gadling lt3103u

Gateway’s LT3100 series notebooks are a bit larger than typical netbooks, but they pack 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel displays which help me foregive the extra size. The other thing that sets the LT3100 apart from pretty much every netbook on the market is the fact that it ships with an AMD Athlon L110 64 bit processor and ATI radeon X1270 graphics.

Gadling’s Scott Carmichael picked one up from Best Buy this weekend, and he’s been quite impressed so far. The Gateway LT3103u that Best Buy carries sells for $399 and includes 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, and Windows Vista Home Basic (which means it won’t qualify for a free upgrade to Windows 7, but you should be able to upgrade yourself if you’re willing to shell out the extra  money).

Carmichael reports that the case is made of shiny, fingerprint-magnet style plastic. The keyboard is decent, and features two full sized shift keys, but has a bit of flex to it. The touchpad has two buttons and supports multi-touch gestures. And there are access panels for upgrading the RAM and hard drive.

Most significantly, the LT3103u performs reasonably well, and Carmichael says it handles 720 MKV files as well as Flash video from Hulu and other web video sites. 1080p video, not so much. No word on battery life yet, but he hasn’t had the laptop very long.

It’s not all hugs and puppies though. He reports the notebook has a noisy hard drive and a few other problems.

If you’re thinking about picking up an LT3100, you should definitely check out the full review. Or stop by your local Best Buy and play on the store model and then let us know what you think in the comments.

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21 replies on “Gateway LT3103u reviewed, liked”

  1. Hey I was wondering if it is possible to increase the RAM in my Gateway LT3103u. It came with 2 gigs and I would like to increase it to 4 gigs. If this is possible, would it increase the speed of the computer?

    Also, is there a way to upgrade the netbook to Windows 7. Would this be a good idea.

    Basically I’m looking to maximize the performance of my netbook and these were two things I thought could help. Any advice is appreciated.

    Thanks

    Jesse

    1. The best OS that I use in mine os Linux mandrake, much more fast than vista or seven.

      you can upgrade to 4gb, but need use just one memory card 1 x 4gb.

      1. No. He can’t do that. The maximum limit is set at 2 GB. The chip-set won’t support anything higher than that. Jesse, if you want to see a significant performance increase, replace Windows Vista with Windows XP and turn non-used services off.

    2. I am running W7 on mine – it’s smoking fast… not sure how fast a Linux Disty runs but the thing absolutely cooks for its size and price. Aero is 100% compatiable. Buy a W7 CD, get a 4GB USB Stick. Format the USB stick to be bootable. Copy over the Windows 7 DVD to the USB stick – install and enjoy. You must connect the LT31 to wired network first to get all the drivers updated. Once that’s done this thing is an absolute pleasure to use. Battery life with Wifi is easily 4+ hours with heavy use on W7 32bit… I didn’t install the 64bit version due to possible challenges with drivers.

  2. Is the screen glossy or matte ?

    How viewable is the screen outside in the sun ?

    1. the screen is LED like the macbook.

      mine not be much reflective. it is very good! I can say unbelievable for this range of price notebook..

  3. ATI X1270 is best than the video ATI X1150 used in the vostro 1000 LapTop I presum. Very imprecive for a NetBook

  4. You’ll get no hardware acceleration on this machine for HD video. The X1270 GPU in the RS690E chipset is obsolete junk from 3 years ago, does not even support Shader Model 3.0 and does not support bitstream decoding which is what MPC-HC’s DXVA decoders require for full hardware decoding offload to GPU.

  5. I saw this the other day, at BestBuy, and wanted to buy it. It seems to be more useful than the typical 10″ “netbook”. An 11.6 inch screen seems to be very close to the “sweet spot”, but I wish the keys were more ergonomic, it’s hard to know when your fingers are on the “home” keys, although this design is common with some netbooks. Gateway also has the T-series: for just $50 more you get vista home premium, 2.1GHz, a built-in optical drive, and a 14″ screen, which also seems to fit within the sweet spot.

  6. Atom versus Athlon 64 at 1000 GHz (from Tom’s Hardware):

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/Athlon-Atom-Nano-power,2036-10.html

    As you can see from the article, the Athlon 64 chip is faster in single-threaded applications. However, the Atom processors can use their Hyperthreading to win any tests that use multi-threaded applications or multitasking. Also, the Atom processors use less power. Some interesting trade-offs to consider!

  7. I don’t think I would write off 1080p playback just yet. A lot of people don’t know that in order to take advantage of the video cards in these systems you need to have both a player and a codec that supports hardware acceleration. I’m not familiar with Scott or his work, so I can’t say for certain, but it sounds like he just tried playing back a matroska file he had handy. There is no mention of how that file was encoded, what player he used, or if the player even supported AVIVO.

    All I am saying is I see a lot of major review sites looking at nettops and netbooks with dedicated graphics and sort of assuming that everything will be faster with no setup. Hopefully there will be a more in depth review that addresses video playback, as it was surely the intent of bundling the dedicated graphics in this netbook.

    1. You are correct – I don’t know anything about how to set this up correctly for HD playback. 🙂

      I tried the playback using MPC1.2.908. Is there a quick guide to getting MPC (or any other player) working nicely with AVIVO?

      FWIW; I upgraded the machine to Windows 7, and the HD playback is MUCH better, but still not really watchable. FWIW; the properties of the file I used for the test are MPEG4 1920×1080, 24.98fps, AC3.

      If you can point me to better settings for MPC, I’ll gladly try them out.

      1. I like MPC as well. In fact there is a build called Media Player Classic Home Cinema that is designed for this. It supports DVXA which should work with ATI cards, though not sure about Windows 7 yet. It has Vista support so I assume it will work fine.

        Another way of doing it would be to use a decoder from a commercial app like PowerDVD. If you have a copy, it’s filters can also be used in other applications.

        Good luck, if it works as it should, the card should handle most of the processing and the Atom can sit back and relax.

        Note: This really depends on if the *.mkv was encoded properly. Some that don’t follow the correct standard may not work. Give it a shot 😉

      2. Hello Scott,

        I recently purchased this netbook and installed windows 7 x32 on it but can’t get the native resolution back (i’m stuck at 1080×768, can’t get the 1366).

        Where did you find the driver to use with Windows 7? Can you provide either a link or maybe send it to me?

        Thanks,

        1. Don’t install or download any driver – just start windows update and let it take care of the driver install. Nothing you download will work, only the package pushed through Win update will do the job.

    2. 1080p file from the Windows Media showcase plays absolutely perfectly – file is encoded in 1440×1080 23fps. Full screen, not a frame dropped.

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