners have reported eliminating it by repasting and undervolting the CPU. I'm planning to do that, but haven't yet had time.

The VGA port is there because Gigabyte knows their market. Real gamers don't mind buying a big and heavy gaming laptop. These thin and light gaming laptops are mostly being bought by business people, who use it as their work laptop when they travel, then relax with some gaming in their hotel room. The lid is very nondescript - completely black with only the Gigabyte logo. Anyone looking at it would never guess it's a gaming laptop. Anyway, the VGA port is there so these business people can plug it into older projectors that are ubiquitous in meeting rooms. The laptop also has a HDMI port (and can output to both + screen simultaneously), though I would've preferred Displayport.

The fan noise can be obnoxious, but Gigabyte has included an app to let you quickly select fan and performance profiles. At the lowest setting ("stealth") the fan noise is completely acceptable in an office environment. Probably too much for a library when gaming. Performance takes a big hit, but it's more than adequate for most of the games I play. If you plan to use the other settings (low, high, max), break out the headphones.

Others have complained of problems with fit and finish. Some pieces of plastic aren't completely straight, or have gaps. Backlight bleed seems to be a common problem too. I'm fortunate in that mine doesn't have any backlight bleed or problems with fit and finish. I would buy it again in a heartbeat.
 

mapesdhs

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Just wondering, when the GPU has pulled itself back to 848, is it still quicker than a 960M? If not, maybe Gigabyte would have been better off making this 960M-based, though if the mobile versions differ in the way the desktop cards do, perhaps even a reduced 970M is still way quicker than a 960M.

Don't laptops at least have the option of running on full power from the battery, instead of always reducing the clocks, etc.? One should at least have the option of staying a max speed even on batter power, kinda handy if one knows the game time is only going to be 30 mins anyway, short train journey or something.

Ian.

 

rohitbaran

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@soldier44
Well, as said in the review, there are not any laptops with that form factor and capability of 1440p gaming since it is really tough to get suitable performance from a card that can suitably fit in that form factor without burning itself out. So what do you expect? Unless you prefer jet engines for cooling fans...
 


Thank you. Not to mention that generally mobile GPUs have to run at lower clock settings, have cut down shader and texture units, have less memory, and have a cut memory bus all to help keep not only the temps down but the power use down as well. A quick comparison link to a 970M vs. 970:

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/nvidia-geforce-maxwell-mobile-gtx-970m-gtx-980m,27833.html

But with that said, these days I find it hard to justify spending big bucks on a mobile PC gaming solution. I first and last spent nearly $2k on a high end Dell Alienware gaming laptop about 7 years ago (with a 1920x1200 17" display) and will never do it again. No way to upgrade and every new game out continued to need to be detuned in quality. Due to that, portable gaming for me eventually got transferred to the PS3 and more recently the PS4.

 

Traciatim

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It would be nice to get the 970m as a desktop card (960 ti). It's seems nearly perfect for 1080p
The 970m already has desktop equivalents in the 660ti and 760. The desktop 960 already outmatches the 970m by a good amount, the other way you can get a 750ti for cheap 1080p gaming with a good amount of settings turned up.

There are no desktop 900 series cards yet as slow as the 970m.
 

fimbulvinter

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The VGA port is there because Gigabyte knows their market. Real gamers don't mind buying a big and heavy gaming laptop. These thin and light gaming laptops are mostly being bought by business people, who use it as their work laptop when they travel, then relax with some gaming in their hotel room. The lid is very nondescript - completely black with only the Gigabyte logo. Anyone looking at it would never guess it's a gaming laptop.
I have an older version of this model. Exact same chassis but previous model CPU and GPU.

But what you said is why I got it. This is a 70% work 30% gaming system for me and I honestly don't think there is too many other gaming laptops out there that don't scream GAMING LAPTOP with garish case lights and logos.

Although the thing really does scream GAMING LAPTOP when those fans spin up lol
 

Manticorp

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I have this laptop - I chose it over the Razer Blade because it was ~£600 cheaper AND I wanted the 1080p display over the 1800p display, and over the MSI ghost pro because I wanted something 14 inch and a bit more inconspicuous - and I have to say, it suits me down to the ground.

Regarding gaming, it's been able to handle everything I throw at it enormously well. I play Far Cry 4 on a 3K Dell U2515H at max settings and it handles it fine, not an ounce of stutter.

I also use it at work every day, the battery lasts a good 4-5 hours for normal chores, and it's so unassuming and professional looking that I don't feel conspicuous using it. I have to plug it in if I'm out and about and want to watch a movie, as it'll only go about 1.5-2 hours then.

But then I go home, plug it into a nice big screen, and that's when the real playtime starts.

I found the Gigabyte P34W to be the only laptop to offer sleek, inconspicuous looks with extremely good gaming power underneath in a relatively affordable package.

I have a colleague who bought a Acer V Nitro - I'm so glad the Gigabyte has white backlit keys instead of RED (urgh).

I absolutely haven't looked back since buying this laptop - it's simply the best on the market if you want to use it for gaming and for work.
 

SirTrollsALot

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Looks solid! Go here for more info http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/gigabyte-p34w-v3-phantasus-owners-lounge.772517/

Also maybe check Prema mods once in a while for bios. I got it for my Gigabyte P27g v 2 (Cleo chassis) works like a charm!
https://biosmods.wordpress.com/
 

jkteddy77

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The 970m already has desktop equivalents in the 660ti and 760. The desktop 960 already outmatches the 970m by a good amount, the other way you can get a 750ti for cheap 1080p gaming with a good amount of settings turned up.

There are no desktop 900 series cards yet as slow as the 970m.
Such a lie... the 970m lies beetween the 960 and 970, and could be compared to a stock clock 770.
 

jkteddy77

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My P34Wv3 3k doesn't do the battery light deal when the laptop is off... really wish it did, as that's a cool feature.
Anyone know how to increase the performance of this laptop when it's on battery? the GPU utilization doesn't drop, nor does the cpu clockrate, so it makes no sense to me why its performace in gaming is cut in half for me on battery. I got from 50-75 in bf4 on high in 3k, to 22-35 as soon as I unplug it...
 

Traciatim

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Not according to Passmark or Futuremark. Futuremark puts it at just a smidgen less than the desktop 960. Passmark puts it's at about 250% slower than then 960. So it really depends on what it's doing, but it is in no way faster than a desktop 960. The 980m is much more in line with what the desktop 770 would be... only you have to pay an arm and a leg for a laptop with a 980m in it, where a desktop 770 at this point is pretty cheap.

The main point is that the laptop only has portability going for it. In every single other metric the desktop parts win.

 

The 965m has 1024 shaders, 64 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and 128-bit memory bus.
The 960 GTX has 1024 shaders, 64 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and 128-bit memory bus.
The 970m has 1280 shaders, 80 TMUs, 48 ROPs, and a 192-bit memory bus.
The 970 GTX has 1664 shaders, 104 TMUs, 64 ROPs, and a 256-bit memory bus.

If the 960 GTX does in fact run faster than the 970m, then nvidia must've done a helluva incremental architecture revision. The 965m, 970m, and 970 GTX use a GM204 core. The 960 GTX uses a GM206 core.

Remember, when nvidia or Intel manufactures processors, they don't know ahead of time if it's going into a laptop or a desktop. They're tested, and the ones which can run at full performance at lower voltage (hence lower power) are binned as laptop parts. In fact all the GM204 cores are identical. The lesser models simply have cores, units, and/or lanes with manufacturing flaws or intentionally disabled which lowers performance.

They do clock the laptop parts a bit slower, but ever since they introduced Boost I can't find figures for max boost. And I don't think it's a sufficient underclock to offset the 25%-50% extra hardware the 970m has over the 960 GTX.

Edit: I would imagine the benchmark discrepancy has more to do with the CPU. Laptop CPUs are still typically clocked around 2.x GHz, while desktop CPUs are clocked at 3.x GHz. So if the benchmark relies on the CPU at all (I believe the 3D physics portion of the Futuremark scores are CPU-dependent), then it will favor the desktop.
 

jkteddy77

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Traciatim

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jKTeddy77 said:
The 970m almost equals the 770. I'd say it's more in line with the R9 280x in terms of performance.
So instead of just guessing, why not look it up. Here is the 3DMark Extreme with the fastest mobile CPU /970m combo I could find with a normal 4690k and a 280x.

If you notice the physics scores are actually closer to each other than most of the graphics scores. Mobile CPU's are actually pretty solid.

Look at the separate graphics tests... the disparity is between 37.9% up to 69.5 in favor of the 280x. You vastly overestimate the 970m.

http://www.3dmark.com/compare/3dm11/9128109/3dm11/9581064
 

jkteddy77

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http://gpuboss.com/gpus/Radeon-R9-280X-vs-GeForce-GTX-970M
Comes pretty close to me
NotebookCheck themselves show that the 970m is just a step below the R9 280x, and show benchmark results to prove themselves. This is a very trusted source.

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benchmark-List.844.0.html
Guess I can guess its performance pretty well

What matters is actual gaming performance, unless you're using it for some other specific purpose (in which you'd get a workstation laptop for that). Most of these benchmarks test areas that notebook gpu's aren't designed to handle.
Notice that their numbers show the 280x and 960 scoring higher (in fact the 960 performs better in some 3dmark tests than the 280x, but they still ranked it lower), but they rank the GPU's off their gaming performance.
Wish I could find a controlled gaming test of the 970m vs desktop GPU's, but I can't find any

Don't know if you've ever used a 970m, but I'm playing BF4's first mission right now at 70+ fps in 2880x1620 (3k) with a mix of high and ultra textures (no MSAA). Very impressive if you ask me.
It is only 9-10fps behind my R9 290 in the BF4 test range, both in the same spawn-spot and same all ultra settings in 1920x1080p
 

Traciatim

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GPU boss is a horrible ad click bait farce site. I don't care what your benchmarks are from your machine. Notebook check is much more reliable but even then they don't include reference desktop cards so that you can see how miserably poor the notebook cards do in comparison on a cost/performance or even straight up performance along naming conventions.
 

jkteddy77

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I agree with GPUboss, they never document their results right either.
As for Notebookcheck, if they indeed use aftermarket or overclocked desktop cards, that makes my 970m look even faster xD
 
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