Gateway NX860XL @ [H] Consumer

Jason_Wall

[H] Consumer Managing Editor
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Our Best Tier I Integrator is back again with a juiced-up version of the NX860X we evalauted last August. This new offering features a faster GPU, CPU, hard drive, and more RAM, which puts the hardware dead-even with our recent XPS 1710 laptop. The difference? The Gateway comes in about $1000 less.

The NX860XL isn’t as flashy or as sexy as some other gaming notebooks, but it delivers the goods at a very aggressive price. Call it the Honda Accord of notebooks – reliable and dependable, with great service and a great price. There’s a lot to be said for that in this business.

Thanks for reading!
 

Rube

Weaksauce
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Nov 5, 2004
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Great review, as usual. Its interesting that the identically equipped Dell gets such better gaming performance. From what I can see, the Dell allows you to run either higher res or with greater AA/AF (sometimes both) while achieving the same FPS. Maybe those "special" drivers aren't so special. Or maybe that $1000 price premium for the XPS gets you something. . .
 
Joined
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Actually, she would've been on to something, had you actually had a problem of the optical drives showing exclamation marks on them in the Device Manager, or not showing up in My Computer. In a case where uninstalling the optical drives themselves doesn't work, removing the upper and lower filters and then rebooting the machine can actually solve some problems with optical drives and Windows.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/320553/en-us
 

Jason_Wall

[H] Consumer Managing Editor
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Actually, she would've been on to something, had you actually had a problem of the optical drives showing exclamation marks on them in the Device Manager, or not showing up in My Computer. In a case where uninstalling the optical drives themselves doesn't work, removing the upper and lower filters and then rebooting the machine can actually solve some problems with optical drives and Windows.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/320553/en-us

Very interesting. Perhaps she was on to something. Even so, she did not follow it to its conclusion.
 
Joined
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I have a question about the results from Company Of Heroes, were you using the built in performance tester or running fraps while actually playing?
 

tickle_me_emo

[H]ard|Gawd
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article said:
We also configured a Dell Inspiron with the same CPU, GPU, display and memory, and it came out to $2,165.
I don't think you configured that with a dell coupon. That's not very consumer savvy. The twenty percent off coupon makes the dell a much better deal.
 

stabilep

Limp Gawd
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Sep 27, 2005
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The problem with coupons are they are not always available so its hard to justify it as an actual cost of the PC. if I were to go right now and configure a computer and find it 20% more expensive then HardOCP's price I probably would be Pissed Thats its not the great deal that HardOCP said it was thus making their whole review be off because they are reviewing it from the 20% lower Price
 

Josh_Norem

[H] Consumer Editor
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I have a question about the results from Company Of Heroes, were you using the built in performance tester or running fraps while actually playing?

We benchmark all of the games by playing them with Fraps running.
 

Legomancer

n00b
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Jul 1, 2004
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A very good review.

I have a question about the gaming conclusion though: I feel that as an analysis of the market and of gaming on laptops in general it was spot on. (No premium gamer should be dropping money on a no DX10 GPU in my opinion) However it struck me as a bit unfair to deduct points on this particular laptop because of that. If no Laptop GPU exists that meets your criteria, then why is it being mentioned in the conclusion as an important point. I just felt it was unduly harsh to be deducting points for something that has nothing to do with Gateway.

Again, excellent review, I just was curious as to your reasoning behind the 6/10 in Gaming.
 

tickle_me_emo

[H]ard|Gawd
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Mobile dx10 gpu's won't be out for a while. Intel brings their integrated dx10 graphics when the santa rosa chipset comes in April. Supposedly Nvidia will have their 8xxx mobile versions in June/July. No word on when ATI will have there's out, but you can suspect it'll be out around nvidia's launch. I'm not sure about waiting 6 months for a dx10 laptop. Although asus has this neat product that will allow you to hook up a 8800gts to a laptop asus external video card.

The problem with coupons are they are not always available so its hard to justify it as an actual cost of the PC. if I were to go right now and configure a computer and find it 20% more expensive then HardOCP's price I probably would be Pissed Thats its not the great deal that HardOCP said it was thus making their whole review be off because they are reviewing it from the 20% lower Price

Use code 8JVC1R9N6V8VC9 to save 20% off any $999.00+ Dell Inspiron notebook. (valid 11/30/2006 12:00:00 AM - 2/1/2007 7:00:00 AM) This is a limited quantity offer, with only 10,000 systems available for purchase with this coupon code.

Free coupons are almost always available. There might be times when Dell doesn't have a coupon out there. but I haven't heard any complaints about people who wanted a coupon when there weren't any.
 

swatbat

[H]F Junkie
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Actually, she would've been on to something, had you actually had a problem of the optical drives showing exclamation marks on them in the Device Manager, or not showing up in My Computer. In a case where uninstalling the optical drives themselves doesn't work, removing the upper and lower filters and then rebooting the machine can actually solve some problems with optical drives and Windows.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/320553/en-us

Yea I was thinking that too. Kinda susprised that a phone tech would bring something like that up though.
 

Jason_Wall

[H] Consumer Managing Editor
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A very good review.

I have a question about the gaming conclusion though: I feel that as an analysis of the market and of gaming on laptops in general it was spot on. (No premium gamer should be dropping money on a no DX10 GPU in my opinion) However it struck me as a bit unfair to deduct points on this particular laptop because of that. If no Laptop GPU exists that meets your criteria, then why is it being mentioned in the conclusion as an important point. I just felt it was unduly harsh to be deducting points for something that has nothing to do with Gateway.

Again, excellent review, I just was curious as to your reasoning behind the 6/10 in Gaming.

Good points, thanks for your thoughts.

A big reason that it was scored so low is that the XPS 1710 ran circles around it with essentially the same hardware. We also wanted to make it clear that if you're looking for hardcore gaming ability, you're not going to find it here.
 

Jason_Wall

[H] Consumer Managing Editor
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Free coupons are almost always available.

Yes, key word: almost. We're very aware of the coupons available for Dell, some of which are what the Bostonians would call "wicked sick," but there's no way for us to be sure that the same discount is offered every time you want to buy a Dell system.
 

Josh_Norem

[H] Consumer Editor
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Sep 26, 2006
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Yes, key word: almost. We're very aware of the coupons available for Dell, some of which are what the Bostonians would call "wicked sick," but there's no way for us to be sure that the same discount is offered every time you want to buy a Dell system.

I can't find it right now, but I'm positive you borrowed that "wicked sick bostonian" phrase from one of my reviews. You plagiarizer.
 

Jason_Wall

[H] Consumer Managing Editor
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If I remember correctly, it was in reference to BF2142 in the OPC article. It made me lawl. ;)
 

jon67

Gawd
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A big reason that it was scored so low is that the XPS 1710 ran circles around it with essentially the same hardware. We also wanted to make it clear that if you're looking for hardcore gaming ability, you're not going to find it here.

Why is there such a difference? Different clock speeds?
 

Josh_Norem

[H] Consumer Editor
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Sep 26, 2006
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They were the same clock speed. And curiously, both were loaded with bloatware as well. Both had 2GB of ram, 7200rpm hard drives, etc.

We don't know what specifically contributed to its performance advantage to be honest.
 

tickle_me_emo

[H]ard|Gawd
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I'd guess it might be the two OSes, xp pro > media edition. Previously you guys mentioned that the media edition gave you benchmarking problems.

I still don't like your argument about not using dell coupons since they're not always available.

In the off chance there is no coupon available for your product, you can wait a few days (a week at the most) before dell offers new coupons. Isn't waiting a few days to save 20% or more a worthwhile decision?
 

Josh_Norem

[H] Consumer Editor
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It would be foolish for us to use some sort of special promotion as a baseline for pricing, and would ultimately lead readers to write us to complain that they can't find the same deal we listed.

Same with rebates, coupons, or two-for Tuesdays. We just stick with baseline MSRP. If you can find a better deal due to your own cunning, good for you.
 

ir0nw0lf

Supreme [H]ardness
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Josh/Jason, ignore the [H]ard|heads here who keep B&M'ing over the lack of a coupon being used. Just remember (and this really seems to apply here): You can please some of us all of the time, all of us some of the time, but NEVER all of us all of the time. ;)
 

Jason_Wall

[H] Consumer Managing Editor
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I'd guess it might be the two OSes, xp pro > media edition. Previously you guys mentioned that the media edition gave you benchmarking problems.

Indeed, this could definitely be a contributing factor. We've seen the performance delta before, and have advised that if you don't have a profound need for MCE, that you stick with XP Home or Pro. We haven't seen a discrepancy as large as we've seen here before, so there are likely other factors, as well.
 
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You know the thing is, I actually have one of these I bought two months ago and it runs smoking fast on pretty much every game I play.

I did uninstall all that junk software that comes with it and that actually helped a lot with the speed and stability. MacAfee actually crashed the computer several times and then corrupted the hard drive. So I switched over to Antivir Guard.

I have the 2.16Ghz C2D and the 100GB HDD, along with the lower resolution ultra bright LCD (1440x900) since I’m a firm believer in getting a mid size LCD for a gaming machine. I think the LCD makes a big difference, since I run nearly every game I play at native resolution, so everything is bright and sharp without distortion from running at lower than native resolution.

I play CoH with everything turned up to max and I have no problems. Pray is much the same, except for AA at x2. DoW: DC with everything at max. NWN2 with everything at max.

So all in all, I think your bad gaming experience on the laptop was caused by a combination of all the bloat-ware/OS (slow down) and the extremely high resolution LCD (jaggies).

Live from Iraq,
zeN
 

Jason_Wall

[H] Consumer Managing Editor
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Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Perhaps this illustrates why we go through all the trouble to tell everyone what the software load on the machine is like.

To be clear though, on our own gaming experiences, we didn't game at the native res on hardly any of the games. Most were at 1024x768. Indeed, we were a bit surprised - and disappointed - at the lackluster performance, even at low resolutions.
 

DanaG

n00b
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Aug 3, 2006
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I have the 1440x900 non-glossy display on my Gateway M685, and I can't stand it. It's so dim, even compared to cheap desktop LCDs. I wish there were some way to upgrade it... every site I see that sells the better panel has it for at least $250. What's the point of a large LCD if it's so dim?

On the other hand, this review makes me realize that Gateway deserves more attention than they get. At my school, a large majority of the students have Dell or Apple, because that's what they sell in the bookstore. HP/Compaq is also relatively prevalent, but I very rarely see Gateway.

PS: Oh yeah, there's also still the "fan is on when AC is plugged in" semi-issue, and sometimes when I'm in booted into Linux, my ACPI temperature will suddenly spike up to the apparently bogus reading of 72C.
 

dripgoss

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Does anyone know (or care to speculate) if these NX860XL's would perform more like the E1710 if it got a fresh new (aka non-Gateway restore CD) OS install and new drivers? The specs are too good to pass up for the price, and the first thing I'd do is wipe all that bloat and restore partition crap away. Basically, is the relative slowness hardware or software related do you guys think?
 

Jason_Wall

[H] Consumer Managing Editor
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As mentioned, that it has MCE as an operating system and a few other assorted integrated programs could be reasons that this machine was otherwise "slower." It would be interesting to see if there is a performance delta if you installed a clean retail OS.

You're right, though, the hardware is solid.
 

dripgoss

Limp Gawd
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Sep 9, 2002
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After reading this and many other reviews and comparisons, I ordered my wife a NX860XL yesterday. I was still very surprised at how easy and dummy proof all of the configuration optons were on the web site (as opposed to Dell's web site). At $1650 for the baseline machine, plus an extra AC adapter and tax (free shipping, yay), it came to just over $1800 and should be here by 1/30. When it gets here I'll throw a review and maybe some pre/post reformat benchies up in the Mobile section. If I'm lucky, I'll find someone with a rom for that 7900GS to unlock it's full potential. Thanks [H]!
 
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