FX530XT Review: Gateway Gamer Gets 8800GTX

It seems like everyone is dancing to the tune of nVidia these days, with ATI's performance dominance a distant memory. The GeForce 8800 series has become the performance champion, in spite of a few issues with SLI mode in Windows Vista. SLI mode requires an nVidia SLI chipset, though, so what is a builder like Gateway to do with its Intel 975X chipset high-end machine?

The only option Gateway had for its non-SLI motherboard was to offer a single 8800GTX as an upgrade to its lower-cost X1950 Crossfire configuration. With so many competitors offering 8800GTX SLI sets in high-end machines, Gateway also had to moderate its prices.

The following is the closest currently-available match to the system Gateway delivered to our lab.

Gateway FX530XT "Delivered" Configuration
Processor Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad-Core Processor QX6700 (3.20 GHz, 1066 MHz FSB, 2 x 4 MB cache, Factory Overclocked)
Chipset Intel 975X chipset with DDR2 and Intel Core Duo support
Memory 4096 MB 667 MHz Dual-Channel DDR2 SDRAM (4 x 1024 MB modules)
Hard Drive 1000 GB 7200 RPM Serial ATA II/300 hard drive w/ 16 MB cache (2x 500 GB hard drives)
Media Card Reader 9-in-1 Memory Card Reader
Optical Drives HD DVD-ROM Drive (Toshiba SD-H802A)
16x Double-Layer Multi-Format DVD Writer DVD±/R±RW/CD-R/RW (LG GSA-H11N)
Case Gateway 7-bay BTX tower case
Controller 7-bay BTX tower case
Expansion Slots (3) PCI Expansion Slots, (1) PCIe x4 Expansion Slot, (1) PCIe x16 Expansion Slot.
External Ports (7) USB 2.0 (2 in front, 1 in media card reader and 4 in back), (3) IEEE-1394 FireWire (2 in front and 1 in back), (2) PS/2, (1) Microphone, front audio ports
Video nVidia GeForce 8800GTX w/ 768 MB, Dual DVI-I Dual link TV Out (Factory Overclocked) w/ VGA adapter
Network Integrated Intel 10/100/1000 (Gigabit) Ethernet
Sound Card Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI
Modem 56K PCI data/fax modem
Power Supply 700 W Power Supply
Operating System Backup Media Windows Vista Home Premium Backup Media (32-bit)
Application Software Microsoft Works 8.5
Backup Media Cyberlink PowerDVD v7.1 for HD-DVD drives
Security Software McAfee 90-day Internet Security Suite Complimentary Subscription with VirusScan, Personal Firewall Plus, SpamKiller & Privacy Service v. 1.2 (for Windows Vista)
Monitor Gateway 24" Widescreen High Definition Performance LCD Display
Keyboard Gateway Elite Keyboard (for Windows Vista)
Mouse Soft-touch USB Optical Wheel Mouse
Speakers No Speakers Selected
Warranty 1 Year Value Plan (Tech Support - Parts - Factory Labor)
Internet Service Provider 90-day America Online Internet access

The starting price of $3,995 tops out here at $4,499, the added $500 comprised of a memory upgrade from 2 GB to 4 GB ($220), the HD-DVD add-in ($299), and the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer audio upgrade ($79).

We received one upgrade that's no longer listed on Gateway's site: the system above includes two ordinary 500 GB 7,200 RPM hard drives, while ours contained two 150 GB 10,000 RPM Western Digital Raptors.

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