Gateway GT5692 review: Gateway GT5692

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MSRP: $549.99

The Good 64-bit Windows; inexpensive; HDMI out; outstanding Photoshop performance for the price.

The Bad No built-in wireless networking.

The Bottom Line The Gateway GT5692 is a reliable PC that will easily get you around all the standard tasks of a budget desktop. This triple-core system also includes 64-bit Windows and enough RAM to make it a very strong photo-editing desktop for its price.

7.3 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7
  • Support 8

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
Price $550 $599
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)
TV Tuner No No

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.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Gateway GT5692

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Gateway GT5692

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Gateway GT5692

(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering Multiple CPUs  
Rendering Single CPU  
Dell Inspiron 518
Acer Aspire M5100
ZT Affinity 7221Xa
Gateway GT5692
Dell Inspiron 530

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.