Editors' note: This review is part of our 2009 Retail Laptop and Desktop Holiday Roundup, which covers specific fixed configurations of popular systems found in retail stores.
Gateway hasn't fared well with its most recent round of DX-series mainstream retail PCs. Neither the DX4300-03 nor the DX4822-01 received positive marks, and this $699 DX4300-11 falls right in line with the slowest performance scores out of all four comparison systems in the same price range. Gateway tries to sweeten the deal with a TV tuner and a larger hard drives, perhaps to entice you to use it as a home theater companion, but we'd happily sacrifice the tuner for Wi-Fi or even a price break. Instead of the Gateway DX300-11, we prefer the Asus Essentio CG5270-BP004 that still gives you a uniquely designed tower with top-tier performance results.
The DX4822-01's tower is ostensibly a mirror image of the DX4300-03 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 a slightly 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 DX4300-11||Asus Essentio CG5270-BP004|
|CPU||2.5GHz AMD Phenom II X4 805||2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300|
|Memory||8GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM||8GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM|
|Graphics||256MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics chip||32MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip|
|Hard drives||1TB, 7,200rpm||1TB, 7,200rpm|
|Optical drive||dual-layer DVD burner||dual-layer DVD burner|
|Networking||10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN||10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
Although it might come as a surprise at first glance, this Gateway shares a similar set of features with the Asus Essentio CG5270-BP004. Both are midrange desktop computers with almost the same internal components, except that the Asus comes packaged in a much clunkier case for upgrades and extra ventilation. In terms of performance, you can see in the charts below that Asus gets the best of Gateway on all of the application tests--a testament to the Essentio's faster Intel quad-core CPU.
Gateway also includes a TV tuner with an analog RCA and digital TV jack in addition to an S-Video port. The ability to watch and record live television on your computer might have added value to this system years ago, but those features lost appeal to us when the Web exploded with streaming video sites like Hulu, the iTunes store, network home pages, and others.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|Rendering multiple CPUs||Rendering single CPU|
The Gateway DX4300-11 takes a back seat to the competition in three out of the four benchmark tests. Ironically, the Editors' Choice-winning Gateway SX2800-01 takes last in the Cinebench test because of its slower processor speed, but the both systems still get taken for a ride by Asus across the board.
Luckily, Gateway balances its poor performance rating with a generous amount of motherboard connections and decent room for upgrades. Aside from the TV tuner, you also get an HDMI port on the back alongside the standard audio and visual plugs, Gigabit Ethernet, a standard 16x PCI Express slot, and two free 1X PCI Express slots. You can also add another hard drive and a second optical drive for extra storage, but we should note that all four memory slots are occupied by 2GB sticks.
|Gateway DX4300-11||Average watts per hour|
|Off (60 percent)||0.97|
|Sleep (10 percent)||2.96|
|Idle (25 percent)||80.59|
|Load (5 percent)||129.09|
|Annual energy cost||$35.14|
Gateway disappoints us once again with a last-place effort to conserve energy. Systems with quad-core processors do tend to trend toward the more expensive end of the energy-conservation scale, but the DX4300-01 costs $35.14 per year to operate, or $6.69 more than the Asus Essentio CG5270-BP004--a faster computer for less money.
Gateway offers all of the usual support features we expect, including system-specific features and other help online. Gateway also boasts 24-7 toll-free phone support, and a one-year parts-and-labor warranty with this PC. Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
System configurations :
Asus Essentio CG5270-BP004
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300; 8GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 1TB, 7,200rpm hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 2.5GHz AMD Phenom II X4 805; 8GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics chip; 1TB, 7,200rpm hard drive
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit; 2.3GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 640GB, 7,200rpm hard drive
HP Pavilion P6230y
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit; 2.6 GHz AMD Phenom II X4 810; 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics chip; 750GB, 7,200rpm hard drive
ZT Group Affinity 7334Ma
Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit (SP2); 3GHz AMD Phenom II X4 945 Quad Core ; 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 384MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics chip; 1TB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive