Gateway DX4300-11 review: Gateway DX4300-11

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The Good Well-designed case gives easy access to front-panel media card reader.

The Bad Leisurely performance.

The Bottom Line We're fond of the Gateway DX4300-11's clever design, but halfhearted performance scores mar its overall worth. The TV tuner and 1TB hard drive may tempt you to stick it in your living room as a media center PC, but your money is better spent on the Asus Essentio CG5270-BP004.

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6.5 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 4
  • Support 7

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
Price $699 $650
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.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
ZT Affinity 7334Ma
Asus Essentio CG5270-BP004

Apple iTunes encoding test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Multimedia multitasking
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multiple CPUs  
Rendering single CPU  
ZT Affinity 7334Ma
HP Pavilion P6230y
Asus Essentio CG5270-BP004
Gateway DX4300-11
Gateway SX2800-01

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.

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