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.

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
3,498 sec 2,346
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.


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)
GPU Nvidia GeForce 9800M GTS
Boot/Down 61 sec / 19 sec
Lap/Carry 8 lbs, 15.4 oz / 10 lbs, 8.4 oz

Gateway P-7808u FX

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