Laptop question

hey, I hope it’s alright for me to post this here,

I’m just wondering, has anyone seen / used any of the gateway laptops? In particular the P series / P-7805u FX :smiley: http://www.gateway.com/systems/product/529668231.php

I’m considering buying this laptop, however I live in Australia, and would have to get it freight forwarded. Even with the extra postage, it is still a bargain for me (compared to Au prices), but I want to know if it’s worth me bothering.

Thanks for any advice / comments.

i dont know about that particular one but DONT get a laptop with integrated graphics card because they are awful on the other hand its kind of hard not too…

[edit]Sorry, I didn’t pay attention to the origional post date, sorry to continue the thread necromancy[/edit]

All laptops have integrated graphics chips, but if you want good integrated graphics it will come at the cost of battery life and heat.

I don’t know much about gateway, but last I heard the better laptop brands are HP, Dell, IBM, Fujitsu, and ASUS. Opinions will of course very with the anecdotal explanation of “I had [brand] that broke, so they all suck.” Your best bet is to read user and technical reviews for each model you are interested in.

Thankyou both for your replies. I ended up ordering a laptop from MSI, the gx 630.

OK, time for Jon’s yearly graphics card rant:

When we say “integrated graphics,” we mean graphics intergrated into the North Bridge (or similar chipset), and uses main RAM for framebuffer and textures, shared with the CPU. When we say “discrete graphics,” we mean a graphics chip that sits separate from the other chips, and has its own dedicated RAM, separate from the CPU RAM, so it doesn’t have to share.

The main reason this matters is that the CPU will typically already be memory bound, trying to get data into and out of main RAM as quickly as possible. Putting more pressure on the system memory bus for texturing, fill rate and scan out will just slow down the CPU, AND it will slow down the graphics compared to a discrete chip.

When it comes to discrete chips, there are 64-bit, 128-bit, 256-bit and higher memory bus sizes. This translates directly to performance for texture fetch and fill rate. 64-bit solutions will typically have 3-6 GB/s of performance, 128-bit solutions will typically have 9-20 GB/s of performance, and 256 and up will have 20+ GB/s. You can typically tell the bus by the third digit in the model number. If it’s 8 or 9, it’s 256+; if it’s 5, 6 or 7, it’s generally 128; if it’s below, it’s generally 64 bits. So, GeForce 8400: 64-bit. Radeon 4650: 128-bit. Etc.

Any “intel integrated” graphics is integrated (north bridge), and really slow. Any Radeon “express” is integrated, and fairly slow. The GeForce 9100M and 9400M are also integrated, and also slow, but in my experience less so than the Intels. In fact, the GeForce 9400M typically is paired with 22 GB/s of main RAM (in 128-bit configuration), of which the CPU can utilize 16-20 GB/s peak; so even splitting it 10/12, it’s a fairly decent system as far as low-cost, low-power laptops go. Much better than Intel 4500/HD, for sure.

Curiously, the GeForce 9500M is a 9400M, plus a 9200M (which is a 64-bit part), where the 64-bit part has its own RAM at 6 GB/s, and the 9400M shares with the CPU. Together, they raise peformance by about 25-30% over a 9400M, but the 9200M, which is “discrete” (a separate chip) actually has lower performance than the 9400M “integrated” chip; it’s just that NVIDIA can make these work together that makes it a faster solution. The MacBook Pros 15/17" have a 9400M (integrated) and a 9600M (discrete, 128-bit), and can run those together, for quite decent laptop performance. I wish they came with real keyboards; they’d make good Windows laptops :slight_smile: