Rather than expanding its audio output options, though, gamers would probably rather use the Gateway's 16x PCI Express slot to add a graphics card. The narrow chassis and 220-watt power supply will limit you to low-powered, half-height graphics cards, but for gamers, anything would be an improvement over the integrated Intel HD graphics chip. Other expansion options are limited. You can add two more memory sticks, but there's no room for a second internal hard drive.
Gateway's service and support policies fall in line with those of its competitors, but its online options still seem to be caught up in Acer's brand consolidation efforts. You get a one-year parts and labor warranty with the system, but phone-based tech support, according to Gateway's Web site, operates from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Bangkok time, Monday to Saturday (6 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. PT). Gateway's Web-based support is limited to driver downloads. A service program section seems to offer more help, but as of now it has only filler text for an assortment of service call centers.
With tablets getting so much attention these days, it's perhaps not surprising that the budget PC segment has become a bit stale. Still, plenty of people need PCs in this price range, and as long as you keep your expectations reasonable, and don't need much in the way of customer support, the Gateway SX2870-UR10P should satisfy most of your general computing demands, at a better price than competing budget PCs.
Performance testing for this review was conducted by CNET editor Joseph Kaminski. Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Acer Aspire AM3970-U5022
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 3,1GHz Intel Core i3-2100; 6GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 64MB (shared) Intel HD Graphics 2000 embedded graphics; 1TB 5,400rpm Western Digital hard drive
Dell Inspiron 620
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 3,1GHz Intel Core i5-2310; 6GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB AMD Radeon HD 6450 graphics card; 1TB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 3.3GHz Intel Core i3-2120; 6GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 64MB Intel HD Graphics 1000; 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive
HP Pavilion P7 1070T
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 3.1GHz Intel Core i3-2100; 8GB 1,066MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 64MB (shared) Intel HD Graphics 2000 integrated graphics; 1TB 7,200rpm Hitachi hard drive
HP Pavilion Slimline S5 1060
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.9GHz Intel Core i5-2130; 6GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 512MB AMD Radeon HD 6450; 1TB 7,200rpm Hitachi hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 3.2GHz Intel Core i5-650; 6GB 1,066MHZ DDR3 SDRAM; 512MB Nvidia GeForce 310; 640GB, 7,200rpm hard drive