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The $550 Gateway GT5692 is part a new batch of recently released midrange desktop PCs. This particular configuration has an AMD Phenom X3 8450 triple-core processor, 4GB of memory, HDMI-out, and 64-bit Windows Vista. The package gave us decent speed and benchmarking results, so if you're looking for a dependable desktop, this system won't disappoint.
The GT5692 is housed in a subtle black case with a brushed aluminum faceplate covering the bottom half of the tower. Gateway's standard "digital media manager" sits at the top with four memory card slots (SD/MMC, MS, xD, and CF), two USB 2.0 ports, and a "copy" button for simple data transfers. The system also includes one 18x rewriteable DVD drive and two extra front panel expansion bays. The inside is easy to maneuver with plenty of room for expansion. There are two available memory slots (four total), an extra hard drive bay, a video card slot, a removable hard drive port, and one additional PCI slot. Finally, we were surprised to see an HDMI port on the back of the system. The capability to connect directly to an HDTV is a feature we don't normally see in this price range. It might not make the most sense in a midtower desktop, but the HDMI port isn't doing any harm, either.
|Gateway GT5692||ZT Affinity 7221Xa|
|CPU||2.1GHz AMD Phenom 8450 Triple Core||2.1GHz AMD Phenom 8450 Triple Core|
|Memory||4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM||4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM|
|Graphics||256MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics chip||256MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics chip|
|Hard drives||500GB, 7,200rpm||500GB, 7,200rpm|
|Optical drive||dual-layer DVD burner||dual-layer DVD burner|
|Networking||Gigabit Ethernet||Gigabit Ethernet, 802/11g|
|Operating system||Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit)||Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit)|
Comparing the Gateway with the ZT Affinity 7221Xa, both systems are almost identical in their components except that the Gateway ships with 64-bit Windows and is $50 less than the ZT Affinity. Windows 64-bit gives the Gateway more headroom to use all four gigabytes of included memory while retaining potential to upgrade down the line. As more developers create software that takes advantage of the 64-bit performance advantage, these systems will become less and less strained running heavy-loaded applications. The Gateway doesn't have wireless networking capability like the ZT system, but in a midtower PC, we'd rather have the 64-bit operating system.
|Rendering Multiple CPUs||Rendering Single CPU|
The 64-bit Windows and full use of all 4GB of memory works in the GT5692's favor on our Adobe Photoshop application speed test. The only system that gives it a run for its money is the more expensive Dell Inspiron 518 that ran the Photoshop test just eight seconds faster. The Dell's faster processor and the addition of an extra core are enough to bump the system to first place, with the GT5692 not far behind. Keep in mind, too, that the Dell is a $784 desktop. The Gateway falls behind the Dell on our other tests where CPU speed and the number of cores have a bigger impact, so 64-bit is by no means a cure-all, but for photo editors, the GT5692 is a strong bargain.
Gateway provides a standard one-year limited warranty that protects this system with 24-hour e-mail and phone technical support as well as a limited return-exchange program. In addition, we were impressed that the Gateway support Web site for the GT5674 has a comprehensive list of FAQs, driver downloads, various product views, user guides, and the option to chat for free with a Gateway technician 3 a.m. to 12 a.m. PT every day.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Acer Aspire M5100
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.19GHz AMD Phenom 9500; 3GB DDR2 667MHz SDRAM; 256MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD 1250 graphics chip; 500GB 7,200rpm hard drive.
Dell Inspiron 530
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 1.8GHz Intel Pentium E2160; 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB Nvidia GeForce 8300 GS graphics card; 320GB, 7,200rpm hard drive.
ZT Affinity 7221Xa
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.1GHz AMD Phenom X3 8450; 4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics card; 500GB, 7,200rpm hard drive.
Dell Inspiron 518
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600; 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Radeon HD 3450 graphics card; 320GB, 5,400rpm hard drive.