Gateway DX4300-15e review: Gateway DX4300-15e

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MSRP: $679.99

The Good Includes TV tuner and wireless networking without sacrificing general-purpose features; room to upgrade despite bounty of features.

The Bad Missing storage-friendly external ports found on other, less expensive Gateway desktops.

The Bottom Line Not everyone wants a PC with a TV tuner, but if you're in the market for such a system, the Gateway DX4300-15e has you covered. Best of all, it offers a tuner without sacrificing other features we'd expect to find at this price. You'll find few other desktops at retail with a TV tuner, but we're glad to see that the one of the few out there is a decent computer all-around.

7.2 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 6
  • Support 7

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

Normally when we find a TV tuner card in a midrange desktop, it comes at the expense of more generally useful features. Not so in the case of the Gateway DX4300-15e. Those with particular needs might wish for a faster CPU, a discrete graphics card, or a variety of other upgrades to this desktop, but for general computing there's not much we'd change here given this system's $680 price tag. That makes the TV tuner something of an added bonus. Tuners aren't for everyone, and you can find a faster PC than this one for less. If you're interested in a PC with a TV tuner, however, this system offers an affordable, capable option that requires minimal compromise.

The DX4300-13e comes in the same case Gateway uses in its other midtower desktops. As a midtower PC it isn't particularly well-suited to the living room, but its glossy black plastic exterior isn't so hideous that you need to keep it from all public sight. Most low-cost midtower desktops tend to look the same, and for the most part the DX4300-15e is no exception. The one standout design element is a pinched front-facing upper edge that makes the media card slots and USB 2.0 ports easier to use. This small, but effective design tweak has made Gateway's cases our favorite from a Windows-based retail vendor, and second overall only to Apple's. The gap between first place and second, however, is rather large.

  Gateway DX4300-15e HP Pavilion p6320y
Price $680 $700
CPU 2.6GHz AMD Phenom II X4 810 2.8GHz AMD Phenom II X4 820
Memory 8GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM 8GB 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics 256MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics chip 256MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 9100 integrated graphics chip
Hard drives 1TB, 7,200 rpm 1TB, 7,200 rpm
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner
Networking 10/100 Ethernet LAN, 802.11a/b/g/n wireless 10/100 Ethernet LAN, 802.11a/b/g/n wireless
TV tuner Yes No
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

The HP Pavilion p6320y is the most likely competition for the Gateway DX4300-15e because their price tags are so close, although you could also look to less expensive Pavilion p6310y or Gateway's own DX4831-01e. All of those systems compete with the Gateway in that they have similar core features; 1TB hard drives, relatively speedy quad-core CPUs or dual-core CPUs that can emulate four processing threads as necessary, 6GB to 8GB of RAM, multiple video outputs, as well as room for upgrades. The HP Pavilion P6320y and this Gateway both have wireless networking, which leaves the Gateway its AverMedia H751 hybrid analog/digital TV tuner. Few other retail systems, if any, offer TV tuner cards, making the DX4300-15e unique.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Gateway DX4300-15e

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Gateway DX4300-15e

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

(Longer bars indicate faster performance)
Rendering Multiple CPUs  
Rendering Single CPU  
HP Pavilion p6320y
HP Pavilion p6310y
Gateway DX4300-15e
Asus CG5275-AR003
Gateway DX4831-01e

The trade-off for the tuner is that the DX4300-15e doesn't offer quite as much performance as even the $549 Gateway DX4831-01e, at least on some of our benchmarks. On single application tests, the DX4300-15e is slower than its more affordable linemate. On multitasking, though, the higher-end Gateway comes out ahead, and trails behind the HP systems by only 30 seconds or so. You could argue that the $599 HP Pavilion p6310y matches the Gateway so closely in performance that paying $680 for the Gateway essentially means you're paying $80 on top of the HP's asking price for wireless networking and a TV tuner. That seems reasonable to us.

Throw in the Gateway's HDMI video port, and even though this is a midtower, the DX4300-15e could actually make an acceptable living room PC. TV tuners aren't ideal for replacing a cable box by themselves, not least because they can't decode most kinds of cable feeds. But we can see a scenario where you use a TV tuner in conjunction with various online video services to provide a fairly comprehensive broadcast entertainment setup.

Even with its extra features, the DX4300-15e offers room to add a few other components inside. You get a single PCI Express graphics card slot, as well as a free standard PCI slot and hard-drive bay. All four RAM slot are occupied, which we to expect since 6GB and 8GB memory configurations have become so common. A 300 watt power supply prevents you from adding too much in the way of high-end 3D graphics hardware, but in general, given this system's already impressive set of features, a few select upgrades could make this a very robust jack-of-all-trades desktop.

The external ports on the DX4300-15e are less complete than we've seen from other Gateway desktops recently, but they should meet most of your needs. It has an HDMI port, which is useful, as well as standard DVI and VGA video ports. You also get digital audio and 7.1 analog audio jacks. Although it covers your primary audio-video bases, those with alternative storage devices will need to be creative. You get plenty of USB 2.0 ports, but no FireWire and no eSATA. The lack of those ports isn't crucial, but it's interesting that you can find them on the less expensive Gateway DX4831-01e.

Juice box
Juice Box  
Gateway DX4300-15e  
Off (watts) 0.86
Sleep (watts) 2.61
Idle (watts) 72.1
Load (watts) 119.81
Raw (annual kWh) 278.82204
EnergyStar compliant No
Annual operating cost (@$0.1135/kWh) $31.65

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