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Gateway gaming PC a midrange bargain

Not everyone will like the looks of Gateway's gaming desktop, but there's no denying its value.

If you're in the market for a midrange gaming desktop, we encourage you to take a look at our review of Gateway's FX6831-01. This $1,299 PC hit the market in the beginning of the year, but even four months later it offers better price performance than PCs from mainstream and boutique competition alike.

Gateway's FX6831-01 $1,299 gaming desktop. Sarah Tew/CNET

The Gateway's highlights are its Intel Core i7 860 quad-core CPU, a 1GB Radeon HD 5850 graphics card, a 1.5TB hard drive, and 8GB of 1,333MHz DDR3 RAM. Those specs turned in satisfactory performance on our application tests, but also the best gaming performance we've seen from a sub $2,000 desktop.

The Gateway's front panel hard drive tray system.

The stylized case design won't appeal to everyone, of course, but even the chassis has some impressive features, chiefly front-panel access to a pair of internal hard drive bays that lets you hot-swap storage drives with no cable wrangling.

We've seen this feature on a few PCs over the years (including the Predator, from Gateway-parent Acer), and while two or three samples don't necessarily indicate a trend, after the front-accessible drives appeared in a system from Origin last month, we wouldn't be surprised to see a few more systems with this features by the end of the year.