Gateway's New Notebooks for the Extreme Budget: 15.6" with AMD Fusionby Dustin Sklavos on March 25, 2011 1:45 AM EST
Gateway announced this past Moday that they're releasing to the market a trio of value-oriented desktop (well, really nettop) replacement notebooks built around AMD's Fusion platform. Brazos has been a big hit with OEMs as nearly every major manufacturer is producing machines based around it, particularly the extremely popular E-350 APU.
The new NV series from Gateway features across the board 15.6" LED-backlit 1366x768 displays, wireless-n connectivity, HDMI, 1.3-megapixel webcams, and six-cell, 44Wh batteries. They also feature the now-traditional Acer/Gateway island-style keyboard that remains the bane of my existence, much to Jarred's continued amusement. As a whole the line may not seem too exciting, but remember these notebooks are gunning for users on the strictest of budgets and top out at an MSRP of $470.
Gateway's flagship model is the catchily-named NV51B05u. This is the $470 one, and it ships with the AMD E-350 APU, 3GB of DDR3, and a 500GB 5400-RPM hard drive. Presently, the NV51B05u is the only model on Gateway's website, but it can be found here. Gateway quotes over four hours of running time on the battery, and our experience with the E-350 suggests that figure is probably accurate for moderate loads.
On the other hand, Gateway is a little more cagey with detailed specs about the other models that are rounding out the line. At $450 is the NV51B02u, which also features the E-350. Odds are good this model has a smaller hard drive and/or less RAM. And at the extremely entry-level $400 price point is the NV51B08u which swaps out the E-350 for the C-50. The AMD C-50 retains both cores, but runs at a much slower 1GHz and clocks the graphics core at just 280MHz, though it also features a TDP of just 9W, half that of the already frugal E-350.
Unfortunately these prices seem a little on the high side for what you get. Compare the NV51 series to Gateway's own NV50: starting at $450, you get bumped up to a 2.1GHz Phenom II triple-core and 4GB of DDR3. Of course you'll sacrifice mobility and battery life for the privilege, so for users who are going to want to take their 15.6" notebook onn the go, the newer NV51 with the E-350 may seem like the better call. Ultimately, though, an important takeaway is that this extreme budget market segment may not be for you, but users who don't need much from a machine are going to get more mileage out of these notebooks. This is a market that used to be served by AMD's dire V-series processor, so the E-350 is going to be a major upgrade.
And just to sweeten the pot, we'll have Toshiba's 15.6" Brazos model, the C655D, in house soon.
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duploxxx - Friday, March 25, 2011 - linkWhy all those 15,6inch note-netbooks, that is stretching brazos too much, with such a large size many users will expect more grunch, the LIano E series and A2 will be a much better APU for that. You could say that the 15,6 now will pack a verry healthy 10-12 hours online, but they don't they just put crappy and small batteries in there.
give us 13-14" i find the 10 and 11" just a bit to small
softdrinkviking - Friday, March 25, 2011 - linki agree, i think they are just trying to sucker people in with "the latest thing" mentality. Brazos was never designed with big screens or heavy mobile workloads in mind.
it's supposed to be the AMD answer to Atom.
i would really like to only see these in little machines, and i would hope that any extra costs would be incurred because of 1. a quality display or 2. an SSD.
of course, most people will just go out and buy the newest thing, so HP's marketing department probably has the right idea here, but it's sad to me anyway.
Dustin Sklavos - Friday, March 25, 2011 - linkI think you guys are kind of missing the point. This is for extreme budget builds. Gateway has priced themselves out of that market a bit, but these things used to be running AMD single core V-series processors. Brazos is enough for Grandma Millie to visit YouTube and check her e-mail.
krumme - Friday, March 25, 2011 - linkAgree.
So the consumers are idiots buying brazos on a 15.6? Well then most consumers are stupid. How convinient. They can not decide what is best for themselves, but the experts have to tell them that a 15.6 is to large for a brazos...
The fact, that better be learned now is, that brazos is perfectly fast for all ordinary task that 99% do. Better get used to it. If its a 10 or a 17" dont matter. Noise and battery life, and cost, is far more important than speed you dont need. The week link on the brazos machines is not the cpu but the hd. Next step is an ssd.
Shadowmaster625 - Friday, March 25, 2011 - linkIt's the same resolution, 1366x768. It dont matter if it is 12 inches or 16 inches. These machines should be $300 on a good day, $350 typical shop-around price.
krumme - Friday, March 25, 2011 - linkWell as you perfectly know its not windows starter with 1Gb theese machines. But they will come, and then you can have them for 325.
But the consumer seems to prefer to be able to change the windows 7 carpet, instead of choosing sandybridge.
And as you know the consumers prefer 768 size displays to 900 because otherwise it will be to small, and they will have to strain their eyes, ha-ha,
Get used to it, it will be brazos all over within a year.
softdrinkviking - Monday, March 28, 2011 - linkthere is something to be said for someone who needs a cheap laptop with a larger display, but this isn't cheap enough.
and not just this one, but also the sony, the hp, and the msi that were reviewed recently, they are all out of our fictional grandma's price range.
there is no need to push the uber-cheap entry laptop to the 450-650 range.
you can call that math "a bit" out the ultra-budget if you want, but i would say over $350 is past it, certainly over $400 is.
also, i do think there are many people likely to buy something in this price range that don't know the details of their cpu, and don't want to know.
calling them idiots is taking it way too far.
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MonkeyPaw - Friday, March 25, 2011 - linkI mostly agree. I don't think the 15"+ form factor is the best application, but considering the only extra work to do is push extra pixels to a larger panel, the GPU on Fusion is far more capable than IGPs of the past assigned to the same task. Overall, you shouldn't notice a difference moving up to 15" from 11" with Fusion. The shame of it is, Brazos is much more capable than this, but I guess 15" class notebooks are the best sellers, so that's what we get.
Considering our home computer is an 15.4" Acer Timeline with a single core penryn at 1.3ghz paired with an Intel IGP, this has got to be faster. 90% of the time, our Timeline is fast enough, and we love the fact that it goes 6-7 hours on a charge. I just wish OEMs would pair a real battery with Brazos, so we could get 8 hours. THAT is what I'm looking for at 15.4"
ProDigit - Sunday, March 27, 2011 - linkHas to do with components. It costs about as much to buy a 15" TFT screen, as a 10" lcd, because the market sells more 15" screens.
Gateway isn't particularly the best company, buying up last gen screens, hd's and batteries, to sell those laptops cheaper to the customers.
Most gateways are fraggin slow, due to bad choice of hardware, and some cease to exist after a year or two, due to breaking hardware.
The amd Apu's are a piece of engineering work, and probably will not fail you; but I can't say that about the other parts of this laptop.