Gateway DX300 series

Gateway's mainstream DX300 series features dual-core Intel Pentium D processors and comes in two preconfigured models, each of which offers a slight degree of customization. The Gateway DX300S starts at $750 and includes a Pentium D 920 processor, 1GB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, integrated Intel 950 graphics, and a double-layer DVD burner. For an added $250, the DX300X throws in a slightly larger hard drive and a 17-inch analog LCD. Both models feature an attractive midtower case with a BTX design for quiet operation. Media Center is the default OS, and you're given TV tuner options. Though we haven't tested either, judging from the specs, we'd say the DX300 machines are fine choices if you want a dual-core PC and have less than $1,000 to spend. And if your budget allows, you can configure the systems with a midrange Nvidia GeForce 6600 or a high-end GeForce 7800 GTX graphics card, 2GB of memory, and 500GB of hard drive space. Serious multimedia users will want more configuration options and may scoff at the lack of dual-core AMD Athlon 64 X2 processors, but for mainstream users on the hunt for a versatile home PC, the DX300 series is a good place to start.