Today we'll take a look at the Gateway DX 4300-11 and the Maingear Shift desktop computers. One machine delivers solid performance that should suit the needs of casual users, while the other will appeal to the gaming crowd.
Gateway DX 4300-11 desktop
The Gateway DX 4300-11 is a desktop found in retail stores that provides solid connectivity and some entertainment features to lure in consumers despite its lack of astounding performance. You can find the DX 4300-11 in retail stores for around $650. It comes with a one-year warranty on parts and labor as well as online and telephonic tech support.
The Gateway DX 4300-11's fixed retail configuration comes with an AMD Phenom II X4 805 processor with 6 MB of L2 cache. This quad-core processor provides performance that lags behind that of other mainstream desktops on the market. Although you should have no problem with everyday tasks like Internet surfing, instant messaging, multimedia, and light gaming, do not expect any rocket-like speed from this unit.
It comes with a solid 8 GB of DDR2 SDRAM to help out with multitasking performance. Plenty of storage room is available thanks to a 1 TB hard drive to hold all of your important files. For graphics, an ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics card is on board. Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64-bit is the operating system that comes pre-installed.
Some options other than the core components of the DX 4300-11 add some extra value. You get a DVD drive so you can watch movies and listen to and burn CDs. Another entertainment feature on the DX 4300-11 is the inclusion of an analog and digital TV tuner that lets you view and record your favorite live television programs. A Multi-in-one media reader is also included to allow for easy data transfers to the desktop from devices like digital cameras. The media reader supports various formats such as miniSD cards, microSD cards, MultiMediaCards, and more. Unfortunately, there is no integrated Wi-Fi on the DX 4300-11, so you will have to upgrade that yourself if you want the ability to connect to wireless networks to surf the net.
If you are not satisfied with the DX 4300-11's components in its retail configuration, you do have some options in terms of upgrading it once it is in your hands. Should the 1 TB hard drive not be sufficient, there is room for an extra hard drive. Room also exists for an additional optical drive in addition to the aforementioned DVD drive that comes with the desktop. The 8 GB of RAM is maxed out, but there are vacancies in the form of a 16x PCI Express slot and a pair of 1x PCI Express slots.
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