Gateway P-6831FX Gaming Notebook

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Performance Summary & Conclusion





Performance Summary:  The P-6831FX produced excellent scores in all of our gaming related benchmarks. Not even the Dell XPS M1730 with its dual GeForce 8700M GT's in SLI could outperform the single GeForce 8800M GTS powering the P-6831FX. Though Dell has since upgraded the M1730 with dual GeForce 8800M GPUs as well. It is obvious that the P-6831FX's performance is bottlenecked by the low-end processor, but it still managed to produce amazing benchmark scores in our gaming tests. None of the other the mid-range notebooks in our test came close to the P-6831FX when it came to gaming.

Unfortunately the picture is quite different in productivity and CPU intensive tasks. It was easily outclassed in nearly every module of PCMark Vantage and performance in 3DMar06's CPU module was also quite poor. The P-6831FX also feels a little sluggish in Vista which is noticeable during simple tasks like web surfing and word processing. However, this is to be expected given the P-6831FX's low-end processor. 

Overall, the P-6831FX provided top-notch gaming performance unmatched in its price range. Unfortunately the P-6831FX isn't so much a well-rounded performer and processor performance left much to be desired. While the P-6831FX can handle basic productivity tasks without too much trouble, it's definitely out of its element a bit when it isn't running games.



 


We have spent a lot of time with the Gateway P-6831FX since receiving our review unit and we've thoroughly put it through it's paces. We found it to be an excellent notebook. The build quality is certainly very high and except for the odd fingerprint smudge, our review unit still looks like we just took it out of the box for the first time. Like other 17" notebooks, the P-6831FX is quite bulky and the chunky 9-cell standard battery which protrudes from the rear of the notebook by nearly an inch certainly doesn't help the situation. Battery life is mediocre given the notebook's size and specifications.

However the most interesting aspect of the P-6831FX is its unique combination of hardware and price point. Gateway smartly balanced the high cost of the GeForce 8800M GTS graphics chip with a cheap low-end processor to produce an affordable gaming notebook that is head and shoulders above other products in the sub-$1500 price range, as we saw in our benchmarks. While the P-6831FX is certainly bottlenecked by the entry-level processor, its GeForce 8800M GTS is a monster compared to mid-range mobile graphics chips like the 8600M GT and it has more than enough raw power to make up for the processor's shortcomings when it came to games. The fact the P-6831FX was able to outperform a XPS M1730 powered by a high-end Core 2 Extreme X7900 processor and dual GeForce 8700M GTs in SLI in our benchmarks, is proof of the P-6831FX's gaming prowess.

Unfortunately the P-6831FX isn't an especially versatile machine out-of-the-box. While it kicks serious butt in games, it's weak processor prevents you from tackling CPU intensive tasks and the low screen resolution hampers productivity. Thankfully all of these issues can be remedied with a few easy end-user upgrades like the use of an external screen via the P-6831FX's VGA or HDMI outputs, and a processor upgrade for increased computational ability. A Core 2 Duo T8000 series mobile processor can be found for between $200-$300 and will provide the number crunching power the P-6831FX is sorely lacking. Installing the processor is also fairly straight forward thanks to the excellent accessibility of the CPU socket. Even with a
$300 Core 2 Duo T9300 processor upgrade, the P-6831FX is still just $1650, which is several hundred cheaper than most other similarly equipped gaming notebooks.

Gateway has produced a very unique product with the P-6831FX. A mid-range notebook with high-end gaming performance that is simply unmatched at this price range. While the P-6831FX does have it's share of shortcomings, none of them encroach on it's primary function of providing excellent gaming and multimedia performance, which it does extremely well. We believe the Gateway P-6831FX represents the one of  best values in gaming notebooks currently and is left with slim competition in the sub-$1500 price range, when it comes to raw gaming performance. We would easily recommend to anyone interested in a gaming notebook to take a good look at the P-6831FX and we're happy to award it our Editor's Choice award.
 

 


On a side note, while we were busy evaluating the P-6831FX, Gateway updated their entire P-Series line-up. The P-6831FX has been upgraded to the P-6860FX and besides its new model number, it also gained a new processor, the slightly more powerful Core 2 Duo T5550 @ 1.83Ghz, an extra gigabyte of memory for a total of 4GB and a 320GB hard drive (upgraded from 250GB). The best part is the price remains unchanged at $1349.99.  These upgrades make the P-6831FX (or should we say P-6860FX?) an even better deal than it already is.

 

 

  • Unmatched Value
  • Best Gaming Performance For The Price
  • Good Build Quality
  • Plenty of Features
  • Room For Upgrades
  • Relatively Weak Processor
  • Screen only 1440x900
  • Poor Deal For Non-gamers


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