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Review

Gigabyte is a brand that’s doing really good in the motherboard and graphics card side of the PC peripherals market. In the notebook market, they’re known for their affordability with specs that can go against bigger brands. Take for instance their Gigabyte P2542, a souped-up gaming notebook that can easily reach the P100k mark if carried by other brands.

Let’s take a closer look at this beast to see if it’s something that would pique your interest when you shop for a desktop replacement notebook.

Design

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Looking at the Gigabyte P2542, I can’t help but expect speed and power out of this machine. Maybe it’s because of the glossy racecar-yellow lid this notebook comes with. It also gives the illusion of slimness for a 15.6-inch notebook due to its tapered look. To complete the flashiness of this notebook, it has a mirrored chrome lining along its edges.

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Opening the lid you’ll be greeted by a 15.6-inch Full HD display and its thick bezel in brushed matte black finish which also covers the palm rest area. Having a 1920 x 1080 resolution on a 15.6-inch screen gives you really sharp and crisp images. It’s really nice for watching Full HD movies and gaming in high resolution.

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The P2542 features a generic-looking chiclet-style keyboard with a Num pad on the right and the arrow keys squeezed in-between. I’m not particularly fond of such arrow key layout but it’s common in notebooks this size.

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What’s nice here are the dedicated volume control buttons on top and the Smart button which displays a menu of various P2542 settings. There’s also the speaker grille running along the top of the keyboard.

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The mouse pad is not that big for the size of this notebook and is situated smack in the middle making it hard for your palms to accidentally brush it while typing which is actually nice. Tracking is okay and the single piece of bar for mouse clicks is not that stiff to use.

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This notebook also has a full complement of ports. You’ll get the VGA port, eSATA port and a Blu-Ray Rewritable drive on the left side, LAN port, HDMI port, SD card reader, 2x USB 3.0 port and the audio/mic jack on the right side. What I’m not fond of design-wise is how the sides are recessed to achieve that slim illusion. This makes it cumbersome to see which port you are connecting to.

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Looking at its undercarriage you’ll find exhausts and four more speaker grills. This laptop has a 4.1 channel speaker built-in with the woofer blasting on the front speaker holes. Behind the laptop are two exhaust vents to adequately dissipate heat coming from its CPU and GPU.

Performance

Powering this Gigabyte P2542 is a 3rd generation Intel Core i7-3610QM quad-core processor, 8GB DDR3 RAM, and a mobile gamer’s choice of GPU, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX660M with 2GB VRAM to boot.

Check out its impressive Windows Experience Index:

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This model runs on 256GB SSD drive which explains all the high scores it got from the Experience Index. However, units that will be sold in the market will carry a 750GB HDD instead of SSD which I think is more ideal for gaming and multimedia laptops.

The GeForce GTX660M is not the best mobile GPU around but it performs respectively allowing you to use high settings on very demanding games while letting you max the settings from less demanding ones.

As far as gaming is concerned (which is why you are thinking in getting this notebook in the first place), I only tried Diablo 3 and Arkham Asylum, and the P2542 performed really well on both games even when using high settings. No stuttering at all even when the action is heating up (Inferno Seigebreaker quest) and loading times are quick.

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We mentioned that the P2542 comes with a built-in 4.1 channel speakers and THX TruStudio Pro audio technology. Unfortunately, it still doesn’t effectively translate to high-quality sounds. It’s loud alright and you can hear the surround sound distinctively but it doesn’t compare to the pure audio delight you can get from laptops engineered specifically for multimedia bliss.

Battery life

With notebooks of this size and power, it’s not unusual to expect short battery life. The 6-cell 5400mAh Li-Ion battery on this notebook can only give you almost an hour of continuous gaming before it screams for you to plug it. For light usage such as surfing, word processing and a little bit of videos, expect up to 3 hours of use.

I’m also happy to report that heat is not an issue in this laptop even with continuous gaming. There’s a warmness in the chassis (especially near the top speaker area) but it’s the normal kind of heat that assures you that your CPU and GPU are working as expected.

Verdict

Well what can we say? The Gigabyte P2542 is a very capable gaming machine having close to top-bin specs but with a price that’s a bit lower (not necessarily affordable) than most brands. The design is a love and hate affair. You would appreciate the illusion of it being slim but at the same time hate having to stoop just to plug something in its ports.

Aside from its power, we also love the Full HD resolution on this laptop making videos and games look even better. This laptop can be your desktop replacement and shouldn’t be used far from a power source.

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The Gigabye P2542 is already available and retails for Php75,590. Do note that the ones sold in the market will have a 750GB HDD instead of the 256SSD of this review unit so temper expectations when dealing with hard drive performance.

Gigabyte P2542 Specs:
Intel Core i7-3610QM 2.50GHz (3.1GHz Turbo Boost)
Windows 7 Home Premium
15.6" Full HD+ 1920 x 1080 LED Display
8GB DDR3 RAM
NVIDIA GTX 660M GDDR5 2GB VRAM
750GB HDD
4x 1.5 Watt Speaker, 1x woofer, THX TruStudio Pro Technology
Gigabit 10/100/1000 Mbps LAN
Blu-ray Rewritable Drive with BDXL Support
Bluetooth 4.0
2 port x USB 2.0 / 2 port x USB 3.0, VGA, HDMI, SD Card Reader
1.3 MP Webcam
Li-ion 6-cell, 5400mAh
2.6 kg
SRP: Php75,590

Source: PinoyTechBlog