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HELP! Need advice before buying a Gateway M-6866 or M-6862

by thomasterrible / September 3, 2008 7:57 PM PDT

I have looked around at the prices of laptops and features, my budget is 700.00 which both of these are on sale for right now.

I selected these because compared to anything else in this price range these have the most features (at least as far as I can tell)

The reasons that I am considering these two are
1. They both use the Intel Centrino Dual core Processor, I am told this is a solid processor. My last desktop I found out later that the Celeron was not the best choice.

2. They both have a good amount of hard drive space, the M6866 has 320MB and the M-6862 250MB.

3. They both come with 4MB of RAM and from the specs both DDR2

4. The both come with the 64 bit version of Windows Vista.

They both have 15.4 inch XVGA screens, they both have the same widescreen 1200x800 resolution, the M-6862 has in the specs "TFT-LCD" added. I dont know enough to know if there is a difference between the two displays.

They also both have laser writing which would be great for my creating discs with graphics and information for my radio show collection project.

The other differences are the M-6866 has a Intel Media Graphics Accelerator X3100 with 384MB sharged memory, the M-6862 has 512MB GDDR3 ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2600.
Other than those the differences I can tell are that the M6866 has what appears to be more media readers, at least from the listed specs and they have a few differences in available port connections, the M-6866 appears to only have 3 USB ports while the M-6862 also has an HDMI connection.

I have not found any other laptops with these features in this price range. I decided upon a laptop for portablilty, I am going back to college and see lap tops common among students, the amount of both Hardrive and RAM are very good for my needs. Aside from school I do a lot of downloading and burning of old time radio shows, may use some music recording software, I am a heavy user of Email and as I live in the seattle area and every starbucks has wifi available it would not be hard to have a real screen and keyboard to use this. I could also use it for DOT traffic cameras. The occasional times when I want to watch a dvd. The ability to run multiple programs efficiently and the large amount of storage space from my radio shows and photos and eventually videos seems like a good match.

I have deleted about everything I could from my desktop with a 40Gig Hard drive and it is still maxed out. It is also have several issues. I do plan to remove the data I want to keep, move it to the laptop or a separate hard drive and then wipe it clean using restore discs, and then also buy a low cost second desktop.

I dont see any other computers out there in this price range that have these features.

Is anyone familiar with these computers or have advice? It seems as though you get a lot for the money with these two computers, but I think there may be some differences I am not aware of. The M-6866 is 150.00 off and the M-6862 is 50.00 off making them both 699.00. I dont see the M-6866 on the Gateway site so I am thinking that it may be an older model. Not sure.

I would greatly appreaciate any advice about these since for me it is a lot of money, but I need a computer right away and these two have far more features than any I have seen at the 3 stores in my area, Best Buy, Circuit City and Fry's. Are these good choices? Given the information I have provided or you may know which one would you select? I think either would be fine, the fact that one has the HDMI port makes me think it may be a newer model, at least that is how it is with the HDTV's I have seen compared to mine.


Thanks very much, Tom

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Keep in mind these are consumer grade or
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 3, 2008 9:23 PM PDT

Just a few year design life products. With extreme care and never blocking the vents and yearly cleanings you should hit 18 months till the battery starts to lose it's zing.

"The other differences are the M-6866 has a Intel Media Graphics Accelerator X3100 with 384MB sharged memory, the M-6862 has 512MB GDDR3 ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2600."

These are wildly different video solutions. The x3100 is your pure laptop value play which works for Jane Doe watching DVDs, surfing the web and office stuff with the occasional card game. The ATI chip solution is an attempt to cram 3D GAMING into a laptop.

Even today I find 3D gaming in laptops to find too many complaints in year 2 over such machines. People want them but the heat, the 10 to 20 minute battery times tend to upset people.

-> Be sure to keep all laptops under warranty until you feel you can pay for the usual 600 buck repairs.

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What would be better for the price?
by thomasterrible / September 4, 2008 4:10 AM PDT

I dont do any gaming, but also dont want a product to last for a year, and I guess I could buy an extended warranty. But how about a suggestion of something better? I just dont have a huge budget, but if there is something better out there for the money please advise!

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Without the 3D gaming...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 4, 2008 5:08 AM PDT

The usual 599 buck laptops do quite well. Even I have laptops from Dell, HP, Tosh with the usual GMA solution and they last a long time as I maintain them, never drop them or pound on the keyboard. In fact I added an wireless keyboard, mouse so my laptops looks almost new.

The last under 599 laptop we added to the family is the dv6910us. Lightscribe, bluetooth, remote control, 15.4 inch lcd, etc. Is that more like what you are shopping for?

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what I am looking for
by thomasterrible / September 4, 2008 6:39 AM PDT

Well I guess I am a bit confused, I did notice a Gateway model T Laptop that was suggested as highly rated on this site, but with the smaller screen for portablilty, but it cost 799 and has fewer features as far as I could tell.
I guess this would be consdiered a "desktop replacement" It would be treated well, I have expensive music gear and it lasts forever if treated correctly. It seems that aside from portability which I dont see as an issue being a 6 foot 220 pound male, but I also find that computers are more powerful and less expensive every few years, and I dont have a big budget, so either of the computers I mentioned seem to be good enough for what I am looking for and the issues I am running in to with the desktop I have are those of it being older, I spent a small amount of money to raise the memory from the, at the time upgraded to 512MB to 1.256 Gigs to get by with it, so having a 250-300 Gig hard drive is attractive to me. The processor seems to be considered a good one in either of the gateways. I guess I dont understand how the 799 T-model can rate highly but a 699 M model with more featuers is not a good choice? I would use the memory it has and the cd laser burning for radio show discs. Would also like something I would not be tied to being stationed in the basement, would like a laptop that I could use in bed too (I am sick a lot) What would the suggested model give me for 100 bucks less? If not used for games which I dont play at all and less so on a computer, and the battery life is not good (I dont know how much new batteries are) but perhaps a protection plan would solve that issue too? My phillips 55 inch HDTV I bought in 2002 is, other than being large, never had a problem and I never used the 500 buck protection plan. ??
Thanks for your help, I have spoken to salesmen and they have suggested these and when comparing laptops in the same price range these just have memory and featues far better than the other laptops for the same money. But that is why I came here, for my uses am I still missing something?

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Link please.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 4, 2008 6:50 AM PDT
In reply to: what I am looking for
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Here is the link
by thomasterrible / September 4, 2008 7:06 AM PDT
In reply to: Link please.
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Today? Iffy on the Vista 64.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 4, 2008 8:20 AM PDT
In reply to: Here is the link

The world has not accepted the path to 64 bittiness. Look into printer drivers and more that are lagging. For now I have no qualms about 32 bit Vista. Nice price machine with you besting my machine on the CPU choice. The Labelflash Technology is the nascent competitor to HP's LightScribe so they have an edge if they learned from HP and what people complain about there.

But it's a good fair choice for the list and the price. If you can shop at Costco, see what they have to offer for the warranty and support policy but think about extending it just in case. Here I don't since all my gear is, well, covered under a business plan.

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Ok will check on those things
by thomasterrible / September 4, 2008 12:30 PM PDT

I mostly considered the processor, the amount of RAM and hard drive space. While the 6866 is 150 off to get to the 699 and the 6862 only 50 off, it seems that although the hard drive on the 6866 being 320 instead of 250, the 6862 may be a newer model and has a better video capability. I will see what costco has and warranties. I dont like dealing with circuit city much, but did see they have 4 and 5 year extended warranties that cover everything from power surges and batteries to accidentally dropping it to new screens etc. Will find out the price for that, also only one CC store in the area, makes me wonder about the stability of the company to be around for 4-5 years. Best buy does not specify the warranty features so will find out also.
But would like a real store location to go back to if something goes wrong. Wont the drivers still work at 32 bit versions of Vista? Even if they may not be jumping on the 64 bit boat in general? I will find out how much new batteries etc. cost, but plan to have some sort of case for it, perhaps one of those under the computer fans, and of course an optical mouse. It is a lot of money for me so I am going to make sure that the keyboard is one I can type fast on etc. Many times I find the cost of the warranty is as much as what it covers that may or may not happen, but I will find out. We did get pc mechanic new version for our computers a while back and it has caused more problems that it solved I think, still getting error messages and such, also not impressed with the Mcaffe but it comes free with comcast service. Get many errors on this computer that are bugs and if I click debug there are no debugging programs to use. I think it may be best to get off the things I want to keep and wiping the hard drive clean and starting over, and having a hard drive 6 times larger to transfer those things to. What do you think? Thanks again, T

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It only gets worse.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 4, 2008 10:59 PM PDT

The number of 699 buck laptops you'll find from now to Christmas will only explode. I have no druthers on one gateway over the other. All the admonitions I offered still apply.

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by thomasterrible / September 4, 2008 10:57 PM PDT

You mentioned cooling fans, would it be good to get one of those external plates that have fans for it to sit on as well?


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My advice on cooling.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 4, 2008 11:00 PM PDT
In reply to: cooling
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Cooling and software
by thomasterrible / September 5, 2008 5:22 PM PDT
In reply to: My advice on cooling.

Well I do leave my desktop on 24/7, mainly because I get the automatic updates done for every program I have that can do this.
Cleaning it is certainly no problem, I will look up that link.

I was wondering if you could suggest what software to load on to this new laptop. I get McAffee free due to having comcast service, but am not sure if it is doing a great job. I also got PC Mechanic full version and it seems to have been a bad decision, we used in on my desktop and someones laptop and errors were actually due to System Mechanic in some cases, I uninstalled it off that laptop and it seems to run better. I have also been getting runtime errors, .dll errors, script errors asking me if I would like to debug, but have nothing on my computer to do this. I would like to know what to do from the start to prevent this from happening. I have run free downloads of various programs to see if they found various things such as trojans, data miners, spyware, all the bad things that are intentionally done by someone, they usually find hundreds when McAffee and System Mechanic and Norton when I had it never find anything. I dont know if this is a marketing ploy or just better software. I always have all the firewalls up, windows, comcast, mcaffe, keep everything up to date and run programs like defrag all the time, still this happens. I have been to sick to find out about the cost of the warranties yet, but not wanting to spend huge amounts on software, but wanting to be protected, do you have suggestions or is there a link here somewhere as to what one should install from day one? I will be removing all the garbage like AOL stuff that comes preloaded, but downloading Mcaffee again is free but again not impressed. I wish I could wait until xmax shopping, but I need something now, and think I will get by ok as long as I have a lot of storage, going from a 40gig hard drive (97%full) and low RAM and while my processor is 2.2Ghz it is a Celeron to a duo core 2Mhz processor, 4MB RAM, 250 Gig HD and Vista I have to think I will notice a huge difference right there, but want to keep it that way. Thanks for all the help, I am going to get a demo of the Laser scribe to see how it looks, glad to hear it could be better than laserscribe, one item that I would use for burning cd's of MP3 Old time radio shows (big time fan, computer is used for this a lot. T

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I use the stock version for LightScribe.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 5, 2008 10:45 PM PDT
In reply to: Cooling and software

It's all good stuff to me. As to other software those are personal choices but a machine that's in the guest room is loaded with Free AVG, Zone Alarm, Seamonkey (browser), Adblock Plus and not much else.

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Still trying to decide on the laptop,...
by thomasterrible / September 6, 2008 11:37 AM PDT

I am new to Cnet or I would PM you. It is perhaps getting off topic.
Anyway, I have thought more about options. I have had too much anxiety to dive in to the purchase. I have been reading info on Cnet also..not necessarliy understanding it all. But I have held off actually buying one, it is a lot of money for me, and I want to make sure that I get the best I can. Under the reviews for back to school laptops I saw the HP Pavillion 6985se which is 799 at Best buy right now. I looked on the Best Buy site and every review I read said that the volume control does not work and computer freezes and not high ratings. I did like the 5 hour battery life, weight is not an issue with me. So I have conflicing information. You previously mentioned xmas sales, I dont know how much difference this can make, but I did think that perhaps since I am not going to start school right away buying a external hard drive for this desktop to put all the mp3 radio shows on which would give me back about half of the hard drive space. Then perhaps save a little more to get a better computer. I would consider just buying the one mentioned but with the reviews being so bad I am again lost. Also I can save 100 bucks by having my cousin pick it up and ship it to me, no tax in Oregon. Hard to part with my money when it is so hard to come by. The Best buy 3 year warranty BTW is another 200 bucks for this, seems like a good idea to me. What are your suggestions or the differences in the machine Cnet tested and the reviews from customers at best buy? Thanks T

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by Renegade Knight / September 15, 2008 4:41 AM PDT

I took Gatewy several months to ship my computer. It arived unfunctional (blue screen errors). It took them a year to decide that yes I did have a real problem and fix it. This was after sending it in once already where they didn't fix anything.

I can not at all reccomend Gateway for anything. Initial quality was bad. Support was bad.

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by thomasterrible / September 15, 2008 11:29 AM PDT
In reply to: Gateway

Thanks for you reply. How long ago did you buy that? I would buy one in a store and probably buy a protection plan. Did yours have the Gateways version of LightScribe? I was wondering how that worked.
I know Gateway used to be mail order only, then they had stores which I guess didnt workout and now are in places like Best Buy.

There are so many choices and it is a big purchase for me so I for now got a portable external 250GB hardrive (99 bucks Simple Tech) for this Desktop and moved my mp3 files and eventually photos too to give myself more time to think about the laptop purchase. If there was not such a huge price difference I would probably go Mac, and then the xmas sales. There is an HP I mentioned in this thread that is heavy (over 6 pounds) but that is because it has a 12 cell battery that lasts over 5 hours, so that is the way I am leaning right now, but want to try not to get something that wont be hugely outdated in the middle of the 4-5 years of school. I am not a tiny person and would far rather have a couple more pounds of battery giving me far more time with the computer on a charge than a light as a feather laptop that will only last a couple hours.

Do you still have that gateway or did you get something else you like better?


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Go with the M-6862
by pstaub / September 20, 2008 4:25 PM PDT

The M-6862 is definitely the correct choice. I've had mine for over a week, and it is simply amazing.

The battery life, even with the HD-2600 dedicated card, is about 2 hours. The person who mentioned a 10 to 20 minute battery life apparently has never owned this laptop, as even with Crysis going full strong, I had well over an hour of battery life. But if you're running the thing off the battery, and you want the battery life to be a little longer, common sense will tell you not to run any heavy-duty 3D games. And when you're not running games, the HD 2600 really doesn't seem to impact battery life that much.

Still, how often are you going to be away from an outlet? Classrooms, offices, even airports now have outlets everywhere for you to plug into, so I don't really think the difference between a 2 hour battery life and a 3 hour battery life is really going to make a huge difference in many people's lives.

As for the HD 2600, my goodness this thing really makes life wonderful. I have 3 other laptops that have integrated cards because I listened to the "wisdom" of people saying how stupid it was to have a dedicated card in a laptop. What a bunch of BS. The HD 2600 makes Vista run so smooth, it gives me the ability to play games (even Crysis runs on this thing - albeit on lower settings, but still - it actually runs on this laptop!), and given the right mods can even handle CAD and 3D programs. I'll never buy another laptop that does NOT have a dedicated video card, and can not recommend this feature highly enough.

The heat is not a factor at all until you turn on the serious games (like Crysis). For the most part, the heat only kicks on when you're actually using it - which makes sense. Since a puny 3100 integrated card won't let you play any serious games, you won't have heat issues; but if you never play any serious games, heat won't be an issue with the HD 2600 either! So basically, the HD 2600 gives you a choice - you can have no heat or you can have games. With the 3100, you basically have no games, which also means you have no heat - in other words, you have no choice to even play games, so the no heat is really of no benefit.

The 6862 is well-built. People preaching "consumer grade" and other crap is just someone who has more money than sense and goes out and spends $1500 on a laptop because they don't know better. I prefer to get a $425 "consumer grade" laptop like the 6862 that I know I can replace next year than to spend $1,500 on an XPS 1530 and start to notice serious performance degradation in year 2 but be "stuck" with it because you have invested so much in it. One thing any real techie will tell you is that technology continually gets cheaper and better - $800 next year will buy a laptop that can run circles around a laptop that was purchased for $1,500 this year. And I currently have 2 "consumer grade" laptops other than the 6862 that I've had for 1 and 2 years that both are still running great.

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Gateway M-6862 is only $449 at Best Buy right now
by laniedayz / September 21, 2008 12:16 PM PDT

On the bestbuy website, the M-6862 is still listed at $699.99 but in-store it is $449.99.. Call around to Best Buy's in your area and see if they have it. I just purchased it for $449 in Houston and I absolutely LOVE this computer.

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Thanks for the price alert!
by thomasterrible / September 21, 2008 7:08 PM PDT

That is great information. For 450 bucks it sounds like a deal. I dont play any games, my nephew has all the playstations xbox 360 etc. and so far I have not played one game. I agree that it becomes much easier to select a computer when you have a lot of money. If you dont have the money for high end computers it is not a fair comparison. I did think that the 5 hours of battery life of the HP was pretty cool.

I dont know, but are there external batteries one can buy to extend the time the laptop can run when not near an outlet? Car chargers?

That price may put it over the top for me. What software did it come with? I am a 42 year old guy going back to college so that would be its main purpose, otherwise email and small web site visits are about it.


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Can't find this laptop ANYWHERE under $600
by davezang / September 21, 2008 10:51 PM PDT

I've been looking for this laptop everywhere, trying to get it under $600 is next to impossible. I've been to every Best Buy in the RI/MA area, all are selling it for $699, eBay is also a joke, everyone has it for over $600. All the hype off cnet, cheapassgamers and other websites are making this laptop very popular and people are buying them up and selling them for huge profits off eBay, etc. If I could get one for around $550 I would buy one, but I've been searching for a week and can't find any. I guess I'll just wait until Christmas when the frenzy dies down :/

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Could be an in store special for that location
by thomasterrible / September 22, 2008 6:21 AM PDT

I have not checked the stores yet up here, but if it is still on sale I would call the store in Texas the other person mentioned and see if you could buy it with a credit or debit card and have it shipped to your house. It very well may be an in store special at that particular store. Of course if you know someone in Texas that would be great, if not and you want to get it I would call and see if that can be done.
Good Luck. In general there will be the xmas sales coming up also, not sure how that will affect prices but would think sales would be best then.

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What store
by thomasterrible / September 24, 2008 9:03 PM PDT

I know that Houston is a big place. Could you tell me what store or stores you found that computer for 450 at please? It is not that price at stores around here and it could have been a sales event. But if you let me know the store number or location so I can at least call them and see if it is still available I would really appreciate it.

Thanks Much,

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I got mine...
by amartindale / September 27, 2008 1:32 AM PDT
In reply to: What store

I went in to Best Buy looking at other notebooks but couldn't pass us the great deal they were offering. I didn't get mine for 450 but 475+tax is outstanding for the configuration. I am in North Carolina so this was not a single location offering. I purchased the 19th out of 20 this location had.

It is a great buy. Have had no problems whatsoever, but did notice that I can't get audio through the HDMI on my TV. From what I have seen this may be an issue with the TV as much as with the notebook.

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by thomasterrible / September 27, 2008 3:21 PM PDT
In reply to: I got mine...

Yes for the price I agree. I have not found it in any ads anymore for under 575. I guess I may call around to stores on my cell phone and see if there are any locations that still have that deal going on.

Thanks much,

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Did you find one?
by laniedayz / October 8, 2008 9:48 AM PDT
In reply to: thanks


Were you able to find the laptop for $449? I am so sorry I didn't check back here again. I hope you were able to find it. It was NOT just a sale, it is a discontinued brand and it kept going down in price. I read a forum online that told me about the deal and went directly to the Best Buy in the Clear Lake area of Houston and bought it for $449... but it was at other locations for the same price.

I did read online some people were having troubles getting the $449 at certain stores due to the laptop being "geek squad'ed" out. (Basically they put on extra software, like anti-virus software, etc.. and add onto the price. Most Best Buy's will remove it, if asked but some people have trouble getting some store managers to agree to remove it..)

This computer isn't even online on BB's website, I think it is totally sold out now. It was a REALLY good deal.

I am so sorry it took me so long to respond. I hope you were able to get a computer for a decent price..and I understand about not being able to afford a real fancy one. If I could afford it, I would buy $2,000 one but I just can't... anyway, take care.

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Thanks but not lucky
by thomasterrible / October 8, 2008 11:50 AM PDT
In reply to: Did you find one?

Yup I tried and also checked out what else was going on at another site and apparently once work got out people rushed the stores and cleaned them out. Some buying them to resell on Ebay for a profit.

Its ok though, I still have a couple of surgeries before I can start school and that is the only reason I need the laptop so I will be ok with not having one for a while. Hopefully there will be something even better on sale during xmas or an after xmas sale etc. and I am saving my money so perhaps I will find something in the 700.00 range.

If things keep going as they are then computers keep getting faster and better and the prices for the same things keeps getting less. It would have been great to get one of those but since they are gone it is just one of those things. But thanks for the reply anyway. On the other hand were I to have purchased one at 699 and then had them go on sale more than the amount of the price guarantee I would have probably been more upset than not getting them when on sale.

That being the case if you do hear about anything really good in a similar situation please let me know and I will be on the lookout and when the next great deal comes along snag one!

Thanks Much,

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Maybe wait until black Friday?
by laniedayz / October 8, 2008 12:08 PM PDT
In reply to: Thanks but not lucky

Usually the day after Thanksgiving has great sales. In fact, some people who were discussing this deal on another website were thinking of holding out until Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving) until the price lowered to $449.. (It was $529 for awhile before it dropped).

I did hear a lot of people were buying them and selling them on ebay unfortunately.. I guess good for them, not so good for us.

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