Lighting the Flame

Back in March, we reviewed what has to be regarded as one of the most well-balanced and affordable gaming notebooks we have ever seen. The Gateway P-6831 FX offered very good gaming performance, keeping pace with some of the heavy hitting boutique laptop vendors. The truly impressive aspect was that Gateway managed to ship all of this in a notebook that cost only $1300.

Their approach was to mass produce a notebook that offered one of the slower Core 2 Duo processors paired up with one of the fastest mobile GPUs. With most games still bottlenecked by graphics performance - particularly on laptops - this was a great move. Sure, a little bit more CPU power would have been nice (and the follow-up P-6860 did increase the CPU from the T5450 to the T5550), but otherwise the P-6831 FX was an excellent design. Besides, if you really wanted CPU performance, you could always go out and purchase your own T8300 and still come out with a total cost much lower than the competition. The result was that we gave to 6831 our Gold Editors' Choice award.

If there was one serious problem with the P-6831, it was availability. That particular model was only available through Best Buy, and while there appeared to be a reasonable number of laptops at launch, the favorable press and amazing price quickly made it difficult to find any in stock. One alternative was to simply shop online and purchase a similarly configured notebook from Gateway, and although the price was a few hundred dollars more you also got some upgrades. TigerDirect.com also carries many Gateway notebooks, including the P-173X FX for $1350, which bumps the processor up to a T7500.

Six months later, Gateway and Best Buy are teaming up again with an upgraded version of the P-6831. We are still working on a larger laptop roundup, but we felt it would be beneficial to alert our readers to the availability of this amazing value sooner rather than later. We will have additional details as part of the roundup; for now, we present some initial benchmark results and an overview of the upgrades.

Features and Specifications
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  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 19, 2008 - link

    Gateway doesn't offer the option to custom configure laptops; what they do offer is about 8 notebooks that use the same base design, with different options and prices. Right now, the P-7811 is the only model using DDR3 and 9800M GTS, but there will likely be other models in the future.

    http://www.gateway.com/systems/series/529598056.ph...">P-series Reference Page
    Reply
  • okron1k - Thursday, August 21, 2008 - link

    thank you, i have been to that page already but i am going to look it over again. i am most likely going to be buying this laptop in the next few weeks. i just don't know of any other place where i can get something similarly spec'd for even close to the same price. Reply
  • Engage - Monday, August 18, 2008 - link

    Any word on when/if and to what degree Gateway might be going to upgrade the P-173XL FX Edition? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, August 18, 2008 - link

    Well, the P-173XL is already pretty well equipped. It has 2x200GB HDD, WUXGA (non-glossy I think?), 4GB RAM, and a T8300, plus 4GB DDR2. So it should be a bit slower on the CPU than the T-7811, and the 8800M GTS GPU is a bit slower as well, but you get more HDD space and performance. You also don't get an early PM45 chipset and BIOS. Still, I would assume in the near future Gateway will migrate most of their P-series FX parts to the PM45 with 9800 GTS platform. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, August 18, 2008 - link

    Adobe is very likely to release the next generation of their applications (CS4?) this fall, which will probably be 64-bit as LightRoom 2 is.

    Jarred has mentioned before that he is editor for other articles, does someone else edit his work, or is he using (Ed.) to insert comments into his own article?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, August 18, 2008 - link

    I "ed" myself. So do some of the other editors at times (Gary). It's more of an "insert personal comment that isn't necessarily a direct part of the review" thing - or for humor at times. Don't take away my artistic license, dammit! :-) Reply
  • Hrel - Sunday, August 17, 2008 - link

    Since I never run anything over 1440x900 I don't want to be forced to pay for a screen that costs more money when I see no benefit from that high of a resolution; not to mention it would make everything too small. Gateway needs more user customization on their website; like HP. Also, you can't say with a straight face that anyone needs a gaming laptop? What wrong with you? If you expect to be able to play current games on a laptop you bought 4 years ago you need a gaming laptop; even though you'll be playing those new games on min settings. Who doesn't need a gaming laptop? Who doesn't play games when they're away from the house if they have the ability? Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, August 18, 2008 - link

    I think the point was that with the possible exception of some people who work in the gaming industry, not many people NEED to be able to play games.

    I'm with Jarred on wanting the highest resolution LCD available, so we both agree that they need more customization options.
    Reply
  • spuddyt - Saturday, August 16, 2008 - link

    I want one A LOT!!!! but i'm in the UK, so i'm effectively screwed and am just going to end up getting some crappy dell POS.... Reply
  • MamiyaOtaru - Saturday, August 16, 2008 - link

    I would never buy a laptop with a glossy screen. I'd rather look at what I'm working on (or playing with) than a reflection. Glossy screens are idiotic bling for idiots. Unfortunately mot people are idiots, as glossy screens sell better from stores than matte (it's shiny!). Reply

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