Gateway FX4710 Desktop PC
At a Glance
This handsome PC, which just missed the price cutoff for the value PCs category, shows what a little extra cash can bring.
Priced at $1620 (as of October 10, 2008), Gateway's FX4710 straddles the line between being a high-end value system (for which our cut off point is $1500) and being alow-priced member of the power desktop category--the classification that it currently lands in.
The extra cost of this machine over a standard budget PC buys you a huge boost in gaming performance. Its nVidia GeForce 9800GT graphics card enabled the FX4710 to attain frame rates in the range of 150 to 170 frames per second--numbers more in line with the frame rates of higher-priced machines. Nearly all of the entries on our value chart have frame rates of less than 60 fps.
For basic computing tasks, however, the FX4710 offers little beyond what you'd get from some competitors that cost only slightly more than half as much. Its chassis has a few more internal bays available than do most value PCs, but the array of ports is unexceptional, and the system's WorldBench 6 score of 107 (made possible by 6GB of DDR2 RAM and a 2.5-GHz Core 2 Quad Q9300 processor) is creditable but not unprecedented in value land. Consider, for instance, the WorldBench 6 score of 108 posted by the $1129 Dell Inspiron 518 and the 117 achieved by the $799 Micro Express MicroFlex 82B.
To some extent, the FX4710's high sticker price reflects the machine's excellent design: The system bears the same burnt-orange-and-black color scheme as other models in the company's premium FX line, and it includes the same tethered optical mouse and keyboard. The model we tested came configured with 640MB of storage and a glossy 24-inch Gateway FHD2401 wide-screen LCD ($469) featuring HDMI input. More commonly, value PCs ship with a 19- or 20-inch LCD, but this 24-incher's 1920 by 1280 resolution lets you see Blu-ray movies in full 1080p; for that reason, if you're a fan of high-definition video, you might want to opt for a Blu-ray burner in place of the simple DVD burner that our system carried.
This Gateway PC has more disk space than the average value system, thanks to the included 640GB, 7200-rpm Western Digital Caviar SE16 hard drive.
The FX4710 is a looker and an excellent value for a gaming machine, but for everyday computing it's no more competent than some systems that cost half as much.