Heat, Noise and Battery Life
While the CPU and GPU performance of the Gigabyte P34W v5 is generally pretty good, thermal performance is not. Make no mistake: this laptop runs hot and loud, and it’s sure to irritate users who plan on gaming without a decent set of noise-cancelling headphones.
I’ll start by discussing the thermal performance. Clearly Gigabyte’s two fan solution with minimal vents is not good enough for cooling a 45W CPU and 75W GPU. With a combined 120W of power to dissipate, the body takes on a significant amount of this thermal load, causing some parts of the laptop’s underside to exceed 60°C while gaming. With the body getting this hot, the P34W v5 is essentially unusable on your lap, especially with any sort of direct skin contact.
On top of that, the keyboard itself gets to around 45°C in some places, particularly on the right-hand side. Luckily, the main gaming keys on the left are kept to 35°C or under, but the heat output on the right is not great. And then there’s the heat output from the fans themselves, which can blow a lot of hot air onto whatever is behind the laptop, which will probably be on your desk considering the device’s hot underside.
Even during idle or light tasks like web browsing, the bottom of the P34W v5 could be as hot as 38°C, which feels pretty warm on your legs, for example.
Things get even worse when looking at what temperatures the components themselves report. Both the GPU and the CPU reach upwards of 78°C during load, which is pretty hot, especially for the CPU. Considering it is sometimes possible to overclock these parts, I’d say there is pretty much no overclocking headroom in the P34W v5, and you certainly wouldn’t want to push the case temperatures above 60°C.
The noise of the P34W v5’s fans during gaming is just as much of a concern as the heat output. While playing Grand Theft Auto V on maximum volume from the laptop’s built-in speakers, I could still clearly hear the high-pitched whine of the system’s two fans piercing through the game’s audio. The sound is very reminiscent of a jet engine, and quickly becomes annoying after a short period of gameplay.
A solution to the noise issue is to simply play games with a pair of headphones on, which I expect most gamers will do anyway. But if you’re the sort of gamer who likes external speakers, or perhaps wants to use the laptop’s speakers, unfortunately you’re going to have to deal with the laptop’s noisy cooling system, which also happens to not be very effective.
The battery included in the P34W v5 is a 61.25 Wh non-removable lithium ion unit, which is not particularly large for this class of laptop. In comparison, the MacBook Pro 13-inch packs a 74.9 Wh battery in a smaller body, while the competing 14-inch Razer Blade gaming laptop packs a 70 Wh battery into a thinner design.