Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2 review
The Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2 is the first laptop we’ve reviewed to have one of Nvidia’s new Pascal-generation graphics cards. It’s therefore also the first laptop we've tested that's ready for both VR and 4K gaming. However, we’re not simply going to be swayed by Nvidia’s fantastic new hardware. The question is: what has Gigabyte done with it?
Also see: Best Black Friday Laptop Deals
In arriving before Alienware, Asus and Acer, Gigabyte has an important head start. But as we’ll see, it isn’t entirely adept at handling its own power.
See also: Best gaming laptops
Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2 review: Price
Gigabyte already sells a whole series of laptops using the new Nvidia Pascal cards. The model we’re reviewing costs £1889, making it a high-end machine but far from the most expensive we’ll see in the next 12 months. That's the list price, but you can buy the Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2 from Ebuyer.com for £1799.99.
While all its specs are very high-end, it features a 1080p screen rather than a 4K one, and there’s an even more powerful Nvidia GTX1080 laptop graphics card on the prowl if you have plenty to spend.
Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2 review: Design
Gigabyte doesn’t tend to go in for the sort of design posturing you’ll see in some Alienware laptops. The Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2 is a very large but mostly-plain laptop. It doesn’t have multi-colour LEDs or giant heat vents.
Its flair is limited to a band of orange that runs along each side.
The style is otherwise typical of a high-end gaming laptop, though. It’s made of plastic rather than aluminium or magnesium, but it’s tough plastic rather than the flimsy stuff often used in cheap machines.
A soft touch finish gives the lid and keyboard surround a better feel too. However, some parts of the build could be better. There’s a bit of flex to the right hand-side of the Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2’s keyboard. It’s not jarring or obvious in general use, but it’s worth noting given the price you pay.
We expect the ‘flagship’ 17-inch gaming laptops from Alienware and Asus to be at least a bit thicker and heavier than the Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2, though. This laptop is 27mm thick and weighs 3kg.
Compered with the Asus G753 we reviewed a while ago, the most obvious difference is thickness. Top-end gaming laptops often use giant heat outlets at the back, but the Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2’s don’t add much bulk.
It does have room to fit in an optical drive, though. As in previous Gigabyte machines it’s a hot-swappable bay, released using a slider on the underside. You get a DVD writer with the Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2 as standard.
Its positioning isn’t the most convenient, though. It inside the front edge, under the trackpad. You may find you accidentally open it while playing a game, or even just using the trackpad. We’ve done so at least a half-dozen times so far.
Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2 review: Connectivity
The Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2’s sides are packed with connections. On the left are two USB 3.0 ports, an Ethernet socket, an SD card slot and the separate headphone/mic 3.5mm jacks.
On the right you get another USB 3.0 port, both VGA and HDMI video connections and the most recent addition, a USB-C. This side is also where we see the tip-off this shell isn’t specific to this model. There’s a bung over the space where it looks like, to our eyes, a Mini DisplayPort might go.
You wouldn’t see this in one of today’s ultra-slim style laptops, but the Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2 certainly has much better connectivity than those.
Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2 review: Keyboard and trackpad
Another benefit of a larger, thicker laptop is that the keyboard doesn’t have to be compromised. The Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2 has a full-size keyboard with a NUM pad attached on the right.
While a more conventional design than some gaming laptops — there are no macro buttons and the feel is that of a standard laptop keyboard — there’s a good meaty feel to the key action, and a decent amount of travel. It’s fairly similar to a MacBook keyboard in feel, but with a darker, deeper character to each keypress.
Gigabyte says it has an anti-ghosting design, meaning you can press multiple keys at the same time and be sure that all the presses register.
As you’d hope for a laptop this pricey, the Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2 has a keyboard backlight. Some gaming laptops have dazzling rainbow backlights — again it’s more of the classic gamer gloss — but this is a simple two-stage white LED backlight. It’s either moderately bright or bright.
Gaming laptops often have very good keyboards, but you tend not to see quite as much effort put into the trackpads. The assumption if you’ll probably use a mouse a lot of the time.
The Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2 has a good-size rectangular pad with inbuilt buttons. Its surface is smooth and of high quality, but for any sort of fast-paced gaming use it’d probably be better to have separate buttons, as in the Alienware 17 or Asus G753.
When similar models from those brands are released, they’re likely to be significantly more expensive, though.
Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2 review: Screen
The Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2 has a 17.3-inch 1080p IPS LCD screen. Like just about every gaming laptop out there, it’s not a touchscreen and the surface is matt rather than glossy, making sure reflections don’t get in the way.
This is a very good screen in terms of colour, hitting 100.5 per cent of sRGB, which is what gets you potent but natural-looking colour rather than the overcooked style that has become popular among some mobile devices.
Contrast is good rather than stellar at 853:1, but the main way you’ll notice this is that the screen’s blacks look ever so slightly blue when the screen’s backlight is maxed-out. That’s a common character of matt laptop screens like this. Glossy ones tend to skew greyer, matt ones a bit bluer.
Viewing angles are very solid and the extra space you get over a 15-inch laptop is a big upgrade if gaming is your top priority. And if it isn’t, why are you thinking of buying the Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2?
Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2 review: Hardware and specs
One side of the Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2’s core hardware is very exciting, the other side very familiar. Forgetting the gaming side for a minute, the CPU and RAM use hardware we’ve seen before.
You get 16GB DDR4-2133 RAM and a quad-core Intel Core i7-6700HQ, the same used in many of the laptops that use the older Nvidia GTX970M and GTX980M cards. The CPU has four cores, eight threads, a base clock speed of 2.6GHz and max turbo boost of 3.5GHz.
This is among the fastest of ‘mainstream’ Intel laptop CPUs, powerful enough to avoid becoming a bottleneck in this system. It scores 13249 points in Geekbench 3 (3702 single-core) and 3387 in PCMark 8. These are similar scores to what we saw in the Asus RoG G753.
It’s a do-anything grade of performance with easily enough power to replace many a desktop.
The more exciting side of th Gigabyte P57x V6-CF2 is the GPU, an Nvidia GTX1070 with 8GB of DDR5. With this Pascal generation of GPUs, Nvidia has managed to use very similar hardware to the desktop versions. Previously, the laptop versions were only roughly as powerful as the desktop equivalent a tier below.