Introducing the Gateway ID49C

We've seen a trend as of late towards sleeker, lighter mainstream notebooks. The days of cheap, bulky machines are slowly fading behind us as Intel's Core 2010 processors are being engineered into slimmer, lighter chassis. Gateway's entry (in some ways on behalf of its parent company, Acer) is the ID49C, a unit designed to be portable and at least a little flashy without being gaudy. Does it deserve to be shortlisted for your next purchase, or is the bling wrong-headed? That's what we're here to find out.

Gateway ID49C08u Specifications
Processor Intel Core i5-450M
(2x2.4GHz + HTT, 2.66GHz Turbo, 32nm, 3MB L3, 35W)
Chipset Intel HM55
Memory 2x2GB DDR3-1066 (Max 2x4GB)
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GT330M 1GB DDR3 Optimus Technology
Intel HD Graphics IGP
Display 14" LED Glossy 16:9 768p (1366x768)
LG Philips LP140WH2-TLA2
Hard Drive(s) 500GB 5400 RPM Hitachi Travelstar Hard Disk
Optical Drive 8x DVD+/-RW SuperMulti
Networking Atheros AR8131 Gigabit Ethernet
Realtek RTL8192SE Wireless 802.11n (150Mb capable)
Audio Conexant Cx20585 HD Audio
Stereo speakers, headphone (combination digital out) and microphone jacks
Battery 6-Cell, 11.1V, 4400mAh, 48Wh battery
Front Side 4-in-1 Flash reader
Left Side Ethernet jack
Exhaust vent
Kensington lock
VGA
HDMI
USB 2.0
Microphone jack
Headphone/SPDIF jack
Right Side 3x USB 2.0
Optical drive
AC adapter
Back Side Nothing
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Dimensions 13.46" x 9.64" x 0.87-0.99" (WxDxH)
Weight ~5.0 lbs
Extras 1.3MP Webcam
86-key keyboard
Flash reader (MMC, SD/Mini SD, MS/Duo/Pro/Pro Duo, xD)
Backlit touchpad
Aluminum lid and inside surface
Warranty 1-year standard warranty
Pricing MSRP $849

Gateway seems to be betting on the form factor and style of the ID49C to sell the machine, but they at least didn't skimp on the configuration. The usual mainstream contenders make themselves known: married to the Intel HM55 chipset and two 2GB sticks of DDR3-1066 running in dual-channel mode is the Intel Core i5-450M processor. It's a dual-core affair sporting a 2.4GHz nominal clock, able to turbo up to a reasonably fast 2.66GHz. Intel's "Core 2010" series of mobile processors hasn't been very wanting for performance, and the 450M should allow the ID49C to handle most tasks with aplomb.

A welcome inclusion is the NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M, which brings NVIDIA's Optimus technology with it. Getting a decent mobile GPU in a 14" form factor from any vendor other than ASUS is actually fairly uncommon, so we're happy to see it here. The GT 330M isn't that exciting on paper: 48 "CUDA cores" and a 128-bit memory bus recalls the milquetoast desktop GeForce GT 220, but we're not looking to have our minds blown here, we just need enough juice to game comfortably at the unit's 1366x768 resolution. It does bring Optimus to the table, though, allowing the notebook to completely and typically seamlessly shut down the GT 330M and just use the Intel HD graphics built into the i5 processor when running on the battery.

Spec-wise, the rest of the ID49C is a bit of a head-scratcher, a mish-mash of poorly chosen cuts aimed at hitting a price point. There's a healthy amount of storage in the 500GB hard disk, but that drive runs at a meager 5400 RPM when prices on 7200 RPM notebook drives are going through the floor. In fairness you'll need the capacity, since there isn't an eSATA port or really any expansion connectivity other than the four USB 2.0 ports. There's also your bog standard DVD rewriter, but it doesn't have a physical eject button on it: you have to use the touch-based eject button above the keyboard. That makes sense for the kinds of in-built slot-loading drives you'll find on Dell's Studio series, but on a regular tray-based drive it's unusual. The standard multi-card reader and webcam are included, and the HDMI and VGA ports on the left side are welcome. Wireless networking is handled by a Realtek 802.11bgn controller, and the Ethernet jack is good for Gigabit wired networking.

The ID49C is a Land of Confusion
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  • Akv - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    Thank you for adding the page about noise and heat. Reply
  • aguilpa1 - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    $800 dollars is not a bad price for the hardware but not if is going to pain you to use it. Keep letting those manufactures know we care about the screen and keyboard layouts. Thanks again. Reply
  • HHCosmin - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    i use a acer 3820tg, featuring i5 430m, 4gb ram, 640gb of hdd, bluetooth etc. this is the little brother having a 13,3" screen. it lacks the optical drive... and this a good thing. the keyboard is aceptable for me as i'm not too picky, the runtime is ok. i care very little about the ati graphics... they lappie would be at least 200grams lighter without it. the screen is ok and it does not really mater how precise it is since i mostly code and surf on it. it has performance, it's light enough (1,8kilos), has enough runtime (up to 6,5hours).

    i'd like to have the install disk, more control to undervolt the cpu (but this is not possible with nehalem), maybe an integrated sim slot, windows 7 pro instead of home premium, less crapware installed.

    i really boils down to want you from a laptop. some could be really ok with some configs, others would not. i apreciate your review... but you could be less radical as some don't care too much about some things even if they know what makes their pc tick.
    Reply
  • rwei - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    Something about the seething, over-the-top anger towards helpless gadgets that permeates this review tells me that you must be a Penny-Arcade reader.

    Also second the point on HP Envys. Given your penchant for quality/backlit keyboards, nice high resolution screens with good colors and black levels, solid build quality, non-glossy aluminum materials and USB 3.0/eSATA, a 14/17 review would be a rare and blessed opportunity for you to write a happy review full of rainbows and unicorns.

    Is the 14 STILL on its way?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 24, 2010 - link

    Honestly, who knows? It was supposed to be coming about six weeks back, so I'm not counting on anything now. Maybe they're doing a Fall revision and we'll get that. Here's hoping! Reply
  • blackrook - Saturday, September 25, 2010 - link

    LOL...silly HP. Reply
  • fabarati - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    I would like to point out that the first generation of 500 GB 7200 RPM (ST9500420AS) drives from Seagate weren't all that good. The WD 500 GB 5400 RPM (WD5000BEVT) that came out at the same time was often as fast or faster. Which Is why I bought one of those. Granted, this was about a year ago, so the market has changed. Knowing Seagate, they probably have had 2 or 3 new generations of HDDs released. Just because. Reply
  • tspin46 - Friday, September 24, 2010 - link

    We get it you hate the keyboard. You could have said that in four words, why use four fairly long paragraphs? You then make fun of anyone who may actually like the keyboard. What possible reason to insult an interested participant in anandtech who bothered to read your review.

    I must be that idiot since I actually like the keyboard considerably more than I like several other laptop keyboards. I also learned to touch type and find no need to pound the keyboard so no flex problems, if in fact there is a problem.

    The entire tone of your review reminds me of a movie criticism found in a school newspaper. You have a bully pulpit and by god you are going to pound your personal opinion into every reader.

    Chill, say what you like and don't like but don't pound the pulpit with four paragraphs of keyboard hate with very little data other than YOU HATE IT.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 24, 2010 - link

    It's not that we're making fun of the people that like the keyboard, it's that we're curious if anyone actually does like it. Maybe you like the glowing touchpad as well, which we feel is a complete waste. But even if you're okay with the keyboard, you can't tell me there aren't better designs out there. The reason I let Dustin go off on this one is because this has been a problem with Acer/Gateway laptops for so long, and they just don't seem to care. Well, fine, if you're selling a $500-$600 budget system I get that. But when you upgrade the chassis to aluminum, add in a decent mobile GPU, and have enough budget left over for a glowing touchpad... yeah, the keyboard absolutely needs to be fixed. Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Saturday, September 25, 2010 - link

    I for one enjoyed reading the bit about combusting keyboards due to hating it that badly. The keyboard is one of the most important aspects of a laptop, and 4 paragraphs of informal writing is absolutely deserved. If you want 4 words on the keyboard, go read a Cnet review.

    You would think, here in 2010, good keyboards would have been mastered long ago. Just looking at the picture of it I can tell it probably sucks; the keys lack depth and it looks like there's not enough spacing.
    Reply

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