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Gateway MD2614u review: Gateway MD2614u

Gateway MD2614u

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman
5 min read

Editors' note: This review is part of our Winter 2009 Retail Roundup, covering specific configurations of popular laptops that can be found in retail stores.


Gateway MD2614u

The Good

Nice-looking design; HDMI out; touch-sensitive media controls; 802.11n Wi-Fi.

The Bad

Relatively short battery life; fingerprint-prone; weak speakers; lacks FireWire.

The Bottom Line

For an AMD-based laptop, the entry-level Gateway MD2614u provides adequate everyday performance with a handful of extras we'd expect from more expensive systems.

Gateway's MD-series of laptops is aimed at consumers of digital media who also enjoy a good Web-surfing session, and possibly some productivity tasks. With the entry-level MD2614u, Gateway keeps the same case design, touch-sensitive media controls, and LCD as the excellent MD7801u, but popped in a less expensive and considerably less powerful 2.1GHz AMD Turion X2 RM-72, cut the hard drive storage in half, and ditched 1GB of memory. However, even with all these reductions, the MD2514u is nevertheless a fine laptop for basic computer needs.

Price as reviewed $549.99
Processor 2.1GHz AMD Turion X2 RM-72
Memory 3GB, 667MHz DDR2
Hard drive 250GB 5,400rpm
Chipset AMD M780G
Graphics 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200 (integrated)
Operating System Windows Vista Premium SP1 64-bit
Dimensions (WD) 15.2 inches wide by 10.4 inches deep
Height 1.3-1.7 inches high
Screen size (diagonal) 15.6 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 6.5/7.3 pounds
Category Mainstream

The design of the MD2614u is fairly low-key, without looking boring. The lid is a shiny black, with the exception of a vertical, brushed-metal strip topped by a tastefully small "Gateway" logo. Its dimensions are not ideal for even infrequent trips away from the home or office (we like to stay below 14 inches for that).

Underneath the fingerprint magnet of a lid is a 15.6-inch LCD with a 1,366x768 resolution that was bright, with good color and contrast. It's a nice display especially for the laptop's entry-level price. Atop the screen is a run-of-the-mill 1.3-megapixel Webcam.

The notebook has a comfortable, matte-black keyboard with white markings, which makes them visible in low light (but not as much as backlit keys would be). However, we wish the Function keys were marked in another color, especially since there is no hard switch for the Wi-Fi radio. Typing is pleasant enough, though, with agreeable key travel and enjoyable clacking feedback.

The right side of the glossy keyboard tray has a set of touch-sensitive media controls (play/pause, stop, forward, rewind, volume, and mute). Their orange glow looks great against the black background and they work fine, but the whole setup is so glossy that it doesn't take much use before it looks like a mess of fingerprints. On the upside, all the lights can be shut off, so they're not a distraction or if you simply don't like them. It's rare to find controls like this in a laptop under $600.

Ports and connections

  Gateway MD7818u Average for category [mainstream]
Video VGA-out, HDMI VGA-out, HDMI
Audio Stereo speakers, headphone (2) and microphone jacks, built-in mic Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 4 USB 2.0, multiformat media-card reader, 4 USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, SD card reader
Expansion ExpressCard/54 ExpressCard/54
Networking modem, Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi modem, Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional WWAN
Optical drive DVD burner DVD burner

The front-firing stereo speakers are probably the weakest part of the "multimedia" package; it's not even that they sound bad, just that they're not all that powerful (not that we'd expect much from a budget laptop's speakers). The inclusion of 802.11n Wi-Fi, an HDMI port, and an ExpressCard slot are welcome in this price range.

Internal components are, on the whole, in line with what other vendors are offering at the MD2614u's sub-$550 price: an AMD dual-core processor, 3GB of DDR2 memory, and a respectable 250GB hard drive. Nothing stellar, but still decent performance for your buck.

The MD2614u's performance was right in the middle of the pack in our collection of entry-level retail fixed-configuration laptops (with systems costing under $600). The 2.1GHz AMD Turion X2 dual-core RM-72 is good enough for basic multitasking, and overall we were happy with the speed at which it handled our CNET Labs' tests. The integrated ATI graphics processor doesn't support much beyond casual gaming and movie playback, but that's really all that's needed in an entry-level laptop.

The notebook ran for 1 hour and 57 minutes on our DVD battery drain test, using the included eight-cell battery. This isn't bad, all things considered, but when compared to Intel-based systems it's clear that AMD has catching up to do on its processors' power consumption. Our battery drain test is especially grueling, so you can expect longer life from casual Web surfing and office use.

Gateway includes an industry-standard, one-year, parts-and-labor warranty with the system, though charges may apply to phone support. The company's Web site includes the expected driver downloads and FAQs, as well as the opportunity to send e-mail to a technician. Every MD series laptop also comes preloaded with Gateway's BigFix diagnostic software.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

Compaq Presario CQ60-215DX
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.0GHz AMD Athlon X2 Dual-Core QL-62; 2048MB DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 8200M G; 250GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

Dell Inspiron 15-156B
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.16GHz Intel Dual Core T3400; 3072MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 32MB Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 160GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

Gateway MD2614u
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.1GHz AMD Turion X2 Dual-Core RM-72; 3072MB DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Moblity Radeon HD 3200; 250GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

Toshiba Satellite L305D-5934
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.0GHz AMD Turion X2 Dual-Core RM-70; 3072MB DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Moblity Radeon HD 3100; 250GB Western Digital 5,400rpm Toshiba Satellite L355D-S7901
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.1GHz AMD Turion X2 Dual-Core RM-72; 3072MB DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Moblity Radeon HD 3100; 250GB Western Digital 5,400rpm HP G60-235DX
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.16GHz Intel Dual Core T4200; 3072MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 64MB Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 320GB Western Digital 5,400rpm


Gateway MD2614u

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 6Battery 6Support 6