Gateway DX4840-03e review: Gateway DX4840-03e

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MSRP: $659.99

The Good Attractive-enough case design; generally faster performance and better features than competing budget desktops, with only a minor price premium.

The Bad Lacks variety in external storage ports (no eSATA, no FireWire); slower than competing PCs on multithreaded tasks.

The Bottom Line We have few reservations about this Gateway DX4840-03e. Even if it's not a particularly remarkable system, it's hard to argue that it falls short as a general purpose budget midtower. If that's all you're looking for, we can recommend this PC with little hesitation.

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7.0 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7
  • Support 7

Editors' note: This review is part of our 2010 retail laptop and desktop back-to-school roundup, covering specific fixed configurations of popular systems that can be found in retail stores.

The Gateway DX4840-03e is another example of Gateway's recent success in bringing strong desktop configurations to the retail market. This $649 system asks a minor price premium over that of similar budget desktops, but for that higher price you get a faster computer that boasts more features. We'd like to see a few more data port options, and it's overall not a particularly exciting desktop, but we can recommend this Gateway to anyone shopping for an affordable, general purpose PC.

Like most large Windows PC vendors, Gateway has held its system design steady for at least the last year or so. We've seen the DX4840-03e's chassis a number of times before, and we continue to find it satisfactory. We might like to see a few more ports, like FireWire or eSATA, in particular (you'll find the latter on the less expensive Gateway SX2801-01e), but in general this system offers the convenience features we like to see in this price range. For example, we continue to find the distinctive, extended upper front corner of the DX4840-03e useful, as it improves the accessibility of the front-panel USB ports and media card slots. We also like the gadget tray and strategically placed USB ports on the top of the case.

  Gateway DX4840-03e HP Pavilion p6510y
Price $649 $529
CPU 3.0GHz Intel Core i3 540 2.8GHz AMD Athlon II X4
Memory 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics 64MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 HD integrated graphics chip 256MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics chip
Hard drives 1TB, 7,200 rpm 750GB, 7,200 rpm
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner
Networking 10/100 Ethernet LAN, 802.11b/g/n WiFi 10/100 Ethernet LAN
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

For just $120 more than the HP, the Gateway will provide you with a larger hard drive, wireless networking, twice as much RAM, and a generally faster processor. That seems like a fair uptick in features given the price. None of those features is completely transformative, but in combination they make the Gateway a more capable desktop.

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

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Gateway DX4840-03e

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Gateway DX4840-03e

Cinebench (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multiple CPUs  
Rendering single CPU  
HP Pavilion p6510y
Asus Essentio CM5675-07
Gateway DX4840-03e
Asus Essentio CM5671-05

The Gateway's triumph over the HP on our benchmark tests isn't a shut-out performance, but it's close enough that we have no difficulty declaring the DX4840-03e the winner. The Asus Essentio CM5675-07 that dominates the charts is a $729 model, so we'd expect it would outperform the Gateway, just like we'd expect the Gateway to beat the HP. It's worth noting, though, that of the systems you'll find at retail, the Gateway DX4840-03e is fast for the $600-to-$700 price range. The HP ekes out a win on our multicore CineBench test, which suggest that if you regularly use an application that's multicore-friendly, like certain media editing programs, you might at least consider the HP if you need a cheap dedicated editing PC. On all other kinds of tasks, the Gateway is faster.

The Gateway comes with an HDMI port, and while its midtower design isn't well suited to the living room, we're happy with its ability to play HD video from various online sources. We tried Apple's repository of QuickTime movie trailers, YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix, and, as it should for a PC in this price range, the Gateway handled every video file we threw its way.

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