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  • deshiboy - Monday, January 25, 2010 - link

    I use the FX for school and my Sager 8690 for gaming. Sager looks plain but preforms likes a desktop, I wish they did a better job on the battery life. But thats where my FX comes in to save the day. Reply
  • atlmann10 - Tuesday, August 05, 2008 - link

    Gateways doing the same thing with the next on this line except its centrino 2/core2duo with ddr3 and a 9800 GTI for 1449 frickin awesome these will be hard to come by after the last one (the one in this review) Reply
  • atlmann10 - Tuesday, August 05, 2008 - link

    oh with a 7200 rpm Hard drive and wireless N oh did I mention ddr3 can you say lower power better performance Reply
  • xeryx - Thursday, June 05, 2008 - link

    Obviously Gateway and Best Buy has decided to blow away the competition with this notebook!!

    I have been laptop Gaming for years, because my job keeps me on the road alot. It is a great way to pass the time away from family, and stay out of trouble.

    I currently own a Sager 17" laptop with the 7800m 2gb, and a 80gb hd. When I bought it new it was $2200.

    As a comparison to the Gateway, (Best Buy version)get an almost equivalent system from Sager, your looking at $2200. In all fairness, that is the 8800gtx ($395) and a 2.1 ghz (t8100) with no option of a second HD, let alone Raid 0. It also has the fingerprint scanner.

    To me the 2nd hd (even though 5400) is very important, let alone the potential for raid 0. I find that laptop HD performance is not very good overall, and can cause delays when gaming.

    Screen resolution, I have been gaming at 1680x1050 and in all honesty, it is too high for a 17" screen. Especially in the desktop. 1920 is way too high for a 17" screen, unless you have SLI8800m's. That is a completely different bracket.

    In my opinion they did an excellent job in trading off, and adding in some very key features. SO you basically save $1000.00 for a little bit less performance than a 8800 GTX machine. The key here though is at @ $1200, not $2000 you get a machine that will be able to handle just about anything you can through at it (Crysis doesn't count).

    If you are thinking about getting a laptop, for gaming...this is the absolute best smoking deal you can find!!
    Reply
  • Rekonn - Friday, April 11, 2008 - link

    Anybody have an update on when the P-6860fx will be out? Reply
  • Rekonn - Friday, April 11, 2008 - link

    Found answer today on Yahoo finance:

    The Gateway P-6860FX comes with Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition with SP1 and will be available beginning this weekend at Best Buy with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1,349.99. It comes with NVIDIA® GeForce™ 8800M GTS 512MB GDDR3, an Intel Core 2 Duo T5450 processor, 3072MB of DDR2 SDRAM and a 250GB(1) 5400RPM SATA hard drive. This system also comes with a multi-format dual layer DVD-R/RW/DVD-RAM drive with LabelFlash technology(2) for burning images and text onto a DVD or CD.
    Reply
  • teknomedic - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    I've returned both my P-6831s because of the P-6860FX... the above post is a bit wrong about the specs... here's what I know:

    Gateway P-6860 FX
    Basically the same as the P-6831 with a few nice upgrades:

    Proc = T5550 @ 1.83-1.86Ghz (up from T5450 @ 1.6Ghz)
    RAM = 4GB (up from 3GB)
    HDD = 320GB SATA (5400rpm) (up from 250GB)
    OS = Vista Home Premium SP1 (64bit) (up/down from 32bit?)
    MSRP Price = $1,349.99 (same price before BB $100 off online)

    All other hardware appears to be the same... there's a small chance that the CD-Burner supports one more Dual Layer format, but that could simply be because of Best Buy not listing specs correctly.



    Side note... has anyone had issues with the right speaker having bad distortions on certain sounds or speach from games... both my P6831s had this issue (another reason I returned them).


    TK.



    HEY, Anandtech.com.... any chance we can get a refreshed review including the P-6860... it would be interesting to see if the extra boost of Proc and RAM with 64bit OS helps or hurts the laptop.

    ***please, please, please, please, please***

    Reply
  • xeryx - Thursday, June 05, 2008 - link

    You did forget a couple of other differences.

    BTW Get this Laptop at Best Buy!! The upgrades are well worth it as compared to the Gateway website!!!

    1) Comes with the Bluetooth the Gateway 172s does not
    2) The wireless adapter is the upgraded to support b/g/n
    3) 64bit operating system vs 32bit

    Thank goodness you can Raid 0 this puppy later, I was worried! The specs for the 172s says no raid support??
    Reply
  • kyp275 - Monday, April 21, 2008 - link

    aye, a refresh on the review for the 6860 would be great :) Reply
  • Rekonn - Tuesday, April 22, 2008 - link

    Yes, please update the review! I'm planning to buy a laptop soon and would love to see how the faster Proc, more RAM, and 64bit OS affect results. Reply
  • Sector7g - Thursday, April 03, 2008 - link

    Ive had this laptop for just over a month now. Cant beat the bang for the buck. I got the last one here in Edmonton for $1350. This was when the price was $1700 in the states I was quite surprised to see such a price difference. Now I don't even see it listed on bestbuy.ca, I wonder if they stopped selling it here in Canada.

    I have just installed 2 of 3 upgrades, another WD250GB 5200rpm HD in Raid0 and a 2nd 2GB stick of ram. I did not however make a backup DVD as was mentioned, and now am looking for some of the apps that came with it. Is anyone that made one of these back up DVD's able to get me a copy? If you reinstall from the DVD that came with the Laptop does it install the aps that was on there? repartition the hard drive for recovery? I installed with another disk I have for ultimate x86. I have x64 on my desktop and had a few problems, but I don't have 4 gigs ram on my desktop. I'm trying to find a T9300 for less than $350 here in Canada but thats seems hard to do.

    Also my ram index rating in the windows benchmark stayed a 4.5 and did not go up to 4.8 as some have mentioned. It lists 4 gigs ram in the post, but of course displays only 3 gigs ram when in vista as a result of running x86.
    Reply
  • Tattered87 - Wednesday, April 02, 2008 - link

    I bought this when I was down in Texas on vacation 2 weeks ago, saw what was in it and thought "wow, that's a beast" and then I saw the price tag and my jaw dropped. I immediately went home and found this was by far the cheapest computer with a viable mobile graphics chipset for the performance I wanted if I ever did in fact get a laptop.

    Plays WoW like a champ, and that's pretty much all I got it for; for those who knock it for the processor, it's definitely not bad for what it is, the laptop eats my old northword core 2.4 w/6800nu that I have sitting at work for breakfast. The only thing I can see the laptop really limiting would be strong physics based games, such as Crysis.

    I wasn't even looking for a laptop at the time, but this thing definitely got my attention and I ended up going back the next day and buying the last one in stock. Unfortunately it came with the 1.66 cpu, but it really doesn't bother me since I got what I paid for.

    Speaking of which, a great thanks to the writer of this article for including that it was on sale this week; I like to read reviews of things I buy in a sort of "it was ok to spend all that money since you got a really good deal on it" sort of way, and I ended up going to BB and utilizing their 2 week price match guarantee and got $107.50 back (the $7.50 is from Texas tax going to Illinois tax).

    Overall an excellent review and I highly recommend this laptop to anyone who is considering it. Thanks for the fantastic review and also for saving me some $$
    Reply
  • ccubsfan94 - Sunday, April 20, 2008 - link

    hey i was looking at this laptop to buy what i mean was is i chose and still waiting to buy but i saw you say the crysis part and i looked at youtube alot and over half the people who showed crysis vids on there was using this laptop (the P-6860 not P-6831 though) just thought to tell you that and it has no lag of what i saw except one guy mad a explosion of 3,000 barrels of oil and couldn't watch or his computer would start lagging a bit Reply
  • QuantumPion - Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - link

    I played with this laptop at Best Buy when it was on sale for like $1150 or so. I have to say, this laptop has an amazing keyboard. Not just for a laptop, it was one of the nicest feeling keyboards I have ever used. It had perfect spacing and a really nice feel, it gives even high-end desktop keyboards a run for their money. This laptop really is amazing for its price, too bad I don't have much use for it otherwise I might buy one :D Reply
  • Docdoc - Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - link

    Superb review! Many thanks.

    I'm in the process of upgrading computers for my house, and I'd like to purchase gaming laptops for their portability.

    Question of the Day:

    The myriad games that were tested are helpful, but there's an elephant in the room that currently has over TEN MILLION subscribers which makes this laptop a very likely culprit for which a gaming computer will be used:

    World of Warcraft

    How would this laptop perform with a 1920 x 1200 external monitor? Any noticeable difference from a 'regular' desktop using a midrange dual core processor and a Nvidia 8800 GT 512MB video card?

    If there's not a noticeable difference between this laptop and a desktop, I'm sold.

    Thanks.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - link

    WoW is extremely *un*-demanding when it comes to graphics. Part of the reason WoW is so successful is that you don't need even a moderately powerful system to run it. You can max out the detail settings on a Radeon 9800 Pro card, based on what I've seen, and still run at 1920x1200.

    This laptop has a GPU that is the mobile equivalent of the GeForce 9600 GT, which is more than capable of running WoW at maximum detail... probably even at 2560x1600, although the video output options won't support that. So, if all you're interested in playing is WoW, you'll be very happy with the performance the P-6831 offers.
    Reply
  • Donkey2008 - Monday, March 31, 2008 - link

    To the guy who said laptops are the "losers choice for gaming" - I'm not sure that I agree with that statement, but hey it's the internet so we can all vomit our opinions without actually having to prove what we say.

    I have owned a Dell XPS M170 laptop (Pentium-M 2.0,2GB 533MHz RAM,7800 Go GTX 256MB) since late 2005 and I can still play games like Bioshock, BF2142, World in Conflict and COD4 very easily on med to high settings (Crysis on med, more lowish) on my "ancient" notebook. Oh, by the way, this notebook scores a blistering 3400 in 3DMark 06 (further reducing my confidence that it is a measure of actual gameplay).

    This Gateway should have an equally good lifespan. I don't really see any games being developed that are going to knock this laptop down (seeing as most new games are first and foremost developed for older console tech). Obviously you will have to make some graphic compromises as time goes by, but a $1500 investment (with CPU upgrade) is as good as it gets for the portability/performance it offers.

    The only problem I see is the size (like my M170). I am positive that most mobile gamers like me plug it into an external LCD when at home (or work), so the internal screen is only used when truly mobile (at school, at girlfriends, in the car, etc). For that reason, I think Alienware has hit it on the head with the 15.4" M15x. Small screen, yes, but much easier to fit into a backpack and use at school. The 17" is just way too big to do this and the Alienware is $3000 afterall.

    Gateway would have the one laptop to rule them all if they made a 15.4" version of this under say $1500.

    Anyway, great review. PS - it would be nice if gaming laptops had a movable screen (like the HP 12.1" laptops) so we all don't develop carpal tunnel as we age.
    Reply
  • GuitarFreak - Monday, March 31, 2008 - link

    Great review. I think I found my new laptop. I especially like how you can upgrade it. I've got a t9300, a 2GB stick of RAM, and a 7200rpm hdd lined up to go in when I get one :D Reply
  • mdudeja - Monday, March 31, 2008 - link

    Jarred, could you give a few more details about the LCD, such as backlight bleed and viewing angles? Reply
  • SilthDraeth - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    Asus F3kA Seriies, out of the box with 2gigs of Ram, and ATI HD 2600 512 MB Video Card. $899

    I have this notebook. I bought it when it was $1000. I upgraded it to 4 Gigs of RAM, and Run Vista 64 on it. Asus even provides drivers for Vista 64. (Though they tell you they don't support Vista 64)

    I am just curious on the price to performance. I believe the Vid Card in the Gateway is superior, and the processor is as well. But the Asus is very good for gaming comes with a 30 day zero dead pixel warranty, and 1 year accidental damage warranty, and 2 year standard warranty on the rest of the notebook. So the value is extremely good.
    Reply
  • teknomedic - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    Can anyone who has gotten the T5550 proc go to Gateway and enter your serial number and then check out the documentation and let us know if they only list the T5450 info or if they give you the T5550 info?

    I'm trying to figure out if I've got the T5450 or the T5550 before I open the box... of course the box says T5450 and when I enter my serial at gateway I only get the T5450 documentation as well. I also called gateway tech support and that person basically told me that he showed no records of any of these laptops getting the T5550 proc... but he seemed a little "off" to me though and that's of course an incorrect statement.

    TK.
    Reply
  • teknomedic - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    ^^^ also though, I've read on the net (so take with some salt) that gateway released a patch because vista was incorrectly ID'ing the proc as a faster one... is there any merit to this... could we all have the T5450 but it's being miss-ID'd? Reply
  • Che - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    My box does say T5450, but I ran CPU-Z and it does identify it as the faster processor. I'll check the serial number later for ya. Reply
  • Che - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    I entered my serial # and it does state it was a T5450. Ship date March 08 Reply
  • teknomedic - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    Thanks for doing that... I decided to just open my box.. figured I'd be upgrading the CPU anyway later... and... got the faster T5550. ;)

    So I guess there really is no way to know what you've got until you turn on the PC.

    My PC has a ship date of March 13th and I got the T5550 @ 1.83Ghz... of course now my wife is jealous so we had to buy one for her as well. Her ship date was March 4th... haven't opened the box yet... but will report what she has when we do. Both computers were bought at Best Buy.
    Reply
  • teknomedic - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    quick update...

    My wife's laptop with a ship date of March 4th ended up having the slower T5450 proc... Also, both laptops have a strange "buzz" or audio distortion of the right speaker while playing some games (mostly Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath).

    Also, I find the proc debate mute now since the P-6860 is coming out... if you can wait a week or so everyone here should now buy the P-6860... it's still only $1349 but gets a few nice upgrades such as the faster T5550 proc, 4GB RAM and a 320GB HDD with Vista 64bit.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    ASUS makes good notebooks, and the F3kA you linked is reasonable. Still, the 8800M GTS is probably 2 to 3 times more powerful than the Mobility HD 2600. You can run the Quake 4, Crysis, UT3, and Bioshock gaming tests quite easily if you want to compare. Same goes for CINEBENCH, 3DMark, and PCMark.

    I think the ASUS might be a better laptop in terms of battery life (it depends on the battery size), but the GPU, CPU, and LCD are all worse than the P-6831. $900 is a fair price for what you get, though.
    Reply
  • Fant - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    I wished Anandtech would have compared the performance of this gateway to a few other laptops such as the $1500 Dell XPS M1530 which comes with c2d, 4gb, 8600Mgt as well as a MBP running XP (via bootcamp) since it also comes with c2d and 8600MGT. Reply
  • ap90033 - Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - link

    Wow 8600M GT? I had one of those Dells, I SENT IT BACK. It was HORRIBLE for gaming. Seriously, it would be embarrassing for the Dell... Reply
  • predatorramboxxx - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    all of them now have 1.83 or 1.86 check notebook review if you do not believe me.
    mine came with 1.83 from bestbuy

    Reply
  • 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
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    You'll need to connect an external LCD and run at 1280x1024 to get comparable 3DMark06 scores. Without an external LCD, 3DMark06 will drop the resolution to 1280x800. I'll test that right now to let you know how the system I received benchmarks. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    FYI, here are my results for 3DMark06 at 1280x800 (the default using the laptops LCD):

    Overall Score: 7005
    SM2.0 Score: 3282
    SM3.0 Score: 3430
    CPU Score: 1448
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, March 29, 2008 - link

    Could be that Gateway is just going to upgrade the CPU for free. I'm sure the T5550 will improve performance slightly in some situations, but after all it's only a 10% CPU performance increase. I really wish you could customize the build a bit; I'd want a T8300 and the 1920x1200 LCD personally. That would probably increase the price to $1700-$1800, but that's still better than the alternatives and you wouldn't have to sacrifice in those areas. Although, I do wonder what type of LCD they use for the upgraded model... hopefully the same LG.Philips as the Clevo, as it's quite good. Reply
  • marsbound2024 - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    I work at Best Buy and I am very sure that the batteries typically installed on our FXs do NOT jut out from the back. They absolutely are flush with the unit. However, I do believe it is a smaller mAh obviously. The last time I dealt with an FX at Geek Squad I absolutely do not remember a jutting battery pack. Not sure if others can speak to this or not, however. Reply
  • ap90033 - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    I dont work at best buy, but I HAVE ONE AND IT DOES STICK OUT. Silly head... I bet you work in Geek Squad. LOL Reply
  • marsbound2024 - Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - link

    I do work in Geek Squad... not that I like it or even think it is true IT. I have bigger plans, but for now I'll take what job I can get at my age. I realize the jokes about Geek Squad, but I don't care. My intelligence is greater than what may typically be represented by GS Agents.

    Anyways, I verified for myself that the laptop's battery is flush. In fact, I will take a picture with a digital camera to prove it.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    I'd love it if you could check on this. If the standard battery is 2600 mAh instead of 7800 mAh, you'd be looking at 1/3 the battery life that I got in testing. :| Reply
  • marsbound2024 - Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - link

    By the way, the Gateway FXs could have been upgraded, but I am sure our display remained the same as far as what battery it has. Reply
  • marsbound2024 - Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - link

    I checked on this already and am 100% positive that what we have at Best Buy, at least on display, is a battery that is flush with the unit. I will take it out and tell you what mAh it is. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    Note that Gateway's website lists 2600 mAh for all the batteries on all the P-series FX notebooks, and obviously I received a 7800 mAh battery. Since they Gateway pictures show the battery poking out, and given the power requirements, I have to think they really are shipping larger batteries. The only 2600 mAh batteries I've seen are for 12" and smaller ultra-portables, which end up offering less than two hours battery life on those laptops. Who would want a 20 minute battery life on a larger notebook!? Reply
  • marsbound2024 - Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - link

    It looks as if at least Best Buy is also shipping models only with 7800mAh batteries now. So it could be that this whole 2600mAh thing was quickly changed. But basically if you buy one now, you are getting the bigger battery and it is certainly not an option to go smaller. Now for the display, I will let you know. I know for a fact it didn't have a battery jutting out, so that could be a 2600mAh or hey, none at all. If that's the case, it's an honest mistake. I will check the next time I work. But current research points at everyone getting a 7800mAh and no option now to go smaller. In fact, on Gateway's website, they removed the 2600mAh spec. Reply
  • KeithP - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    If you don't mind a little constructive criticism, the car analogy in final conclusion is way over done IMHO. After that first sentence, everything else could have been deleted. We got it, move on. It just seemed like filler to me.

    Regards,
    KeithP
    Reply
  • krwilsonn - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    I actually really liked the car analogy! It could relate because a laptop "on the go", just like a car. The performance comparisons between laptops and cars are also very true, so I can't agree that it was filler as it did illustrate an important point about the performance characteristics of the laptop compared to others. Also, I think the idea that it is an "everyman" sort of laptop that is specifically capable for gaming at a great price makes it a perfect fit for alot of gamers who would probably be able to upgrade every couple years anyway. Obviously most people aren't going to spent $4000 on a laptop anyway. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    The latest Intel chipsets are able to run dual-channel with mismatched memory sizes, as the others above pointed out. There is a small performance penalty, but in truth RAM performance isn't the primary bottleneck, particularly on notebooks. Look at the WidowPC vs. AVADirect scores - the AVADirect uses faster RAM, but performance is still a tossup.

    Someone mentioned bloatware, and in the midst of testing and finishing things up, I neglected to cover that topic. The laptop does indeed come with a lot of crap software installed. However, it's not necessary to do a clean install - I just uninstalled all the extra stuff and that's what I tested. It took an hour or so all told (the internet security suite takes a while to remove), but the result is a much leaner setup. Highly recommended.

    If you want to upgrade the CPU, my recommendation would be to go for the T8300. eWiz http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?p=T8300BOX">has it for $240, and it would totally remove the CPU bottleneck in games. If you want to go for the T9300 to get the additional cache and 100MHz more, http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?p=T9300BOX">it costs around $320, so I'm not sure it's worth the money for most people.

    Folding@Home can run on the system - that leaves the CPU fan on max, which may reduce the life expectancy of the fan (okay, it *will* reduce the fan life), but it's not terribly loud. With the T5450, however, Folding@Home SMP needs to run pretty much 24/7 to complete work units within the alloted time.

    Regarding temperatures, a lot will depend on the operating environment. During the winter months when few houses or offices are much above 70F, I doubt many will complain. In the summer, I imagine it will be quite a bit warmer. This is at its heart a desktop replacement, like all other 17" notebooks. You can carry it around and use it on a bus/plane if you want, but that's not the primary intended role. At maximum load after 30 minutes the bottom of the laptop gets relatively warm... I'll run some tests quick and update the article in the next hour or so.

    Finally, a bunch of people complain about my mentioning the ASUS G2P. Here's the deal: the G2P was a $1900 laptop when it launched, and in my review at that time I loved the LCD but lambasted the weak GPU choice. Only laptops with a Go 7900 GS were adequate, but those cost well over $2000 at the time (not counting prices obtained via auction sites and short-term sales). The G2S is a decent notebook today, but NOT FOR GAMING! Look at the results from the Toshiba X205; that includes an 8700M GT, which is moderately faster than the 8600M GT in the G2S (higher clock speeds). The X205 had a T7200 (more cache and a 2.0GHz clock) and the P-6831 already outperforms it by up to 100%! The G2S is a great multimedia laptop, but gaming performance is still very weak. If ASUS had a laptop with an 8800M (GTS or GTX - I don't care) in it, I'd be all over it. If they could do it for $1500 or less, then the Gateway P-6831 would have some competition.
    Reply
  • VooDooAddict - Friday, April 04, 2008 - link

    Can anyone confirm that the T8300 or T9300 work in this laptop?

    I saw a post that someone fitted the laptop with a 65nm T7500 but I've seen no mention of the 45nm T8300.

    Thanks.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, April 04, 2008 - link

    The higher end models of this same chassis ship with Penryn chips, so it *shouldn't* be a problem putting a T8300 in a lower-end FX system. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Saturday, March 29, 2008 - link

    Thanks for the Folding @ Home info! I hope it'll do okay. Wish laptops were like desktops where it just doesn't matter :-/

    I'm kind of baffled by this dual channel with mismatching DIMM sizes thing. I've never seen that covered in chipset reviews. I guess it's leaving SOME of the RAM in dual channel mode, and some (the left over 1GB)? Weird. So just randomly some memory accesses would have double the bandwidth of others.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, March 29, 2008 - link

    It's been around since the Intel P965/975X chipsets. It's called Intel Flex Memory Technology. All I can find on the subject says that it "Gives users a more flexible memory upgrade option by allowing different memory sizes to be installed while maintaining dual-channel mode/performance." There's no clear indication of what exactly they're doing (maybe in a white paper somewhere?), but I suspect the interleaving of data between the memory channels is modified in this arrangement. Performance may not be as high as a matched dual-channel config, but it's still better than single-channel.

    Of course, last I recall seeing this tested, dual-channel only improved actual system performance by 5-15% depending on the platform. Since notebook chipsets are already bottlenecked by a slower FSB, the improved memory bandwidth probably doesn't matter that much. The FSB is 133MHz base, quad-pumped. The RAM is 333MHz base, double-pumped. Both deliver the same bandwidth before dual-channel ever comes into play.
    Reply
  • jburgett - Saturday, March 29, 2008 - link

    Thank you for updating the article with temperature info! That is definitely something you can't infer from the spec sheet.
    Nice job!


    Reply
  • dtonnes - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    Back in October '06 I bought (via ebay) a new Dell Inspiron 9400, 100GB 7200HD, Geforce 7900gs, 2gb ram, T7200 processor, 1920 X 1200 screen for $1684. I've since updated it with a 200GB 7200HD and 4gb DDR667 RAM.

    It doesn't really seem like there's much more bang for the buck today than when I bought my machine a year and a half ago. Perhaps the most sensible upgrade right now would be to replace the 7900gs. Does anyone know if this is possible?
    Reply
  • asusftw - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    asus g2p? what era are we in? benchmark the g2sg-a1 or the g2s-b2. don't use notebooks that are past their expiration date please. Reply
  • pnyffeler - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    Ouch. :-) Reply
  • kenbx84 - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    I like how these guys like to compare the outdated Asus G2P to this gateway as oppose to the more up to date G2Sg or even G2S-B2...

    Hey guys try comparing the latest notebooks with the latest notebooks please.
    Reply
  • ap90033 - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    Are you talking about this one? http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cache:nBTuWHg8-gQJ:...">http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cache:nB...p;hl=en&...

    If so 5200 in 3dmark06 isnt really close to 7000 that I get with the P6831FX...
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    Note that in order to compare 3DMark06 scores properly, you need to test at 1280x1024... that link only does so at the end and then scores a paltry 4715. For the 6831FX, you need to use an external LCD (which I did). 6820 is a respectable score, held back quite a bit by the CPU (which contributes something like 1/4 to 1/3 of the total points, I think).

    But really, who cares about 3DMark? We don't play that; we play actual games. Compared to the 8700M GT in the X205:

    Battlefield 2, Bioshock, Quake 4, Stalker, and Supreme Commander are roughly half the performance. Meanwhile Far Cry, the HL2 games, and Oblivion are about 2/3 as fast. So in tested games, the P6831 is usually at least 50% faster than the X205, and frequently twice as fast. I wish I still had an 8700M GT system so I could run some of the new games through the wringer, but regardless it's not looking pretty.
    Reply
  • MrX8503 - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    "I like how these guys like to compare the outdated Asus G2P to this gateway as oppose to the more up to date G2Sg or even G2S-B2...

    Hey guys try comparing the latest notebooks with the latest notebooks please. "

    Reading is your friend. Theres a reason why they did this.
    Reply
  • deshiboy - Monday, January 25, 2010 - link

    8690 HYA HYA! Reply
  • jburgett - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    Frequently reviewers of laptops neglect to measure the heat radiating from the top and bottom of laptops. This can be a major factor in the actual use of a system. For example, I had a Gateway nx860XL that reached 52 deg C on the underside while sitting on a flat surface! Such hot temperatures prevent using it on your lap for even short periods. Further, the area under your left hand while gaming (the WASD keys) reached 45 deg after a long gaming session, and this was while raising the back of the laptop to provide maximum fan airflow!

    Please consider adding temperature measurements on teh top and bottom to your reviews. It would be very helpful, as the differences from one laptop to another are dramatic.
    Currently only notebookreview.com and notebookcheck.net provide temperature readings.
    Thanks for the review!
    Reply
  • ap90033 - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    Interesting point, its not important for me, I use the Ideazon Fang... Its way better than using a keyboard and makes this a non issue. I have used mine a lot gaming and surfing the net and never noticed but of course when gaming my fang gamepad allows me to play with no distractions. Actually for a gaming laptop I was suprised at how cool it runs... Reply
  • Wolfpup - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    I'm wondering if this comes with a real Vista DVD like Dell's systems do (not no one else does) so you can reinstall it from scratch when you get it.

    It actually sounds like it does from the manual for the FX series, as it talks about reinstalling from the Vista DVD. Presumably if it didn't HAVE a DVD included, they'd at least mention "oh you have to buy it".

    I also wonder if this can run Folding @ Home whenever it's on. Sounds like maybe it can actually handle it, if 100% CPU utilization doesn't require it to ramp up the fans all the way.

    Overall, I hate the slow CPU, but even that's not much different from a lot of notebooks in the price range. I probably should have bought one during that sale (DOH!) But maybe I'll still pick one up...

    Oh, and to the person who said people reading Anandtech won't use this as their main machine...why not? I've got a pretty big backlog of games to get through, so I might be an exception, but I figure I can get at LEAST a year or two of use out of this before I start getting held back by the CPU and GPU. And the price is low enough that I can just figure I'll buy a new notebook or desktop in 1-3 years when needed, and it'll still be cheaper then buying something more expensive now.

    Actually another question...I wonder how getting the memory in dual channel mode would help performance? 3GB is beyond adequate, but I'd assume these newer systems still give up 10%+ performance when running single channel.
    Reply
  • ap90033 - Sunday, March 30, 2008 - link

    Yes it comes with a Vista Home Premium DVD.... Reply
  • win32asmguy - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    I bought one of these yesterday at Best Buy after they put it on sale for $1249 again.

    It does indeed have a real Vista re-install cd. The CD also includes none of the extra bundled applications or such. However, you can also make a "restore" DVD from an included program that will recreate its 10GB recovery partition and return it to a factory fresh installation. Its nice to see Gateway let people go either way with this.

    The P-6831fx is also actually due for an update soon. Its supposed to be called the P-6860fx and will have a T5550 (1.83ghz, 667fsb, 2mb) and a 320GB hdd instead of the 250GB. My P-6831fx actually already has a T5550 in it, as gateway's ODM has appeared to already run out of the T5450's as of the last shipment. The slower processor is definitely a setback, but I will eventually upgrade to a T9300 to close the gap in performance even closer to the laptops with the GTX.

    Oh, and CPU-Z does report that it runs in dual channel mode, however it also takes a small performance hit due to not being both 2GB sticks. Other users report their Vista memory experience index from jumping from 4.6 to 4.8 when upgrading to 4GB.
    Reply
  • iclicku - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    The laptop comes with a Vista DVD. However, you'll have to burn a back-up DVD for drivers and applications. It should be the first thing you do before performing a format.

    The laptop should be fine for Folding @ Home. If not, a simple CPU upgrade should do wonders.

    As for the 3GB of ram, it is in fact running in dual channel mode so no worries there. It's definately useful since Vista needs as much memory it can get it's grubby little hands on.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    [quote] Imagine being able to buy a very nice sports car that could compete with the Dodge Viper at one third the cost, and that's what Gateway has released on the market. [/quote]

    In other words it is the Evo/STI of the gaming laptop world. Maybe one of the ones with the bigger screens qualifies as a base Corvette.
    Reply
  • Corland - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    It would be nice to see things like the MacBook Pro with LED backlight (or a regular MacBook) in the color comparison and LCD tests for comparison sake- comparing gaming laptop LCD's to each other is fine, but having some other common laptop screens that some of us will have worked with would also be useful.... Reply
  • iclicku - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    As the review states, you can't beat the value of this laptop. I purchased this laptop at Best Buy during the President's Day sale for $1199 and it came with a $50 game (COD4). Out of the box, it's a great machine. However, the review doesn't mention the amount of bloatware that is on the machine (which is commonplace).

    I managed to place a few upgrades in my machine. I placed a T7500 C2D, 4GB total ram, 200GB 7200RPM HD, and wiped my machine and installed a dual boot with Vista Business 64-bit and XP Pro 32-bit. I got great deals on the upgrades and the OSes I had from previous machines. Total cost of machine came to $1500.

    3dMark06 scores are as follows: (drivers I used are 169.09 from laptopvideo2go.com)
    Vista 64 - 8900
    XP Pro 32 - 9150
    Reply
  • tomek1984 - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - link

    Give me few hints how you got video driver to work with XP. I downloaded 169.09 and tried installing it with base file and 2nd time with an updated one by INF file. Nether1 recognized Nvidia hardware. I am using 6860 FX with factory specs+ 2nd harddrive(XP is instaled on 2nd HD) Reply
  • Starcub - Saturday, May 17, 2008 - link

    I got a newer driver from laptopvideo2go.com to work by replacing the inf file with nvwi.inf which I extracted from the included originalinfs.zip. Reply
  • ap90033 - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    Nice, I have one and wondered what the difference would be if I upgraded the CPU...

    Great review by the way.
    Reply
  • ToeJuice - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    I own an Asus G2 and it's one of the better (if not the best) midrange gaming laptops I've ever owned or seen. But I guess Asus lappies don't even deserve a mention here? Reply
  • ToeJuice - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    Nevermind... overreacted to the first page... lol Reply
  • bill3 - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    Would you make a gaming laptop your only machine? A 9600GT caliber GPU sounds nice now, but in just a few months as always it will be slipping way behind.

    It's hard enough keeping up to gaming specs on a desktop, seems to me a fixed spec laptop is always a losers choice for gaming.
    Reply
  • gerf - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    I use my laptop for all computer uses outside of work. I consider it gaming able as well: Dell Vostro 1500 1.6GHz C2D, 8600m 512MB only DDR2, 2GB RAM, 85WHr battery. With the discounts of the day, 3 year warranty and a bag thrown in, it was about $1050.

    What mattered the most was that I get about 5 hours battery life when I'm just running moz, irc, IM, Thunderbird around the house.

    I'm not a Dell employee, but I have to say that this type of lapper could be grouped up there as a reasonable alternative for moderate gamers on the go.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    That sort of system is a standard laptop first and a gaming laptop second. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but if you really like games and want to be able to run at maximum detail, that type of system won't cut it. That's what I'm getting at in the conclusion: the need for balance as well as targeting what type of system you want. If you want long battery life, the 8800M notebooks are currently a poor choice. I'm still waiting to see the first notebooks with HybridPower, so that you can get both 3D performance *and* long battery life. Reply
  • pmonti80 - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    For the kind of people who read anandtech, that laptop is not going to be their only computer. It's a second or third computer, like a desktop pc you can move or if you go to a LAN party, used for such things.

    And for the kind of people not reading anandtech this mobile equivalent of a 9600 GT is more that OK for a couple of years. At the native resolution of 1440x900 they would be able to play any game for 2 or more, just reducing the settings used as games demand more power (1440x900 is just a few less pixels than 1280x1024).

    Just my 2 cents.
    Reply
  • iclicku - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    I actually bought this laptop to leave at my GF's place so that when I'm over there, I can play games and such. Plus my GF loves to use it as well. I already have a desktop at home and the specs are very similar to the laptop. Reply
  • FXi - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    Nice review. It's very nice to see a notebook that enters the market at a kinder price point (even fully loaded it's far better than Dell or Alienware 17" gaming models).

    Drivers! Seriously anyone who isn't "working with" Nvidia hand in hand right now to get regular driver updates for mobile gaming machines is going to be out of this business when those updates start showing up. SLI absolutely requires serious regular driver updates, and the minute those updates stop (you stop getting supported) your SLI rig is not a single gpu rig in any future games. Kinda sad, eh?

    The TN panel is a bit of a compromise, but folks should seriously consider that the price for what you get is pretty good. One can always move up several thousand and not get dramatically more performance. A cpu upgrade would probably be the only thing most folks might consider paying more for.

    Well done :)
    Reply
  • pmonti80 - Friday, March 28, 2008 - link

    It's a pitty that I live in spain and can't buy this notebook. Because I would buy it without a second thought if Gateway sold these here.
    Great for Lan's and as a Desktop Replacement. For a decent price.
    Reply

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