Gateway DX4850-45u review:

Gateway DX4850-45u

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.

Juice box
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
Raw kWh 126.51
Energy Star-compliant Yes
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.

System configurations:
Gateway DX4850-45
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i5 230; 6GB 1,066MHZ DDR3 SDRAM; 64MB Intel HD 2000 integrated graphics chip; 1TB, 5,400rpm hard drive

HP Pavilion p6540y
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.8GHz AMD Phenom II X4 830; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics chip; 1B 7,200rpm Samsung hard drive

HP Pavilion p6720f
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.9GHz AMD Phenom II X4 810T; 6GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics chip; 1TB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive

Lenovo H320
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 3.2GHz Intel Core i5 650; 6GB 1,066MHZ DDR3 SDRAM; 512MB Nvidia GeForce 310; 640GB, 7,200rpm hard drive

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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