Gigabyte P55W-BWNE

Slightly Thicker Version of the 15-inch Gaming Laptop With Extra Performance

Gigabyte P55W 15-inch Gaming Laptop
Gigabyte P55W. ©Gigabyte

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The Bottom Line

Jul 17 2015 - If you are looking for a 15-inch gaming laptop with a solid level of performance for today's PC games, the Gigabyte P55W offers a very satisfying experience. Pricing is also great considering the CPU, graphics and display they provide. The system is not without its issues though. The heat and noise generated by it may be distracting for some and the USB ports make peripheral attachment quite annoying at times.

Pros

  • Excellent Gaming Performance
  • Above Average Display
  • Lightweight for its Size

Cons

  • Runs Loud and Hot Under Load
  • USB Ports in Inconvenient Locations
  • No 5GHz Wi-Fi Support

Description

  • Intel Core i7-5700HQ Quad Core Mobile Processor
  • 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
  • 1TB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • Dual Layer DVD+/-RW Burner
  • 15.6" WUXGA (1920x1080) Display With 720p Webcam
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M 3GB GDDR5 Memory
  • Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
  • Four USB 3.0, HDMI, VGA, SD Card Slot
  • 14.95" x 10.61" x 1.24" @ 5.5 lbs.
  • Windows 8.1

Review - Gigabyte P55W-BWNE

Jul 17 2015 - Visually, the Gigabyte P55W looks very similar to the past P35W but it is thicker and heavier. The thickness is actually the more dramatic of the two moving from a system that measured under an inch to one that is over one and a third. This reverses the trend of many companies moving to thinner systems. The weight did move up from just over five pounds to almost five and a half but this is still roughly average for this category of system.

Gigabyte did add just a bit of orange color to the side hinge area of the display and trim of the keyboard deck to break up the generic black color but otherwise it is a pretty standard looking design.

The big update for the P55W-BWNE is the move from the 4th generation Core i7 to the new Core i7-5700HQ quad core processor.

In terms of processing power, it is slightly better than the last version but most users would probably not notice. It should be more than enough for playing games and provides strong performance for demanding tasks like desktop video and graphics work. The processor is matched up with 8GB of DDR3 memory that allows for a smooth overall experience with Windows and it can be upgraded if you don't mind dealing with a lot of screws to remove the bottom of the laptop. It should be noted that the fan noise and heat can still get fairly high when the system is under heavy load which is disappointing since the P55W has more space for cooling than the P35W.

Storage takes a fairly basic approach that many gaming laptops do. It uses a large one terabyte hard drive that provides it with plenty of space for applications, data and media files. The drive spins at the faster 7200rpm rate which does improve performance but it still is far from what a solid state drive can do. There is the Gigabyte P55W-BW1 version that adds a 128GB mSATA solid state drive for roughly $100 more would improve the loading speeds of windows and applications but users can always install their own as well. If you need to add more space, there is also four USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external hard drives.

The only downside is that the ports are towards the front edge of either side which can be inconvenient. The system does feature a DVD burner for playback and recording of CD and DVD media.

Gigabyte did thankfully improve the display for the P55W compared to the past P35W. The 15.6-inch display continues to use the 1920x1080 resolution which is best for gaming on laptops still. The improvement is that the IPS display panel now offers better brightness and contrast than the older version. It is still not the best screen on the market but for gamers it offers an improvement and is certainly quite good.

The graphics system has also been updated to the newer GeForce GTX 970M graphics processor. This provides it with performance to play all the modern PC games at high to maximum detail levels and still have smooth frame rates.

With the extra thickness provided by the P55W chassis, Gigabyte decided that the keyboard could have some extra long travel for the keys. This gives the keyboard a bit more feedback than many of the newer and thinner gaming laptops. In terms of the layout, it is vey large taking up almost the entire width of the system and featuring a full numeric keypad. It does come with backlighting but is just a single white color compared to some of the flashier gaming laptops with their multicolor lighting. The trackpad is nice and large but uses integrated buttons rather than dedicated buttons. This provides a bit less accuracy on the clicks. Multitouch and single touch tracking seemed to work well enough. Most gamers will probably opt to use an external mouse anyways.

With the larger size of the P55W, one would think it would use a larger battery pack as well, but that adds to the weight and cost. Instead, Gigabyte elected to use a smaller 57WHr capacity pack. Now the newer processor is theoretically more efficient but it is not enough to compensate for the loss in capacity. In digital video playback testing, the system was able to go nearly four and three quarter hours. This is not much off the older P35W with its larger battery and slightly better than some other gaming laptops. It still falls well behind the Apple Macbook Pro 15 that can last over eight but also has a much larger battery.

Pricing for the Gigabyte P55W-BWNE is $1299. This puts it right about the cost of many other similar gaming systems but those tend to use a slower GTX 965M graphics processor. The closest in price with a GTX 970M is the Digital Storm Triton but it still costs several hundred more. It is the same weight but under an inch thick making it slightly more portable. At the same price range, you get the Alienware 15. It is much heavier, larger and comes with lesser dual core processor and the GeForce GTX 965M graphics. It makes up for this by having the ability to use the pricey graphics amplifier to upgrade the graphics to desktop performance levels.

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