One of the biggest worries about the advent of VR gaming was the expense. Sure the headsets aren’t cheap, but the PCs needed to run them, that’s what will kill you. Or at least that used to be the case before Nvidia’s latest generation of GPUs. The Gigabyte P55W v6 might just deliver everything you need for VR at a reasonable price.
This 15.6-inch powerhouse is one of the most affordable “VR ready” rigs on the market. With an appealing starting price of only $1,400 (unit tested is currently listed at $1,600) Gigabyte offers strong performance featuring a 2.6GHz Intel Core CPU and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060. Add in the beautiful display, simplistic but pleasing design and a quality keyboard and you have nearly the complete package.
The Gigabyte P55W v6 is understated and eye-catching at the same time. A few well placed orange accents and simple curved lines coalesce to create an incredibly attractive aesthetic. The lid slopes outwards cascading towards the edges, while the front lip of the laptop meets at a small curve. Silver Gigabyte lettering sits at the top center of the display lid.
The black matte finish is contrasted beautifully by two orange outlines stretching across the outer edges of the deck. A large hexagonal power button sits atop the center of the deck, just above the keyboard. The chassis curves inwards down towards the bottom of the chassis.
Measuring 14.9 x 10.6 x 1.3-inches and weighing 5.8 pounds the Gigabyte P55W v6 offers a nice mix of portability and performance. The P55W is considerably lighter than the competing MSI GT62VR Dominator Pro and Alienware 15 at 6.4 pounds and 7.1 pounds respectfully. The Asus ROG Strix matches the Gigabyte P55W v6 at 5.8 pounds and is slighter thinner at 0.9-inches.
Gigabyte P55W v6 Ports
The Gigabyte P55W v6 offers a solid array of ports. The left side features a security lock slot, a VGA connector, a Gigabyte Ethernet connector, an HDMI 2.0 port, a USB Type C port, and a USB 3.0 port. The front end of the chassis houses a SD Card reader. The right side of the device features a power connector, a Blu-ray Rewritable Drive, two additional USB 3.0 ports, and headphone and microphone jacks.
Gigabyte P55W v6 Keyboard and Touchpad
The Gigabyte P55W v6 houses a full backlit Chiclet-style keyboard complete with a number pad. The black squared keys are slightly textured on the surface making them easy to grip. With a solid 2.2 mm travel and springy feedback, the P55W offers a comfortable typing experience ideal for playing games. With keys quickly snapping back into place you can rest assured that the Gigabyte P55W offers fast consistent action.
Located below the space bar towards the lower left half of the deck rests the laptop’s touchpad. The moderately sized rubber pad is devoid of mouse buttons. The soft rubber surface allows for easy frictionless travel. Equipped with ELAN drivers the touchpad reads swipes, clicks and multi-finger gestures accurately without the delay. The only gripe NBR really had with the pad was that the two finger scroll function default speed is a bit slow, but that’s easy enough to fix in the settings.
Gigabyte P55W v6 Screen and Speakers
The Gigabyte P55W v6 paints a beautiful picture with its 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) LCD display. The panel is perfect for media with 321 nits brightness and rich detailed color contrast. NBR was particularly impressed by how well the display capture the vibrant costume of the new character Sombra in the online game Overwatch. The character’s purple acrylic nails pop against her black fingerless leather gloves and gradient purple blue textured bodysuit.
In addition to excellent visuals the P55W’s display also affords flexible viewing angles. Images hold up well past 110 degrees without distortion. Images do appear slightly washed out in direct light, and reflections can appear on screen. However, that’s only going to be an issue if angled directly at overhead lighting, or trying to use the device outdoors on a sunny day.
The one downside to this media powerhouse is the audio. The bottom facing speakers can feel a bit muddled, especially when compared to other high-end gaming. The laptop provides enough audio for personal use, but it will struggle to fill up a modest sized room. Additionally, sound effects don’t really ring out like you want them too. One of the best moments of Battlefield 1 is the realistic sound design. The stomping of charging feet, the ringing of a fare off fire fight and concussive blast of explosives. All of that felt a bit flat on the Gigabyte P55W v6. Luckily this can easily be remedied by opting for a headset, which NBR recommends over most sound systems anyways.
Equipped with a 2.6GHz sixth-generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ CPU, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU (with 6GB of GDDR5), Intel HD Graphics 530, 16GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, and 1TB HDD, the Gigabyte P55W v6 offers excellent performance for it’s $1,600 price tag.
Armed with Nvidia’s latest generation of Pascal GPUs the Gigabyte P55W v6 falls into the elite club of gaming notebooks deemed VR ready. As the name imply that means the laptop is considered powerful enough to handle the demanding task of high-end virtual reality gaming via the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. Unfortunately NBR didn’t have a VR headset on hand, but we did get to run the laptop through a litany of other tests and given the strong benchmark scores it’s safe to say the Gigabyte P55W is capable of handling most things that you’ll throw at it.
In terms of gaming performance you can rest assured that the Gigabyte P55W v6 is capable of handling anything on the market with solid performance. It’s true that the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 puts the P55W on the weaker end of the “VR ready” spectrum, but the laptop is still packing high-end desktop-grade graphics. NBR was impressed by how well Overwatch ran on the machine recording an impressive 116 fps on Max settings at 1080p. Tweaking those settings slightly NBR was easily able to up that to a stable 135 fps without sacrificing much in the way of graphical fidelity.
The Gigabyte P55W v6 Review unit that NBR tested had the following specifications:
- Windows 10 Home
- 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) LCD Display
- 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ CPU
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB of GDDR5)
- Intel HD Graphics 530
- 16GB of DDR4
- 128GB SSD
- 1TB HDD (7200 RPM)
- Bluetooth 4.2
- Dimensions: 14.9 x 10.6 x 1.3-inches /
- Weight: 5.8 pounds
- Price: $1,600
Gigabyte P55W v6 Benchmarks
PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):
PCMark8 Work (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for work-related productivity tasks (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark Fire Strike is a newer benchmark measuring overall graphics card performance for visually demanding games(higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark 11 measures the overall gaming performance of the GPU (higher scores mean better performance):
CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test (C left, D right):
Gigabyte P55W v6 Heat and Noise
One area that Gigabyte and Aorus have struggled in the past is thermals, and the Gigabyte P55W v6 seems to follow suite. After playing Overwatch at max settings for the 15 minutes the device became noticeably. The air streaming out of the left side of the device was so warm that I could actually feel on left side of my palm when operating the wasd keys. While the device does run on the warmer side, it’s more of an inconvenience than a serious threat to durability or performance. Even after 45 minutes of continuous play NBR didn’t notice a drop in the Gigabyte P55W v6’s performance, but we wouldn’t recommend trying to use the device as a laptop after a long play session.
Gigabyte P55W v6 Battery Life
To test battery life, we used Futuremark’s PowerMark benchmark in balanced mode. The test consists of a combination of automated web browsing, word processing, gaming and video playback workloads. The test is far more strenuous than typical web browsing alone, measuring the machine under a litany of scenarios to better simulate high-stress usage. With the test being far more demanding the scores are understandably lower than what you’ll experience just checking Facebook or watching Netflix.
PowerMark “Balanced” battery life test results listed in minutes (higher scores mean better life):
The Gigabyte P55W v6 ran for 2 hours and 35 minutes before shutting down. Running just north of two and half hours the Gigabyte P55W v6 offers about what you’d expect from a gaming laptop. Nvidia’s Optimus technology which allows the laptop to switch to it’s less power intensive integrated graphics helps it eek out some extra battery life, but you should still have the power connector on hand if you plan on using this device for any extended period of time.
The biggest knock you could levy against the Gigabyte P55W v6 is that it’s relatively weak against its peers. But that’s comparing the laptop against some of the most powerful mobile devices on the market. As can be seen from the benchmark scores and strong in-game testing the P55W v6 is still a very powerful machine, capable of running most apps with ease.
Add in the beautiful display, high-quality keyboard and attractive design and you have an incredibly well-rounded device, that is delivering beyond its $1600 price tag. If you’re looking purely for performance than this device isn’t for you. Likely you’ll be better served by the MSI GT62 Dominator Pro, but that device is also considerably more expensive at $2,000. The Asus Rog Strix could potentially serve as a nice middle between these two devices at only $1,700, but the keyboard is far worse than that of the P55W’s.
However, if you’re looking for a good intersection between price, performance and features then the Gigabyte P55W v 6 is an excellent choice.
- Attractive design
- Beautiful display
- Responsive keyboard
- Strong performance
- Relatively affordable