Gateway E-155-C Features and Options

Gateway offers customers the ability to customize quite a few aspects of this particular notebook. Here's a quick overview of the major configuration options available on the E-155-C, not counting any external accessories or peripherals.

Gateway E-155-C System Configuration Options
Processor Core 2 Duo U7500/U7600
Chipset Intel 945GM + ICH7-M DH
FSB Speeds 533 MHz
Memory Speeds DDR2-533
Memory Slots 2 x SO-DIMM, 512MB up to 4GB, DDR2, Dual Channel supported
Graphics Intel GMA 950
Display 12.1" WXGA (1280x800) Touch-Sensitive
Expansion Slots 1 x PC Card type II
2 x mini-PCI (internal) - one occupied by WiFi
Hard Drive 60/80/120GB 5400RPM, 80/100GB 7200RPM
Optical Drive 24X Combo CD-RW/DVD-ROM, 8X DVD+/-RW DVD-RAM
Networking/Communications Integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet and V.90 56K Modem
Intel 3945ABG (802.11A/B/G) Mini PCI Wireless
Audio 24-bit High Definition Audio with 2.0 Speakers
Left Ports Flash reader (SD, MS/Pro, MMC)
1 x VGA
1 x Gigabit Ethernet
1 x PC Card Type II
Docking Station Connection
Right Ports 2 x USB2.0
Optical Drive<.br>1 x 4-pin FireWire
Microphone/Headphones
Front Ports None
Back Ports Modem jack (RJ-11)
Power Connector
Keyboard 83 Key QWERTY (US)
Extras Fingerprint Reader
Touch-sensitive display with tablet interface
Stylus with five replacement tips
Six configurable quick-launch buttons (below LCD)
Battery Options 4-Cell 38.5WHr
6-Cell 57.7WHr
8-Cell (TBD)
Dimensions 11.9"x9.9"x1.17" (LxWxH)
4.85 lbs. (4-cell battery)
5.07 lbs (6-cell battery)
Power Adapter 65W
Operating System Windows XP Tablet Edition
Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
Windows Vista Business 32-bit

Given its compact size, it's not too surprising that there are many components which can't be upgraded. Your only choices for the processor are a Core 2 Duo U7500, an ultra low voltage 1.06 GHz 2MB shared cache chip, or the slightly faster U7600 (1.20GHz 2MB). Likewise on the graphics, your only choice is to use the integrated Intel GMA 950 that comes with the 945GM chipset. If you're looking for the ultimate in high-performance computing, the E-155-C definitely isn't going to satisfy. On the other hand, having a dual core processor that runs at 0.900V (or 0.875V at the lowest 800 MHz speed the CPU enters during idle periods) means you get at least decent performance for typical business tasks while potentially improving battery life. If you couldn't tell, this notebook does not use the new Santa Rosa platform - not that it really matters in this case.

In other areas, you still get a reasonable amount of choice. Like the majority of modern laptops, the E-155-C comes with two DDR2 SO-DIMM slots. You can even install 4GB (at the cost of battery life); just remember to purchase a 64-bit operating system if you want to properly utilize more than 2GB of RAM. It appears that for power saving reasons, memory bandwidth is also limited to DDR2-533. Our test system came equipped with Samsung DDR2-667 memory, but it was running at 533 with 4-4-4-12 timings instead of 667 at 5-5-5-15 timings. Considering the relatively slow speed processor, there's likely very little difference in performance between the two memory speeds, so limiting the memory to DDR2-533 in order to improve battery life makes sense.

Did we just mention 64-bit operating systems? Well, unless you want to do it on your own, Gateway is not currently allowing the selection of a 64-bit OS, Vista or otherwise. The cost of a 4GB upgrade is also exorbitantly expensive right now (roughly $800 per SO-DIMM), and again considering the intended use we feel that a 2GB memory configuration makes the most sense. The OS choices at present consist of Windows XP Tablet Edition, Vista Home Premium, or Vista Business - again, all 32-bit versions.

Storage choices are pretty typical, and somewhat surprisingly Gateway offers relatively high performance models. Hard drive sizes range from 60GB up to 160GB, with either 5400 or 7200 RPM spindle speeds. Optical drive options consist of either a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive or a typical 8X multifunction DVD burner (with DVD-RAM support). HD-DVD and Blu-ray drives are not supported as potential upgrades.

Connectivity options include Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g WiFi, and a 56K modem. Wireless networking is provided courtesy of an Intel 3945ABG adapter.

The display is a 12.1" 1280x800 touch-sensitive LCD panel which we will cover in more detail later. A stylus is included, naturally, and the display can pivot into tablet mode or you can use the system as a normal laptop. The LCD panel is a 6-bit model capable of displaying a maximum of 262,144 simultaneous colors, which is something of a disappointment as we'd prefer an 8-bit panel. In use we didn't really notice any problems with the "missing" colors, though imaging professionals might feel differently.

In the battery department, there are three different capacities listed: 4-cell, 6-cell, or 8-cell. We asked for and received both the 4-cell and 6-cell for testing, and Gateway tells us that the 8-cell battery will be available in August. Battery size translates pretty much directly into battery life, so the 8-cell battery should last twice as long as the 4-cell model, though it will also increase the weight of the laptop by around 8 ounces.

A fingerprint scanner rounds out the features list, allowing you to login/lock/unlock the notebook at the swipe of your finger. The fingerprint scanner is located underneath the display, so it can still be accessed when the system is in tablet PC mode. With the scanner orientation, we found that setting the software to recognize your thumbprint made it a bit easier to swipe.

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  • DEMO24 - Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - link

    stylus is the only way to make commands work on the screen.

    also if you configure the stylus right, then having the issue mentioned in the article is not a problem.

    I carry a tablet around where I work. While I don't use the tablet function, its been pretty damn reliable. They seem to be a bit more durable than a normal laptop. This thing has seen its fair share of abuse, and it's never missed a beat.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - link

    You can interface with the display using a finger, but for a variety of reasons I would definitely recommend the stylus. You get better accuracy, you can easily click or right-click, and you don't leave fingerprints everywhere. Reply
  • Vidmar - Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - link

    Page 10: The chart says "Batter Life". I guess you can't have your cake and eat it too! ;) Reply
  • Vidmar - Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - link

    I wonder if you could get better battery life under XP tablet instead of Vista? Our E-155Cs are getting ~240-260 mins of battery life with the six cell battery under XP tablet while doing routine tasks and the display fully bright. (Which I agree is necessary)

    Also you had mentioned in the article that the display would dim sometimes all on its own. There is a BIOS option, ALS control (Ambient Light Sensor) that allows the machine to control display brightness using a sensor on the laptop. This reason for this option is when you would want/need to use it in daylight. The sensor senses the extreme brightness of daylight and lowers the brightness of the display so that it can be read in full sunshine. Unfortunately I think it’s a bit more sensitive and can also lower the display brightness when it really should not. This can be simply disabled in the BIOS.

    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - link

    It wouldn't surprise me if XP lasts a bit longer in terms of battery life. Vista seems like it tends to keep the CPU in a higher performance state, at least on other laptops. The HP dv6500t, for example, rarely ran at lower than 1.6 GHz, even though it could go as low as 800 MHz (or perhaps 1 GHz?). One of these days I'll have to do a better XP vs. Vista laptop comparison, just to see how things stand. Reply
  • MercenaryForHire - Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - link

    Or at least beaten with a hose. I haven't used a telephone cable for anything other than the household phone for about ten years.

    And while the forward location of the (only) two USB ports makes it easy to pop in a memory stick or other peripheral, it makes using a mouse more than a slight nuisance as the cord will have to snake backwards across the optical drive.

    Reply
  • Vidmar - Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - link

    One aspect of this table pc that was missing from this article was that it also can be configured with Bluetooth. A Bluetooth mouse is the perfect companion for this machine. No wires, USB wireless adapters necessary. Reply
  • bldckstark - Friday, July 06, 2007 - link

    USB wireless mouse = $12
    Bluetooth mouse = $80
    Extra 3lbs of batteries you have to carry for the Bluetooth mouse = Priceless

    At least that's what my Chiropracter said.

    If you have to plug in a USB device to run your mouse, why not just use a wired one? Why bother with the batteries.
    Reply
  • Visual - Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - link

    that laptop is utter crap, it seems.
    only people that really want something ultra-light and don't care for performance at all would be interested... and they would be better off with a pda or smartphone, with an additional portable keyboard if they need a lot of typing.

    i dont understand why laptop makers don't make a decent convertible - at least 13-15", with reasonable graphic card and all... and even bigger laptops, even if they're not too comfortable for holding in one hand can still benefit from a touchscreen and a tablet-like folding.
    Reply
  • Vidmar - Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - link

    This laptop/tablet is for those who need to run a queries against an database, while programming that new interface for the next rev of the accounting app, while reading their email, while taking notes tablet style, all while connected to the corporate VPN and never having to touch an electrical outlet for ~4.5 hours in those day long meetings.

    Do that on your PDA.
    Reply

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