I'm new as a registered user in this forum, but I recently used this site as a guide for what to buy. I was browsing all sorts of pc makers, including Dell, Alienware, Gateway, and Sager. I wanted something to replace my Inspiron E1705, mainly because I wanted something better for gaming. I'm going to do alot of traveling coming up, and i figured a nice laptop for gaming would be a nice addition.
I did a lot of reading through the forums, and came upon this laptop. I kept hearing good things about it, how it was a great buy. So, I noticed on best buy's website they had it in stock at my local store. I went and checked out the actual look and build of it. After comparing it with a pretty ugly toshiba with a 9700m, I eventually went with this laptop, due to the price ($1329.99). The specs alone make it a great buy, no other laptop matched price vs performance quite like this.
As you can see, Gateway has been sorta copying Apple's style. However, see this thing brand new and unpacked was a sight, especially since the one on display was out there for a while
The design of this laptop is well thought out. The brushed alluminum is a nice touch. The screen kinda worries me, due to the fact that it isn't as durable as the E1705. However it is a nice display, and something like that doesn't really mean its an issue, more of a preference thing. One thing i kept on hearing about this laptop was upgradability. I told the guy at best buy you could upgrade all the parts in this and he gave me a stunned look, guess thats why they pay them the big bucks.
Heres the shot of an extra PCI-X slot. What this can be used for, I'm not sure. Maybe for that Intel Turbo memory (which i doubt with 4gb of main mem you'd need). Still leaves options open down the road.
The CPU is surprisingly (like most dells) accessable and removable. We'll get into that later...
Could this laptop support RAID? ABSOLUTELY NOT! but hey, having the ability to have two drives is nice, especially for the music geek I am (leaves lots of room for recording room). Apparently only the higher end P series have RAID as an option. Maybe its unlockable with some sort of bios hack, doubtful though.
For testing, I just did general tests most people would have access to. Personally, test benchmarks are only good if they have a realworld application. I just choose Windows Experience Index and 3D Mark 06, along with a few games I play regularly. The testing went as follows.
These are with stock settings, and stock drivers (IE straight out of the box). As you can see 4.5 is a pretty low number, especially given the specs. However, the 1.8 ghz cpu is pretty low-end, so i'm not surprised. The fact that this laptop comes with 667mhz ddr2 instead of 800 mhz robs some of its potential, but not by much. Now on to 3D Mark
I was quite surprised by the results! on stock drivers too! This leaves alot of head room for upgrades. This certainly is a good score for a single card laptop.
I decided to get the most out of this laptop, I would need better parts. I decided the two main things that need to get upgraded were the CPU, which I upped to the T9300. Along with a 2.5ghz core, it has a 800 mhz fsb (the T5550 is 667) and is based off the new 45nm core process. This does help keep temperatures down, and my laptop now idles around 40 C. I also swapped out the memory with 800mhz sticks for the price of $79 bucks on newegg. In addition to performance upgrades, I got another 320gb hard drive to put in the second slot.
Now for the results:
A good 1200 mark difference (due to the cpu mostly)
Windows experience also went up, but got bottlenecked by the ram again. atleast it went up.
As for games goes, right now i've tested two so far. Gears of war and Team Fortress 2 both on native res run high setting flawlessly. I even have AA cranked up on TF2, and it still runs great. I have yet to try crysis or other "benchmark games" but i have a feeling this will do great.
For the price, you cannot beat this laptop. I spent nearly a week trying to find a laptop that dollar-per-dollar matched this. The only thing that comes close is the new Toshiba Qosmio, but due to its horrible shade of ruby red, will probably scare more customers away.
So things do limit this from being perfect. The fact it has the ability to have two drives, but no raid is odd. Also, the screen casing, while nice, is a bit flimsy, but nothing cheap. I also don't get putting 667mhz memory when 800 is basically the same price. Oh in a perfect world i guess.
Basically, these are my thoughts:
-Cheap for the specs ($1329.99)
-FAST, even stock
-Nice features, good HDD space
-Better battery life than my E1705 (3.2 hours)
-64 bit, uses 4gb to full potential
-Wireless N enabled
-Has a HDMI port, and all sorts of fancy buttons
-Didn't come with loads of bloatware
-Screen is nice and bright
-Didn't like that the stock memory was slow
-Screen case a bit flimsy
Overall Rating: 9.2 out of 10