Overview

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.

Specifications and Features
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  • Jedi2155 - Sunday, April 19, 2009 - link

    I have a Gateway 7805u right as well but it has a Western Digital 7200 RPM 320 GB instead of the 500 GB 5400 RPM model.

    Lately in the past month or so I've had a few freezes that are exactly as you described in this article. I'm wondering if that issue is happening to a lot of other WD hard drives or is it just ours that are defective.
    Reply
  • Myrandex - Friday, April 17, 2009 - link

    I bought the 7805u a couple of months ago and I have to say that I am extremely pleased. Another advantage to that laptop is the 7200RPM hard drive as compared to the 5400RPM hard drive in this laptop that was reviewed. I don't mind the 1440x900 resolution, but I never saw the one before it. I just can compare it to other screens on laptops that I use and it seems alright. I do wish that the Fn and Ctrl keys were swapped though. I also feel that the speakers were a little lacking compared to other laptops from other companies. Some in the same price range had 4 speakers instead of 2, or a small built in sub, etc.

    I have thought about popping in a Quad whenever I feel that I'd need it, but for now I'm more than happy with the Dually that is in it.

    Jason
    Reply
  • Marcel17 - Thursday, April 16, 2009 - link

    C'mon Gateway , pluck your arses or eyes or whatever you use to receive visual information , and see the product for what really is BEFORE you get it out the door .
    It seems that in the last few years the laptop manufacturers have a world championship :Who can shove the ****est panel in a laptop and and sell it for 1500 bucks .These displays do have a place on the market and it's called entry level or to quantify the 400-666 $ segment .
    Me ? I'll gladly send some more money to Dell for that sweet 16 . By the time I will save 1500 it will have Win.7 and ATI 4650M and it will be Purrrfect.
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, April 15, 2009 - link

    What happened to the lower/higher is better in the screen benchmarks? I just got done praising you in the Dell review, and come to this one and see it's back to the old subtitles without telling us what is better/worse. Please bring it back! Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, April 15, 2009 - link

    Sorry - had it on one of the charts, but it wasn't in my spreadsheet since I updated the charts directly. Consider me flogged... I'll go update the graphs and spreadsheet now. Reply
  • atlmann10 - Monday, April 13, 2009 - link

    Hey if you want one from BB try the ASUS it looked pretty sweet. I actually bought the P-7811FX, and am reasonably happy with it. However, if I had the choice to make again I would go with a smaller lighter unit. Do not get me wrong the 7811 is great, but really how often do I game on it? The answer is not much. I use my desktop for gaming, and yes if I was on the road that may be different. But if I was on the road for work I think the time spent gamin would still be rather low. So lighter more transportable with power would be my pick now. This new unit I don't see the point much. Yes; it has a quad cpu but really what makes use of that especially that your going to run on a laptop. Even games don't make use of more than 2 cpus, then one is handling regular computer duty in the background maybe but I doubt it. I also think they should have done a 1600-1680 rez faster refresh display. So this package? Maybe if it was a full desktop replacement because I know first hand you can really forget mobility to the greatest degree. Reply
  • nubie - Monday, April 13, 2009 - link

    Re:

    [quote]drivers for the various pieces of hardware (touchpad, audio, GPU, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc.)[/quote]

    I watched my brother kill all of the processes/widgets associated with his 'drivers' for audio/video and it didn't stop the drivers from working just fine.

    I wish that it was made optional to have these widgets run when you install the drivers.

    Worst is printer drivers, I don't need 5 widgets running full time and locking up the system just to print. When will they learn?

    On topic:

    I think that for "gaming" they need to offer a 3 ghz dual core with a 98/112/128 SP card. (I am ashamed that they consider the 48 SP card a 9600GS on the desktop, and this "9800M" with the specs of a 9600GT is pitiful).

    I suppose that is nVidia's fault, but it would be nice if the laptop came with more graphics power. Although this is a decent amount of power for the money (Around $1,000 - $1,500).

    I like that they are keeping the chassis the same and focusing on what matters, the hardware.

    They should offer an OCZ or SuperTalent SSD, it would really make a noticeable difference in the computing feel for $130/209/345 more in 32/60/120GB capacities.

    I don't know if this lappy is set up for dual hard drives, but if it was you could spin down the HDD 80-95% of the time and run the OS and main apps on the SSD.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, April 13, 2009 - link

    Many of the driver widgets aren't 100% necessary and are merely system tray icons. However, rarely have I had any crashes that I would blame on touchpad, audio, keyboard, WiFi, etc. widgets. With 4GB of RAM, I just don't notice a difference between running with or without the drivers; some of the drivers are also necessary. Touchpad drivers as an example enable scrolling at the edges, I believe, along with some other extras (which you may or may not like). Another one that seems necessary for full functionality is the WiFi driver, though even there you can usually switch to letting Windows manage that connection and get rid of another app.

    As for printers... well, if all you need to do is print (as opposed to scanning, faxing, etc. with a multifunction printer), you can usually do a "driver only" install and ignore the manufacturer applications that tell you about ink levels and such. I hate those large driver suites almost as much as I despise the 5-8 processes created by most "Internet Security" suites.
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Monday, April 13, 2009 - link

    I like the Gateway® P-7805u FX Edition for $1,149.99.

    $1150 at best buy. It has a P8400 (2.26ghz dual core 3mb cache) instead of the Q9000, and a 320gb instead of 500gb HD. Otherwise, it looks identical.

    Well worth saving $550 over the 7808u!
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Monday, April 13, 2009 - link

    I also posted that before reading the final page of the review... ;) Reply

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