Tech Specs, Performance
Tech specs at a glance
- 15.6-inch (1920 x 1080) IPS LCD matt anti-glare
- 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ quad-core
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M 4GB of DDR5 VRAM
- 8GB DDR3L RAM
- 1TB 5400rpm HDD
- Gigabit Ethernet
- 11b/g/n/ac dual-band 2×2 MIMO
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 2x USB 3.0
- 1x USB 2.0
- SDXC card slot
- Stereo Bang & Olufsen speakers
- HD webcam single mic
- 5mm headset jack
- 48Wh lithium-ion battery
- Measurements: 384 x 265 x 29mm
- Weight: 2.32kg
Strip its ‘gaming’ shell and the underlying HP Pavilion Gaming Notebook would still be a good workhorse. While it gets the lower rung Intel Core i7-6700HQ Skylake chip, it will not let you down in productivity tasks or everyday computing. It’s reliable, it runs cool and quiet.
Yes, the non-SSD hard drive is somewhat of a penalty, so you may want to opt for the i5 version with SSD if overall responsiveness is what you’re looking for.
But let’s not forget why we’re here. Gaming. Since we’re on the topic, let’s skip the fact that the notebook has integrated Intel graphics by virtue of the chipset.
Let’s go straight into gaming performance with the dedicated NVIDIA GTX 950M with 4GB of VRAM. This is NVIDIA’s upper mid-level mobile GPU based on the Maxwell architecture, manufactured in 28nm. It may be a year old, but it copes well enough with most 2014/2015 games.
More intense, demanding games are still playable at Full HD resolution, but dependent on how much you’re willing to compromise visual quality for acceptable frame rates. For some 30fps is considered playable, while for others it’s 60fps or nothing.
Check out some of the benchmarks results below:
- PC Mark 8 Home: 2,981
- PC Mark 8 Work Accelerated 2.0: 3,989
- PC Mark Battery Life: 1h 29min
- 3D Mark Fire Strike Ultra: 721
- 3D Mark Fire Strike: 2,750
- Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0: FPS: 24.7; Score: 622; Min FPS: 14.7; Max FPS: 54.5
- Ultra, Extreme, 1280×720 8xaa Fullscreen, DX11
- Ultra, Extreme, 1920×1080, FPS: 18.9; Score: 476; Min FPS: 6.3; Max FPS: 38.6; 2xAA, DX11
- Project Cars: Ultra: 21-25FPS; High: 30-34FPS
- Grid Autosport: High: 70fps, Ultra: 33FPS
- PayDay 2: Medium: 30FPS
Benchmark snapshots (click to enlarge)
One thing you should know is that the notebook runs cool, even when playing more intense games. The main CPU fan on the right side is constantly on spin, and I’ve not seen temperatures hitting above 75C. The only bad thing about the vents being on the right side is that your mouse-totting right hand will be warmer than the left.
I’m also very surprised at how quiet the notebook is when I’m not gaming.
The Bang & Olufsen speakers aren’t the loudest nor the crispest, but do a decent job whether you’re listening to audio, watching videos or playing games.
My advice: plug in your favourite pair of on-ear headsets for ultimate multimedia pleasure.
Keyboard & trackpad
The keyboard is comfortable and well-spaced out. It feels familiar, with crisp travel that makes it nice to type on. It’s no ‘gaming’ keyboard, but does the job well enough.
The keyboard’s backlit so that’s a plus. Unfortunately, you’re stuck with alien green and there’s no control over colour or intensity of the backlight. Also, there are no programmable macro keys, unlike higher end gaming notebooks.
The trackpad is one of better ones I’ve used on a notebook. The surface is smooth and tracking is responsive. It’s off-centre like some notebooks I’ve encountered in the market today, which is personally annoying but not a deal-breaker.
Battery life isn’t shabby. Expect 4-5 hours of general daily use (or around four hours of video play). Like me, you’re likely to plug it into a socket for gaming though, so battery life isn’t such a big worry.
I’m not sure if people still do this but if you wish: you can swap out the battery easily by unlatching the unit, under the device.