Gateway T-1616 User Review

by Reads (40,010)

The T-1616 is one of Gateway’s 14-inch "Thin and Light" notebooks. It is based on AMD’s dual core Turion64 X2 CPU and ATI chipset and graphics (with shared memory) and is marketed as an "Entertainment Notebook." Windows Vista Premium is supplied as the OS. Most of this review can also be aimed at the T-1617 to T-1622 models as they’re the exact same notebooks but with different RAM and hard drive capacities.

Specs:

  • AMD Turion64 X2 TL-58 1.9GHz w/ 1MB L2 cache (512KBb per core)
  • Vista Home Premium
  • 1GB RAM
  • ATI X1270 graphics with up to 256MB of shared memory
  • 160GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • 14.1" 1280 x 800 Ultrabright LCD
  • Realtek RTL8187B wireless 802.11g adapter
  • Slot-loading DVD+-RW drive
  • 48.8 watt hour battery (11.1v x 4400mAh)
  • 5-in-1 memory card reader
  • Ports : 3 x USB2.0, HDMI, 10/100, 56k modem, VGA, Headphone with SPDIF audio out, MIC, PCMCIA express
  • Two internal mini PCI-E slots
  • Dimensions: 1.0 ~ 1.3” (h) x 12.95” (w) x 9.75” (d)
  • Weight: 5.5 lbs

I purchased this model as I was looking for a low-cost, slim, compact laptop with a 14.1" screen and believe me this laptop is slim compared to other 14.1" models out there. Only 1" in the front and 1.3" in the back. I am not interested in doing any heavy 3D gaming on a laptop so the integrated ATI graphics are more than enough for me. The unit was purchased (on sale) for $600 at Best Buy which was quite a bargain. The Intel-based Core 2 Duo version of this laptop next to it was $900 and out of my budget.

Build & Design

I’m happy with the build quality of this laptop. Everything feels solid and the body does not flex. This truly is a thin laptop as you can see in the pictures. The screen hinge is tight and moves smoothly. There is a very small amount of screen bounce but not as much as the new HP or Toshiba laptops that I’ve seen at my local Best Buy.

Left side showing HDMI, Network, two USB ports, Memory card reader, PCMCIA express slot, WiFi switch, Vent

Right side showing the slot-loading DVD drive and one USB port. I found the slot loading drive to be noisy when inserting and ejecting disks but this is common with all mechanical slot loading drives and in my opinion well worth the “cool factor”. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the drive was quiet when reading disks unlike other laptop drives that sound like a tornado.

 

 

56k modem, VGA and AC power on the back.

 

Keyboard, Touchpad, and Media buttons

The keyboard key layout is pretty standard. I found the keyboard does have some keyboard flex to it and it is noticeable when typing. If you know how to remove laptop keyboards you can add padding underneath which would eliminate or minimize the flex.

Mouse touchpad is made by Synaptics and is excellent. The pad is very smooth and slick and your finger glides on it effortlessly. It does not have that “rubbery” feel that grips your finger (I hate that.) The mouse buttons have a glossy finish and are fingerprint magnets.

The keyboard is surrounded by a brushed aluminum boarder. Underneath the saw tooth cut design are the media buttons to launch Media Center and control the player. Next to it is the unique and fantastic volume control. It is small touch sensitive pad that controls the volume with – and + symbols that glow blue depending on the direction you slide your finger.

Processor, Chipset, Memory

CPU : The T-1616 is equipped with AMDs dual core Turion64 X2 TL-58. The CPU runs at 1.9GHz and contains 1MB of L2 Cache (512KB per core). One of the major reasons I chose a laptop with the Turion64 X2 is because it supports Virtualization Technology, a feature that Intel’s budget 5000 series Core 2 Duo processors do not support, but which is highly desired when running programs like the popular VMware. While overall not as fast as the more expensive Core 2 Duo the Turion X2 is still speedy and easily handled anything I threw at it even under multitasking.

Chipset and GPU : Chipset is the ATI RS690T with X1270 integrated graphics. There seems to be some confusion with this chipset and GPU and I will clear it up here. The "X1270" graphics is actually the ATI Radeon X700 core and runs at 400MHz. The ATI RS690T was hailed as a chipset that can finally incorporate discrete memory for its integrated GPU. While it is capable of connecting to discrete memory Gateway has not included any and all the video memory is shared from the system RAM. The below picture shows two (unfortunately) empty locations for discrete video memory chips. To be fair most if not all budget laptops with the RS690T chipset do not include this extra memory but I would have gladly paid the extra $20 for it.

Memory : 1GB of system memory is included and shared with the GPU. I HIGHLY recommend upgrading to 2GB as the GPU “steals” 256MB. This can be reduced to 128MB by going into the BIOS and changing the shared memory setting from “AUTO” to “128MB”. Benchmarks show there is no performance lose going from 256MB to 128MB even in 3D gaming. This is because integrated graphics do not have the memory bandwidth to take advantage of even 128MB.

Input and Output Ports

A list of ports is below, but the most notable is the HDMI port. The HDMI port coupled with ATI’s Avivo and Catalyst Control Center offers the ultimate hookup to your HDTV!

  • 3 – USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 – VGA connector
  • 1 – RJ-45 ethernet port
  • 1 – RJ-11 modem port
  • 1 – Headphone / SPDIF audio out
  • 1 – Microphone
  • 1 – Kensington lock slot
  • 1 – AC adapter connector
  • 1 – HDMI V1.2 connector
  • 1 – PCMCIA express slot

Underneath one of the bottom covers are actually two mini-PCI express slots. The wireless card takes up one slot leaving one open for anything extra you might want to add like Bluetooth, or a solid state flash drive.

Speakers

Being an entertainment notebook I expected better sounding speakers than the ones included. Although they’re plenty loud enough and perfectly fine for Windows sounds or listening to audio recordings and even some music they surely degrade the movie viewing experience. There is little to no base and they sound like they are made out of tin cans. I highly recommend using ear buds or external speakers when watching movies. I understand that you can’t have large, great sounding speakers in a thin and light unit but being an entertainment notebook Gateway could have at least used name brand speakers like Altec Lansing.

Screen

Gateway equipped this laptop with their 14.1" 1280 x 800 Ultrabright LCD. This is a glossy screen and does show a reflection in certain situations. The screen produces a nice picture and text is very crisp. I personally like glossy screens as they have a CRT look to them. Pictures and videos look nice and colors are saturated enough. Vertical viewing angel on the screen is poor. The screen looks perfect looking directly at it. Tilt the screen toward you and the picture lightens and washes out colors, tilt it away and it gets darkened out so basically it has a very narrow vertical viewing angle. Horizontal on the other hand is very good. There is a slight light bleed at the bottom of the screen but it is so little that it’s not an issue.

Webcam

A 1.3 megapixel webcam is located just above the screen. Next to it is an integrated MIC as well. Gateway included some good software with this camera. You can add different effects and boarders to the live picture. I was pleased with the image quality the webcam produced. Even under low light the picture looked fairly detailed and color information was retained when used in "night mode." Compared to other integrated webcams this one does a good job.

Benchmarks

PCMark05 measures the overall system performance of a notebook and the T-1616 scored 2,647:

Notebook PCMark05 Score
Gateway T-1616 (AMD Turion64 X2 TL-58 1.9GHz, ATI X1270 graphics) 2,647 PCMarks
Toshiba Tecra M9 (2.20GHz Core 2 Duo T7500, NVIDIA Quadro NVS 130M 128MB) 3,723 PCMarks
HP Compaq 6910p (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 3,892 PCMarks
HP Compaq 6510b (2.20GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, Intel X3100) 4,241 PCMarks
HP Compaq 6910p (2.20GHz intel Core 2 Duo T7500, ATI X2300 128MB) 4,394 PCMarks
HP Compaq 6515b (1.6GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-52, ATI x1270) 2,420 PCMarks
Toshiba Satellite A135 (Core Duo T2250, Intel GMA 950) 3,027 PCMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 4,234 PCMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook A6010 (1.66GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950) 2,994 PCMarks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60, Nvidia Go 7800GTX) 5,597 PCMarks
Sony Vaio SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400) 3,637 PCMarks
Toshiba Tecra M6 (1.66GHz Intel T2300E, Intel GMA 950) 2,732 PCMarks
Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400, Nvidia Go 7400) 3,646 PCMarks
Sony VAIO FE590 (1.83GHz Core Duo) 3,427 PCMarks


Super Pi forces the processor to calculate Pi to 2 million digits of accuracy and the T-1616 scored a time of 1 minute and 45 seconds

 

Wprime is a program that forces the processor to do recursive mathematical calculations, the advantage of this program is that it is multi-threaded and can use both processor cores at once, thereby giving more accurate benchmarking measurements than Super Pi. The T-1616 scored 40.87 seconds:

Notebook / CPU wPrime 32M time
Gateway T-1616 (AMD Turion64 X2 TL-58 1.9GHz) 40.87s
Toshiba Tecra A9 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @2.2GHz) 38.343s
Toshiba Tecra M9 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @2.2GHz) 37.299s
HP Compaq 6910p (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2GHz) 40.965s
Sony VAIO TZ (Core 2 Duo U7600 @ 1.20GHz) 76.240s
Zepto 6024W (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2GHz) 42.385s
Lenovo T61 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 37.705s
Alienware M5750 (Core 2 Duo T7600 @ 2.33GHz) 38.327s
Hewlett Packard DV6000z (Turion X2 TL-60 @ 2.0GHz) 38.720s
Samsung Q70 (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2.0GHz) 42.218s
Acer Travelmate 8204WLMi (Core Duo T2500 @ 2.0GHz) 42.947s
Samsung X60plus (Core 2 Duo T7200 @ 2.0GHz) 44.922s
Zepto Znote 6224W (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2.0GHz) 45.788s
Samsung Q35 (Core 2 Duo T5600 @ 1.83GHz) 46.274s
Samsung R20 (Core Duo T2250 @ 1.73GHz) 47.563s
Dell Inspiron 2650 (Pentium 4 Mobile 1.6GHz) 231.714s

 

Gaming benchmarks 3Dmark2006 and 2005

No laptop with integrated graphics is going to break any speeds records in 3D gaming although the X1270 (Radeon X700 core) can surely play many older 3D games. Most notable is its video playable features like Avivo and the Catalyst Control Center software which is far better than anything Intel has to offer. I also want to note that the GPU supports hardware T&L which is quite a huge step for integrated graphics and required by many games to even run. As noted before I recommend setting the integrated graphics to 128MB as the 256MB setting did nothing to improve 3D performance. This can be changed in the BIOS.

3Dmark2006 Score : 313

 

 3DMark06 comparison results:

Notebook 3DMark06 Score
Gateway T-1616 (AMD Turion64 X2 TL-58 1.9GHz, ATI X1270 graphics) 932 3DMarks
Toshiba Tecra M9 (2.20GHz Core 2 Duo T7500, NVIDIA Quadro NVS 130M 128MB) 1,115 3DMarks
Sony VAIO TZ (1.20GHz Core 2 Duo U7600, Intel GMA 950) 122 3DMarks
LG R500 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GS 256MB) 2,776 3DMarks
HP dv2500t (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB) 1,055 3DMarks
Dell Inspiron 1420 (2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB) 1,329 3DMarks
Sony VAIO FZ (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 532 3DMarks
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB) 1,408 3DMarks
Samsung Q70 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7300 and nVidia 8400M G GPU) 1,069 3DMarks
Asus F3sv-A1 (Core 2 Duo T7300 2.0GHz, Nvidia 8600M GS 256MB) 2,344 3DMarks
Alienware Area 51 m5550 (2.33GHz Core 2 Duo, nVidia GeForce Go 7600 256MB 2,183 3DMarks
Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Xi 1526 (1.66 Core Duo, nVidia 7600Go 256 MB) 2,144 3DMarks
Samsung X60plus (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7200, ATI X1700 256MB) 1,831 3DMarks
Asus A6J (1.83GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB) 1,819 3DMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 827 3DMarks

 

HD Tune:

HDTune measures the performance of the notebook hard drive: 

 

Heat and Noise

I found this unit to be very quiet. While browsing the internet and doing general tasks the fan does turn on but is inaudible. With the fan at full speed it remained very quiet even in a silent room and only produces a gentle hum. Whatever heat the laptop produces is located underneath at the left side of the unit where the CPU and chipset reside. This area does get warm when doing heavy multitasking but the internal fan easily keeps the unit from getting hot. You can feel some warmth on the left palm rest but it does not cause any issues like a sweaty palm.

Wireless

The wireless network adapter used is the Realtek RTL8187B 802.11g. The antennas are located inside the screen housing. I had no problems with signal strengths. I tested the unit side by side with another laptop that contained an Intel wireless G card and both laptops had just about the same signal strengths in various locations. There is a wifi on/off switch located on the left side of the unit. There is no Bluetooth card installed.

Battery

Despite what the Gateway website shows the AMD based T-Series come with an 11.1v 4400mAh battery which equates to 48.8 watt hours which is a pretty standard battery capacity. The Gateway website shows the battery being 2200mAh and this is simply not true. Browsing the internet with wifi on and medium screen brightness I can get more than 2 hours of battery life. With the laptop in Power Saver mode you can squeeze more time out of the battery although the CPU will be locked at its lowest speed of 800MHz which is still fine for surfing the internet or other general tasks.

Conclusion

The Gateway T-1616 is aimed at people looking for a compact and stylish laptop for their everyday computing need. It is a great multimedia notebook with 160GB of storage and 1GB of RAM although it is highly advisable to upgrade to 2GB. This notebook is ideal for hooking up to HDTVs with its HDMI port and impressive ATI video playback feature set. While not intended for modern 3D gaming warfare, it will handle light gaming. However, for an entertainment notebook better quality speakers would have been nice and you might want to pickup an extra battery if you travel as battery life is only meteoric.

Pros:

  • Compact and Slim
  • CPU supports Virtualization Technology
  • HDMI port
  • Slot-loading DVD drive
  • Quiet
  • Good webcam
  • Excellent touch pad
  • Interesting volume control

Cons:

  • Poor speakers
  • Keyboard flex
  • Screen has poor vertical viewing angle
  • Medeocre battery life
  • Lower clocked Core 2 Duo processors offer better overall performance


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