P-6831 LCD Quality

Given that we know there are at least two different LCD models available with the Gateway FX P-series notebooks, it's important to make it clear that we are reviewing the 1440x900 WXGA+ LCD. The LCD on our particular notebook comes from Samsung, the LTN170X2. As usual, we are dealing with a TN panel, which means worse viewing angles and 6-bit colors. The good news is that the pixel response time is better than older notebook panels (16ms vs. 25ms), and the backlight is rated at 200 nits.

While Samsung states that the contrast ratio is 500:1, it seemed much worse in person and testing confirmed that at least on our particular model the contrast ratio was much lower. Images appeared to be washed out in comparison to other recent notebooks, although we did notice the improvement in brightness. Let's start with a look at brightness levels and contrast ratio.


Display
Quality

Display
Quality

Display
Quality

The white levels are good for a laptop, coming in at over 200 nits. Unfortunately, black levels scale proportionately, and the result is a relatively poor final contrast ratio of around 250:1. We've mentioned in the past that marketing has gotten a bit carried away with the importance of certain specifications, contrast ratio and response time being two of the biggest culprits. The thing is, such specifications are important when they fall below a certain point. It's difficult to tell the difference between a 2000:1 and a 1000:1 contrast ratio, but the difference between 500:1 and 250:1 is very blatant. We're not quite sure why our test results and the LCD specifications differ so much; it could be that Gateway cut some other costs related to the LCD and that's why the contrast ratio is much lower than expected. It's not enough to make us actually recommend against purchasing the P-6831, although if you demand a high-quality LCD you might want to look elsewhere or use an external display.

A new addition to our LCD testing is a look at color gamut. This is something we have wanted to add previously, but we hadn't found any good utilities for generating the appropriate charts and data. We recently found out about Gamutvision, a utility developed by Imatest LLC. They were kind enough to provide us with a copy of their software, and it does exactly what we need. We compared the color profiles of all previously tested laptops to the Adobe RGB 1998 color profile. Below is a chart of the gamut volume for the Gateway P-6831 FX, along with a graph showing the percentage of the Adobe RGB 1998 gamut from the various laptops. Prepare to be disappointed….


Laptop
Display Quality


We commented in the past about how great the LCD on the ASUS G2P looks in comparison to other laptop LCDs. We now have some more detail as to why it looks better. Nearly all of the laptop LCDs we have tested provide less than 50% of the Adobe RGB color gamut — and note that there are more exacting standards than Adobe RGB 1998. The G2P sets the high water mark at 73.28%, while the vast majority of the other notebooks fall under 50%.

More Information on NVIDIA Drivers Display Quality, Continued
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  • teknomedic - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    Hey, great review... I read it yesterday... I bought the P-6831 today... hope your happy, cause I am, lol.

    Anyway... In short order I'll probably be upgrading the proc to the T8300 and getting a matched set of 4GB RAM and then installing Vista 64bit.

    Just wondering (since I haven't opened the box yet and am still thinking about keeping it)... how are the Vista 64bit drivers for this lappy? Will I beable to find all the drivers I need or will I need to run 32 for a while until they sort those out?

    Thanks again!
    Reply
  • Che - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    Well, I stated installing 64-bit Vista about 24 hours after buying the laptop. Used a 64-bit disc and the laptop's activation key with no issues. As for drivers, most of the drivers are 64-bit aware (even if they are only listed as 32-bit). Took me a few hours but got it up and running great. IMPORTANT: Use the Gateway Recovery Center program and make a backup Drivers and Applications CD. Was very useful in reinstalling the drivers (many on the gateway site don't want to work right)

    Only drivers hard to find were: modem and nvidia.
    For the modem I used the following: http://www.notebookforums.com/thread212673.html">http://www.notebookforums.com/thread212673.html
    Nvidia I used the following: http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=2...">http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=2...

    Hope that helps.
    Reply
  • teknomedic - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    that's awesome info... thank you... I really want to move to 64bit since that's what I'm running at home. Thanks again!! Reply
  • teknomedic - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    ^^^ oh, and also... futher down the road, will I be able to upgrade the video as well? It also looks like if I did that, I'd have to rip the lappy apart? Reply
  • win32asmguy - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    Sorry but the 8800M GTS is soldered to the motherboard, roughly under the number pad area of the keyboard. That is one of the reasons why this machine is thinner than the Clevo M570RU-U clones that are out there. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    I didn't actually check to see if the GPU was soldered on or not, but it wouldn't surprise me to find that's the case. Even if it is an MSM module that can be upgraded, it's highly unlikely you'll be able to do so. Just ask Dell XPS owners and Alienware m9750 owners how many GPU upgrades they've received over the years. Anyway, the GPU would be under the left side of the keyboard - the CPU is under the number keypad. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    Regarding video drivers, you have to get the current drivers from Gateway or try hacked drivers from LaptopVideo2Go. In the case of the latter, you will almost certainly get lower performance. Right now, Gateway doesn't have 64-bit GPU drivers (or 64-bit drivers for anything else) on their website. You can get around everything but the GPU and potentially sound drivers.

    I would wait for the 64-bit upgrade until NVIDIA releases their next "rapid driver update" mobile drivers, and see if they support the Gateway FX laptops and if there's a 64-bit version. I'm betting yes on 64-bit, but in talking with NVIDIA they *just* received their Gateway systems for validation testing, so they may or may not make it into the next driver release. They will be in the release after that almost certainly, but that's ~4 months out.

    The other question of course is whether you even need to go 64-bit and 4GB right now. I don't think so, particularly if gaming is your major concern. 32-bit is still better overall, IMO... maybe in another year 64-bit will begin to make an impact.
    Reply
  • teknomedic - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    Thanks for the replies... too bad on the video considering I have a 5 year old laptop that allowed me to upgrade the video... and I'll wait on the 64bit drivers then. I'm already running 64bit vista at home and gaming too!... I've not had any issues beyond new PC trying to run old games... but that's what my WinXP and Win98 machines are for. ;) Reply
  • Che - Saturday, March 29, 2008 - link

    Just FYI... I received this laptop today (and love it). I have the p-6831FX model and it came with (according to Vista) a T5550 CPU @ 1.83 GHz (not T5450 @ 1.67 GHx). I just checked it using CPU-Z and it says T5600 @ 1.83 GHz. Any ideas?? or did I just get lucky? Of course i'm not complaining, lol.

    The sticker on the palm rest states T5450. I did order mine off ebay, but it was still sealed and new in the box as was stated in the auction.
    Reply
  • Dgacioch - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    mine has the 1.83ghz T5550 as well, just bought it yesterday. Updated the video drivers and ran 3dmark 06. pretty respectable 7450 score, so at least a little improvement over the t5450. Ill be running some more games on it tonight to get some better impressions, but so far performance seems quite good even with the gimped cpu. Reply

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