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Gateway updates desktop lineup, revamps high-end case

Details of Gateway's first-quarter desktop refresh.

Gateway has a handful of systems to announce this morning. The $559 slim tower SX2840-01 and the $849 DX4831-03 are updates to systems we've seen previously. The $1,699 FX6831-03 and the $1,299 FX6831-01 bear the familiar FX moniker, indicating Gateway's high-end desktops, but they feature a brand new case.

Gateway's new SX2840-01 seems to improve on its versatile predecessor that we reviewed last year. CNET

We're most excited for the SX2840-01, the newest version of the versatile SX2800-01 slim tower that destroyed its budget PC competition in the latter half of 2009. This new model features Windows 7 Home Premium, a 2.93GHz Intel Core i3 530 CPU, 6GB of 1,333MHz DDR3 RAM, and a 1TB hard drive packed into an expandable yet tidy case. The previous version was equally at home in your living room as it was on your desk, thanks to an HDMI video output and best-in-class performance. Our review of the new model should post by the end of the day, so stay tuned.

The Gateway DX4831-03 looks like most other midtower desktops. CNET

The DX4831-03 is a relatively standard-looking midtower. It's Gateway's first desktop with Intel's new 3.2GHz Core i5 650 chip, alongside a 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT220 graphics card, 6GB of 1,333MHz DDR3 RAM, and a Blu-ray drive. Blu-ray is relatively uncommon at this price, and the specs in general sound like this system would make a decent all-arounder, although gamers will likely want a better 3D card.

Gateway's new FX-series desktops have new chassis. Gateway

For the new FX models, the case is the most interesting story. It's a glossy, more stylized approach than older FX enclosures, and though it's not for everyone, it seems reasonable that the gaming target market might approve. Aside from the glossy plastic and new layout, the highlight of the new case is a sliding door in the front that provides direct access to the internal hard drive bays, for easy removal and upgrading.

If the new case has a certain appeal, we're less sure about the specs of the new systems that use it. The $1,299 FX6831-01 seems reasonable, but we'd like to reconfigure the $1,699 FX6831-03. Both feature a 2.8Ghz Core i7 860 processor, a 1GB ATI Radeon HD 5850 3D card, a 1.5TB hard drive, and Windows 7 Home Premium. The $1,299 model gets you 8GB of 1,333MHz DDR3 memory and a standard DVD burner, and the $1,699 model comes with 16GB of RAM and a Blu-ray combo drive (plays Blu-ray Discs, plays and burns DVDs). The price seems fair enough for the hardware in both systems, but a faster 3D card would likely benefit gamers more than the FX6831-03's extra RAM.

All three systems are fixed configurations that should be available soon at the usual online and brick-and-mortar retailers. Keep an eye out for the corresponding reviews, as well.