Testing hardware can be a weird job. For the most part, things work just as expected, but every now and then a product comes along that does something totally bizarre. Take this laptop from Gigabyte. It’s got a beautiful 17.3-inch 4k panel (optional – there’s a 1080p model if you want to save some dosh), but it caused some very strange testing problems for us.
Powered by Nvidia’s new GeForce GTX 1070 mobile, we wanted to test all benchmarks at 2560 x 1440, which seems to be the sweet spot for this mobile GPU. Yet this laptop simply wouldn’t allow us to in half of our benchmarks – there simply wasn’t a resolution option for this. The closest we could get, in both Grid Autosport and Metro Last Light, was 2560 x 1600. Usually Nvidia’s Dynamic Super Resolution would allow us to create the res we wanted, but we’ve since discovered that this feature is absent on Nvidia mobile GPUs – we’ve seen this on several laptops now, and can’t understand why. As a result, our benchmarks aren’t really measurable against past laptops, where we tested at 2560 x 1440.
So, what does four grand buy you? As mentioned, this isn’t exactly a lightweight thanks to its large screen. Weighing in at 2.8kg, it’s not the kind of laptop designed for mobility. As well as the wonderful GeForce GTX 1070 GPU (we seriously love Nvidia’s new range of mobile GPUs, which basically offer desktop performance), there’s an Intel 6th Gen Core i7-6700HQ CPU, a quad-cored Hyperthreaded 3.5GHz beast. 16GB of DDR4 2400MHz feeds the CPU, along with 6GB of dedicated VRAM for the GPU. Thanks to the large size, Gigabyte has been able to squeeze in a DVDRW drive on the front edge, along with a 256GN PCIe SSD and 1TB HDD. This gave us just enough room to put all of our benchmarks on the SSD, helping performance slightly. However, this is a noisy beast, pumping out 52dB of fan noise during our test – we expected much better thermal performance given the size of the unit.
When it comes to I/O options, users are spoilt for choice, with one USB 3.1 Type C, three USB 3.0, a single HDMI 2.0b, one Mini DisplayPort, the usual audio minijacks, one D-sub, and Gigabit Ethernet. The all-aluminium chassis is rock solid, with the full-sized keyboard exhibiting zero flex. Gigabyte has gone for a very plain design, with no curved edges, making it look just like a business class laptop – great for hiding your inner-gamer in different situations.
If there’s one thing that we’re not too happy about, it’s the price – but a huge component of that is the 4K panel. Sadly even the GeForce GTX 1070 doesn’t have the guts to power this, so we’d recommend the 1080p panel instead, and you’ll also avoid the weird resolution problems we had. But overall Gigabyte has delivered a very well-built, high specced machine that is on par with other leaders in its class, without all the flashy bling that makes so many gaming machines look a bit embarrassing for anyone over fifteen.