Gateway breaks the lock on AMD’s NEO

Flawed DV-2 clone almost a contender

GATEWAY JUST ANNOUNCED a new computer that straddles the netbook/notebook line, the LT Series. More importantly than the specs, it looks like the HP monopoly on AMD Yukon-class CPUs is up.

Gateway LT5103u Gateway breaks the lock on AMDs NEO

11.6 inches of adequacy

The first model is called the LT3103u, and it starts at $399.99, but the specs on the page are unlikely to all be included for that price. It has an A64 L110 @ 1.2GHz, 2GB of ram and a 250GB HD. The chipset is the slightly castrated 690 called the 690E, but that should be more than adequate for the 1366*768 screen. In any case, an 11.6″ LED backlit panel of that high a rez it is quite generous for such a cheap notebook.

Gateway LT5103u icons Gateway breaks the lock on AMDs NEO

This makes sense, right?

 

The touchpad has multi-touch capabilities, the best part of which is the icons above. If any of you have the photochop skills, we have forums here, have fun. Other than that, it has all the usual features of a low end thin and light notebook, barely over an inch tall, 3 pounds in weight, and all the usual ports.

Since it is new, there aren’t any features or specs listed, but I can almost guarantee that you will have dual core variants and SSDs available as soon as the machines go on sale. Pointing that out would blow out the $399 price point game, so that info will have to wait a bit.

If it is anything like the DV2 we have been using since Computex, it will be a solid and inexpensive device. Until the Intel CULV laptops come out in September, AMD has this market to itself. Then again, given the price points of the Intel parts we were told about at that show, AMD will still have this market to itself.

That is not to say that the LT3103u is perfect, it has two crippling flaws. The first is that it only comes with the Broken OS, not even Me II SP7. Given the MS price hikes for this class of notebooks, don’t hold your breath on getting one at this price point once the slightly less broken OS come out either.

The other problem is that like all the current Gateway products, they are not sold directly. The product page has Best Buy logos all over it, another warning sign. Should you have ever shopped at a Best Buy for PCs, you know what annoying hard sells are all about, they won’t let you leave without trying to force $3 gold plated cables on you for $29.

If you don’t want any of the 2-3 retail SKUs that will likely be offered, you are stuck with retailer pricing and installation for parts, numbers that make OEM prices look reasonable. The term ‘margin enhancement’ comes to mind, and while you are thinking about it, want some USB cables for $29.99 each? They are gold plated.

Nice though the LT3103u looks, I would avoid it until they offer a version without the crapware infestation and a grown-up OS. Given the retail nature of this machine, I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.

In the end, the LT3103u could have been a great product, but it is crippled by The Broken OS, MS tax, crapware and a retail only sales channels that put the ‘evil’ back in shopping. It could have been a contender, and may yet be.S|A

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 Gateway breaks the lock on AMDs NEO

Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group.