Gateway P-6831FX Gaming Notebook

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The P-6831FX comes with a lot of readng material. There is a Starter Guide, Setup Guide and a Reference Guide. The Setup Guide contains instuctions about basic operation and diagrams to show you where all the buttons and ports are. The Starter Guide is an extremely brief introducion to Vista, Internet Explorer, e-mail, Windows Media Player, Norton Internet Security and system recovery. Finally, the Reference Guide is a beefy manual that covers all the bases in relative detail. If that wasn't enough, a rather large handfull of ads are also included for good measure, along with a little business card that reminds you to register your new notebook with Gateway. In this mess of flyers and manuals, you'll also find the recovery DVD in a clear plastic sleeve. Other than the AC power adapter, the only included accessory was a length of phone cord.

     


Booting up the P-6831FX for the first time reveals quite a busy desktop. On first boot-up we were greeted by a number of pop-up windows asking us to configure various things like the pre-installed Norton Internet Security suite. Finally, after getting through all that, we're left with what you see in the screenshot below. While we wouldn't say the P-6831FX was clogged with bloatware, it certainly came with a lot of "extras".

The desktop has shortcuts for eBay, Gateway Connect, MS Office 60-day trial, and AOL. These are easily despensed with. In the taskbar, we found Gateway Camera Assistant, BigFix Client Edition (automated patching software), Google Desktop, Napster, and SpareBackup. The pre-installed Gateway Camera Assistant also has an auto-hiding sidebar that you can't see in the screenshot below. It resides on the left side of the desktop, opposite the Google Desktop bar on the right. Other pre-installed software include Nortan Internet Security, Microsoft Works, Microsoft Office 2007 60-day trial and Google toolbar. Overall, it isn't the most bloated bundle we've seen but it's certainly not ideal. Luckily most of these pre-installed programs are easy to get rid of if the user doesn't need them.
 




The P-6831FX also comes with the Gateway Games Console application. It's a simple game browsing service built and powered by Wild Tangent. The service allows you to play a variety of popular casual games. The P-6831FX came with full access to a large number of games ranging from puzzles to basic 3D shooters. Most of these games are flash or Shockwave based. There are also a number of downloadable games and tons of game demos. While these aren't blockbuster titles, the Games Console is a nice addition if you're into casual games.

The actual Games Console software is well laid out and easy to navigate. Everything is accessed from four tabs and the pages are presented within the main viewport. However, many of the buttons and options are actually links to webpages which open in your default browser.
 

  

  



Overall, the Gateway Games Console software works well and is a nice addition, but many power users probably won't be too interested in the games being offered. After all, if your into casual games, you wouldn't need a GeForce 8800M equipped gaming notebook.

Other pre-installed software like the Gateway Camera Assistant are also fairly well built and easy to use. The Gateway Camera Assistant is a basic interface for the built-in 1.3 megapixel webcam. It can take pictures, record video and add some basic visual effects. The pre-installed Spare Backup utility provides a simple way to create and restore backups of data while the BigFix utility tries to keep your computer up to date with patch and update information as well as basic diagnostic tools. 

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I am a bit confused why the author referrs to this notebook as a mid-range notebook? On a consumer-level I would definately consider it high-end -- the only way that it may be mid-range is if you start to toss workstation NBs in the picture.

Anyway, with the exception of the CPU and (I believe it was a 6-cell) battery I would definitely like this NB for myself. Its a bit costly however, but the look of it is great and I like the semi-upgradability as well.

Toss it down to like $1,100 and I would probably jump on it -- either that or throw in current-gen CPU and a 12-cell battery and I will gladly pay the $1,300

 

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It's your lucky day. The P-6860FX is on sale right now for $1,100. The exact price you asked for.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=8780198&type=product&id=1204332501169

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Hey Ice, i'd say $1,350 is pretty mid-range for a notebook. Upper mid-range if you want to divide it further. Low-end would be sub-$800 and high-end would start in the $1,800 range and just keep going.

You're not going to find a notebook less than $1,500 with gaming performance close to the P-6831FX. Although the processor could definitely use an upgrade, but that would ruin the excellent price. All other 8800M equipped notebooks I can think of start in the $2,000 range.

It is a 9-cell, no typo.

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LovelyCrap:
Hey Ice, i'd say $1,350 is pretty mid-range for a notebook. Upper mid-range if you want to divide it further. Low-end would be sub-$800 and high-end would start in the $1,800 range and just keep going.

Let me ask you this (not trying to argue, just questioning is all): How could one improve the performance of the notebook further (while keeping this at a 32-bit OS) ... The only possible performance upgrade I would be able to think of is the CPU. The T5550 is definitely no slacker -- I guess if anything I may consider this CPU to be mid-range. 4GB of RAM, 8800M based video card, 17" screen, wireless N card is all pretty top-notch. Now maybe I have misunderstood but when you describe it as mid-range are you referring to the price or the performace?

I guess bottom line, again, what would you throw into the laptop to make it high-end?

LovelyCrap:
It's your lucky day. The P-6860FX is on sale right now for $1,100 [at Best Buy]. The exact price you asked for.

Yeah I noticed that too and cursed that I had mentioned it -- haha the sale had to come at the worst possible time for me. Alas, I've not enough dinero for the guy right now....I am sure the sale will be over next Friday when I would be able to pick it up Murphy's Law I suppose...

 

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I see what you're saying Ice, but the ranges are determined by what the market provides at certain price points. Frankly, look at the $800-$1800 range in general. I don't mean only focus on great products and good deals. I mean look at everything available. That range is middle of the road in terms of the hardware you get. For over $1800 you start to get crazy stuff like 8800M, SLI, Core 2 Extremes, and even quad-core. For under $800 you start to get integrated graphics and low-end processors.

To make it high-end, I'd throw in at least a T9300. Then it would be high-end, no arguement, in my books. T5550 is not a high-end chip, at all. CPU and vid card are two of the biggest deciding factors and although you get a high-end 8800M, the CPU is pretty stale. Consider that you can grab a Dell for $499 and get a T5450 or a T5550 on a good day.

As for the sale. I'd wait for the next one. Being BestBuy, it'll happen again within 3 months.

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LovelyCrap:
s for the sale. I'd wait for the next one. Being BestBuy, it'll happen again within 3 months.
 

Being a worker @ Best Buy, I can tell you that the item is on sale due to the fact we will not be selling it anymore -- that is it'll be deleted from our systems.......

I couldn't agree with ya more in terms of deciding factors on performance for notebooks. I guess when I look at a notebook that is a Core 2 Extreme or quad core I would not consider that even a true notebook just due to the fact that the mobility factor is shot unless you drop another $200 on a 12 or 15 celll battery.

Basically performance to this guy means good hardware (8800M, T7xx or T8xx series CPU, and 3-4GB of RAM) and is what I'd expect. It just gets to that point that you might as well buy a desktop if you wanted straight performance.....but that is the fine line that these manufactors dance I guess when they engineer such specs

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 Ice,

 

Just stumbled accross this post.  I purchased a 6860 this past week right before the sale price went back up.  Do you know if GW is replacing it with an upgraded version?

 

Thanks.

 

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Sortof....it will still be of the "FX" series but essentially all new guts; don't quote me but i have heard the likes of 6GB of RAM and a T8xxx series CPU (obviously these are just rumors however).

Basically until we get them off our truck though I don't have any idea the exact specs............

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Anyway 6GB of RAM and a T8xxx series CPU sounds very attractive.

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