Gateway SX 2850-33 - Core i3 550 3.2 GHz review: Gateway SX 2850-33 - Core i3 550 3.2 GHz

If you have more demanding gaming needs, you could always add a graphics card to this PC, although you're limited to budget-level half-height 3D cards due to its narrow case. There's also room for two more memory sticks, but that's all the internal expansion room. The lone hard-drive bay is occupied, and the 802.11 b/g/n wireless card sits in the 1X PCI Express slot.

The connectivity options on the outside of the Gateway are also a bit limited, a change we'll attribute to this model using a different motherboard than we've seen in other SX systems. You still get the usual array of USB 2.0 jacks, as well as 5.1 analog audio outputs, a media card reader, and the already mentioned HDMI and VGA outputs. We miss the FireWire and eSATA jacks we've seen on other models, though, since we always appreciate alternative data inputs.

For the HDMI jack, the system transferred the audio output automatically when we connected it to an HDTV, but it did not properly account for the tendency for PCs to overscan a 1080p TV image. That means if you connect this Gateway to a TV over HDMI, you may need to jump into the graphics driver software to manually adjust the borders of the onscreen image in order to make it line up properly with the edges of the physical screen. It's not a big deal, but it's obviously preferable for the computer to figure out the proper screen size for itself.

Juice box
Gateway SX2850-33 Average watts per hour
Off (60 percent) 0.92
Sleep (10 percent) 2.24
Idle (25 percent) 40.97
Load (5 percent) 81.13
Raw kWh 166.56
EnergyStar compliant Yes
Annual energy cost $18.90

Annual power consumption cost
Gateway SX2850-33
$18.90 

The Gateway's power consumption falls in line with other PCs in its price range, although we're happy to see that it's not only faster than its competition, it's also more power-efficient. That's not an uncommon feature for desktops using Intel's Core i-series CPUs. Over time we've seen them consistently post better power consumption figures than AMD-based PCs like the Dell Inspiron i570. Granted, the difference breaks down to only a few extra cents per month, but it speaks to the success of Intel's CPU strategy in the budget price range.

Gateway gives you one year of parts-and-labor coverage for the SX2801-01e, along with 24-7 toll-free phone service and a variety of help resources available online. The system comes with a few diagnostic apps to help you monitor the status of various components yourself.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:
Asus Essentio CM5671
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Dual-Core E5500; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 1TB, 7,200rpm hard drive

Dell Inspiron i560-2050NKB
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.7GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core E5400; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 500GB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive

Dell Inspiron i570-7034PBK
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.8GHz AMD Athlon II X4; 6MB 1333MHZ DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD4200 integrated graphics chip; 750GB, 7,200rpm hard drive

Gateway SX2801-01e
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.8GHz Pentium Dual-Core E5500; 6MB 800MHZ DDR3 SDRAM; 32MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 1TB, 7,200rpm hard drive

Gateway SX2850-33
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 3.2GHz Intel Core i3 550; 4GB 800MHZ DDR3 SDRAM; 64MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 HD integrated graphics chip; 640GB, 7,200rpm hard drive

What you'll pay

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    Where to Buy

    Gateway SX 2850-33 - Core i3 550 3.2 GHz

    Part Number: RB-L-PT.GAZ02.032 Released: 1 Sep 2010
    Pricing is currently unavailable.

    Quick Specifications See All

    • Regional specs shown for US. UK specs are unavailable.

    • Release date 1 Sep 2010
    • Color Black