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
POST A COMMENT

47 Comments

View All Comments

  • solgae1784 - Friday, August 15, 2008 - link

    If you look at the magazines, Gateway's track record hasn't been that impressive, scoring pretty low on many aspects. So I'd be a little more wary when you're considering them. Your experience may be different from what the responses were after all. Reply
  • Adamantine - Friday, August 15, 2008 - link

    http://geek-news.net/2008/07/nvidia-geforce-9700m-...

    All of the press releases, like the one I referenced above, concerning how many shaders are in the new 9800M chips states that the GTS is 64 shaders, GT 96 shaders, GTX 112 shaders.
    Reply
  • Adamantine - Friday, August 15, 2008 - link

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/geforce_9800m_gts.htm...">http://www.nvidia.com/object/geforce_9800m_gts.htm... 64 SP's
    http://www.nvidia.com/object/geforce_9800m_gt.html">http://www.nvidia.com/object/geforce_9800m_gt.html 96 SP's

    Confirming that the press release is accurate, at least on the SP count.

    BTW, Gateway has never used a GTX in any of their gaming notebooks.

    Way too many mistakes in this review.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, August 15, 2008 - link

    Lack of details from NVIDIA is partly to blame. Wrapping things up at 2AM is another issue. While there were admittedly some errors on the number of SPs (caused by NVIDIA's crazy naming decisions), the vast majority of the text is correct. I have also added the clock speeds, now that I was able to access both laptops again. (I was out of town on family matters, so I was wrapping things up without access to the hardware.)

    Initially, I thought the GPU in the 7811 was more SPs but with a lower core/shader clock relative to 8800M GTS, but it turns out it's the same number of shaders as the 8800M GTS but with a 20% higher core clock (600MHz compared to 500MHz). Also worth noting is that I had all of the SP counts correct in my http://www.anandtech.com/guides/showdoc.aspx?i=335...">mobile buyer's guide, so this was just a slip caused by the confusing names.
    Reply
  • Adamantine - Friday, August 15, 2008 - link

    "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."

    This isn't entirely accurate. The Best Buy version has always had a identical Gateway Direct version, 6831 = P-171, 6860 = P-172. The P-173X has no Best Buy equivalent and could be bought direct from Gateway around the first/second week of May. The P-173X became available through online retailers when Gateway ceased their direct sales operation.

    On the specs page, the 7811 FX is listed as having a 8900M GTS, which should be 9800M GTS.
    Reply
  • djc208 - Friday, August 15, 2008 - link

    I think there are quite a few situations where you might need a gaming laptop (not like you "need" food of course but you know what I mean).
    I've been reading with interest because I have to go on travel for 6-8 months next year. I'll want something to play my games on but don't want to ship my desktop system out with me. This could be worth the investment and a huge upgrade from my current notebook.
    Reply
  • sephiroth135 - Friday, August 15, 2008 - link

    Page 2, 3rd table

    NVIDIA GeForce 8900M GTS 512MB

    should be

    9800M
    Reply
  • homerdog - Friday, August 15, 2008 - link

    Same mistake on page 3. Reply
  • fabarati - Friday, August 15, 2008 - link

    The 9800m GT is just a rebranded 8800m GTX. So it is a faster card than the 9800m GTS. Reply
  • steveyballme - Saturday, August 16, 2008 - link

    .... It's good! Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now