Undoubtedly Gigabyte have a gaming monster in the P27, the benchmark results speak volumes on the potential performance of this beast. Unfortunately for reasons I can only speculate on, this monster can only rear its head properly in certain benchmarks for a certain amount of time.
The Gigabyte P27 seems to suffer heavily from thermal throttling or at least my review sample does. Based off the scores on the benchmarks, the thermal throttling is negatively affecting benchmark results due to the CPU and GPU downclocking to prevent any system damage. Initially I found the benchmark results to be rather odd, given that the P27 was losing quite handily,to the MSI GE40. Despite the games in our testing suite being all supposed “AMD titles” that reason still doesn’t explain how the P27 was losing so badly to an obviously slower laptop. As a result, I fired up CPU-Z and HWmonitor whilst running some of the benchmarks to confirm my suspicions of thermal throttling, in monitoring the temperatures my suspicions were definitely confirmed.
The CPU in the P27 easily hits 95c and I even caught glimpses of 100c, definitely a very unsafe operating temperature and definitely grounds for throttling. Whilst this is happening not only is the i7 in the P27 never hitting its turbo clocks (~3.1GHz) it isn’t even holding it’s normal clock of 2.4GHz in some scenarios because of the excess heat. Not only will this reduce the lifespan of the laptop, but also you won’t be getting the performance you paid for due the thermal throttling. Worse still is the noise that can only be described as unbearable whilst the system tries to force the heat out albeit ineffectively. I’m not privy to how the internals of the P27 are laid out, but if you refer back to the cooling system covered during the introduction, the meager heat sink and small exhaust vent simply can not cope with the large amounts of heat generated by the i7 and the 765M. Worse still is that the GTX 765M also always appeared to throttle when I viewed its clocks in Afterburner. Again, without knowing how the internals are constructed it would appear both the CPU/GPU share the same network of heat pipes and sinks and are just outputting too much heat to be kept cool effectively by Gigabyte’s cooling solution. This in turn, strangles what should be an extremely powerful system.
The real nail in the coffin for the P27’s performance versus our other systems in the benchmarks however, is MSI’s GE40’s GTX 760M having a core clock of 200MHz less than the P27’s GTX 765M and still beating the P27. 200MHz is an absolutely huge difference in any situation and in this case the P27’s seemingly bad design allows the MSI to even out the deficit and even overtake the P27 in our tests. The Gigabyte also has marginally faster CPU than the MSI but as with the GPU results, the P27’s performance is erratic and for whatever reason the P27 isn’t clear winner when it should be.
The ringer through which the systems in our tests have to go through is a taxing one make no mistake. The Hitman Absolution results may look pitiful for the P27 but our highest test really is taxing – 8xMSAA really isn’t worth the performance/quality trade-off at 1080p – let alone on such a high pixel density screen. The only problem is that the P27 still falls short of the cheaper, faster MSI GE40 despite the benchmarks and this in of itself is a telling tale to the flaw of the P27, thermal performance.