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Gateway GT5692 value desktop PC

The GT5692 is the first PC we've reviewed that comes configured with AMD's triple-core Phenom processor. In this case, it's a 2.1-GHz X8450 model fed by 4GB of PC5300 DDR2 memory and a 500GB, 7200-rpm Western Digital SE16 Caviar Blue hard drive. What did we think of the triple-core? There's certainly no reason to avoid one; but if you have the software to take advantage of more than two cores, you might as well spend a little extra to move up to a four-core processor instead.

In our tests, the GT5692's delivered solid but unspectacular performance for a value desktop PC. Its score of 82 on our WorldBench 6 test suite indicates that it will manage everyday computing tasks with aplomb. Though the integrated ATI HD3200 graphics don't deliver the worst frame rates we've seen, smooth game play in all of our tests maxed out at a 1024 by 768 resolution.

The GT5692's case is solidly constructed, with enough open slots and bays for most users' upgrade needs. However, we didn't like the way the cables were tied off on our test unit. The SATA cable connecting to the hard drive lay loose, and the power lead cable bundle dangled a bit too close to the exposed CPU fan. The case is very well ventilated, but over time the bundle could droop and interfere with the fan, which could lead to thermal shutdown. The bottom line is that it's a good idea to check the interior of any new PC: You never know if the new hand on the assembly line is a slow learner. Gateway normally does better.

As you might expect, the styling of the GT line isn't of the same caliber that you'd find on the company's higher-end FX models, but the GT's subdued black-and-silver color scheme and its black, wired optical mouse/keyboard combo give the system a solid businesslike demeanor. The mouse felt quite nice, and the keyboard action, though a bit soft, supported reasonably comfortable typing.

Minor gripes and finish issues aside, the GT5692 is a bargain for your home or small office at US$770 (as of October 10, 2008).