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

Gateway DX4840-03e

Rich Brown Former Senior Editorial Director - Home and Wellness
Rich was the editorial lead for CNET's Home and Wellness sections, based in Louisville, Kentucky. Before moving to Louisville in 2013, Rich ran CNET's desktop computer review section for 10 years in New York City. He has worked as a tech journalist since 1994, covering everything from 3D printing to Z-Wave smart locks.
Expertise Smart home, Windows PCs, cooking (sometimes), woodworking tools (getting there...)
Rich Brown
5 min read

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.


Gateway DX4840-03e

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.

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
Gateway DX4840-03e

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.

We're also satisfied with the Gateway's upgradability. You get a spare PCI Express graphics card slot, as well as a single 1x PCI Express slot for a TV tuner or some other expansion card. You also get room for a second hard drive, although the RAM slots are all occupied. We expect most users shopping for a PC in this price range will find the included 8GB of memory sufficient.

Juice box
Gateway DX4840-03e Average watts per hour
Off 0.61
Sleep 2.51
Idle 35.55
Load 83.22
Raw kWh 149.49
Energy Star compliant Yes
Annual power consumption cost $16.97

Annual power consumption cost
Gateway DX4840-03e

Our enthusiasm for this Gateway's value and performance extends to its power efficiency as well. It leads its group of comparison PCs, drawing dramatically less power than the generally slower HP Pavilion P6150y, arguably its most direct competition. We're actually used to seeing AMD-based HP systems at the bottom of the power-efficiency barrel, and in this comparison the Pavilion is sadly no exception.

Gateway gives you one year of parts-and-labor coverage for the DX4840-03e, along with 24-7 toll-free phone service and a variety of help resources available online. The system itself also comes with a few diagnostic apps to help you monitor the status of various components yourself. The only word of caution is that Gateway, and its parent company, Acer, has been rated very low by Consumer Reports' recent customer service survey.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:
Asus Essentio CM5675-07
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 3.2GHz Intel Core i5 560; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 32MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 HD integrated graphics chip; 1TB 7,200 rpm Hitachi hard drive.

Asus Essentio CM5671-05
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core E5500; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 HD integrated graphics chip; 1TB 7,200 rpm Hitachi hard drive

Dell Inspiron i560-2050NBK
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.7GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core E5400; 4GB 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 32MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 HD integrated graphics chip; 500GB 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drive

Gateway DX4840-03e
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 3.0GHz Intel Core i3 540; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 64MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 HD integrated graphics chip; 1TB 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drive.

HP Pavilion p6510y
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.8GHz AMD Athlon II X4 630; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics chip; 750GB 7,200 rpm Seagate hard drive.


Gateway DX4840-03e

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 7Support 7