Gateway P-6831FX Gaming Notebook

Introduction & Specifications

In the last six months we've seen a wide variety of cost effective, yet powerful, video cards hit the market. First came NVIDIA's superb GeForce 8800 GT last October which, despite being introduced at an upper mid-range price point, provided top-notch performance not far off from the best cards of the day at nearly 1/3 the price. The 8800 GT was followed closely by the launch of the thrifty GeForce 9600 GT just a few months later which provided similar performance for even less. Then, last week, ATI fired back with the excellent Radeon HD 4850 and Radeon HD 4870 video cards which retail at the same affordable mid-range prices but provide strong performance that is eclipsed only by the most monstrous and expensive cards currently available. Indeed, building a capable gaming computer hasn't been this cost effective in years and at this time we have an unprecedented number of solid video card choices in the mid-range price segment.

Unfortunately, nearly all of the action has been on the desktop. While notebook graphics have received a few updates in the last year, relatively little progress has been made in terms of performance in the mid-range. Since its debut last May, the
GeForce 8600M has been the poster child for mid-range mobile graphics. Until recently, it was the graphics card most commonly seen in multimedia and gaming inclined mid-range notebooks. This is unfortunate since the GeForce 8600M has shown that it simply isn't an ideal gaming card and it can't begin to compete with the superb mid-range desktop video cards of today. The introduction of the GeForce 9600M series and the Mobility Radeon HD 3600 series greatly expanded the number of graphics card choices available for mid-range notebooks, but unfortunately performance has not improved much over the previous generation.

The result of this stagnation in the mid-range mobile graphics segment is that gamers will need to upgrade to a high-end GeForce 8800M equipped notebook in order to enjoy gaming performance similar to a mid-range gaming desktop system. While there are quite a few manufacturers building 8800M equipped notebooks, almost all of them are high-end products that demand top dollar for the pleasure. Gateway's "P-Series FX" line-up of 17" gaming notebooks seems no different at first glance. However careful inspection of product specifications reveals that their most junior P-Series FX model weighs in at just $1,349.99, a decidedly mid-range price point. Yet it's still powered by a GeForce 8800M, just like the rest of the otherwise high-end FX notebook line-up. This GPU choice alone potentially makes the junior P-Series FX model one of the best gaming and multimedia machines in the entire mid-range notebook price segment, so we couldn't resist taking a closer look.

Gateway P-6831FX Gaming Notebook
System Specifications - As Reviewed
Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T5450 (1.67Hz,2M L2 Cache,667MHz FSB)

Operating System
Windows Vista Home Premium

3GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM @ 667MHz

17" WXGA+ (1440x900) Ultrabright

Graphics Card
512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800M GTS

Gigabit LAN Controller
56k ITU v.92 ready Fax/Modem
Integrated 802.11a/b/g/n
Built-in Bluetooth™ V2.0+EDR

Integrated 1.3 MP web camera


HD 2-channel Audio
Built-in speakers and microphone

Hard Drive
250GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive

Optical Drive
Multi-format, Dual Layer, DVD-R/RW with DVD-RAM and LabelFlash Technology

9-cell 7800 mAh Li-Ion Battery
120 Watt AC Adapter

Weight & Dimensions
Width: 15.75" (400 mm)
Depth: 11.75" (298 mm)
Height: 1.3"-1.7" (33 mm - 43 mm)
Weight: 9.2 lbs (4.2 kg) - includes 9-cell battery

External Ports
3 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x VGA port/Mini D-sub 15-pin
1 x HDMI v1.2 Port
1 x eSATA
1 x 4-pin Firewire port
1 x RJ11 Modem port
1 x RJ45 Ethernet (
) port
1 x 5-in-1 card reader
1 x ExpressCard 54mm slot
1 x headphone port (S/PDIF)
1 x stereo line-in (microphone) port

Included Accessories and Extras

Phone/modem cable
Manual & Quickstart Guide
Recovery DVD
Microsoft Works 9.0
Microsoft® Money Essentials
Microsoft® Office Home and Student 2007 (60-day complimentary trial period)
Norton Internet Security™ (60-day live updates)

Warranty And Support
1-year parts & labor limited warranty
1-year battery pack warranty

Price: $1,349.99 USD (as configured here)


Unlike the rest of the P-Series FX models, the P-6831FX can't be ordered from Gateway's website, nor can it be customized. It's only available at BestBuy in a single fixed configuration. Thankfully, it's fairly well equipped and you get a lot of bang for your 1,350 bucks. The P-6831FX is powered by a 512MB GeForce 8800M GTS, a very capable video card. The 17" screen only sports a somewhat low resolution for its size of 1440x900, but this may actually be a blessing in disguise. A lower resolution means you'll seemingly get even more gaming performance out of the GeForce 8800M than you would with a screen capable of a higher 1680x1050 or 1920x1200 resolution.

In order to keep costs down, Gateway has equipped the P-6831FX with a relatively low-end Core 2 Duo T5450 processor, one of the slowest of the mobile Core 2 Duo's. Thankfully the processor is the weakest link in the whole system and nothing else is notably lacking. While the T5450 is a perfectly fine office productivity and basic multimedia processor, we're a little worried about how it will perform in today's games. As you'll see in our benchmarks on the following pages though, our fears were relatively unfounded, at least when it came to gaming.

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