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MX6930 Core 2 Duo - Anyone? Anyone?

Discussion in 'Gateway and eMachines' started by bbz_Ghost, Nov 10, 2006.

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  1. bbz_Ghost

    bbz_Ghost Guest

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    Boy I tell ya, sometimes Gateway comes out with products and it sure seems like I'm the only person on the planet that gets 'em. Can't find any decent info or reviews of this laptop - which I now own thanks to a stop at Best Buy earlier today. Found it on the shelf, saw the Core 2 Duo sticker, didn't see any price or spec info, asked about it, was told it was on sale for $799.99 and verified they had one then walked out with it - I paid of course.

    So, it's got the following specifications (as leeched from the Best Buy Canada site since the US site is down as I type this):

    Mfr. Part Number: MX6930
    Processor Type Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T5200
    Screen Size 15.4"
    RAM (Preloaded / Maximum) 1024MB DDR2
    Hard Drive 120GB (5400RPM)
    Optical Drives 8X DVD+/-RW Multi Format Dual Layer
    Graphics Shared Intel GMA 950 Video Card
    Average Battery Life 3 Hours
    Product Weight 2.87 kg
    Audio Type High Definition 2-Channel
    Battery Type 6-Cell Lithium-Ion
    Cache 2MB L2
    Fax/Modem 56K ITU V.92 Ready
    I/O Ports See The Features Section
    Included In Box A/C Adapter, Manual, Battery
    Network Card 802.11a/b/g WLAN, Integrated 10/100 LAN
    Other Software See The Features Section
    PC Card Slots 1 - Type I or II, CardBus
    Pointing Device Integrated Touchpad With Vertical Scroll
    Preloaded Operating System Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
    Processor Speed 1.6GHz
    Product Dimensions 35.8(W) x 3.6(H) x 26.4(D) cm
    Removable Storage See The Features Section
    Screen Type Widescreen UltraBright WXGA TFT
    Speakers Built-In Stereo Speakers
    System Bus 533MHz
    Warranty 1 Year Parts & Labour

    So, unless there is a different MX6930 out there, or it's using a different model number for the same config, does anyone besides me own one of these?

    And another bonus: the C2D processor is socketed meaning I can get another one at some point as an upgrade. It'll most likely throttle down to 533 MHz (I think) but that's fine; having somewhat useful upgradeability almost makes this laptop a great deal, I'd say.

    Installing Vista RC2 on it right now to see how she flies. If anyone does have one of these, share your thoughts and experiences, please.

    Thanks...
    bb
     
  2. BlueTuna

    BlueTuna Newbie

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    I am thinking of buying this laptop. Can you tell me your experience? Would it buy it again or spend a little more $ on something else?

    Thanks!!!
    Mak

     
  3. kebwizrd

    kebwizrd Newbie

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    I sent you, bbz_Ghost an email about you experience so far about the MX6930, but thought I would post the question here also in case anyone else had any info on this laptop as I am thinking about buying it before the sale goes off at Best Buy. It appears to be a pretty decent laptop for the price.
     
  4. bbz_Ghost

    bbz_Ghost Guest

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    If I had the money right now, this moment, I'd be packing up this MX6930 to return and apply the cost towards this model:

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage...teway&lp=1&type=product&cp=1&id=1157068283471

    That one is a 17" (big sucker), 1440x900 resolution, Core 2 Duo T7200 2 GHz with 4MB L2 (it's a Merom CPU), 160GB 5400rpm drive, etc etc. Mostly the same hardware as this MX6930 I'm currently on, which I love actually. But for $1199 out the door, that 17" model is damned hard to beat; I wish I had those other features (the 160GB drive, the 1440x900 resolution, and that Merom processor) in this MX6930, really.

    The MX6930 is a fantastic machine for the price. I'm currently running Vista Home Premium 64 Bit Edition at the moment, and I just last night bought 2GB of PC2-4200 for it (533 MHz) and Vista is just flying along.

    Intel released newer GMA950 drivers last week just after Vista went RTM - you can get those updated drivers (most people don't know about them for some reason) at:

    http://www.intel.com/support/graphics/sb/CS-023621.htm

    This is *not* a beta driver, it is feature complete and ready to roll for Vista, and released just last week. After installing it my WinSAT score for video went from 3 to 3.1 - no it's not a major jump in 3D gaming performance, but Aero sure seems a lot snappier and smoother with this new proper driver.

    Here's a screenshot I just snapped a few minutes ago:

    [​IMG]

    NOTE: For those people that think they're going to steal my key just because I didn't hide it in that screenshot, don't fool yourselves. I installed Vista without a key - doing so let's you choose which OS you want to install, so since I'm getting a free copy of Vista Home Premium with Gateway's Express Upgrade to Vista program (I just bought this laptop, remember), that's the version I installed on Sunday. But I chose the 64 bit version of Home Premium.

    The only piece of hardware that isn't supported in Vista 64 so far is the media card reader, so I could care less really. My digital camera has a USB 2.0 port on it so I can the pictures off it that way.

    Aside from that, I have no issues with this laptop at all and no issues with Vista so far either, and again I'm running Vista 64. Those Intel drivers above, the newest final ones, are also available in a 64 bit version also.

    I have a crappy HP Desktop D1320 printer that isn't directly supported, so I grabbed the XP 64 drivers, attemped to install them and the installation crapped out. But, they were extracted into a temp directory so I went in there and pulled them out, did a standard Add New Hardware thing under Vista, pointed the installer to the location of the drivers, and it read them off and installed 'em just fine.

    No issues, so now this machine is totally 64 bit through and through save for 32 bit software I've installed and the lack of the media card reader 64 bit driver.

    I'm pretty happy with the purchase, and I picked up 2GB of Kingston RAM last night as Fry's here in Las Vegas. With that installed, Vista is simply amazing. I strongly strongly recommend that anyone interested in Vista on the MX6930 - or any laptop at all from any manufacturer - invest in RAM, as much as your laptop can possibly hold, as soon as you can.

    Vista works a lot differently from XP, and I mean a lot differently.

    Now that I have 2GB of RAM installed, after booting the laptop, Vista sucks down over 800MB of it to cache a ton of stuff directly in RAM to speed the entire system up.

    It's not like XP - it gets faster with more RAM consumption, not slower. Seriously.

    I had it running with 931MB of 1GB in usage the other day and it wasn't chunky or slow in any way. I also have a 4GB USB 2.0 thumbdrive in place to help with ReadyBoost.

    Every little bit helps, but I can say with all confidence that the Gateway MX6930 for $799 is practically a steal for anyone interested in a great midrange laptop that's 100% Vista 32 bit capable and currently only one single device doesn't have a proper 64 bit driver.

    64 Bit computing is coming... I even created a website for it and everything related to it:

    www.64bitrocks.com

    Stay tuned... It's coming. :p

    Hope this helps...
    bb
     
  5. bbz_Ghost

    bbz_Ghost Guest

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    w00000t!!!

    Full Vista 64 compatibility... just found the 64 bit driver for the 4n1 media reader and now this MX6930 is fully compatible with Vista 64!

    Here's the linkage for the info:

    http://www.planetamd64.com/index.php?showtopic=27934

    And a screenie of my now quite nicely laid out Device Manager:

    [​IMG]

    I'm one very happy camper now lemme tell ya. No worries about any driver issues at all with Vista 64 from now on. :)

    Great laptop, phenomenal deal on the price... run out and get one if you can.
     
  6. tafguy

    tafguy Newbie

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    bbz_Ghost, thank you for spending time for sharing the review of the Gateway MX6930. It is really nice to know that it runs Vista like a charm.

    But what is important for what i'm looking is it has the duo core 2 chip, 1 gig of memory and a $200 off on sale at BB.
     
  7. bbz_Ghost

    bbz_Ghost Guest

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    Yep. At this moment I'd say it's probably the best value laptop for Vista on the market today considering it's a Core 2 Duo machine for $799.

    I'm pretty damned happy with it, and with Vista 64.
     
  8. pesmerga

    pesmerga Newbie

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    I just got this today, I don't know much about laptops but the sales associate told me this laptop was a good deal for what I was looking for (light-medium gaming), so I bought it. So far it is running well, but I wanted to upgrade the video card if possible because I want to play Final Fantasy XI Online on this. Any suggestions on video cards?
     
  9. bbz_Ghost

    bbz_Ghost Guest

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    If the salesman even hinted that such a thing were possible, I'd say take that laptop back to the store and break it over his stupid head.

    Laptop video cards aren't upgradeable except on some very high end models from Dell and Alienware and maybe 2 or 3 other manufacturers. The Gateway MX6930 that you got (and I and several other people own now) has Intel onboard GMA950 graphics, meaning it's not really a "card" you can remove and swap out for something better.

    GMA950 is ok for some gaming depending on the game requirements, but it's not for gaming overall. It can do all the 3D stuff that Vista requires, but it's not a serious graphics processor (GPU), not by a longshot.

    So the simple answer to your question is: you can't upgrade the video on that laptop, sorry, and any salesperson that used such a thing to entice you to buy it - or even brought it up in the conversation - should definitely look into another line of work.

    bb
     
  10. tafguy

    tafguy Newbie

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    Bought it yesterday before sale ends but it turned out that it is still on sale this week.

    Somehow there is an another Gateway MX6931 onsale $200 off too, with same specs except it sports a 160 gigs and 2 gigs for ram making me wonder to return to switch to a 2 gig meg of memory one since you have 14 days to try.

    It is pretty fast and nice. Haven't played with it yet. Just it detects my wireless router
    which has security on but 6 other wireless routers were unprotected and I could connect to anyone of them! lol

    Is it a good move to switch to 2gigs memory and 160gigs hard drive for $200 more because Vista is very demanding in ram to run.
     
  11. bbz_Ghost

    bbz_Ghost Guest

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    Hell yes it is, and that's exactly what I'll be doing later today after a lot of backups. :)

    That MX6931 was overpriced in my opinion at the time I saw it, and I didn't even notice they'd lowered the price. Wow, Core 2 Duo, 2GB stock, 160GB stock, that beats the 6930 by a mile. I just paid $169.99 + tax for the 2GB of RAM at Fry's, that'll be returned also and the money put to other uses.

    Thanks for bringing this MX6931 deal to my attention.

    Same machine as I already have, but 2GB stock and a 160GB drive up from 120GB for $200 more is a freakin' big time bargain.

    Amazing... and I do love the laptop, all around. It's a solid piece of machinery without any doubt at all, and as I've said in this thread, because it's now 100% Vista 64 compatible with the drivers I located, it's the one for me.

    Still amazed at that $999 price. I'm so there, I swear. :p

    Gotta get started on the backups then I'll restore this to factory condition and box it up.

    Thanks again for the head's up. Anyone reading this: I doubt you'll find a better deal anywhere for $999 and the MX6931... just let me get mine first, ok? :p

    bb

    EDIT:

    Oh yeah, one last thing: the MX6931 has the T5500 Core 2 Duo in it running on the 667 MHz FSB as opposed to the MX6930 which has the T5200 Core 2 Duo running at 533 MHz; so that alone is a 25% boost in processing speed.

    I'll bet, I'll just bet that if you get PC2-5300 RAM (runs at 667 MHz) that'll drop right into the MX6931 and then the whole machine will run 25% faster across the board than the MX6930. Holy cow... I'll see if I can swap the current 2GB I have later today for 667 MHz RAM and report on my findings.

    Amazing... simply amazing...
     
  12. tafguy

    tafguy Newbie

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    Wow, definitely a return to get that MX6931 then.
    The only problem I have is the MX6931 can only be bought online
    and the MX6930 needs to return in store, so I have to do 2 transactions
    one to buy the new one and the other to get refunds on the MX6130.

    The good news you can buy online and add laptop accessories with 20% off and pick them at the store near you.

    But I like to play more with it over the week-end and return it next week!

    I don't mind much the 40 gig additional hard drive but the 2 gigs needed to run Vista and a higher bus speed is definitely a winner!

    Luckily, i haven't registered anything with the OS version yet!
     
  13. martypal2005

    martypal2005 Newbie

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    Like you I saw it over at bestbuy too, and I couldnt believe the specs, for 799 dollars. It has the new Intel core 2 duo 5200 processor and a gig of ram. I had to get it.

    I've used it for a couple of weeks. Running multiple heavy programs at the same time. Ill have a couple of eclipses, itunes, dreamweaver, flash and photoshop at the same time. Can't even notice the anti virus running.

    I'm not a big gamer but I actually play world of warcraft now and then. On this machine it runs like a baby, no problems, also while multitasking with other apps. Also the laptop is completely silent. The fan hardly ever kicks in the intel onboard graphics chip is awesome.

    The resolution 1280x800 is just enough and I have gotten used to it. Much better than the standard 1024 on older laptops.

    This baby is so good it's now my main workhorse even when i'm at home. Having several pentium machines laying around.

    Havent tried out vista yet but it comes for free with this laptop at release, then of course I will try it.

    The processor will clock down if not plugged in at monitor will dim down basically saving you lots of power and keep this baby running for 3-4 hours.
     
  14. moz104

    moz104 Newbie

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    Question. I just picked up the MX6930 at Best Buy at the $799 site. I'm a little concerned Gateway doesn't even list the machine on its website (although the 6931 is up there) - hope that doesn't lead to issues when i'm trying to download drivers after upgrading to vista in February.

    The question is, several people here have mentioned that they bumped up to 2GB RAM...i was under the impression that this computer couldn't take more than 1GB. People that upgraded...were you using a 6930 or a 6931?
     
  15. bbz_Ghost

    bbz_Ghost Guest

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    I sure would love to know where people are getting the information that says this laptop I'm typing on (the Gateway MX6930, same thing that moz104 just bought too) can't go past 1GB.

    And it is on the Gateway website:

    http://www.gateway.com/home/products/ret/ret_MX6930.shtml

    The Intel 945GM Mobile Express Chipset that powers the MX6930/6931 and several other models supports up to 2GB of RAM in a 2x1GB configuration, or a mixture of different size sticks maxing out at 2x1GB.

    So yes, you can install 2GB of RAM in this laptop - since I did and I'm running it with 2GB.

    Somebody point me to the place where you're reading it's limited to 1GB because that source is like way incorrect. Go get yourself 2GB and watch it really fly.

    The 6931 is the same laptop, exact same hardware except for:

    1.66 GHz Core 2 Duo running in the 667 MHz FSB
    160GB drive instead of the 120GB
    2GB of RAM instead of 1GB

    And I'm about to restore this MX6930 so I can return it and get the 6931 which came down in price this week for some reason; it retails for $1149 as listed on the Gateway website at:

    http://www.gateway.com/home/products/ret/ret_MX6931.shtml

    Makes me think Best Buy just might drop the price on the MP8708 again since it's already below the retail that Gateway suggests of $1349 as shown here:

    http://www.gateway.com/home/products/ret/ret_MP8708.shtml

    Fun stuff, regardless. I want that MP8708, I really do, primarily because of the Merom Core 2 Duo (has 4MB of L2 cache) but I just can't seem to come up with the price difference. Bad timing on my part, I guess, right in the middle of pay periods as well as the holidays fast approaching.

    Bleh...
     
  16. bbz_Ghost

    bbz_Ghost Guest

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    Ok, I got home with the MX6931 a short time ago, been doing a bit for bit image of it before even booting it "officially" for the first time. I missed that step with the MX6930 because I was in a hurry and excited to see what the MX6930 could do. This time, I remembered and set some guidelines for myself as far as pics and benchmarks.

    First up is the CPU-Z data, so a couple of screen caps:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As noted above in a previous post, the stock 2GB of RAM in the MX6931 is only PC2-4200 (reports as 4300 sometimes) running at 533 MHz. With the Core 2 Duo T5500 in this laptop running at 667 MHz, there's a discrepancy there between the CPU and RAM speeds; to put it bluntly, it's a bottleneck that I hope to resolve soon by replacing the stock RAM with 667 MHz rated sticks.

    Now, that pretty much covers the basic CPU/RAM info, and I'll post more data later on.

    The one thing I really wanted to harp on was the incredible array of CRAP that Gateway preinstalls on this machine. After the boot and at the Desktop, I fired up Task Manager and was shocked to see 65 processes (!?!?!?!?!) and ~315MB of RAM usage - and that was after about 2 minutes of waiting for everything to settle down.

    Presently I've got 13 icons in the System Tray - thank god it's a Core 2 Duo with 2GB of RAM or this machine simply wouldn't start up, I think. It's absolutely astonishing that companies load down PCs with so much absolute garbage it's not even funny.

    Anyway, I fully expect the overall performance to improve for two reasons:

    1) Getting the 2GB of 667 MHz RAM will bump the performance 25% as far as RAM operations are concerned, and...

    2) I'm gonna wipe this thing clean and do it the right way.

    I'll report on performance as I can, but suffice to say, there is nothing else on the market today that can touch this machine for $999.99 + tax - it's simply unbelievable in terms of price-to-performance ration. Run out and get one today! :p

    bb
     
  17. martypal2005

    martypal2005 Newbie

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    bbz_Ghost seems like you have a lot of experience with computers. I was just wondering if I want to upgrade my one gig in my 6930 to 2 gig what memory is good.

    Also. I have also noticed how slowly it boots up after you log in. And all the processes that boot up. I was wondering if you were able to pinpoint the worst bottlenecks as far as all the bloatware that comes with it. I've tried to uninstall most of the stuff but still theres over 50 processes and it logs in very slowly.
     
  18. bbz_Ghost

    bbz_Ghost Guest

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    I've been working with computers for 30+ years now, installed Windows over 150,000 times on a nearly limitless variety of machines, tweaked it, troubleshooted it, configured it, wiped it, reinstalled it, retweaked it, etc etc. So yeah, I do know a lot about computers, but sometimes that knowledge is a bit of a curse because no matter how quick or fast a machine is, I can always make it faster. That becomes a problem when I spend more time tweaking a computer than actually using it.

    If you just install Windows XP all by itself with only the necessary drivers (necessary to me means Device Manager is complete and has no yellow exclamation marks or any disabled hardware), the OS is going to be quick, snappy, responsive and run fantastic. It's when you start adding third party software - like all the crap Gateway and most other OEMs install on the machines at the factory - that it becomes slow, sluggish, non-responsive, and takes a long time to boot.

    I have a 5 year old Dell Inspiron 4150 laptop powered by a Pentium 4-Mobile (not a Pentium-M) running at 1.7 GHz with 1GB of DDR2700 RAM and it has a Hitachi 80GB 7200 rpm hard drive in it.

    After I install XP Pro on it and then time the boot process and how much RAM is used to reach the Desktop, it's about 40 seconds to boot and 94MB of RAM usage.

    Then I spend about 30 minutes tweaking that installation, and redo the test. Typically the RAM usage drops to just over 55MB (before the video driver installation, that is), and the boot time drops down to 16 seconds.

    After a few more tweaks and a single pass of BootVis (Microsoft's boot tuning software, still available but never supported), I can get that laptop booting in 13-14 seconds.

    Now, once I start adding third party software to it, yes, it will slow down over time because that's the nature of the beast we call Windows. Any OS will do it, really, it's just a matter of how much and to what degree, but that's a topic for another time.

    My suggestion: Get the 2GB of RAM, as soon as you can afford it. RAM is the breath of a machine, in some respects. The CPU is the brain, the motherboard and hardware are the body, and the RAM is the oxygen, more or less. Deprive it of that, and it chokes and can't perform up to speed. Give it plenty of RAM and it'll have room to breathe, and then you'll see what it can really do.

    I don't have a preference for brands, really, I just go for the best price I can find. Having said that, I don't go for the cheapycheapy crap either. Kingston (currently onsale at Frys, $109/1GB Stick PC2-5300 667 MHz SODIMM), PNY, Crucial, OCZ (currently onsale at Fry's, $99/1GB Stick PC2-5300 667 MHz SODIMM), etc.

    If a retail store (national chain) is selling it, it's worth getting. It's the cheap stuff you find online for the price that's just too good to believe that gets you into trouble.

    Based on my testing of Vista recently, both the beta editions and release candidates as well as the now "final" RTM code, it needs RAM, seriously. So, while the free copy of Vista Home Premium we are entitled to because we qualify for the Express Upgrade program is wonderful and powerful, if you don't give it enough RAM to breathe, you're not going to be happy with it.

    So, get the 2GB, or 1.5GB if that's all you can afford. But most definitely get more RAM if you intend to run Vista, and I can't think of any reason you shouldn't since we get a free copy of it soon enough. You can go to the Gateway website after December 1st and do all the Express Upgrade stuff online and save yourself the hassle of filling out forms or cutting the UPC code off the box.

    Hope this helps...
    bb

    ps
    As for your question about the processes, yep, it's a bit of a pain. There is a program out called "The PC De-Crapifier" that can help. It'll go through and remove all the crappy bloatware that Gateway or other manufacturers install on your machine. My HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION is always to do a nice reinstall of just the OS itself - this is possible using the Gateway Recovery DVD included with the MX6930/MX6931 and just choosing to reinstall the OS only and not all the included software.

    Get more info about The PC De-Crapifier here:

    http://www.yorkspace.com/pc-de-crapifier/

    Good luck...
     
  19. pesmerga

    pesmerga Newbie

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    Well I installed Final Fantasy on it, and low and behold it actually worked, infact it blows my desktop out the water with the game. I guess I just lucked up in that FFXI must not need that powerful of a graphic card. So I'm happy so far.
     
  20. bbz_Ghost

    bbz_Ghost Guest

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    Well there ya go. :)

    The GMA950 is a DX9 compliant graphics processor, and it's 256 bit also, so while it can't outperform dedicated cards from ATI and Nvidia, for onboard graphics it's good enough for everything that Vista requires.

    And it plays a few games to boot.

    Also, remember that because the GMA950 is using your system RAM for video memory, make sure if you do get more RAM to get something decent and not the cheapest RAM you can buy. I mentioned Kingston and Crucial above - both companies make excellent RAM that performs very well and has a long warranty in case you have issues.

    I'm digging this MX6931 so far, and I can't wait to get the proper 667 MHz RAM in it and finally open the throttle full, as it were.

    bb
     
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