Senior HTF Member
- Jun 30, 1997
- Kansas City, MO
- Real Name
I have been setting on the fence for some time waiting for somebody to come up with an HTPC that has a Blu-ray/HD DVD drive built in. I didn't want to buy separate HD DVD and Blu-ray players and I love the all-in-one convienence of an HTPC.
Having seen prices in the $2,000 plus range for what I wanted I was shocked to see that Gateway came out with one that not only met my requirements but exceeded them at the same time. And all of this for $1,149 including a 19 inch 16x9 monitor and printer. You can of course buy the desktop by itself.
AMD Phenom™ quad-core processor 9600* with true multicore processing for extreme multitasking performance; Cool'n'Quiet™ 2.0 technology for efficient energy usage; HyperTransport™ 3.0 technology to improve 3D graphics performance
3GB PC2-5300 DDR2 memory for multitasking power, expandable to 4GB
High-definition hybrid DVD±RW/CD-RW drive with read support for next-generation HD DVD-ROM and Blu-ray Disc formats; double-layer support using compatible DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL media; also supports DVD-RAM
AMD LIVE! Smarter Digital Entertainment for all the screens of your digital life; you can manage, access, distribute, share and enjoy your digital content collection from virtually anywhere
Direct Connect Architecture to deliver overall system performance; AMD Wide Floating Point Accelerator and AMD Digital Media Xpress™ 2.0 for improved digital media and 3D gaming and graphics
AMD Memory Optimizer Technology for multithreaded software performance, and AMD Virtualization with Rapid Virtualization Indexing to help virtualization software run securely and efficiently
2MB L3 cache memory for efficient system processing; AMD Balanced Smart Cache for a smooth multitasking and multithreaded experience
1TB Serial ATA II hard drive capacity (2 x 500GB) with 16MB cache (7200 rpm); Gateway Portable Media Drive bay lets you easily add a second removable hard drive (Portable Media Drive not included)
ATI Radeon HD 2400XT graphics with 256MB discrete video memory and DirectX 10 support; high-definition audio (8-channel support); DVI and S-video outputs
Analog/digital TV tuner with 3D comb filter and PVR (personal video recorder); Vista media center remote
High-performance 15-in-1 digital media card reader supports CompactFlash Type I/II, Secure Digital, MultiMediaCard, MultiMediaCard Plus, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Memory Stick Duo and Memory Stick PRO Duo
Also supports SmartMedia, xD-Picture Card and Microdrive; supports mini Secure Digital, Reduced Size MultiMediaCard (RS-MMC) and MultiMediaCard Mobile with optional adapter (not included)
6 high-speed USB 2.0 ports, both front and rear accessible, for fast digital transfer and easy connection of peripherals
Built-in 10/100 Mbps Ethernet with RJ-45 connector; V.92 data/fax modem
Wireless multimedia keyboard, wireless USB optical 2-button wheel mouse and external USB speakers
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium Edition operating system preinstalled; software package included with Microsoft Money Essentials, Adobe Reader, Gateway BigFix and more.
AMD Phenom™ quad-core processor 9600
3GB PC2-5300 DDR2 memory
High-definition hybrid DVD±RW/CD-RW/HD DVD/Blu-ray drive
ATI Radeon HD 2400XT video card
Analog/digital TV tuner with Media Center remote
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium Edition
1TB Serial ATA II hard drive capacity (2 x 500GB) with 16MB cache (7200 rpm)
Performance and Review
First off I have to say that the new AMD Quad-Core processor is extremely fast. There is virtually no delay in any of the functions that I use my HTPC for. The fact that it comes with two 500G hard drives and 3G of RAM already installed is a plus too. Many of the machines I looking at only came with 500G of HD space and 2G of RAM.
It only comes with one tuner that is both an analogue and digital hybrid (this seems to be the way that tuner cards are going to these days) so I added another so I could record two shows at once. I purchased a AverMedia Bravo tuner card. As this HTPC comes with only available PCI-e x1 slot this worked out great. The AverMedia software can download all your QAM channels but you have to drop out of Windows Media Center and use the included AverMedia software to record your Hi-Def local channels over QAM. Windows Media Center (at this time) does not support recording QAM channels. The cool thing with both tuners is that when my local cable switches over to digital only I won't have to upgrade my tuner cards as digital is already supported.
The Blu-ray/HD DVD drive is great. This system includes PowerDVD. When you put in either a Blu-ray or HD DVD the software goes and gets the latest drivers for you. Both play without a hitch. Windows Media Center will not play back either HD DVD or Blu-ray within Media Center. You have to drop out of Media Center and then use PowerDVD. There is a great little plugin for Media Center that you can get from Our Media Center. This enables you to put your Blu-ray or HD DVD media into the drive, click on the Blu-ray/HD DVD icon and it opens Power DVD for you. When you stop the movie you are taken back to Windows Media Center.
The ATI HD2400 XT video card works great. It includes two DVI outputs and includes an DVI to HDMI adaptor. You can then go into your software and in the audio section enable the digital high definition option and output your audio over HDMI. It also includes an onboard audio section is supposed to have S/PDIF out but I never could find out which mini jack to plug into. It does not include an optical or coax S/PDIF out. For me this is no biggie as I am planning on buying a receiver like the Denon AVR 3808CI and using the HDMI inputs and outputs. I haven't been able to test out the audio section fully as I am using the HDMI on my Panasonic plasma for sound.
Using the remote is easy as the PC comes with its own IR built in. If you have to put the machine in a closet or in a position where you cannot use the IR on the face of the machine it does comes with an IR extension cable that you can use.
I couldn't be happier with this purchase. Finally a PC manufacturer has built an HTPC with a Blu-ray/HD DVD drive, a huge amount of storage with a very fast processor and plenty of RAM at a cost that doesn't break the bank. If you are looking for an all-in-one solution for all your HDM or are looking to upgrade your present HTPC you cannot go wrong with this unit. It is available through Best Buy, Circuit City, Amazon and other online stores. If you are in Best Buy or Circuit City make sure to stop by the computer section and check this unit out.
Review by Parker Clack
April 6, 2008