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Gateway FX400 review: Gateway FX400

The dual-core Pentium 830 completed our multimedia tests slower than the dual-core AMD chip in the Polywell--some 4 percent slower in the case of our video-encoding test. The Dell Dimension 9100 beat the Gateway by 6 percent in the same test.

Our test system came with Windows XP Home, complete with system-restore CDs. Microsoft Windows XP Media Center and XP Professional are both available at extra cost. Bundled software includes trial versions of both Norton Internet Security (90 days) and McAfee Security Center (30 days). Other software includes the excellent Nero Express CD/DVD burning suite and PowerDVD. Our test unit included Microsoft Works Suite 2005, but different versions of Microsoft Office are available starting at $90. Also included is a Gateway-branded wireless keyboard and mouse.

A one-year parts-and-labor service plan is the default, but for onsite service, you'll need to add $109 for one year to upgrade to the Value Plus plan. As if two levels of warranty service were not enough, you can also splurge on the Desktop Total Protection plan, which promises priority technical support and no phone trees when you call Gateway. That's an extra $159 above the basic Value Service plan for one year of coverage, although it sounds suspiciously like what used to pass for standard warranty support not too many years ago. The basic plan still includes e-mail and 24-hour toll-free phone support, plus online chat every day from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. CT.

Application performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo SysMark 2004 rating  
SysMark 2004 Internet-content-creation rating  
SysMark 2004 office-productivity rating  

Half-Life 2 custom demo (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Half-Life 2 1,024x768 4xAA 8xAF  
Half-Life 2 1,600x1,200 4xAA 8xAF  

Multimedia performance tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Sorenson Squeeze 4.0 video-encoding test (in seconds)  
Adobe Photoshop CS test (in seconds)  
Apple iTunes 4.7.1.30 MP3 encoding test (in seconds)  

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

Cyberpower Gamer Ultra 6000 SE
Windows XP Home SP2; 1.8GHz AMD Athlon 64 3000+; Nvidia Nforce 4 chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6600 (PCIe); Hitachi HDS722516VLSA80 160GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA

Dell Dimension 9100
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2; 3.2GHz Intel Pentium D 840; Intel 945GP chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 (PCIe); two WDC WD160JD-75HBB0 160GB Serial ATA 7,200rpm; integrated Intel 82801GR/GH SATA RAID Controller (RAID 0)

Gateway FX400XL
Windows XP Professional SP2; 3.0GHz Intel Pentium D 830, 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; Intel 945GP chipset; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 (PCIe); Hitachi HDS722525VLSA80 250GB 7,200rpm Seral ATA (two separate drives no RAID)

Polywell Poly 939N4X2
Windows XP Professional SP2; 2.2GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+; Nvidia Nforce 4 chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 7800GTX (PCIe); two WDC WD740GD-00FLA2 74GB 10,000rpm SATA; integrated Nvidia Nforce RAID class controller (RAID 0)

Shuttle XPC G5 8300mc
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005; 3.0GHz Intel P4 530; Intel 915G chipset; 512MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6600 (PCIe); WDC WD2500JD-98HBB0 250GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA

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