Gateway E-6100

WHAT'S HOT: Gateway 's new E-6100 shares the silver and black tower case style of the company's high-end 700XL systems. The big tower case has an exceptionally roomy and neat interior, making servicing and upgrading the components a cinch. The chassis offers plenty of options for expansion, including three externally accessible bays, two of which can accept 5.25-inch drives such as a CD- or DVD-media optical drive and one of which can handle a 3.5-inch drive, such as a memory card reader or Zip drive. One available internal drive bay is elegantly designed to accept an additional hard drive with no tools or screws required and is oriented 90 degrees to the case axis to present you with the connection-end of the hard drive. There are also five PCI slots for add-on cards and two available memory sockets.

The E-6100 is designed with IS managers in mind. Gateway provides a copy of Intel LANDesk Client Manager, a suite of tools that, when used with a server-based software, aids monitoring and managing systems remotely across large networks--it allows the IS manager to wake up and shut down systems, for example. The software is also capable of identifying a system with an hard drive that may be about to fail, or sending chassis intrusion and hardware and software change alerts.

WHAT'S NOT: The keyboard is strictly for business tasks; it provides smooth, quiet typing, but next to fancier getups that have at least a hot-key or two (to launch a company intranet, say), this model looks pedestrian.

WHAT ELSE: Equipped with a 2.4-GHz Pentium 4 CPU (with hyperthreading) and 256MB of DDR400 memory, our review unit earned a score of 116 on PC Worldbench 4 tests, slightly above average for its configuration.

The NVidia GeForce FX 5200 graphics card with 128MB of memory would be more than adequate for general business tasks, but its performance in our tests with 3D games was lackluster.

The Gateway EV730 17-inch CRT monitor didn't wow us. In our tests, colors on a test photo screen were acceptable, but a bit muted. Meanwhile, text was readable at all font sizes but not as sharp as text we've seen on some other 17-inch CRTs.

Our review system came with a 20X-48X CD-ROM drive. Upgrading at initial purchase to a DVD-ROM drive will cost you an additional US$20; or, you can spend $60 and upgrade to a CD-RW drive.

UPSHOT: The E-6100 is a basic, no-frills business system with a well-designed chassis.

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