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Gateway FX6850-51u Performance Desktop PC

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Gateway FX6850-51u Performance Desktop PC

Gateway FX6850-51u

©Gateway

The Bottom Line

Jun 23 2011 - If you are looking for a low cost system that offers a lot of general purpose computing power, the Gateway FX6850-51u may be a tough value to beat. Prices are typically below the $1000 list price even though it includes a Core i7-2600 processor with 8GB of memory that can really power through things like video encoding. The system is not well suited for those looking to use it for gaming. It also cuts a number of corners with a lower performing hard drive, older graphics and limited internal upgrade options. At least it is easy to add hard drives thanks to the front bays.
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Pros

  • Low Price For Features
  • Good General Purpose Performance
  • Two Front SATA Drive Bays For Easy Hard Drive Expansion

Cons

  • Mediocre, Last Generation Graphics Card
  • Slower Hard Drive
  • Lots Of Trialware

Description

  • Intel Core i7-2600 Quad Core Desktop Processor
  • 8GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
  • 1TB Variable Speed SATA Hard Drive
  • 16x DVD+/-RW Dual Dual Burner
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 440 Graphics Card With 1.5GB Memory
  • Intel HDA 5.1 Audio
  • Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
  • Ten USB 2.0, HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, Multi-Card Reader
  • Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter, Norton Internet Security

Guide Review - Gateway FX6850-51u Performance Desktop PC

Jun 23 2011 - With a list price of just $1000 and street pricing typically below that, the Gateway FX6850-51u is a surprisingly affordable performance oriented desktop system. this includes the Intel Core i7-2600 quad core desktop processor with Hyperthreading support. This gives the system some outstanding performance including is very demanding tasks such as video transcoding. While it is not the unlocked k version of the processor, most people won't mind with such a low price tag. It does include 8GB of DDR3 memory which should allow it to run most applications without any noticeable slowdowns.

Storage features for the Gateway FX6850-51u are on the lower end of a performance systems. While it comes with a one terabyte hard drive that provides plenty of space, the drive is one of the green models. This means that it is optimized more for power savings rather than performance. The primary means of doing this is via variable RPM spin rates. The typical spin rate is between 5400rpm and 5900rpm. This is much slower than the traditional 7200rpm rate. As a result, it isn't as quick to read or write your data. At least Gateway continues to include the twin 3.5-inch SATA hard drive docking bays on the front of the PC. This makes it incredibly easy to add more storage. A standard dual layer DVD burner handles playback and recording of DVD or CDs. It would be nice to see a Blu-ray compatible drive but that would increase the base cost and value is one of the key goals here.

The weakest overall aspect of the Gateway FX6850-51u is definitely the graphics system. For some reason, Gateway has decided to use a lower end NVIDIA graphics processor that is a generation behind the latest versions. The GeForce GT 440 is certainly not going to be a card that will draw in those looking to use it for gaming. While it is possible to game on it, it is probably best run at resolutions of 1600x900 or lower. video card upgrades are also a bit more limited because of the fairly low 450 wattage power supply that will prevent upgrading to many of the higher end current generation cards. There is also no second PCI-Express graphics card for running an SLI configuration.

In fact, internal expansion space on the desktop is fairly limited. Much of this has to do with the drive bay space being used for the two external bays and the H67 based mATX motherboard that only has two PCI-Express x1 slots beyond the graphics slot. Of course, internal upgrades are probably not what many buyer's would be looking to do beyond the graphics system. The case does offer some nice external features though including the space for devices such as a mobile phone or media device to rest on top and have additional USB 2.0 ports.

One of the lingering issues with Gateway's computers is that of trialware. While many companies have started to push performance oriented systems with a limited number of installed applications, Gateway still puts a large number of them on. This leaves the desktop and hard drive cluttered with unwanted programs that do impact the performance of the system particularly when booting up the PC. Expect to take some time to remove them to help boost the performance slightly.

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