Gigabyte P55W v6 Gaming Laptop Review
All hail the Nvidia 10 series GPU!
What is the Gigabyte P55W v6?Gaming laptops have long been seen by some as the overpriced and underperforming little brother of the mighty desktop PC, mostly due to the very weak graphics power when compared to a desktop GPU. Thanks to Nvidia’s release of the 10 series chips a laptop GPU can now, to some degree, be finally considered an equal to its desktop bigger brother. Given that even the mighty and hideously expensive GTX980M was still a long way behind in performance terms to the equivalent desktop GPU, on paper the 10 series chips have advanced laptop gaming by a huge degree.
Eager to get our hands on a laptop with the new 10 series chips, Gigabyte were more than happy to oblige and have provided AVForums with the latest incarnation of their 15.6” Full HD P55W v6. This refresh now includes a GTX1060 with 6GB of GDDR5. Not a lot else has changed from the V5 with the same i7-6700HQ CPU, 16GB DDR4 RAM and dual storage in the shape of a M.2 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD. The P55W v6 costs £1,349 as at the time of writing (January 2017) but it’s the GPU we're interested in and we are very eager to see how well it performs in our benchmarks. Read on to find out...
Design and ConnectionsUsing the same chassis as previous versions, the P55W v6 is not trying to compete in the thin and lightweight Ultrabook category and given our experience with overheating issues in gaming laptops that do try and live in that world, being a bit chunky is a good thing. It’s a mostly black design with just a few red streaks and flashes along the edges and to the hinges to try and make it stand out a little. The only other breaks from the black theme are the silver Gigabyte logo and power button.
As we said before this is no stick thin supermodel. Weighing in at 2.6kg it’s a pretty heavy beast with a footprint of 380 x 270mm and at its thickest point measuring 34mm. The battery is a Li-ion 6 cell, 5400 mAh with 63Wh. The connections are reasonably generous and include the latest versions of USB. To the left we have Ethernet port, VGA port, HDMI 2.0 port, 1 x USB 3.0 and 1 x USB C 3.1 port. To the right gives us a further 2 x USB 3.0 ports, the microphone and headphone jacks and the power connection. The DVD drive is also on the right. No connections to the rear and to the front is the SD card reader, the 5 LED indicators for HDD, battery and Wi-Fi status for example and the 2 x 2watt speakers.
Is the specification up to scratch?
Featuring the 6th generation Skylake i7-6700HQ CPU, more than enough RAM and of course the GTX 1060 graphics, you do get a pretty decent specification for your £1,250. The old favourites are also present being 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1+ and a HD webcam.
- OS: Windows 10 64 Bit
- CPU: Intel Core i7 Skylake-6700HQ (2.6GHz - 3.5GHz)
- Display: 15.6" FHD, (1920*1080) IPS LCD Anti-glare
- Memory: 2 x 8GB DDR4 @ 2133Mhz
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX1060 with 6GB GDDR5
Using the latest PC Mark 8 Storage test 2.0 that has been updated to provide better support for NVMe SSDs, which uses workload traces recorded from actual programs and is not affected by differences in CPU or GPU performance we get score of 4785 with a storage bandwidth of 140MB/s.
The 256GB SSD equates to 224GB in Windows and arrived to us with 179GB of free space and the 1TB HDD equates to 931GB in Windows. Manually timed from power on with a cold boot to the Windows desktop we get a decent result of 14.78 seconds.
Is the Full HD IPS LCD display any good?The screen here is a 15.6" FHD 1920 x 1080 resolution IPS LCD display. The P55W v6 does also feature a WQHD+ 2880 x 1620 display in the range, but sadly our review sample was just the Full HD version. The viewing angles are impressive with a clear image seen at angles approaching 160°. The display has a matte finish and is anti-glare and this helps to keeps reflections at bay. Being ‘just’ 1080P we can’t gaze open mouthed at glorious 4K this time but the Full HD display still looked impressive although the maximum brightness level as you will see below was not as we would normally expect.
Many thanks to SpectraCal for providing the software and C3 Colorimeter for use with our reviews.
Pre-installed softwareThankfully Gigabyte continue to keep the amount of pre-installed software to a minimum. All we find here is the familiar suite of Gigabyte ‘Smart’ software. Starting with Smart Manager which offers quick access to the various system controls such as power mode, keyboard backlighting, fan settings and more. Then on to Smart Dashboard which is launched from within Smart Manager. This gives a simple to read dashboard style layout of the system performance including CPU and GPU usage, temperatures and fan profiles to name just a few.
Is the audio any good?The audio on the P55W v6 is provided via 2 x 2watt speakers located to the front of the laptop. In conjunction with Dolby Digital Plus Home Theatre (which you must never turn off!) the audio quality is surprisingly good. Laptop audio is never our favourite area as we have experienced some real duds over the years but here the maximum volume is more than high enough and no distortion or audio breakup was heard either. We still aren’t saying that you can dump the headphones, but if you must use the on-board audio for any length of time the speakers are of a decent enough quality to not be an issue..
Gigabyte P55W v6 Battery LifeThe battery fitted here is Li-ion 6 cell, 5400 mAh with 63Wh capacity.
Battery Life Tests
Powermark Battery Test 283minutes YouTube 1080P, Balanced, 50% Brightness 246 minutes Netflix 1080P, High Performance, 100% Brightness 237 minutes Gaming 53 minutes
To charge from flat to 100% took 123 minutes. As with most Windows laptops, the laptop will go to sleep with a good 4-7% of battery life remaining, so if it does die on you when you are in the middle of important work, you can start it back up and save all your work. Although when it does restart with 4-7% left, you barely have a minute or so before it completely dies.
Gigabyte P55W v6 BenchmarksOur standard tests as shown in the table below are each run at least 3 times, with the average score taken. The tests were all carried out with the laptop in high performance mode, mains power plugged in and the screen set to 1920 x 1080 resolution. With this laptop, we are using Nvidia 376.33 graphics drivers. Firmly consigning the old 9 series mobile GPU’s to history, the 10 series laptop chips are as close in performance terms to the desktop equivalent that we have ever seen with the majority of the benchmarks showing just a 10% reduction in performance with the laptop 10 series. The GTX1060 uses Nvidia’s Pascal technology with 1280 pipelines, a core clock of 1506-1708Mhz and memory speed of 8000Mhz. Bye, bye GTX980M.
1920 x 1080 Resolution FPS (Fraps) Battlefield 1 Ultra Settings 73
Battlefield 1 High Settings 77
Sims 4 Ultra Settings 104 Sims 4 Medium Settings 147 Max Payne 3 Maximum Settings 53 Max Payne 3 High Settings 104 Metal Gear Solid 5 Maximum Settings 60 Metal Gear Solid 5 High Settings 60
Our other test results were similarly impressive with Unigine Valley 1.0 scoring 2204, Heaven 4 at 1851 and 3D Mark Timespy at 3642. The only test we did have an issue with was Cinebench R15 which would not give a result on the OpenGL test. We can only assume this is possibly down to an issue with the new 10 series chips.
Benchmark Score Summary
Time to Desktop 14.78 Seconds 9 Super Pi @ 1M 11.6 seconds 9 3D Mark - Ice Storm 1.2 78702 8 3D Mark - Cloud Gate 1.1 21228 8 3D Mark - Fire Strike 9656 8 3D Mark - Sky Diver 23458 8
3D Mark - TimeSpy 3642 8
Passmark Performance Test 9.0 4175.3 6 Cinebench R15 Open GL N/A - CPU 651 CB - Unigine Heaven 4.0 1851 8 Unigine Valley 1.0 2204 8 PC Mark 8 - Home Conventional 3.0 3213 7 PC Mark 8 - Storage Test 2.0 4785 6
System Temperature and HeatThe HWMonitor screenshot below shows the maximum temperatures the various system components reached during our benchmarking and gaming test sessions. The CPU core temperatures at idle were 39°C and under test conditions these reached 83°C with the Nvidia GPU reaching 85°C. Whilst not the lowest temperatures we have ever seen, these certainly aren’t the highest by far and shouldn’t give too much cause for concern.
- GTX1060 Graphics
- Dual Storage
- Good value for money
- Only Full HD display
- Poor gaming battery life and capped at 30FPS
Gigabyte P55W v6 Gaming Laptop Review
Should I buy the Gigabyte P55W v6 Gaming Laptop?With the old 9 series mobile GPUs you had to spend a huge sum of money to get a laptop that would play the latest games on maximum settings and even then with the GTX980M you occasionally had to sacrifice the top settings to get a decent frame rate. Here though with the £1,349 P55W v6 fitted with the new GTX1060 GPU that is no longer the case. Whilst at £1,349 it's still more expensive than an equivalent desktop, the gaming performance is at last on par.
The rest of the system is up to scratch too with the Skylake i7-6700HQ CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM and the main storage drive being a 256GB M.2 SSD. Whilst not the best available, the 1080P display in the P55W v6 it does look very good with some excellent calibrated results. We didn’t really have too much to complain about here as it performed well across the board. Yes, we could moan about the battery life and the capped 30FPS under gaming is not good enough, the M.2 SSD could be faster and perhaps RGB keyboard backlighting would be a nice feature to see, but then we are just getting picky.
What alternatives are available?At £1,349 with the GTX1060 graphics you now get a stonking system for the money. Even now GTX980M laptops are still considerably more expensive and as we have seen offer lower performance than the GTX1060. As for other laptops with GTX1060 graphics, the P55W v6 does look to offer decent value for money with MSI’s similarly specced GE62VR coming out at £1,380. If you are looking for a laptop that can play the latest games on maximum settings and overall has an excellent specification, then you can’t go wrong with the P55W v6 and as such is a worthy winner of an AVForums Recommended award.
Those looking to buy the Gigabyte P55W v6 can find it here
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