Gateway's powerful, cheap P-7811FX shows up early

New budget gaming laptop from Gateway.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
Gateway's new P-7811FX.

We've been waiting for August 14 to roll around so we could tell you about Gateway's new budget-minded gaming rig, the P-7811FX.

After all, we're big fans of the high-power, low-price 17-inch laptops Gateway's been putting out this year as Best Buy exclusives, offering Nvidia's powerful GeForce 8800 GPU for a mere $1,350 (or less, depending on retail discounts). Even though new products like this usually leak beforehand, it was a surprise to see the new system posted on Best Buy's Web site today, a day early.

It's a good thing, too, as the new P-7811FX manages to fix most of the issues we had with the earlier Gateway budget gaming laptops. It bumps the processor (previously a middling Intel Core 2 Duo T5450 or T5500) all the way up to a Centrino 2 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo P8400, adds Nvidia's new GeForce 9800M GTS graphics card, and takes the screen resolution from 1,440x900 to 1,920x1,200.

The new P-7811FX does cost a about $100 more than the previous models (the 6860FX and the 6831FX), and is currently listed at $1,449 on Best Buy's Web site, but it still seems like a bargain, and is easily on par with the high-end gaming laptops Gateway has been offering recently (such as the $3,000 P-171XL FX).

We don't know how they do it, but for PC gamers on a budget, we can't think of a better deal on laptop right now. Stay tuned for a full review of the Gateway P-7811FX.