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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Closer Look

Closer Look:

With so much talk about Windows Vista, I will not add anymore unnecessary comment. However, I will highlight some of office productivity software and drivers that are necessary for ordinary users in a home or small office environment as we proceed.

If you are buying this laptop from retailers; likely they will ask if you want to make a system DVD backup for a charge of about $70. It is entirely up to you. I declined the offer because I use Acronis Image for my system backup. Or, Gateway provides "System Recovery" utility so that the users could burn it onto DVD disc. I strongly recommend all users to do this.

In the package:

  • Windows Vista Upgrade DVD
  • Product Key
  • Operating System Disc
  • Setup Guide and Starter Guide

Before we proceed, let's take a look at the crapware re-installed at the factory. Remember, there is no free lunch and most of the pre-installed junks are not free, but junks.:) I use Vista uninstall to remove all but the followings: MS Money 2006, Quick Time and Adobe Reader 8.0. Then, I installed my own licensed software such as Norton Antivirus, MS Office 2003, PhotoImpact etc.

Madshrimps (c)

Madshrimps (c)Madshrimps (c)

Interesting and confusing to see the left label reads "Vista Home Premium" while the left says "Vista Basic" in truth the former was installed with media player and "aero" are in the package.

Madshrimps (c)
The "Ultra Bright" screen is too glossy with too much reflection to my liking

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The keyboard is a bit flimsy; but I kind of getting use to it after a month.

Madshrimps (c)
From the front, microphone and audio jacks, speakers and two LED indicators for power on and battery condition (purple being charged and blue means fully charged).

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On the right side; DVD R/W, RJ45 /RJ11 and VGA (D-Sub) connection for external display.

Madshrimps (c)
On the left side; CPU exhaust, 3-USBs, 4-in1 Media card and PCMCIA slots. The 3 USB placement is okay, I prefer to have a fourth one on the other side.

Madshrimps (c)

Closer look of the 4-1 Media and PCMCIA slots. The four media are: SD, XD, Memory Pro, Mini-SD with adapter. By the way, 4GB capacity cards are out of the question here. It works up to 2GB, anything higher you will have to get USB adaptor.
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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.