Gateway intros $1200 Core 2 Duo desktop PC

Irvine (CA) - Gateway today announced the new E-6610 series as flagship of its business desktop PC portfolio. The computers come standard with Intel's Core 2 Duo processor and can be configured with standard PC or workstation components. Prices start near the $1000 mark for a base system. Consumers are promised to get their PC by mid-August.

Gateway's latest PC offering, which the company describes as its "most powerful professional E-Series managed desktop to date," is yet another product line that blurs the line between professional and consumer application needs. While the product is aiming for government agencies, educational institutions and business customers some home users may be attracted by the price of the systems.

The base configuration of the E-6610 pretty much resembles what one would expect from a basic PC: The entry-level system comes with a Core 2 Duo 6300 (1.86 GHz) processor, 1 GB of memory, an 80 GB hard drive, a DVD burner, an ATI X1300 graphics card and Windows XP Professional for $1200. Decked out with high-end options, such as a 2.66 GHz processor, 4 GB of memory and a 1 TB RAID storage system, the system can easily break the $3500 barrier - without monitor.

Workstation configurations include ECC memory, SCSI hard drives and an Nvidia Quadro graphics card with prices starting at around $1800.

Gateway says that the systems are available now and the firm's online ordering form indicates 14 August as estimated shipping date - which would be in line of Intel's promise that mainstream Core 2 Duo would be available by mid of August. Competitor and market leader Dell apparently can't quite match those dates yet: At the time of this writing, Dell's ordering forms listed 7 September for XPS 410 and 8 September for Dimension 9200 computers.

An interesting side aspect of the E-6610 is that Gateway, just like HP, ignores Intel's "recommendation" to use Q963 or Q965 chipsets - referred to as "Averill platform" - for its business PCs. Instead, Gateway relies on the 975X chipset, which had been introduced previously to support high-end dual-core Intel processors. As a result, the Gateway PCs will not carry the "vPro" logo Intel is trying to establish to describe professional PCs based on its processors.