Gateway GM5632E review: Gateway GM5632E

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 8.0
  • Service and support: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Gains a performance edge because of its fast system memory; largest amount of hard drive space at this price range; upgrade-friendly interior.

The Bad Poorly-suited for 3D gaming; no Wi-Fi networking.

The Bottom Line Thanks to a strong set of core specs, the Gateway GM5632E is the best deal going on in a mainstream traditional desktop. It might be missing a few fancy, nonessential features, but it has a strong enough foundation to make up for any deficiencies.

CNET Editors' Choice Oct '07

Editors' Top Picks

With the GM5632E, Gateway joins Dell, HP, Lenovo, and others in offering a mainstream desktop with a quad-core Intel processor. This $1,230 PC doesn't quite bill itself as a do-everything digital media lifestyle system, lacking fancy features like an HD optical drive, wireless networking, or an automatic backup button. Instead, it offers more hard drive space, as well as slightly better performance than those other systems. We find those advantages more compelling, which makes the Gateway GM5632E the desktop system we recommend in this price range.

The GM5632E is a fixed-configuration system you'll find on the shelf at Best Buy. It's more or less the retail equivalent of the configurable DX430 on Gateway's Web site, but despite the online version's graphics card, Wi-Fi, and other upgrades, it doesn't offer a quad-core CPU option. For our money, we'd rather start with the quad-core chip and then make any upgrades after-the-fact, making the in-store GM5632E the better pick of the two.

The top competitor to the Gateway on the store shelf will be HP's Pavilion Elite m9040n. The two are very similar, as you can see from our comparison chart:

  Gateway GM5632E HP Pavilion Elite m9040n
Price $1,229 $1,190
CPU 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600
Motherboard chipset Intel G33 Intel G33
Memory 3GB 1,066MHz DDR2 SDRAM 3GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Graphics 256MB Nvidia GeForce 8500 GT 256MB Nvidia GeForce 8400 GS
Hard drive (2) 500GB 7,200 rpm (2) 320GB 7,200 rpm
Optical drives 16x dual-layer DVD burner w/Labelflash 16x dual-layer DVD burner w/LightScribe
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium Windows Vista Home Premium

Those are only the core specs, and don't count a handful of other features. Both Gateway and HP offer TV tuners, media card readers, and integrated receivers for the bundled IR remote control that comes in each system. Both also have at least one dedicated bay for a removable, proprietary USB hard drive that will cost you extra. HP actually has two of these bays, which earns our ire, as it smacks of upselling. The HP also has 802.11a/b/g wireless networking. Some people may want this feature, and we don't mind it, but given the choice between Wi-Fi on a desktop that will likely stay put (and won't be on display in the living room), and the Gateway's larger hard drive capacity (1TB, to 720GB on the HP), and we'd take the latter every time.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Apple iMac
133 
Gateway GM5632E
134 
Dell XPS 420
169 

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Apple iMac
161 
Gateway GM5632E
168 
Dell XPS 420
169 

Cinebench
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering Multiple CPUs  
Rendering Single CPU  
Gateway GM5632E
1,287 
402 
HP Pavilion Elite m9040n
1,268 
401 
Dell XPS 420
1,260 
398 
Apple iMac
754 
400 

Quake 4 performance (frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,280 x 1,024 (4x AA, 8x AF)  
Dell XPS 420
70.7 
Apple iMac
39.2 
Gateway GM5632E
30.5 

We'd also take the Gateway for its better performance. Although both systems use the same 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 four core processor, the Gateway has faster memory than the HP system. The result is better performance on our Photoshop test, which, in general, is an indicator of the benefit that fast memory can have on a PC. If you need a new desktop for any kind of intense, or even occasional, photo editing, the Gateway is a better pick.

You might also notice that neither the Gateway nor the HP systems offer much in the way of 3D gaming performance. This is because of their underpowered 3D graphics cards. You might be able to get away with basic gaming at low image quality settings, but if you want to play any of the flood of new PC holiday titles, you're going to want to upgrade.

Editors' Top Picks

 

ARTICLE DISCUSSION

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy

Gateway GM5632E

Part Number: GM5632E

Pricing is currently unavailable.

About The Author

Rich Brown is an executive editor for CNET Reviews. He has worked as a technology journalist since 1994.