Gateway announced this past Moday that they're releasing to the market a trio of value-oriented desktop (well, really nettop) replacement notebooks built around AMD's Fusion platform. Brazos has been a big hit with OEMs as nearly every major manufacturer is producing machines based around it, particularly the extremely popular E-350 APU.

The new NV series from Gateway features across the board 15.6" LED-backlit 1366x768 displays, wireless-n connectivity, HDMI, 1.3-megapixel webcams, and six-cell, 44Wh batteries. They also feature the now-traditional Acer/Gateway island-style keyboard that remains the bane of my existence, much to Jarred's continued amusement. As a whole the line may not seem too exciting, but remember these notebooks are gunning for users on the strictest of budgets and top out at an MSRP of $470.

Gateway's flagship model is the catchily-named NV51B05u. This is the $470 one, and it ships with the AMD E-350 APU, 3GB of DDR3, and a 500GB 5400-RPM hard drive. Presently, the NV51B05u is the only model on Gateway's website, but it can be found here. Gateway quotes over four hours of running time on the battery, and our experience with the E-350 suggests that figure is probably accurate for moderate loads.

On the other hand, Gateway is a little more cagey with detailed specs about the other models that are rounding out the line. At $450 is the NV51B02u, which also features the E-350. Odds are good this model has a smaller hard drive and/or less RAM. And at the extremely entry-level $400 price point is the NV51B08u which swaps out the E-350 for the C-50. The AMD C-50 retains both cores, but runs at a much slower 1GHz and clocks the graphics core at just 280MHz, though it also features a TDP of just 9W, half that of the already frugal E-350.

Unfortunately these prices seem a little on the high side for what you get. Compare the NV51 series to Gateway's own NV50: starting at $450, you get bumped up to a 2.1GHz Phenom II triple-core and 4GB of DDR3. Of course you'll sacrifice mobility and battery life for the privilege, so for users who are going to want to take their 15.6" notebook onn the go, the newer NV51 with the E-350 may seem like the better call. Ultimately, though, an important takeaway is that this extreme budget market segment may not be for you, but users who don't need much from a machine are going to get more mileage out of these notebooks. This is a market that used to be served by AMD's dire V-series processor, so the E-350 is going to be a major upgrade. 

And just to sweeten the pot, we'll have Toshiba's 15.6" Brazos model, the C655D, in house soon.

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  • dcollins - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    A 10" touchscreen, high end gorilla glass, vastly superior manufacturing and design, offset OS development costs. Building a super lightweight touchscreen tablet is a bit harder (ie more costly) than tweaking a reference motherboard design to fit in an mediocre quality case with a mediocre screen.

    This coming from someone who's not a huge fan of the iPad.
    Reply
  • ProDigit - Sunday, March 27, 2011 - link

    +1!
    I hope Asus will get a next gen tab out that surpasses that lame ipad!
    Hate the apps store, not a single app for free!

    I want free stuff, and rather pay "the same" amount for a windows OS than pay more for an apple os, only to later pay again more for their apps!

    People are so stupid. They are literally giving their money away.
    Apple should have priced the ipad half that price if they wanted to sell their apps on em!
    Reply
  • Interested Novice - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    I have a grandparent looking for a dirt-cheap laptop that just needs to do web browsing, video and wordprocessing. I keep hearing that only someone working for Intel would buy their entry-level products over AMD's new APUs. But systems like these keep coming out priced at $450-500+. From all accounts the APUs are better than Atom but when I go to Best Buy they have a number of 15.6" laptops with 2 GHz+ Celeron and Pentium CPUs (not Atom) for <$400? Are the integrated graphics that much better? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    If you can actually find something with Pentium P6000 series or Celeron P4500/P4600 series for under $500, I can pretty much guarantee they'll beat up on Brazos. If you're looking at the older CULV Pentium/Celeron (SU4100, SU3500, or SU2300), then it's a different story. CULV chips are faster than E-350 on the CPU, but significantly worse on the IGP. What I'm curious to see is the new Celeron B810 can do, but 1.6GHz Sandy Bridge may not be particularly impressive, especially with a trimmed down IGP. Anyway, when I looked at my local Best Buy, there was a laptop with the Pentium P6100 going for $600 or so, and that's quite a bit more than the $450 for a decent Brazos laptop (i.e. HP dm1z). Reply
  • Interested Novice - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    Online they have a Lenovo w/ 15.6" LED screen and a Pentium P6200 w/ Intel GMA HD integrated graphics for <$380. It looks like most of the other models (Gateway, Acer, HP, Dell, etc) are either T4500/P6xxx Pentiums w/ smaller screens (14", 13.3", etc), Celerons (I think they are 1C | 1T) or refurbished.

    I was hoping the AMD APUs would mean Atom-like priced systems with acceptable basic performance (decent battery life, can handle web browsing and HD-content, basic productivity apps, etc). Thus far the systems seem to don't seem any cheaper than other systems w/ low-end, non-Atom Intel products. It's hard for me to cut through the hyperbole on relative value of the AMD APU graphics versus Intel GMA 4500 or GMA HD. Does DirectX11 affect any non-gaming web/media applications?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    DX11 is generally useless outside of games where you have a system that's this slow. The one potential exception is the new GPU accelerated web browsers; I've put Firefox 4 on an E-350 and it scrolls nice and smooth with no CPU use to speak of. Of course, rendering the initial webpage is still a CPU limited (or network limited) process.

    Anything in the Core 2 era is generally worse than Brazos, at least on the IGP side of things. I'd steer clear of T-series processors for that reason, but the P-series Pentium and Celerons are okay. They'll be the cheapest options with Intel chips. If you look at ark.intel.com, you can type in the various CPU model numbers and get the full details of what exactly is in the chip (with a few omissions, like sometimes it's not clear on Sandy Bridge parts if it's a 6EU or 12EU version).
    Reply
  • thrawn3 - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    I can't prove anything to you but In my opinion yes it really would be better to get an E-350 APU because the GPU is better makes a lot more difference then most people seem to realize. While it is not a fast chip in any sense it strikes a very good balance for real useability in my experience. I have one being used as a simple HTPC and it just seems to be able to do anything I throw at it without complaint. The Intel systems have faster CPUs but you get not only a worse GPU but also Intel's drivers which are usually agreed to be worse then AMDs. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    Intel's drivers generally work well for mainstream games and video work, and with Arrandale they're pretty close in performance to the HD 6310 in many games (at least in part because E-350 isn't fast enough to feed the GPU). You can see the relative performance in some games in our last Brazos laptops review by looking at the Dell Latitude E6410 as a reference point:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4218/5

    The interesting comparison will be Celeron B810, which has Sandy Bridge's improved IGP. Since the B810 will use the 6EU core, though, it won't be nearly as fast as the 12EU version found in the i3/i5/i7 mobile CPUs. If you're into esoteric video codecs, though, AMD or NVIDIA is likely the better route.
    Reply
  • Lolimaster - Sunday, March 27, 2011 - link

    No, that intel IGP are crappy. Obviously a i5 520M come with way more clockspeed for the cpu and if you want to look cpu-bound games suck as BC2. The reality is that any non SB IGP is crap vs Ontario/Zacate low end IGP's.

    I forgot, this is anandtech, the biased side of news...
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, March 27, 2011 - link

    Please learn to comprehend before calling someone biased. "Generally work for mainstream games and video work" is what I said, and you are even more biased if you're going to try and pretend that Zacate is able to handle even a reasonable selection of modern games. I did a complete test of 23 games mostly from 5+ years ago in a recent review, and I'm working on running the same tests on Arrandale, SNB, Nile, Danube, and a few other platforms; I dare say I know what I'm talking about since I'm doing actually testing rather than just pulling the same old crap out of thin air.

    When I say Intel's drivers are good enough for mainstream games, I absolutely mean that. That means stuff like Sims 3, Spore, and many other titles. I'd say overall you're looking at around 80% compatibility with a very wide selection of games. How many run well enough to be useful, though? Well, on SNB it's most titles, but Arrandale is half as fast as HD 3000, so it's probably around half of the current stuff. That said, Arrandale's drivers are basically the same as SNB's drivers, so give the "Intel IGP are crappy" rhetoric a rest for a change. Arrandale was about as fast as HD 4200, which is just as "crappy".
    Reply

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