One of Gateway’s recent desktop computer releases is the SX2840-01, a performance-focused solution geared towards budget-minded users demanding an upgrade. Despite this desktop’s appeal as a basic, capable desktop machine or even its potential as an HTPC or home theater PC, this computer is budget-priced and at around $600 represents a great value.
Centered on Intel’s Core i350 CPU, also known as the Clarkdale, this dual-core processor represents a step up from the highly successful Core 2 Duo line. Many savvy computer users purchased systems or built their own desktops using the Core 2 Duo as their choice as of processor since the CPU represented a significant leap forward in technology when the line was first released in the summer of 2006. Since then, advances in desktop CPU performance have slowed somewhat, with Intel’s arch-rival AMD unable to offer much direct competition to challenge Intel and spur new development until recently according to Ilya Gavrichecnkov of Xbit Laboratories.
Intel has recently offered dual and quad core CPUs which have hyper-threading available on each core, essentially meaning that for every physical core on the processor, there is a hyper-threaded or “virtual core” available to carry out processor demands as well. The original batch of Core 2 Duos did not offer this feature which has been available since Intel’s release of the Core i7, i5, and i3 CPUs. If you’re still relying on a venerable old Core 2 series CPU, you’re probably due for an upgrade and the Core i3 represents Intel’s affordable budget entry in its multicore hyperthreaded series.
While graphics are rendered through the onboard, integrated Intel GMA X4500HD graphics chip, the motherboard has one free PCI-Express x16 available as an expansion slot so that users can upgrade and easily install a mid or even high level graphics card if they fancy some serious gaming. With the 6gb of DDR3 memory, you shouldn’t have any problems with graphics as long as you have a decent video card.
Tech-savvy PC users these days of all kinds have plenty of peripherals, and fortunately the SX2840-01′s nine USB 2.0 ports means that you should have no problem making sure you can connect and use each of your important gadgets, from smartphones to USB drives. The eSATA port is also handy for those who need to use an external hard drive, though with over 1TB of space, the internal drive should be fairly hard to fill up, even for people who like to download large amounts of high definition content such as videos and music.
While there is an HDMI port for convenient compatibility with whatever modern monitor solution you might choose, the integrated graphics holds the system back from really shining as a HTPC. While the DVD-RW optical drive is adequate, movie lovers will definitely notice the lack of a Blu Ray drive which limits this system’s potential. Nevertheless, with a price tag of around $600 USD, this is a solid choice for anyone who is due to swap their old, dusty desktop for something new. This desktop is available online at CompUSA and other online computer vendors.