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Gateway SX 2850-33(Core i3 550 3.2 GHz)

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Gateway SX 2850-33(Core i3 550 3.2 GHz)

Post  Naveen Mohan on Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:19 pm

Gateway SX 2850-33

The Gateway SX2850-33 is one of a wide selection of Gateway slim tower desktops. As with the others we've seen, this model works well as a budget PC, and it also has the right design and feature set for living-room content delivery. Wireless networking and a fast, up-to-date Intel Core i3 dual-core CPU separate the SX2850-33 from the other SX models, in exchange for a hard-drive space reduction and fewer connectivity options. This system's Wi-Fi card alone, a rarity in the SX line, may be enough to earn this desktop, fans among living-room PC enthusiasts.

The SX case is over a year old at this point. Perhaps that's not quite enough time to justify a redesign, especially when the current design is attractive enough, but we can't help thinking that we'd like to see a new take on this PC. In any case, we don't expect many people will be offended by the black and silver plastic exterior. From an aesthetic standpoint, you can put the SX2850-33 anywhere.
Thanks to its HDMI video output and wireless networking capabilities, this system's technology also lends some flexibility to how you might use it. You get a traditional VGA video output as well, so you can connect this system to most, if not all, monitors on the market. The HDMI port also makes this system a near-seamless living-room resident. The wireless networking helps minimize cable clutter, always a bonus when you're installing a PC in a non-traditional space, and you get a single standard network adapter for wired connections.

We also found that the Gateway provided flawless HD movie playback, at least for HD YouTube and QuickTime content. It had no trouble with less demanding sources like Netflix and Hulu, and we were also impressed with its gaming capabilities. This is not a gaming desktop, and we expect you will come across many titles this PC won't be able to manage, particularly more recent shooters. We were pleasantly surprised, though, to find that it provided a playable Portal experience, even at 1,920x1,080. We would expect a similar experience for other less-demanding games like World of Warcraft, the Sims series, Civilization V, and others.
If you have more demanding gaming needs, you could always add a graphics card to this PC, although you're limited to budget-level half-height 3D cards due to its narrow case. There's also room for two more memory sticks, but that's all the internal expansion room. The lone hard-drive bay is occupied, and the 802.11 b/g/n wireless card sits in the 1X PCI Express slot.

The good: One of the fastest budget PCs we've tested; wireless networking and HDMI port make it perfect for the living room; room to upgrade via free expansion card slot.
The bad: Only USB 2.0 for data connections; had to manually correct overscanning when we connected it to an HDTV.

This is perhaps the best CPU made for multitasking.The latest in Gateway's line of versatile slim towers, the SX2850-33 stays current with a fast Intel Core i3 CPU, and more importantly adds Wi-Fi to improve its suitability as a living-room desktop. It might cost more than a Nettop or a dedicated video-streaming device, but for its overall speed and flexibility, we'd pick this system as a budget PC or an online living-room content center.

Naveen Mohan

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