More Information on NVIDIA Drivers

As mentioned previously, one of the big problems we often have with gaming notebooks is driver support. If you go out and buy a desktop system, you can be relatively sure that you will always be able to get graphics card driver updates from NVIDIA or AMD. Outside of truly exotic systems, users are usually assured that they won't have to wait on an OEM to update drivers. Unfortunately, the same doesn't apply to notebooks.

NVIDIA is working to rectify this situation with their "rapid driver update" program. Yes, we did indeed use the word "rapid", and in speaking with NVIDIA they are fully aware that their mobile driver updates have been anything but. Think of it more as a goal rather than a current state, and hopefully you won't get too upset about lack of driver updates for your current gaming notebook. The plan is for NVIDIA to release updated mobile drivers quarterly. The next update is scheduled for late April 2008 (give or take a couple weeks), and we should see a fair number of supported gaming laptops.

We do know for sure that (most or all) Dell XPS notebooks and Clevo ODM notebooks are part of the program, and NVIDIA is working with Gateway to add them to the rapid driver program now. Whether that means you'll get updated drivers for XP, Vista, or both is not yet clear, and the Gateway FX notebooks might not make this next driver update. That said, outside of SLI systems we have not encountered any issues with the current GeForce 8800M Windows Vista drivers.

The long-term ideal would be for NVIDIA to provide updated drivers for all the major operating systems and all of the gaming notebooks, but that's a lot of permutations to test. It also sounds like at least a couple major companies do not like the idea of NVIDIA providing updated drivers for notebooks and prefer to provide their own driver updates (or not as the case may be). Whether or not NVIDIA actually has the manpower to support more companies is difficult to say, but we strongly encourage all notebook manufacturers that use NVIDIA graphics chips — particularly on notebooks that are "gaming" notebooks — to work with NVIDIA and become a part of their rapid driver update program. If you don't care about gaming on notebooks, perhaps the drivers don't matter, but any company offering an 8700M or higher GPU either needs to get on this program or forget about the gaming notebook market. It really is that simple.

Something else that's coming down the pipe from NVIDIA is greater support for their CUDA initiative. We commented that the Core 2 Duo T5450 is rather anemic compared to other current CPUs, but for certain applications that could become a moot point in the near future. NVIDIA is working with partners on CUDA accelerated applications that cover such areas as video transcoding, photo manipulation, and 3D rendering. In some instances they are realizing speed ups of over 18x compared to doing the work on the CPU. We should start to see some applications and plug-ins with CUDA support before the end of 2008 — and perhaps as early as this summer. H.264 encoding at better than real-time speeds on a laptop? Why yes thank you, we're very interested in that!

Gaming Performance — Resolution Scaling P-6831 FX LCD Quality
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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

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