We mentioned that the Gateway has relatively limited expansion room inside, and if you're determined to upgrade the SX2800-01 post-purchase, you'll find you have only a few options once you crack the case. You get a single 16x PCI Express graphics card slot, as well as a 1X PCI Express slot occupied by a modem, both of which can only accept half-height expansion cards because of the narrow case. While we don't really advocate upgrading lower-end PCs (better to spend more money up front), the two slots you do get are sufficient to add a lower-end 3D card for basic gaming and/or HD video playback, as well as wireless networking (once you toss the modem), if you're serious about using this system in your living room.
You can add more memory as well, and the SX2800-01 comes with two free slots, but accessing the RAM requires you to jump through a few hoops. You need to first remove the front panel and then unscrew and remove the combined optical drive/hard-drive carriage. It's an easy enough process, although it takes a few extra steps than with most desktops.
|Raw (annual kWh)||187.83|
|Energy Star compliant||Yes|
|Annual operating cost (@$0.1135/kWh)||$21.66|
We use a lengthened version of our multimedia multitasking benchmark to judge a PC's power consumption under load, and while it's not designed to overwhelm a quad-core CPU like the one in the Gateway, the Gateway's efficiency is no less impressive. Consider that the Gateway outperformed every other system in this category on the MMT benchmark by a large margin, but that it also used the second lowest amount of power on that same test. If you were to consistently run programs on this Gateway that ran on all four processing cores, its annual power consumption cost would likely increase, but for mainstream tasks, the more common work scenario for a PC in this price range, the Gateway demonstrates commendable efficiency.
Like every other major vendor, Gateway offers a one-year parts and labor warranty, alongside 24-7 toll-free phone support for this system. Gateway also offers useful support resources on its Web site, like FAQs, driver downloads, and support chat, and you get a diagnostic utility on the system itself to help you maintain and troubleshoot on your own.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
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