Gateway MT3705 Intel Duo Core Budget Laptop Review

Mobile/Laptops & Netbooks by SidneyWong @ 2007-08-02

With introduction of Windows Vista early this year, we are seeing more laptops being offered at prices lower than ever. The not so favorable Vista sales may have something to do with it. We have the chance to take a deeper look into one from Gateway, the MT3705. It offers Intel Dual Core at 1.6 GHz, yet it does not carry the Core 2 Duo name. Intel calls it “Pentium Dual Core T2060\" without any information from Intel Website. This processor is being sold by many brand names aimed at mass market.

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Gateway is focusing on mass market retailers; according to Reuters "Gateway sales to Best Buy represent 39% of net sales during the year ended December 31, 2006." I know of Gateway since 1992 when I purchased only Gateway Desktop at my division. Business condition for Gateway has since been "struggling". This has nothing to do with the quality of Gateway products.

Laptop sales have been on the rise in the last two year. It is not uncommon to see a family of four having four laptops. Thanks to DSL and Cable internet connectivity, American families are emailing to each other sitting right at home. May be I exaggerate a bit here, but I don’t think I am far off. A good example is the low price of laptop today. This Gateway MT3705 packs with Dual Core and a few nice features is priced at ~$600. At the time of my purchase, a free printer was included in the price.

Madshrimps (c)

Madshrimps (c)

The top is covered with black aluminum facing in satin finish making it difficult to photograph. It's better than plastic from other brands.

Madshrimps (c)

Madshrimps (c)

In short, the MT3705 has very nice features; Duo Core T2060, 2x512 PC4200, 100GB HDD, 1280x800 display, wireless network, DVD R/W double layer etc.

What I did not find but found equally important are video out and built in microphone. They are inexpensive, and should make this laptop more "complete".
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Comment from Rutar @ 2007/08/02
if it's cheap enough to have alu casings on a cheapo laptop it should be standard, especially for the improved thermals
Comment from Sidney @ 2007/08/02
The alum covered lid does not do much on the thermal side; it does make it look better and ressists scratch over plastic.
I did get a Lexmark inkjet printer with flat top scanner free, making this cheapo laptop even cheaper
Comment from Kougar @ 2007/08/02
Hey, just curious about the battery time you are seeing with that laptop? Should be an efficient CPU and IGP combo there. I assume you have the 6cell battery going by the listed specs.

Since NHC hijacks Intel's Speedstep drivers, it can only offer the settings Speedstep allows. So offered voltage settings will vary depending on the CPU in question. Might be interesting to check the battery life results if you could find a way to disable one core...
Comment from Sidney @ 2007/08/02
Actually, I have got it up to 4 hours with the screen light dimmed to lowest, but my eyes hurt; the condition was ideal at A/C room, not using the internet, no external mouse, just working on my PowerPoint.

But, I picked up a spare battery for $25 from eBay
Comment from Sidney @ 2007/08/06
Tim, reader from Anandtech wrote to me.

MT3705 can use MX3702 XP drivers. All but memory card reader works on mine, small sacrifice.
But, my 4GB SD card still does not work.
Comment from jmke @ 2007/08/06
good info there!
Comment from Sidney @ 2007/11/19
So, after more than 9 months of use some Vista problems remain without any change from Microsoft. I have turned off "things" that I don't need or let's call them "nuisance". The one thing in particular that I hate the most is the wireless connection is lost from "sleep mode"; to get it back a restart is a must. What a pain the xss, for laptop users.

I normally don't flash BIOS in laptop; being the first hardware made for Vista, the new BIOS might do good came to mind. To make the story short, BIOS was flashed, all was okay. Until, I accidently or I might have selected a "bad" setting on my next boot. The laptop was a "no boot", nothing when I powered it on. Resetting the CMOS would be next to impossible, right?

Anyway, Gateway was nice enough to offer free repair and even pays for postage. They would send me an empty package to pack the laptop together with shipping label to ship the laptop to one of the three locations in the U.S. Nashville would be the one closest to me. And, it would take approximately 5-10 days after the repair depot receives the unit. All sounded good.

Guys hang around hardware forum can't do that!!! Why don't I take it apart and reset the CMOS by taking the battery out I was thinking. And so .... enjoy the photos below.

Taking it apart is not that difficult; just a lot of small screws. The only tricky part was to locate the holding screws of the "plate" on top end of the keyboard, removing it would show the hinges holding the LCD panel. After this, the process is not bad. I am not the kind of guys who could take things apart and put them back half xss type.


Two hours later, I was installing Windows XP. The only problem I encountered was the sound driver "Sigma Tel"; Error Code 10. I Googled around and found others have the same problem. However, after SP2 and latest Windows updates, the driver was reloaded succesfully.

By the way, the card reader works but not the high capacity 4GB cards. The new BIOS 8305 has choice of memory; Sync and Async option. I found a lot of used C2D M processors at eBay, upgrading to 2 or 4MB cache could be next.
Comment from jmke @ 2007/11/19
The one thing in particular that I hate the most is the wireless connection is lost from "sleep mode"; to get it back a restart is a must. What a pain the xss, for laptop users.
works without issue, without restart here, wireless work coming from Sleep OR hibernation. Don't restart Vista unless for patch.

Password/BIOS reset with laptops is always good fun
Comment from Sidney @ 2007/11/19
It is working well in Windows XP. Somehow, the wireless stopped from sleep mode from day one even with all the updates until yesterday. Turning it off and on again might work but not always. Anyway, have imaged Vista and could go back in minutes, for now I am happy with XP in it.
Comment from Kougar @ 2007/11/20
Gateway's website is useless, tried to look up the FSB.

If you plan to play the processor game, make sure the notebook actually will support a higher FSB... Pentium Dual Core is a meager 533FSB, Core Duo and Core 2 Duo are 667 or 800FSB. I recently looked into upgrading an a Celeron D desktop... it will accept any 800FSB Core 2 Duo, but no 1066/1333 FSB versions.
Comment from Sidney @ 2007/11/20
I know, staying with 533; may get 2MB version for cheap at eBay.
Comment from Sidney @ 2007/11/21
Current T2060 is Core Duo just renamed to Pentium because of 1MB cache size; 667FSB should work I hope, because there is support in the BIOS memory setup if ATI chipset will do the same.

On the second day of use under Windows XP, it feels a lot more responsive to me. If I could get the 2MB chip below $60 at eBay, otherwise this is good enough by getting rid of Vista.
Comment from Sidney @ 2007/11/22
Oh well, just picked up a T2300 for cheap ($40); 1.66Ghz 2MB cache, 667 FSB. After Turkey Holiday, I will update if the MT3705 board will run on 667FSB.