Gateway Computers

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Gateway Computers

Postby shipwreck » Mon May 26, 2008 12:19 pm

I think, after many months of bitching and reinstalling and blackeyes and name-calling, my old desky has finally bought her ticket to Graceland...actually she's probably in Hell. I guess the video card is finally shot because she'll seem to boot up but nothing happens on the the monitor. Oh well, I'm still troubleshooting.

With that said I may make an attempt at reinvigorating the old girl so that I can satiate my TF2 addiction while I save my loot for a new one. That or I'll keep playing AirRivals on my lappy. That said, does this computer seem like it's worth its weight? I have no idea as to the quality of Gateway computers, especially those sold at Best Buy, but that seems like a good deal. Your thoughts?

Plans B-Z involve ibuypower or just building my own via NewEgg or Microcenter. Cheers.
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Re: Gateway Computers

Postby Pykl » Mon May 26, 2008 3:48 pm

The components sound reasonable I'm not sure about the price, I find if you build your own you generally get a better system for less money. I haven't been watching lately tho.
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Re: Gateway Computers

Postby shipwreck » Mon May 26, 2008 5:01 pm

Unless I'm looking in the wrong places it's actually a pretty good price. A comparable machine from a 'gaming specialty' company like Cyberpower or ibuypower will be about the same, if not more, especially with 8800GT. A custom machine with a 9600 would be cheaper (they're cheaper to manufacture) but I think the jury is still out on those cards and their performance.
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Re: Gateway Computers

Postby Feyd Rautha » Mon May 26, 2008 6:12 pm

You should just ask Proph if he's got the time to build you one for a small surcharge.
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Re: Gateway Computers

Postby Spleen of Nannor » Mon May 26, 2008 6:37 pm

A gateway computer, eh?
Is that like a gateway drug?
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Re: Gateway Computers

Postby pr0phetik_dreamz » Mon May 26, 2008 11:47 pm

I'm actually going to New Orleans soon (next Sunday) and I won't be back for two months, so I won't have my tools with me :\

I'd love to advise you though on component choices. I'll run through the parts that Gateway has with some major e-tailers to see if the price is reasonable. Give me a few hours/next morning. :)
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Re: Gateway Computers

Postby shipwreck » Tue May 27, 2008 4:48 am

Cheers, doctor. ;)
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Re: Gateway Computers

Postby Beasty » Tue May 27, 2008 6:25 am

It use to be that name brand computers would beat the prices for the cheaper end computers, but it seems that they are even beating the prices for the upper end ones too! For the price thats quite a nice machine.
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Re: Gateway Computers

Postby pr0phetik_dreamz » Tue May 27, 2008 12:56 pm

A few thoughts on this:

Newegg also carries this identical model,btw:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6883113058

Per their specifications on Newegg and the Gateway site, the Gateway FX7026 has:

Code: Select all
Brand      Gateway
Model    FX7026
Recommended Usage    Business Desktops & Workstations
Processor    Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300(2.5GHz)
Processor Main Features    64 bit Quad-Core Processor
Cache Per Processor    6MB L2 Cache
Memory    4GB DDR2 667
Hard Drive    640GB(2 x 320GB) SATA 7200rpm
Optical Drive 1    18X DVD±R/RW SuperMulti Drive featuring Labelflash Technology
Graphics    NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT (w/ 512MB on board memory)
Audio    High Definition Audio
Ethernet    Intel 10/100 Mbps Ethernet LAN
Speaker    Amplified Stereo Speakers (USB Powered)
Keyboard    Elite multimedia keyboard
Mouse    USB Optical 2-Button Wheel Mouse
Operating System    Windows Vista Home Premium
Motherboard
Chipset    Intel G33
CPU
CPU Type    Core 2 Quad
Installed Qty    1
CPU FSB    1333MHz
CPU Speed    Q9300(2.50GHz)
L2 Cache Per CPU    6MB
CPU Socket Type    LGA 775
CPU Main Features    64 bit Quad-Core Processor
Graphics
GPU/VPU Type    NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT
Graphics Interface    PCI Express x16
Memory
Memory Capacity    4GB DDR2
Memory Speed    DDR2 667
Form Factor    DIMM 240-pin
Memory Spec    2GB x 2
Hard Drive
HD Capacity    640GB
HD Interface    SATA
HD RPM    7200rpm
HD Spec    2 x 320GB, SATA II, 8MB Cache
Optical Drive
Optical Drive Type    DVD Super Multi
Optical Drive Spec    18X DVD±R/RW SuperMulti Drive featuring Labelflash Technology
Up to 8.5GB with Dual Layer Media
Write max: 18x DVD±R, 6x DVD-RW, 8x DVD+RW, 8x DVD±R DL, 12x DVD-RAM, 48x CD-R, 32x CD-RW
Read max: 16x DVD-ROM, 48x CD-ROM
Audio
Audio Chipset    Integrated
Audio Features    High Definition Audio
Communications
Modem    56K. V92
LAN Chipset    Integrated
LAN Speed    10/100Mbps
Front Panel Ports
Front USB    2
Front IEEE 1394    1
Front Audio Ports    2
Card Reader    High-Performance 15-in-1 Digital Media Card Reader with Smart Copy Button
xD-Picture Card, CompactFlash I (CF), CompactFlash II, Secure Digital (SD), Mini Secure Digital (Mini SD)*, Multi Media Card (MMC), Reduced Size MMC (RS-MMC)*, MMC Mobile*, MMC Plus, Memory Stick (MS), Memory Stick Duo#, Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Pro Duo#, SmartMedia, IBM Microdrive

* Requires use of adapter supplied with media card
# In non-secure mode only
Back Panel Ports
PS/2    2
Video Ports    2 DVI
TV Out    1
Rear USB    6
Rear IEEE 1394    1
RJ45    1 port
Rear Audio Ports    5 ports
S/P DIF    1 port
Expansion
PCI Slots (Available/Total)    (0/1) PCI-E x16
(2/2) PCI-E x1
(0/1) PCI
Mouse
Mouse Type    USB Optical 2-Button Wheel Mouse
Keyboard
Keyboard Type    Elite multimedia keyboard
Speaker
Speaker Features    Amplified Stereo Speakers (USB Powered)
Physical Spec
Dimensions    15.6" x 7.2" x 16.1"
Weight    23.4 lbs.
Manufacturer Warranty
Parts    1 year limited
Labor    1 year limited


To condense that, it essentially has:

[list=]* Intel Q9300 Quad running at 2.5GHz
* 4GB of DDR2-667
* nVidia 8800GT 512MB video card
* Intel G33 chipset motherboard w/ integrated graphics
* Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB (WD is the only one making 640GB drives currently as it's a non-standard size)
* 18x DVD burner
* Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit
* HP branded keyboard, mouse, and 2-channel speakers[/list]

I was able to spec out a better system around the same core components at Newegg for nearly $130 less ($938). Newegg tends to be pretty expensive in terms of prices, save for their occasional ongoing sales/promotions, so you will be well served with a search engine such as http://www.techbargains.com to look for other e-tailers offering the same items for a lower price. Some recommended e-tailers are Newegg, ZipZoomFly, ChiefValue (they're owned by NewEgg but geared towards lower prices, but don't have as large a selection), MWave, DirectTron. I would avoid TigerDirect and MonarchPC at all costs.

Some things that stood out for me in the Gateway FX7026 is the fact that it uses an Intel G33 motherboard and DDR2-667 RAM instead of the now-standard DDR2-800 or faster. The price parity between the two are trivial (e.g. $80 vs $70), probably a few bucks at the most, and OEMs do that because the savings and profit padding really adds up once you move thousands of units. A slower speed RAM will hinder the quad CPU since it needs plenty of bandwidth to feed it. A plain Core2 Duo would be sufficient with DDR2-800, but for a Quad I'd prefer faster RAM. Also, the G33 mobo sticks out like a sore thumb. This shows us that even though the system is positioned as an "FX" performance computer, it's actually based on one of Gateway's cheaper desktops (whatever that model may be). The G33 is definitely a lower-end chipset; even the G35 is higher than it in capability. For performance/workstations, I would much prefer the P35 chipset (it's paired with the ICH9/ICH9R southbridge). The P31 is ok (it's a P35 northbridge that's paired with an older ICH7 southbridge, the only negative effects are less USB ports and southbridge specific integrated components).

Another concern for me is not case construction, but the quality of the PSU they include. I can't find the specifications for the PSU at all, but knowing OEMs well, it's probably a borderline unit. It'll do its job well, but don't expect it to be able to last for years or be particularly efficient.

We must keep in mind that no matter how good an OEM or lower end boutique builder system looks, the fact is that there are numerous areas that were cut down in order to save costs. The only systems that don't suffer from this problem are high end boutique builder systems or home built ones (if the consumer picked his/her parts carefully).

For a user that doesn't know how or want to build their own system, then this is quite alright. It's actually not too shabby a computer. I guess I could even talk myself into justifying the higher cost as being because they built it and that it has a 1 year warranty. But meh, I'd rather build my own computer. :)

Anyway, this is what NewEgg brought up for the system I configured on their webpage:


Antec Sonata III 500 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply - Retail
Model #: Sonata III 500
Item #: N82E16811129024
$129.95

GIGABYTE GA-EP35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Model #: GA-EP35-DS3L
Item #: N82E16813128337
$89.99

XFX PVT88PYSF4 GeForce 8800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
Model #: PVT88PYSF4
Item #: N82E16814150280
$169.99

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 Yorkfield 2.5GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80580Q9300 - Retail
Model #: BX80580Q9300
Item #: N82E16819115043
$274.99

A-DATA 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model ADQPE1B16K - Retail
Model #: ADQPE1B16K
Item #: N82E16820211166
$76.99

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Model #: WD6400AAKS
Item #: N82E16822136218
$99.99

SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S203B - OEM
Model #: SH-S203B
Item #: N82E16827151153
$26.99

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English 1pk DSP OEI DVD - OEM
Model #: 66I-01939
Item #: N82E16832116488
$99.99

Subtotal: $968.88

The Antec case is solid, and it has a really high quality 500W PSU. The Giga-byte GA-EP35-DS3L is just an update of the GA-P35-DS3L with more energy saving features, which we won't complain about. I've built a few computers with this board and it's one of the best performing, yet cheapest P35 motherboards. The A-DATA 4GB RAM kit is high quality, and will tolerate some overclocking. The DVD burner is one of the gold standard units right now; there's a Pioneer unit for $10 more that is equal to it, but this will do. Everything else mirrors the Gateway box. The 8800GT's brand shouldn't matter -- just pick one that is cheap, 512MB, and has a good warranty, since they're all stock/reference units that the companies rebadged, anyway.

Hope this helps out :)
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Re: Gateway Computers

Postby Feyd Rautha » Tue May 27, 2008 6:37 pm

did ya get all that shippeh? :shock:
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Re: Gateway Computers

Postby shipwreck » Wed May 28, 2008 5:50 am

Got a little bit of brains dripping out of my ear, but I got it. Now the question is how lazy do I feel? Pick a lower quality machine for a few bucks more or take the time to wait on the parts and build my own for less...curiouser and curiouser.

Thanks for your help, pr0ph. Your expertise is always appreciated.

ooh! I also noticed hat I can save a few bucks more by skipping Vista and using my own copy of XP...though the key to which is stored on the hard drive that I can't get to.
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Re: Gateway Computers

Postby pr0phetik_dreamz » Wed May 28, 2008 8:52 am

MMM BRAINS *zombie zombie*

Yeah, you should try to retrieve that key :\ Magical Jellybean Keyfinder once you've got access to the drive?

Note though that you need a 64-bit OS in order to fully utilize the 4GB of RAM. On a plain 32-bit OS you'll see something like 3-3.5GB (I was seeing 3.25GB on mine before I reinstalled). Currently I'm running WinXP Pro x64 SP2 because I run away from anything Vista. But that was because when I did my install, Vista drivers were quite a ways behind in quality compared to WinXP ones. Supposedly, I've been hearing that Vista game performance is pretty much identical to WinXP now that the driver focus has been shifted over to Vista.
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Re: Gateway Computers

Postby shipwreck » Wed May 28, 2008 9:40 am

I've heard the same thing. So if I go with the Gateway, which I'm leaning towards, I'll just stick with Vista...unless it really blows.
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Re: Gateway Computers

Postby shipwreck » Sat May 31, 2008 8:27 am

Found this puppy on Craigslist:

AMD Athlon 64 X2 Windsor 3.0GHZ Processor
6GB DDR 2 PC6700 RAM
500GB Sata 3.0GB HD
ASUS Motherboard with built in HDMI port.
on board Radeon 3200

Guy says it's custom built, he just doesn't want it. It's still the slower PC667 RAM but if I can talk him down and then shell out 200$ for an 8800GT I could be sitting pretty.
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Re: Gateway Computers

Postby pr0phetik_dreamz » Sat May 31, 2008 8:46 pm

It has a Radeon 3200, which is off of the AMD 780G chipset. That's a fine chipset for a low-power/HTPC but slightly subpar for gaming. The reason isn't because of its integrated video (AMD and nVidia are pushing for all mainstream/high end mobos to have integrated video for power saving features), but because at this moment, mobo makers still use cut down BIOSes for integrated video mobos.

Yeah, it'll support things at stock speed, but if you'd like to tweak it you will run into walls.

The 3Ghz X2 is also suffers from a 15-20% performance deficit in comparison to a Core2 class CPU. I guess the lower price makes it still a viable option, but the Core2 CPUs are much more desirable. DDR2-667 is also pretty slow in comparison to the *standard* DDR2-800. Also, you should be able to grab a 8800GT for around $180; maybe even $150 or less with sales + rebates.
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