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Maximum PC Staff

Mar 10, 2010

Gateway P-7808u FX

At A Glance

Gateway P-7808u FX

Quad-core performance; budget price.

Stuck On You

Same 'ol look and feel; same 'ol game performance.

A little too much of the same

For several months we’ve been talking about what a great value Gateway’s P-7811 FX gaming notebook was (reviewed October 2008). So we were anxious to see how the update to that model, the P-7808u FX, holds up.

At first glance, “update” seems too strong a word for Gateway’s latest 17-inch performance-oriented notebook. The P-7808u FX looks identical to its predecessor, sporting the exact same black-and-orange chassis as the P-7811 FX, the exact same arrangement of ports— three USB, FireWire, eSATA, HDMI, VGA—and the exact same right-angle power connector that we griped about the first go-round.

The P-7808u FX even features the same videocard, a GeForce 9800M GTS. This card helped last year’s P-7811 FX win us over with impressive scores in our standard gaming benchmarks and the new P-7808u FX’s performance in those tests was equally strong. But compared with a dual-GPU notebook such as CyberPower’s Extreme M1 (May 2009), Gateway’s graphics solution shows its age. When faced with a more graphically intensive title like UT3, the P-7808u FX mustered a score of 64fps compared with the Extreme M1’s 114fps—and it would no doubt fare worse in more modern titles.


The P-7808u FX is identical to last year's P-7811FX, but with a lower-resolution screen.

Where the P-7808u FX most differs from its predecessor is in processing power. The P-7808u FX features a Core 2 Quad; and while it’s 10 percent slower than the P-7811 FX’s Core 2 Duo, it’s the cores that really count in multithreaded apps. In our Premiere Pro, ProShow, and MainConcept benchmarks, for instance, the 2GHz P-7808u FX surpassed its 2.24GHz sibling by 42 to 78 percent. The P-7808u FX also did better than its predecessor in Photoshop, albeit by just four percent.

It’s interesting that Gateway focused its improvements on the applications side and yet went with a lower-res screen for its new P-series model. The drop from 1920x1200 to 1440x900 makes sense for gaming—if this notebook were actually capable of truly demanding games—but for applications work, a higher resolution is generally preferable. Another questionable change was moving from a 7,200rpm hard drive to the 5,400rpm in the P-7808u FX, although we welcome the capacity jump from 200GB to 500GB.

The P-7808u FX’s 9-cell battery maintained a charge for approximately two and a half hours in power-saving mode—enough time to get through most movies, and a pretty good run for a notebook of this size. And as far as big, honking 17-inch notebooks go, the P-7808u FX at least has a slim, and slightly less-cumbersome formfactor.

Nevertheless, we can’t help but feel disappointed. While the P-7811 FX hit just the right mix of price and gaming performance for its time, the P-7808u FX is more expensive than its predecessor, yet offers gamers last year’s tech.
BENCHMARKS

Zero Point
Gateway P-7808u FX
Premiere Pro CS3
1, 860 sec 1,200 sec
Photoshop CS3 237 sec
183 sec
ProShow Producer
2,416 sec
1,382 sec
MainConcept
3,498 sec 2,346
FEAR1.07
14 fps
105 (650%)
Quake 4 29.1 fps
122 (319.2%)
Our zero point notebook uses a 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo E6700, 2GB of DDR2/667 RAM, an 80GB hard drive, GeForce Go 8600M and Windows Vista Home Premium.

Specifications

Gateway P-7808u FX
CPU Intel 2GHz Core 2 Quad Q9000
RAM 4GB DDR3/1,066MHz
Chipset Intel PM45
Hard Drive
500GB Western Digital WDC WD5000DEVT-22ZATO (5,400rpm)
Optical HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GSA-T50F
GPU Nvidia GeForce 9800M GTS
Boot/Down 61 sec / 19 sec
Lap/Carry 8 lbs, 15.4 oz / 10 lbs, 8.4 oz
THE VERDICT

Gateway P-7808u FX

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