Gateway DX4831-01e review: Gateway DX4831-01e

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MSRP: $549.99

The Good Clever tower design puts a media card reader on top; quality video playback; virtualized quad-core Intel CPU offers competitive performance for its price; massive 1TB hard drive; plenty of room inside for expansion.

The Bad Lacks wireless networking; competition offers more memory

The Bottom Line The Gateway DX4831-01e is the midtower version of the Editors' Choice award-winning SX2840-01 and exhibits equally impressive performance scores while offering ample room for expansion. We recommend this system to budget-minded shoppers who are looking for a powerful, affordable midtower desktop computer.

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7.9 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Support 7

Editors' note: This review is part of our , which covers specific fixed configurations of popular systems found in retail stores.

We started losing faith in Gateway's DX-series of mainstream retail PCs after the last round of updates earned second-rate performance scores in our tests. However, the $549 DX4831-01e makes up for Gateway's former missteps with the same solid midtower design and an updated configuration featuring Intel's new mainstream Core i3 processor. If you're shopping for a living room PC, the Gateway SX2840-01 is a better fit because of its slim-tower case; however, we recommend the DX4831-01e to anyone who values internal expandability and speed.

The DX4831-01e's tower is ostensibly a mirror image of the DX4300-11 with a glossy black simplicity that integrates easily into a variety of office or home settings. The top of the front panel has a media card reader that protrudes at an upward angle, making it easier to access while the tower is on the floor. You also get two USB ports and a nonslip resting bay on top for external hard drives and other peripherals.

  Gateway DX4831-01e Dell Inspiron i560-4000NBK
Price $549 $599
CPU 2.93GHz Intel Core i3 530 2.93GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E7500
Graphics 32MB (shared) Intel GMA HD integrated graphics chip 32MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip
Hard drives 1TB, 7,200rpm Western Digital HD 1TB, 7,200rpm Seagate HD
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner
Networking 10/100 Ethernet LAN, Gigabit Ethernet 10/100 Ethernet LAN 802.11b/g/n
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

The DX4831-01e's closest competitor is the Dell Inspiron i560-4000NBK. The Dell nets you an extra 2GB of memory and a wireless 802.11b/g/n card for $50 more. The wireless networking is useful, although not always necessary in a deskbound midtower, and we'd rather have more RAM than less. In terms of features for the dollar, the two systems are more or less a wash. If you really demand those features, you should be able to add them to the Gateway for about $75. Both systems include an HDMI port, but we recommend the SX2840-01 over either system if you plan to serve media to a TV.

The other major difference between the systems are their CPUs. As illustrated in our charts below, Gateway gets a noticeable speed boost thanks to its Intel Core i3 chip. Given that it costs less, gives you better performance, and gives you room to upgrade, the Gateway holds an edge in our book. However, we can understand an argument for buying the Dell by those who want Wi-Fi out of the box.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Gateway DX4831-01e

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Gateway DX4831-01e

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Gateway DX4831-01e

(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multiple CPUs  
Rendering single CPU  
HP Pavilion p6310y
Gateway SX2840-01
Gateway DX4831-01e
Dell Inspiron i560-4000NBK
HP Pavilion s5310y

The Dell Inspiron i560-4000NBK and both HP systems can't keep up with the CPU in the Gateway SX2840-01 and the DX4831-01e. Both use Intel's Core i3 chip that emulates two extra cores when necessary, turning it into a virtual quad-core processor. As a result, the Gateway takes HP and Dell almost across the board, especially in the Cinebench test that taxes as many processing threads as it can find. We're confident that the DX4831-01 will handle most day-to-day tasks with competence and speed.

In addition to the HDMI video output, the Gateway DX4831-01e offers a wide variety of connections on the back panel. You get six more USB ports bumping the total number of USB ports to eight, an Ethernet jack, two eSATA ports for external storage, a set of 7.1 audio inputs, an optical S/PDIF audio input, FireWire 400, and a VGA video out port. We quibbled about a lack of full-size FireWire port on the SX2840-01, so we'll shut our mouths and thank Gateway for coming through with a full suite of external connection options in its larger cousin.

If you still insist on putting it in your living room, the Gateway DX4831-01e can easily handle streaming video from the Web. Connected to a standard desktop monitor via a VGA cable, it ran full-screen video from sites such as YouTube, Hulu, Vimeo, and Netflix without a glitch. In addition, the Gateway smoothly played full 1080p HD movie trailers from Apple's Web site.

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