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Last week we posted an article comparing battery life using two different Gateway laptops - laptops that were essentially identical, with the exception of the motherboard, chipset, integrated graphics, and processor. This was a subject that we wanted to investigate closely for a long time, but acquiring laptops that are anywhere near "identical" when you are looking at two completely different platforms can be extremely difficult. Moreover, even companies that had very similar laptops didn't seem to have any desire to have us review their AMD models. Conspiracy theory, were they trying to avoid cannibalizing sales of more expensive laptops, or some other explanation… regardless of the cause, it took us many requests to finally have a mobile showdown between AMD and Intel.


After the initial article went up dissecting battery life under a variety of situations, we have received numerous emails questioning our test methodology, complaining of bias for or against AMD/Intel, and offering other suggestions for how to improve the tests. The battery life article was always intended to be a short preview, and we are well aware of many of the differences between AMD and Intel platforms. This, then, is the rest of the story where we look at general application performance, graphics performance, and provide a full review of both laptops. First, let's start with a recap of the test systems - this time with full specifications.

Gateway NV5214u Specifications
Processor AMD Athlon 64 X2 QL-64
(Dual-core, 2.1GHz, 2x512KB L2, 65nm, 35W, 667MHz FSB)
Chipset AMD RS780MN + SB700
Memory 2x2048MB DDR2-667
Graphics Integrated ATI Radeon HD 3200
Display 15.6" Glossy LED-Backlit 16:9 WXGA (1366x768)
Hard Drive 320GB 5400RPM
Optical Drive 8x DVDR SuperMulti
Networking Gigabit Ethernet
802.11n WiFi
56K Modem
Audio 2-Channel HD Audio (2.0 Speakers with headphone/microphone jacks)
Battery 6-Cell 10.8V, 4400mAhr, 47.5Whr
Front Side None
Left Side SD/MMC/MS/MS Pro/xD reader
Microphone/Headphone Jacks (2.0 audio with S/PDIF support)
2 x USB 2.0
HDMI
VGA
Gigabit Ethernet
AC Power Connection
Kensington Lock
Right Side DVDRW Optical Drive
2 x USB 2.0
56K Modem
Power Button
Back Side Heat Exhaust Port
Operating System Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit
Dimensions 14.6" x 9.8" x 1.0"-1.5" (WxDxH)
Weight 5.8 lbs (with 6-cell battery)
Extras Webcam
Alternate colors/models available
Blue: NV5213u
Black: NV5215u
Red: NV5216u
Warranty 1-year standard Gateway warranty
Extended warranties available
Price NV5214u available at Best Buy for $500

Gateway NV5807u Specifications
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo T6500
(Dual-core, 2.1GHz, 2MB shared L2, 45nm, 35W, 800MHz FSB)
Chipset Intel GM45 + ICH9M
Memory 2x2048MB DDR2-667
Graphics Integrated Intel GMA 4500MHD
Display 15.6" Glossy LED-Backlit 16:9 WXGA (1366x768)
Hard Drive 320GB 5400RPM
Optical Drive 8x DVDR SuperMulti
Networking Gigabit Ethernet
802.11n WiFi
56K Modem
Audio 2-Channel HD Audio (2.0 Speakers with headphone/microphone jacks)
Battery 6-Cell 10.8V, 4400mAhr, 47.5Whr
Front Side None
Left Side SD/MMC/MS/MS Pro/xD reader
Microphone/Headphone Jacks (2.0 audio with S/PDIF support)
2 x USB 2.0
HDMI
VGA
Gigabit Ethernet
AC Power Connection
Kensington Lock
Right Side DVDRW Optical Drive
2 x USB 2.0
56K Modem
Power Button
Back Side Heat Exhaust Port
Operating System Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit
Dimensions 14.6" x 9.8" x 1.0"-1.5" (WxDxH)
Weight 5.8 lbs (with 6-cell battery)
Extras Webcam
Alternate colors/models available
Black: NV5814u
Red: NV5815u
Warranty 1-year standard Gateway warranty
Extended warranties available
Price NV5814u available online starting at $580

In terms of core paper specifications, the systems really are as close to identical as we can get. There are no AMD chipsets for current Intel processors, and likewise Intel doesn't make chipsets for AMD processors. We could try to go the discrete graphics route, but virtually all current AMD-based laptops include integrated graphics and that's part of the features equation. We're looking not just at the difference in processors but what the mobile platform as a whole offers from each company. Those familiar with current trends should have an idea of what to expect: Intel has the better processor (faster and lower power), overall chipset features are similar, and AMD (courtesy of ATI) has the better integrated graphics. The question isn't so much who will be faster in various tests, but rather how much faster. That's what we're here to find out.

Gateway NV5214u - AMD
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  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - link

    Agreed. People are not going to be gaming on the latest (or even last-gen FPS') but most certainly would probably be doing MMO games. And of all the games The Sims (2 or 3) should be included. That is probably the largest non-MMO game out there for the casual gamer, of which these laptops are perfectly suited. Reply
  • KidneyBean - Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - link

    Or how about Source games like Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2, and Counter-Strike 2?

    Those should run faster than the latest FPS.
    Reply
  • hyc - Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - link

    Very few vendors actually sell comparable models of AMD and Intel notebooks. I don't think HP's dv5z (which I own, and is already discontinued) is really comparable to their dv5t.

    And I've yet to find anyone selling an AMD laptop with 15.4" WUXGA screen. So far the only possibilities have been Dell or Lenovo, and they're all Intel. It's pathetic that AMD has the best graphics cards now but you can't get an AMD combo paired with the best screens.

    Show me an AMD notebook with 15.4" WUXGA LED-backlit screen. (Oh, and backlit keyboard too, please.) I'll buy it. I'm sick of seeing AMD designs getting the poor cousin treatment, I want all the same top notch feature choices the Intel models get...
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    You realize you can get an AMD discrete GPU with an Intel CPU/chipset, right? Which this article has shown that the GPU is really the only part of the AMD system worth owning. Reply
  • cactusdog - Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - link

    Nice review, it answered some questions i had. Reply
  • cfaalm - Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - link



    quote:

    If you really want improved battery life, you'd be looking at an Intel platform with a high-capacity battery - or a MacBook.


    Talking about a price premium over a $ 500 - 580 notebook:
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - link

    Or if Dailytech really isn't one sided towards Apple, then maybe the reviewer could also add a Linux build to the scene.. Standard laptop, linux.. what would the battery life be?????

    Reply
  • hyc - Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - link

    Likely worse on the AMD system. At least, the open source ATI drivers' support for power management still doesn't handle all of the power save features that the chipset offers.
    Reply
  • medi01 - Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - link

    Why not compare to intel notebook with nvidia graphic card? Reply
  • samspqr - Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - link

    the labels on the x axis of the power consumption graph are completely deceiving Reply

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