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Gateway Profile 5.5 (Pentium 4 2.8 GHz review: Gateway Profile 5.5 (Pentium 4 2.8 GHz

The Good Nifty, space-saving design; fairly priced for an all-in-one; bright display.

The Bad Not upgradable; expensive compared to most current midrange PCs; subpar performance.

The Bottom Line While Gateway targets the Profile 5.5 at businesses, we think the system's lack of an upgrade path makes it better for students, apartment dwellers, and other space-constrained home users.

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

Gateway Profile 5.5

Gateway claims a fleet of its Profile 5.5 all-in-one desktops can save a small or midsize company up to 4 percent in IT costs. But if you're spending at least 4 percent more on the systems to begin with, is that smart business?

That's the conundrum presented by the Profile 5.5, the newest version of Gateway's undeniably sleek, space-saving all-in-one PC. Yes, it looks cool and saves space. Students and apartment dwellers will love its tiny footprint, and we can also see a row of these beautiful babies sitting behind a reservation desk in a world-class hotel or in the public spaces of a private bank. Coupled with Gateway's Custom Integrated Solutions (CIS), including specialized software and hardware installations and system management services, the new Profiles can save your company money on setup and maintenance, but at $1,869 (as configured for our testing), a single Profile 5.5 costs a few hundred dollars more than a comparable mainstream tower PC, even with the monitor included.

Judged purely as a midrange computer, the Gateway Profile 5.5 makes a strong case for itself. Our test unit came with a 3.2GHz Pentium 4 540 processor, 512MB of 400MHz DDR memory, and Windows XP Professional. Gateway offers the Profile with three different LCDs, ranging from 15 inches to 19. Ours came with the midrange and very bright 17-inch screen, which sits atop a sturdy base that includes speakers and most of the system's components.

A very cool two-way hinge behind the display allows you to adjust the screen's height and angle with ease, and overall we loved the Profile 5.5's curved edges and consistent industrial design. The matte-black finish and the silver accents carry though to the included wireless keyboard and mouse. Although you can choose from a host of optical-drive options, our test system's base contained a DVD burner along with a handy 9-in-1 flash-media reader. You'll also find a PC Card slot plus two FireWire and four USB 2.0 ports, which make this PC very flexible for working with digital cameras and other peripherals. The Profile 5.5's built-in speakers were actually pretty good, but if you plan on listening to more than Internet radio, we suggest you select an inexpensive three-piece external speaker system.

In testing, the Profile 5.5 delivered just slightly below average performance for this processor class but was still robust enough for any office task; its overall SysMark 2004 score of 179 placed it smack in the middle of other comparably configured business PCs. Frame rates of about 80 frames per second in our 1,024x768 Unreal Tournament 2003 test show that the Profile will suffice for older 3D games and most basic graphics work, courtesy of a low-profile ATI Radeon X300 PCI-Express graphics card, but any new after-hours games should be played elsewhere.

The quoted price includes a three-year parts, labor, and onsite warranty with three years of 24/7 toll-free technical support. Gateway's excellent service and support options allow you to upgrade your warranty in a variety of ways, up to a five-year, all-inclusive warranty for $159.

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

To measure application performance, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's SysMark 2004, an industry-standard benchmark. Using off-the-shelf applications, SysMark measures a desktop's performance using office-productivity applications (such as Microsoft Office and McAfee VirusScan) and Internet-content-creation applications (such as Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Dreamweaver).

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