The latest FX sits in the same case as the P-7811 FX, including the gaudy black and orange effects that remind us of an 80s Chevy Monte Carlo (look it up, you'll see what we mean). We're ready for Gateway to leave this design behind -- the FX deserves a new dress, because, really, she has a great personality. Gateway has kept the 5-in-1 multicard reader, HDMI port, triple USB 2.0 plugs, and handy eSATA port while adding a 9-cell battery that provides longer portable gaming time of around four hours. Don't expect to throw this giant into a backpack any time soon, as the P-7808u FX weighs in at a bag-busting 9 pounds while a 17-inch widescreen monitor sits above a full-size keyboard complete with numpad.
The biggest additions to the FX are a 2GHz Core 2 Quad CPU and NVIDIA GeForce 9800M GTS (with 1GB of GDDR3) that have proven to make this a very adept gaming rig. The new machine is snappier than the 7811 we've been testing: startup time is a good 10 seconds faster when booting into Windows Vista Home 64-bit and Crysis played like a dream at 1440x900 and 8x anti-aliasing. Unfortunately, a more paltry resolution (1440x900 on the 7808 as opposed to the 7811's 1920x1200) was a disappointing and surprising cut and had us yearning for the vast real estate of the predecessor's display. In terms of memory, 4GB of DDR3 RAM and a 500GB HDD spinning at 5400RPM opened applications without much hesitation but a 7200RPM drive would be welcome here.
If you're on the fence, you can't go wrong with the P7808u FX's specifications and price point. However, if you're sitting there sobbing with a 7811 (or similar) gaming rig, don't lose any sleep -- the 7808u is a basic (but welcome) evolutionary jump.