As a satisfied owner of a 3yr-old Sager 8500 series laptop, It was time for me to to upgrade to a new powerhouse. Initially my choices were another Sager, A Dell i8600, HP ZD7000 and Gateway M675. I originally wrote off the 675 due to the price when I first started looking in December. On 1/5 the ZD7000 won out for value/features and I ordered:
P4 3.06HT, 512MB, Wireless G, 80GB HD, MCE 2004 from HPShopping.com for a very reasonable
NOTE: I tried to change my order after submitting it since I decided to max out to the 3.2 CPU, but all the phone reps I talked to said it wasn't possible --- so that was an initial annoyance. I figured I'd get the machine, try it out and see if the CPU speed was sufficient and exchange later if necessary.
Anyway, after "discovering" the M675XL from some other forum sites, reviews, etc. and after walking into a local Gateway store for some hands-on, I ended up placing an order for an M675XL, even after getting an email today that my ZD7000 order had just shipped!
Here's what convinced me:
- 3.2GHz HT CPU w/800MHz FSB
- same 17" OEM LCD as ZD7000
- Windows XP Pro
- 512MB of 333MHz PC2700 RAM (ugradeable to 400MHz PC3200)
- ATI Radeon Mobility 9600 with 128MB (generally rated better than the Nvidia in ZD7000)
- 80GB HDD @ 5400rpm
- 4x DVD+/-RW option -- I got the DVD-RW drive due to price. But the fact that the drive is in a MODULAR bay is very nice for future-proofing my investment
- 6in1 card reader vs. 5-in-1 on HP in another removable expansion bay (can swap out with floppy or another HD!)
- Free 2Mpixel camera ($129 value) can be used as still & webcam (ala Sager 4780/90 style, but with better still quality).. NOTE: this was something I had to negotiate for; I tried to get the deal for free 5mp camera that had expired 12/31, but the rep was cool enough to compromise with the 2mp. Still a bonus! <<Special Thanks to Mosely23!!>>
- Wireless-A/B/G option -- I got Wireless B/G
- 10/100/1000, yes GIGABIT ethernet so I can connect via GBit to my company's Mac G4/G5's. Wireless On/Off switch
- Smooth operating touch pad & nice scroll wheel.
- 4-USB (2 on each side & 2 at rear)
- Parallel port (important for me due to some parallel port dongles on some CAD & 3D software I use)
- front panel controls (available while closed) for CD/DVD functions (skip, volume, etc.)
- very well engineered cooling system: ventilation grille on bottom and exhaust out back. The store demo didn't show any signs of unreasonable heating, and it's on all day.
- slightly smaller power brick than HP and power plug placement is at rear center, instead of side as it is on HP (a minor annoyance I know, but nice detail)
- Great sounding speakers, nice bass response & volume.
- IMHO better aesthetics, sleeker, more professional design.
- Thinner & Actually & lighter, by almost a pound!
Plus I felt that the ability to walk into my local Gateway store for issues wasn't bad. And the experience I had on the phone with the Gateway.com sales rep was very good.
ALL OF THE ABOVE ended up costing only $200 more than I paid for the ZD7000:
$2339 for M675XL vs. $2134 for ZD7000
(I got a 10% discount of the standard $2599 price with my AAA membership)
But considering the free camera, my net cost on the computer was $2210!
I ended up getting the 1yr Accidental damage protection too (for $119) as insurance for the massive screen and my occasional klutziness.
I did give up XP Media Center, but Gateway offers a Pinnacle solution for TV Tuner/FM Radio that is very similar (also plugs into USB) for $199
The only downside is that my projected ship date is 1/27
Here's a great link that also helped in my decision:
, NO FL TAX, FREE SHIPPING.m675_review1.htm