Gateway P-6831 FX Overview

Okay, so Gateway cut down the graphics card a bit and they went with one of the cheapest Core 2 Duo processors available. What else did they trim in order to that price point? As amazing as it may seem, there really weren't any other serious compromises:

Gateway P-6831 FX Specifications
Processor Core 2 Duo T5450 (1.67GHz 2MB 667FSB)
Note: New versions are shipping with the T5550 (1.83GHz 2MB 667FSB)
Chipset Intel GM965 + ICH8-M
Memory 1x1024MB + 1x2048MB DDR2-667
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 8800M GTS 512MB
Display 17" WXGA+ (1440x900) UltraBright
Hard Drive 250GB 5400RPM 8MB Cache
Optical Drive 8X SuperMulti DVD+/-RW
Networking Integrated Gigabit Ethernet
Intel 4965AGN WiFi
Bluetooth v2.0
Audio Intel 2-Channel HD Audio
Battery 9-Cell 86WHr
Front Side Front LCD Latch
WiFi On/Off switch
Left Side 2 x USB 2.0
Optical Drive (DVDRW)
Kensington Lock
GPU Cooling Exhaust
Right Side VGA
Gigabit Ethernet
1 x USB 2.0
Mini FireWire
Headphone/Mic Jacks
5-in-1 Flash Reader (MS, MS Pro, MMC, SD, xD)
Back Side Power Connector
56K Modem
CPU Cooling Exhaust
Operating System Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
Dimensions 15.75" x 11.75" x 1.3"-1.70" (WxDxH)
Weight 9.2 lbs (single HDD)
Extras Fingerprint scanner
1.3MP webcam
1 x 2.5" HDD bay available
Warranty 1-year standard

You get everything that you would expect to find in a reasonably high-end notebook. First, Gateway equips the notebook with a whopping 3GB of memory. Why use 3GB rather than 2GB or 4GB? Since the system is running Windows Vista 32-bit, going beyond 3GB won't really help. We would have been content with 2GB, but we see no reason to complain about the extra 1GB. Should you choose, you can of course remove the 1GB SO-DIMM and try upgrading the laptop to 4GB of memory — and a 64-bit OS if you're willing to install it on your own. The specs say the laptop only supports up to 3GB of RAM, but we can't think of any reason why that should be the case.

For communications, you get Gigabit and 802.11N networking, plus Bluetooth support; heck, you even get a modem. On the storage side, you get a DVD burner plus 250GB of hard drive storage. There's even a second empty hard drive slot (populated on higher-end FX notebooks). USB ports, HDMI and VGA video connections, a flash memory reader, and ExpressCard/54 slot are all par for the course. All of this is put into a 17" chassis.

There are a few other compromises made, of course. First, the hard drive is a slower 5400RPM model, but considering the capacity even that isn't much of a compromise. The only larger 2.5" notebook drive currently available is a 320GB model, which also runs at 5400RPM but costs quite a bit more. Still, a 200GB 7200RPM Drive would be slightly faster. The only remaining compromise we can see is their use of a 1440x900 LCD panel. The higher-end FX notebooks include 1920x1200 LCDs, but their prices start at $2000.

Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks to Gateway notebooks is that there are no customization options in terms of components. On the Gateway website, there are currently five versions of the Gateway FX P-series available, and each one comes with a specific memory, storage, graphics, and CPU configuration. Perhaps you don't need high performance graphics but would like a faster processor? Too bad — that's not an option unless you want to do the upgrade on your own. More shocking is that the P-6831 isn't even for sale directly from Gateway — it's only available at retail outlets. So in total, there are six notebook configurations that use the same chassis, but unlike Dell and other competing OEMs, you can't custom build a laptop to your specifications. If that's the price we have to pay, we're okay with making the sacrifice. The P-6831 is undoubtedly the most interesting of the six models anyway... though we really would have liked the option to get a 1920x1200 LCD for a few hundred dollars more.

Note: Several readers have written and mentioned that Gateway is now shipping some P-6831 laptops with T5550 CPUs. Over time, we expect this transition to extend to all new laptops, so performance will be up to 10% faster than the system we tested. The T5450 works well for gaming already, so a faster CPU for free is merely icing on the cake.

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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 5, 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 5, 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 5, 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!!
  • 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.
  • 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).


    HEY, 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***

  • xeryx - Thursday, June 5, 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??
  • 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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