We tried a few games on the Gateway to test their basic playability. Portal 2 gave the Gateway no trouble at high graphics detail and 1,920x1,020-pixel resolution. We found no combination of settings that let us play The Witcher 2 at that resolution, however. The Witcher 2 was playable once we lowered the resolution to 1,280x720 pixels, but only at low image quality settings. We wouldn't recommend this system as is for gaming enthusiasts on the hunt for a low-cost desktop, but casual gamers will find it delivers acceptable 3D performance.
A graphics card would of course improve the gaming outlook for this PC. The free PCI Express graphics card slot on the motherboard provides you with an upgrade path, although the lower-end 300-watt power supply and the disappointing absence of direct graphics card power connectors will limit you to lower-end 3D cards. You can't add additional memory without junking at least some of the existing RAM, but there is room to add two more internal hard drives, as well as room for another drive through a front-panel-accessible bay.
This system also offers only the bare minimum in motherboard ports, a disappointing industrywide trend that has only recently encroached on Gateway and Acer systems. You get VGA and HDMI video outputs, but no DVI output, which means, depending on your display and the cables you own, you may need to hunt down a video adapter. It also lacks digital audio and 7.1 analog audio output support, leaving you with only a set of 5.1 analog audio jacks. Data connections are similarly sparse. You get the usual array of USB 2.0 jacks, but that's it. No FireWire, no eSATA, and no USB 3.0.
|Gateway DX4850-45||Average watts per hour|
|Off (60 percent)||0.31|
|Sleep (10 percent)||1.73|
|Idle (25 percent)||29.55|
|Load (5 percent)||76.84|
|Annual energy cost||$14.36|
Intel's new power-efficient CPUs have made power-testing almost irrelevant. In addition to its strong performance, the Gateway DX4850-45 is one of the more power-efficient PCs we've seen at this price range. It will cost you just over a dollar a month to operate.
For service and support, you get one year of parts-and-labor coverage with the DX4850-45, along with 24-7 toll-free phone service, and a variety of help resources available online. The system also comes with a few diagnostic apps to help you monitor the status of various components yourself.
The Gateway DX4850-45 is a rather uncommon system in that it has some strong home entertainment features, but in a clunky midtower chassis. It won't serve well as an upgrade base due to a weak power supply, but it may draw in those looking for a multipurpose PC for the dorm room or home office.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
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