Gateway announced two new desktop PCs today, the gaming-oriented FX6710 and the LX6200, which the company says was designed with “digital media enthusiasts” in mind.
The FX6710 is the latest in Gateway’s FX series, which the company pitches to the gamer crowd. It’s interesting that Gateway chose Intel’s quad-core Core2 Q9400, and not a faster-clocked dual-core processor, considering how slow game developers have been to embrace multi-threading. The Q9400 runs at 2.66GHz, features 6MB of L2 cache, and runs its front-side bus at 1,333MHz. Intel offers six 45nm dual-core processors that run at higher clock speeds than the Q9400, and that doesn’t include the company’s Extreme series CPUs.
The company’s videocard choice is another puzzler: the ATI Radeon HD 4850 (with 512MB of memory) is certainly a good value for the money, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the Radeon HD 4870, much less the dual-GPU Radeon HD 4870 X2. Audio enthusiasts will appreciate the presence of a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi card.
Gateway equips the FX6710 with a generous 6GB of DDR2 memory, a 750GB SATA II hard drive, an 18x SuperMulti DVD burner (Blu-ray is available as an option), and a 15-in-1 digital media card reader. The machine has six USB 2.0 ports (two in the front, four in the rear), one eSATA port, and two IEEE 1394a ports (one in the front, one in the rear). The system ships with the 64-bit version of Windows Vista and sells for $1,199.99.
If your interests lie more in digital media (e.g., photo and video editing), take a look at Gateway’s new LX6200. This rig looks almost identical to the FX6710—minus the FX logo and the burnt-orange trim—but it’s very different on the inside. For starters, Gateway tapped AMD’s quad-core Phenom X4 9500 processor for this machine. Yes, that 9500. As you might recall, AMD discovered a bug in this chip’s translation look-aside buffer that could cause a system lock-up in rare circumstances. BIOS and OS patches have long since fixed the problem (by turning off the TLB), but the fixes result in a performance penalty of about 10 percent.
AMD now maintains that because the 9500’s defective TLB has been disabled, the part—which AMD no longer manufactures—doesn’t have a bug at all. What about the performance hit? An AMD spokesperson told us today that “mainstream users aren’t going to encounter it. Besides, that part is significantly discounted, and Gateway has been able to extend that savings to their customer.”
Indeed, the LX6200 sells for just $779.99—not bad for a quad-core rig. The LX6200 uses integrated graphics (ATI’s Radeon HD 3200), but with 8GB of DDR2 memory onboard, buyers shouldn’t have to worry about the GPU hogging resources. Gateway puts a hybrid analog/digital TV tuner in the box (whatever happened to CableCARD?) and there’s an HDMI video port for easy connection to an HDTV.
The rest of the LX6200’s components are identical to the gaming rig: A 750GB SATA II hard drive, an 18x SuperMulti DVD burner (here again, Blu-ray is an available option), and a 15-in-1 digital media card reader.
Both machines are available now.