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

New budget gaming laptop from Gateway.

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.