To get its PCs noticed on crowded store shelves, Gateway has been experimenting with a different mix of features, opting for less expensive processors and plowing the savings into better graphics, more system memory and, on desktops, bigger power supplies. Apparently it is working since the new Gateway P-7811FX uses the same playbook.
The P-7811FX is currently a Best Buy exclusive. (Gateway, which is now owned by Acer, recently announced that it had moved to a 100% indirect model.) Gateway's suggested price is $1,400, but it is listed at Best Buy's site at $1,450. Either way, it looks like a solid deal with these specs:
That stacks up pretty nicely to the $1,500 Centrino 2-based configuration of the HP Pavilion dv7 on Best Buy's site, which has the same processor, 4GB of DDR2 memory--not DDR3--and a larger hard drive, but only includes the Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT with 512MB of memory.
The only thing missing from the P-7811FX is a Blu-ray drive (it does have HDMI out). But a similarly-configured Pavilion dv7 with the lesser graphics, but with a Blu-ray drive costs nearly $1,800. (HP happens to be offering rebates on the configure-to-order Pavilion dv7, so if you are looking for a desktop replacement, it is worth checking the site to see how your configuration is priced.)
LaptopMag.com gave the Gateway P-7811FX an Editors' Choice, calling it "of the best value-price rigs of 2008" with performance that "blows away the dv7 when it comes to 3D games." PCMag.com thinks Gateway made the right choices to keep the price down. ComputerShopper.com agrees the Gateway P-7811FX "delivers superb performance for the money," but finds fault with the noisy cooling fans and awkwardly-placed touchpad.