Gaming Laptops Reviews

Gigabyte P34Gv2 Review

++ Main reason to consider:

Complete package for a gaming ultrabook which is fast, compact with high quality display and build alongside other features.

– Main reason to avoid:

Performance per price ratio might be high for those who don’t need some of the features (SSD, compactness, looks)

Availability

Amazon, B&HXoticPC and some more

Pro:
+ Good gaming performance  with the GTX 860M and an I7.
+ Very quiet under low/medium load
+ Compact and lightweight at ~1.75kg.
+ Very good 1080p IPS level display
+ Very good Intel 7260 WiFi card
+ Good case build quality
+ Very good keyboard.
+ Backlit keyboard

Con:
– Heat
– Performance per price ratio – not for those who are not after a gaming ultrabook.
– Speakers are mediocre
– All plastic (disadvantage for some).

 

Introduction

Component
Description
Pricebasic version: ~$1400-$1450
My version, with 16GB RAM : $1530
CPUI7-4700HQ
GPUGTX 860M 4GB GDDR5 (Maxwell), core@1100MHZ, GDDR5@1.25GHZ
RAMTranscend 2x8GB DDR3@800MHZ
HDD- LITEONIT LMT-128M6M 128GB SSD
- TOSHIBA MQ01ABD100 1TB HDD
LCD PanelIn review: AUO B140HAN01.1
Weight / Dimensions~1.76kg / 3.89lbs
Keyboardstandard, white backlit
Connection Portsright side: 2xUSB 2.0, HDMI 1.4a, power connection, card reader
left side: 2xUSB 3.0, microphone/headphones, kensington lock, VGA, Ethernet
Front, Rear: nothing
CameraHD Camera
WiFi / EthernetWiFi: Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 AC 2x2 HMC WiFi Adapter
Ethernet: RealTek Semiconductor RTL8168/8111 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Speakers2.0 speakers in the front bottom of the P34Gv2
Battery4 cell, 49Wh

Gigabyte P34Gv2 Review : show offHi! In this Gigabyte P34Gv2 review will see how well Gigabytes high end gaming ultrabook fares. The P34Gv2 aims to deliver high gaming and general 3D capabilities alongside ultrabook qualities with around 1.76kg in weight, relatively low frame at 20.9mm – lower than the Acer V7 (~22.86mm) and the MSI GS60 (~21.6mm). A good IPS level 1080p display is also employed here. Two big uncertainties are, however, the battery performance and overall build quality of this premium gaming ultrabook.

The first P34G was a relatively good ultrabook, but with a GTX 760M it was even close to other $1000 gaming laptops with 770M (Toshiba X70) or 755M SLI (y510p). This time, the basic P34Gv2 comes with a GTX 860M 4GB Maxwell which is more or less the $1000 gaming performance level. If you want

 

In the box

I don’t even know what I write this section – it’s almost always the same : The Gigabyte P34Gv2, 150W PSU and drivers.

 

Build quality, Case, design and looks

The gigabyte P34Gv2 is all plastic as far as I can see, but it’s not weak. The case itself feels rather firm, including the screen hinges, keyboard surface and the front screen cover: I wouldn’t worry about the P34Gv2 having a plastic case. The screen outer cover yields under pressure but that’s a known issue with laptops cases. The Y50 has a stronger case.

One disadvantage of the P34Gv2 is that it’s built from several parts that have some space between them, namely, the keyboard surface and its surroundings. I wouldn’t worry too much though, as it is fairly sealed against bigger parts of dirt (but not the small type)

The looks of the P34Gv2, as you can see, are black and silver. It’s quite slim for a gaming laptop, slimmer than the Acer V7-482PG and MSI GS60, for example. The silver colored plastic is not ugly but not stylish either. I would expect a higher finish from a premium gaming laptop.

Connection ports Only 2 USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0. HDMI and VGA also exist. A displayPort would be more adequate and many lower price laptops have them.

Maintenance and inner parts The maintenance panel covers only the RAM slots. If you want to see it all, you’ll have to pull out all the screws. It’s not had, so don’t worry

Two fans are cooling the P34Gv2 GPU and CPU. They are small and also very quiet under light load. The hot air is thrown from the rear of the P34Gv2 and is taken from the bottom. It means that you better have something to lift the laptop bottom from the surface it’s placed on, especially under medium/high load.

You can see the mSata drive, 1TB HDD and Intel 7260 WiFi card.

Keyboard and trackpad

The Keyboard. The P34Gv2 keyboard is actually pretty nice and feels good typing on it. Feedback has the right amount to it, the surface is not annoying to the finger tips, it’s not too loud (but not silent either) and keys are well spaced. I don’t remember having to click the same key twice or missing some. The white backlit comes with 3 level – off / low / high.

Just one thing – the up-down-left-right arrows are too packed and not the easy to use like in other, more spaced keyboard usually found in larger laptops or even in the V7-482PG keyboard.

Bottom line, it’s a very good keyboard for my taste. It might not be a premium level keyboard, but for rapid typing or gaming it’s quite good and that’s the main thing to look for, in my opinion. The backlit seals the deal and makes it a very good offering. Definitely a plus of this machine.

Touchpad. A standard touchpad, but works well. The surface itself won’t yield under reasonable pressure. I think, though, the cursor “jumps” in its place a bit when your finger touches the pad but not moving. It’s not interfering too much to work with it, but still, it’s there. It may be some driver problem.

The buttons, like in many other laptops, are connected. While it looks better, it’s not the convenient when a need to use both buttons rises up – however, it’s barely the case.

 

 

Sound & Speakers

The speakers are located on the front bottom of the P34Gv2. They produce a reasonable sound quality, but they lack bass almost totally and they still sound somewhat like it is played from inside a box (which it is in this case). The Y50 sound quality is way better. The Lenovo Y40 sound quality is better too (review soon!)

The max power of the speakers isn’t high either. These are mediocre speakers but satisfactory for games and maybe movies. Many people will notice it is not that good, but also not worse than many other laptops.

 

Software

Except the usual crap, Gigabyte includes a software udpdate interface and a control interface

Gigabyte SmartManager

you can set some stuff from here and it makes the control a little bit easier. The fan control is a nice touch, in case you want a silent fan for a while, for example.

 

General subjective performance experience

I was using Windows 8.1 fully updated with all drivers in place. This P34Gv2 version comes with a 128GB SSD from liteonit and a 1TB HDD. It’s very quick and restart requires few seconds only. Just remember to keep the 128GB SSD free enough in order to keep it quick and to reduce the wear levels.

Generally, I’m very satisfied with the responsiveness of the P34Gv2.

 

Gaming Performance

The test includes the 3DMark synthetic benchmarks and a small amount of games and the point is to give a reference benchmarks compared to other machines. For more numbers are available over the web in sites like Notebookcheck.com. I had no real problems and stuff. Generally everything run as expected.

CPU-Z and GPU-Z stuff:

 

Test Methods & Drivers

Using Nvidia 340.43 drivers, Windows 8.1 fully updated as I write these lines. HWInfo was used to measure temperatures. The settings I used in each game differ from one to another and the reason is that I tried to find the highest settings which still let you play smoothly. All games are tested with 1080p resolution.  There are enough standard benchmarks over the web to compare performance of different GPUs. For each game, I also wrote how I felt playing, if it was smooth or not.

I’ve removed unwanted results, like scene loading times.

I apologize in advanced for the little mess I have with the graphs, visually. It will take me time to get it right, but the numbers are correct.

 

Synthetic 3D benchmarks

link to the 3DMark results

Gigabyte P34Gv2 Review : 3DMark 2013

Summarized gaming performance

Let’s start with the gaming performance for highest graphics settings@1080p resolution. These results are the lowest I could get, running the games on the most demanding scenarios (~50-60 players BF4 MP)

In games with predefined profile, highest is the highest profile possible (BF4, Bioshock, TW2R, Thief, Tomb Raider, WoT). Otherwise and / or exceptions:

  • Titalfall: highest settings, MSAAx4
  • Skyrim, “ultra” settings, FXAA on and Ambient Occlusion set on “quality” using Nvidia control center
  • Borderlands 2 : highest on everything, including Phsyx
  • Crysis 3 : Very high ‘texture details’ and ‘system specs’, SMAA = 2TX
  • LoL, Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2 – everything set on highest, VSync disabled

Gigabyte P34Gv2 Review : Gaming performanceNothing new with the GTX 860M 4GB Maxwell. Most games will run on around at least ~24 FPS on highest settings and harshest scenes. This means almost any game will run smoothly with high FPSs on some very high settings.

World of Tanks (WoT)

I’ve tested world of tanks using the highest settings only as I feel it suitable in this case. World of tanks usually doesn’t need a lot of FPS and the gaming experience is quite good on highest settings.

WoT felt totally smooth even on highest settings and over several maps.

 

Gigabyte P34Gv2 Review : World of Tanks benchmark

LoL (League of Legends)

highest settings@1080p

Gigabyte P34Gv2 Review : League of Legends benchmark

 

Crysis 3

“high” settings show 27FPS as the lowest FPS I got, it’s usually around 33 and felt very smooth. Frankly, even on “very high” settings it felt quite well, so simply try both. Anyway, Crysis 3 lovers will enjoy this machine. The Y50 didn’t felt as good, maybe because the I5 (and slightly lower FPSs)

Gigabyte P34Gv2 Review : Crysis 3 benchmark

 

 

Bioshock Infinite

I have used bioshock built-in benchmark to test it. The performance is quite good as you can see, with average FPSs of 41.6. Don’t mind too much the minimal FPSs – these are usually the parts where the screen is loaded and stuff like that. There was no slowness while running the benchmark nor in playing the game itself.

Average FPSMin FPSMax FPSScene Name
41.8613.01168.41Welcome Center
42.5015.3452.76Scene Change: Disregard Performance In This Section
42.7419.06145.84Town Center
42.9816.6063.93Raffle
58.9710.5471.87Monument Island
64.7341.01123.88Benchmark Finished: Disregard Performance In This Section
45.0410.54168.41Overall

Skyrim

 

Gigabyte P34Gv2 Review : Skyrim benchmark

AO = Ambient Occlusion. It is forced through the Nvidia control panel.

Without AO enabled which is the default, Skyrim is totally smooth. For some reason, with AO set on “quality”, Skyrim feels a little jumpy, like micro-stuttering. You could try “performance” mode or AO or disable it at all (default) – it might not be suitable for this game.

 

Borderlands 2

 

Gigabyte P34Gv2 Review : Borderlands 2 benchmark

The 24FPS result, I got on the “Boom” scene with the huge guns, after the Hammerlock residence – there are a lot of flying debris, physx stuff, fires and flashes. This is what I got after getting shot for few minutes and it was for a split second. You can except very high FPSs and smooth gameplay on highest settings + phsyx on @ 1080p resolution and that’s what I’d suggest.

 

Battlefield 4

Gigabyte P34Gv2 Review : Battlefield 4 Campaign benchmark

 

Battlefield 4, even on ultra settings@1080p runs mostly ok, but not really smooth. I would suggest something between High and Very high settings or simply using “High” settings with MSAAx2-4.

These are the lower results I got, running in the Baku scene, with a lot of soldiers, trucks, landscape and stuff.

 

Team Fortress 2

 

Well, nothing to say – you won’t have problem in TF2.

 

Tomb Raider

I used the Tomb Raider built in benchmark

 

Gigabyte P34Gv2 Review : Tomb Raider benchmark

The results are from Tomb Raider built-in benchmark tool. You can see that even on the highest settings (“Ultimate”), you’d get rather good average FPSs, though “Ultra” settings are much more playable and would be my suggestion.

Notebookcheck tests with GTX 860M and an I7 results in 45-46FPS average, for ultra settings, which are the same as my results.

You could expect high performance in Tomb Raider, bottom line.

 

Dota 2

Highest settings, 1080p resolution.

Gigabyte P34Gv2 Review : Dota 2 benchmark

 

Smooth. You could run Dota 2 on highset settings easily.

 

Thief

1080p resolution. Thief built in benchmark.

Gigabyte P34Gv2 Review : Thief benchmark

 

You can see that the SMAA causes major performance hit. I would start with very high settings and try reducing some of the graphics settings, like SMAA and Tessellation.

Generally, Thief is highly playable on the highest settings as most of the scenes are not that demanding. I would suggest, as I said, starting from the highest settings and cut stuff down from there.

 

Total War: Rome II

1080p resolution.

 

Gigabyte P34Gv2 Review : Total War II Rome benchmark

The minimal FPS may not be a good mirror. The game itself runs well and fairly smooth even on extreme settings. If you set the graphics on Ultra settings, which would be my suggestion, you’ll get a very smooth gameplay.

 

Titanfall

1080p resolution, Multiplayer.

Gigabyte P34Gv2 Review : Titanfall benchmark

 

The results I got with the P34Gv2 are considerably higher than those with the Y50. I don’t know if the Y50 results were related to some bugs and lags, but it might also be related to the I5 CPU vs the I7 CPU in the P34Gv2.

UPDATE: According to people over the web, it seems like in the case of Titanfall, the 4GB VRAM plays a significant role and that’s the reason for the higher performance. However, it just might be that the company can make the use of 2GB VRAM more smart in order to get higher performance.

Anyway, Titanfall on highest settings with MSAAx4 was totally smooth. I’ve rarely seen FPSs lower than 40. The 30FPS point is in between spawns, I think, so don’t take it hard.

 

Thermals, Throttling & Noise handling

Tests settings:

1. Prime95: Torture test, In-Place large FFTs. CPU clocked at thehighest and 2.6GHZ (throttle).

2. Prime95 + FurMark 1280×720 burn-in test. CPU clocked at 2.8, 3.0 and 3.2-3.3 (full clocks)

4. Windows power mode on “high performance”

Gigabyte P34Gv2 Review : Temperatures

The P34Gv2 thermals are not that good. Under full load, the CPU is heavily throttled. However, remember that we are talking about an I7 and not an I5 in a small frame. Also remember that it’s really hot around here now. I wear nothing now and I’m still hot (in the shade ofcourse).

Don’t worry, under gaming with Crysis 3 and Titanfall, the CPU and GPU kept the almost max clocks. Here are the numbers for Titanfall, running on highest settings and MSAAx8. You can see that the clocks of the GPU are on max while playing and CPU core 0 is close to the max.

Gigabyte P34Gv2 Review : CPU and GPU clocks under Titanfall

The case itself gets hot around the area of the cooling system, near the rear of the laptop, but the keyboard and palm rests remain cool enough.

 

Noise.

The P34Gv2 fans are not noisy. Under light load you won’t hear it at all or hardly. Under full load the fans kick in, but the noise is not annoying and not too bothering (though ofcourse, it will interfere with music).

 

Screen & Screen quality

The P34Gv2 screen is one its strengths. Like in the Acer V7-482PG and some others. The panel in use is the AUO  B140HAN01.1.

Colors are very good and so are viewing angles, though at extreme angles some very small and almost undetectable color or brightness distortion occurs – I’m not sure. Reds looks a bit more orange, but I might be wrong. Anyway, the colors are vibrant and clear.

Color coverage is very good with almost all sRGB covered – very good for common gamers.

I got around 1:650 contrast ratio. This is around the same values as others tests, like the 1:700 of the Acer V7-482PG – there might some different parameters I used, sorry for that, I’m still learning this stuff.

Color accuracy is rather good mostly. Maximal brightness isn’t high, and for outdoors use it might be too low in case of a sunny day.

 

Battery Performance

I don’t know why, but I didn’t get such good results. It might be due to some drivers problems, as I used the latest Nvidia drivers which might be the cause for the GPU not going to sleep. Notebookcheck numbers show around 4 hours working with WiFi:

 

Gigabyte P34Gv2 Review : Battery performance

Problems

I added this section to summarize the main issues of the Gigabyte P34Gv2 as I see them:

  • Mainly the heat. Under full load the CPU might get too throttled. However, in common situations, even gaming, you won’t get there.

 

Competing gaming laptops / Alternatives

 

  • 15.6″ : The upcoming Acer V7-482PG with GTX 850M DDR3 and an IPS display. The previous model was selling for $800-$900 usually with a 500GB HDD + 24GB mSSD and an I5-4200U. Some variants were selling for $1000-$1100 with an I7-4500U. The difference in price is big, battery is better and screen is the same so for those who don’t need that much gaming power, this might be the route.
  • 13.3″ : Clevo W230SS with a very good 1080p IPS display and GTX 860M. Bad speakers, heat and no OS for $1000, might be drawbacks. Also, it looks rather bulky. A lot cheaper for those who can handle getting their own OS and are ok with low end speakers
  • 14.0″ : MSI GE40, but it remains to be seen how’s the not-initial price. With 1080p IPS display and GTX 850M GDDR5, this is a very good option. (Read the MSI GE40 barebone review). The gaming performance is very close to that of the Gigabyte P34Gv2 and it has an 1080p IPS display (the barebone version had not as good IPS display though).
  • MSI GS60 15.6″ ultrabook (link) – a bit higher price and same performance / screen level. However, it is considered to have a higher end build quality (not all plastic) and it’s bigger.

 

Conclusion

The P34Gv2 is a well designed gaming ultrabook. You get a very high gaming performance, with good common everyday tasks power and responsiveness. The screen is very good, even for many graphic designers, and the keyboard is really good with the touchpad being not bad. It’s compact and lightweight for a gaming laptop.

The main two disadvantages are ofcourse the price and the heat. The heat is something you can deal with as it’s mainly a problem under heavy load. The price is a different story as you’ll have to shell out at least $1400, if you are lucky. Ofcourse, it includes a 128GB SSD and 1TB HDD, but still, if you are only after a compact gaming laptop with good gaming performance, there are cheaper options, like the Clevo W230SS mentioned above.

The battery is also not that good according to my tests, but some other tests with different drivers show around 4 hours of battery working with WiFi, which is not great but at least ok for most.

If you are looking for a slimmer compact gaming ultrabook with an SSD included, the P34Gv2 is a very good option and the cheaper with such a performance. Otherwise, if you are not sure you need that much gaming performance and / or you don’t need SSD and OS included, other gaming laptops – some of them not available just yet – might be good for you, like the Acer V7 (GTX 850M DDR3), Clevo W230SS or some others.

Bottom line, better think what exactly do you need that made you look at the P34Gv2 direction. It is aimed more at those who want a complete solution without messing with it a lot and they want it in a rather pretty and slim package and a good keyboard (which I would want). If that’s what you want, with a GTX 860M + I7 gaming performance level, then the P34Gv2 might be just what you are asking for currently.

  • Connor

    Would you recommend the y50 or p34g v2? I’m going to college soon and I need a portable gaming laptop.

    • http://www.gaminglaptopsjunky.com/ Junky

      Hi Connor!

      It really depends on your needs – games / battery / budget / special software you use. Can you specify more?

  • ycon

    Great review! I used to own the Gigabyte P15F which didn’t have a great keyboard- good to see they’ve improved.

    This is ALMOST my perfect laptop- but the battery!

    Kinda defeats the purpose of it being so portable & light (ie carrying around the big [I presume] adapter).

    • http://www.gaminglaptopsjunky.com/ Junky

      Yea, I can’t figure it out – how come they did it so bad

      and thanks

      and yea, pretty big 150W adapter (which is way more than what the P34G needs)

  • Patrick Ortega

    Awesome, seeing some good performance though still urked about the usage of AA on native resolution. If you could can you find time to do a review of the Dino PC Griffin 15.6 850M? It’s supposedly and 850m GDDR5. The screen is stuck at 1366×768 which I know will urk you a lot but I want an idea of how it would perform rather than how good the screen looks. :3 you should also consider OC benchmarking for the sake of OCers.

    • http://www.gaminglaptopsjunky.com/ Junky

      Hi Patrick! I can barely find time right now anything and also has the Y40 to review
      Where can you get the Dino PC Griffin?

      About OC – you’re right, but many laptops block it ahead, so I kinda forgot about it

      • Patrick Ortega

        New Nvidia drivers makes Overclocking much better :3 http://www.dinopc.com/shop/pc/configurePrd.asp?idproduct=2143

        • http://www.gaminglaptopsjunky.com/ Junky

          it’s from the UK and usually I can’t get anything from there for reasonable price. But isn’t it the Clevo W650SJ?

          • Patrick Ortega

            I think so but considering it is the only place I can find it allowing a lower native res to use in conjunction with the 850m is interesting for me. I’m guessing the 1366×768 res would jump performance levels quite a bit

  • KEN

    Thanks man, i like how you keep the web organized and clean

    • http://www.gaminglaptopsjunky.com/ Junky

      thanks!