capsule review

Gateway FX6800-09 Power Desktop PC

At a Glance
  • Gateway FX6800-09

    PCWorld Rating

A 2.66GHz Intel Core i7 920 processor is the heart and soul of this $1650 (as of August 23, 2009) system. Though the Core i7 920 is the entry-level version of Intel's latest CPU design, it gives the FX6800-09 a healthy power boost. Our test machine also included 6GB of DDR3-1333 memory, and a 1TB Seagate hard drive--an above-average amount of storage, but half of the $1599 Polywell Poly 790GX3 power PC's 2TB allotment.

The FX6800-09 earned a creditable score of 126 on our WorldBench 6 test suite--a negligible 6 points ahead of the 790GX3, but just 10 points behind pricier rivals such as the $1999 Dell Studio XPS, the $3784 Lenovo ThinkStation S20, and the $3399 Polywell Poly X5800i (all of which came in at 136).

The FX6800-09's nVidia GeForce GTX280 graphics card is fast but relies on a single GPU. In our gaming tests, it delivered frame rates of 75 frames per second in Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, and 81 fps in Unreal Tournament 3 (both 2560 by 1600 resolution, high quality)--impressive, but far short of the results turned in by Power PCs equipped with ATI's dual-GPU video cards.

The PC's black-and-orange case can accommodate lots of connections. Two USB ports and a multicard reader hide beneath a convenient pop-up box on the case's top, and a single FireWire 400 port lurks beneath a similar pop-out tray on the case's front. On the back, Gateway provides six USB ports, two eSATA ports, 7.1 surround sound, a FireWire 400 port, and a gigabit ethernet port.

Wiring in the case's interior is a bit unkempt, which could make adding a 5.25-inch device or a hard drive to one of the system's two free bays more difficult than it should be. But you can bypass the wiring difficulties by hot-swapping two additional hard drives into two bays located on the system's front. I found the large amount of free space below the system's inner drive bays disconcerting. Gateway likely left this room open to increase airflow on the FX6800-09's interior, but somehow it still feels like wasted space. You get only one open PCI Express x16 slot on the system's motherboard, so choose your PCI device wisely.

Well-designed covers render the front optical drive, the two hot-swap bays, and the previously mentioned pop-out connectors visually undetectable, giving the PC's exterior the look of a smooth, shiny box. The system's input devices--a two-button mouse with a scroll wheel, and a generic keyboard with a few accessory volume and media controls built in--replicate the chassis's orange-and-black color scheme.

But aesthetics aside, the Gateway FX6800-09 offers fewer connections and less expansion space than you'll find on some less expensive Power PCs that overtake it in general and gaming-based performance.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Gateway’s FX6800-09 offers good performance and connectivity at a reasonable price.

    Pros

    • Good marks for graphics and general performance
    • Above-average storage allotment

    Cons

    • Messy, underutilized interior
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