Before we get on to benchmark results, here's a detailed specification of Gigabyte's P2532N and the three other 15.6in laptops in our test.
|Laptop||Gigabyte P2532N||Dell XPS 15z||MSI CX650||Acer Aspire 5745DG|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-2630QM (2.0GHz, 6MB smart cache, quad-core, 45W)||Intel Core i5-2410M (2.3GHz, 3MB smart cache, dual-core, 35W)||Intel Core i5-2410M (2.3GHz, 3MB smart cache, dual-core, 35W)||Intel Core i5-450M (2.4GHz, 3MB smart cache, dual-core, 35W)|
|Memory||8GB DDR3||4GB DDR3||4GB DDR3||4GB DDR3|
|Graphics||Intel HD 3000 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M 2GB||Intel HD 3000 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 525M 1GB||Intel HD 3000 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M 1GB||NVIDIA GeForce GT 425M 1GB|
|Graphics driver||Intel 220.127.116.119 + NVIDIA Verde 268.60||Intel 18.104.22.1681 + NVIDIA Verde 275.33||Intel 22.214.171.1246 + NVIDIA Verde 266.39||NVIDIA Verde 259.12|
|Display||15.6in - 1,920x1,080||15.6in - 1,366x768||15.6in - 1,366x768||15.6in - 1,366x768|
|Battery||6 cell, 61Whr||8 cell, 64Whr||6 cell, 47Whr||12 cell, 99Whr|
|Wireless||Realtek RTL8188CE (802.11bgn) and Bluetooth||Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230 (802.11bgn) and Bluetooth||Atheros WLAN (802.11bgn)||Broadcom WLAN (802.11bgn) and Bluetooth|
|Disk drive(s)||Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB HDD, 7,200RPM, 16MB cache||Seagate Momentus 500GB HDD, 7,200RPM, 16MB cache||Hitachi 500GB HDD, 5,400RPM, 8MB cache||Hitachi Travelstar 500GB HDD, 5,400RPM, 8MB cache|
|Optical drive||DVD-RW||DVD-RW||DVD-RW||Blu-ray/DVD-RW combo|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, 64-bit||Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, 64-bit||Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, 64-bit||Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, 64-bit|
|Geekbench||A cross-platform benchmark used to measure memory and processor performance. Run using high-performance mode.|
|Cinebench||Using Cinebench's multi-CPU render, this cross-platform benchmark stresses as many cores as possible. Run using high-performance mode.|
|3DMark06||A PC benchmark used to test the DirectX 9 performance of a system's graphics card. Run using high-performance mode.|
|Power Consumption||Using balanced power settings, we record mains power draw whilst playing back a 720p movie trailer.|
|Battery Test||In order to measure battery life, we run the laptop on balanced power settings and loop a 720p movie trailer, measuring the time taken to hibernate.|
CPU and GPU performance
We've seen the quad-core Intel Core i7-2630QM processor used in large gaming laptops, but it's just as potent in a 15.6in machine. Coupled with 8GB of memory, it provides incredible mobile performance.
Cinebench further examines CPU performance and it confirms that the Intel chip offers an abundance of speed. The Dell XPS 15z and MSI CX640 aren't exactly slow, but the CPU used by Gigabyte's P2532N offers almost double the performance.
The CPU is strong, and the dedicated GeForce GT 550M GPU has some oomph, too. The NVIDIA solution provides 96 CUDA cores, is clocked at 740MHz and features 2GB of memory clocked at an effective 1,800MHz.
What does that really mean? Well, Gigabyte's graphics solution is the quickest in our line up, and it of course makes light work of high-def movie playback, but in gaming terms it's best described as a mid-range performer.
Putting it through its paces, we tried to run Just Cause 2 with medium quality settings (2x anti-aliasing, 8x anisotropic filtering and medium-quality textures) and were able to return a frame rate of just 17 frames per second at 1,920x1,080. To get into the playable realm with this level of image quality, we were forced to lower the resolution a couple of notches. At 1,366x768 we managed to score 30.3 frames per second, and dropping further to 1,280x720 returned a smoother 33.1 frames per second.
It's possible to enjoy the latest games on the P2532N, but be prepared to make sacrifices in either resolution or image quality in order to get a smooth, judder-free experience.
Power consumption and battery life
Strong CPU and GPU performance can be good and bad. All your apps load quickly and games play smoothly, but the downside is higher-than-average power consumption. While playing back a 720p movie clip, the P2532N consumed on average 37 Watts of power - way above average for a 15.6in machine.
And here's where that high power consumption really takes its toll. We wondered how far Gigabyte's basic six-cell battery would get us, and the answer is not very.
While looping our 720p movie clip using Windows Media Player, NVIDIA's Optimus technology decided to switch on the GeForce GPU, and in this scenario the laptop managed to keep going for just over two-and-a-half hours.
A disappointing result, but it is possible to achieve better run times. By manually disabling the GeForce GPU and reverting to the integrated Intel graphics, we ran the benchmark again and managed to keep looping the same 720p clip for just under three-and-a-half hours (205 minutes).