Gateway P-7808u: to Quad or Not to Quad?by Jarred Walton on April 13, 2009 3:00 AM EST
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Following in the tradition of the P-6831 FX and the P-7811 FX, the P-7808u FX is the latest "affordable gaming" laptop from Gateway. Once again, we have upgrades to make this model more desirable than the previous releases. In this case, Gateway has moved from a 2.26 GHz dual-core CPU up to the latest 2.0 GHz quad-core Q9000 processor. That means tasks that don't leverage the extra cores may actually be slower than on the previous P-7811, but for those that need more multi-threaded computing power the Q9000 will be up to 33% faster than the fastest 3.0 GHz dual-core mobile processors. The P-7811 utilized a 2.26GHz P8400 CPU, so relative to that model you're only giving up 267 MHz of clock speed, making the newer P-7808u up to 75% faster than the P-7811 in CPU intensive tasks.
The overall appearance of the Gateway FX laptops hasn't changed at all. Love it or hate it, the P-7808u on the surface looks identical to the P-6831, P-7811, etc. We've covered this laptop design extensively in previous reviews, so we won't spend a lot of time rehashing that area. Below are images from the P-7808u, with internal images from the P-171XL (which looks the same as the P-7808u, despite some component changes).
All of the expansion options remain unchanged. On the front, the only noteworthy item is the WiFi on/off switch. The left side has the optical drive, two USB ports, and the cooling exhaust. On the right, you get a 4-in-1 flash reader, headphone and microphone ports, FireWire, another USB port, Ethernet, HDMI, VGA, and eSATA. The rear has a second cooling exhaust, a modem jack (yup, some people still use those on occasion… poor souls!), and the socket for the power adapter.
We really don't have many complaints about the overall design, so sticking with the same packaging allows Gateway to keep costs down and focus on improving performance. Our one continuing complaint is that the battery extrudes about an inch from the back of the chassis, but the laptop will still fit in a standard 17" laptop bag. Unfortunately, despite relatively few changes and some minor upgrades, costs have gone up quite a bit this time. Where the P-6831 launched at a price of around $1300 and the P-7811 moved that up to $1450, the P-7808u is launching at a suggested price of $1800. You can already find the P-7808u for sale online at a price of $1700, though, so hopefully costs will continue to drop over the coming months. Let's take a closer look at the features to see if the price matches the features.