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Gateway goes all 64-bit in back-to-school desktops

Gateway introduces back-to-school desktops.

Gateway has done a decent job recently of bringing aggressive desktops to retail for a decent prices. Its back-to-school line-up seems to continue that trend. Of the six new systems announced today (and popping up in stores already), three come with brand-new case designs, and all of them include 64-bit Windows Vista Home Premium and generous amounts of RAM (up to 6GB in some cases). That means better performance, especially in multimedia apps like Photoshop.

Gateway's new FX Series chassis Gateway

The FX and the DX lines are the ones to receive a case makeover. The new designs aren't dramatic departures from the previous versions, and both maintain their relative tastefulness.

The FX4710 is the highest end retail model, and for $1,150 comes with the 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300, an overclocked GeForce 9800GT card (in other news, Nvidia now has a GeForce 9800 GT card), and 6GB of RAM. That configuration compares very well with the Gateway FX7026 from last quarter, although the processors are the same. A $1,500 version includes a 24-inch display.

The DX4710, with 6GB of RAM and a 22-inch LCD for $1,000. Gateway

The new DX line includes the $1,000 DX4710 and the $750 DX4200, all with 6GB of RAM. The DX4710 comes with an older 2.4GHz Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor, as well as a 22-inch LCD thrown in (a $900 version comes with no LCD), and integrated video, while the lower-end DX4200 includes an AMD Phenom 9500 CPU and a low-end Radeon HD 3450 graphics card.

We're also impressed by the specs of the budget GT line, which includes 4GB of RAM and either triple-core or quad-core AMD chips in systems between $550 and $650.

We have yet to hear from Dell and HP on their back-to-school line-ups, but Gateway has set a great example here, especially by bringing 6GB of RAM and 64-bit Windows to a desktop that costs less than $800. And as of this moment, Dell doesn't even let Alienware use 64-bit Windows, so unless Dell has a change of heart in the next few weeks, expect Gateway to compete very well on at least performance once we get our hands on these to review.