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Gadgets

Get a quad-core Gateway desktop for $290

Though not a graphics speed-demon, this well-appointed tower has more than enough horsepower for most users--and an HDMI output for media-center enthusiasts.

Get a stylish, smartly equipped quad-core tower for under $300. Woot

I try not to go to the Woot well very often--it's a competing deal-of-the-day site, after all--but this is too good to pass up: a refurbished Gateway quad-core desktop system for $289.99. Shipping runs a mere $5.

Because it's Woot, the offer expires at the end of the day, and stands a good chance of selling out before then.

That's because this is a really nicely loaded tower. It packs a 1.8GHz AMD Phenom X4 9100e 64-bit processor, 4GB of RAM, a 640GB hard drive, and a SuperMulti drive with LabelFlash technology (LightScribe's red-headed cousin).

On the video side, you get an OK-but-not-great-for-games integrated ATI Radeon HD 3200 that borrows up to 256MB of system memory. On the plus side, it sports an HDMI port, meaning this system can easily pull media-center duty.

The system comes with Windows Vista Home Premium (64-bit). Alas, because it's a refurb, it doesn't qualify for a free upgrade to Windows 7.

It does, however, have the refurb-standard 90-day warranty. I don't consider that a major compromise, but some buyers might.

This is, I think, the lowest price I've ever seen on a quad-core desktop, and it's a nicely equipped one at that. If you've been looking for a cheap replacement for that aging XP box, look no further.

(By the way, if this does sell out, check back later. I'll find something else cool for your weekend!)