Editor's Rating: 4.0/5.0
The Gateway DX4870-UB17 ($499.99) is the latest budget desktop we've seen from the company with the cow print on its logo. It's a fine replacement for the six-year-old PC you're thinking about replacing, particularly if you have no need for a touch-enabled all-in-one PC or want to continue to use the LCD monitor you bought a few years ago. It's also a good choice for those who feel the need for future expandability, whether or not you actually decide to upgrade components in a couple of years. With solid components, class-leading performance, and room to grow, the Gateway DX4870-UB17desktop on a budget, and is our new Editors' Choice for budget desktop PCs.is an excellent
Design and Features
The DX4870-UB17 follows the design ID that Gateway has been using for the past few years, seen in systems like the Gateway DX4860-UB33P ($599.99) and the former budget desktop Editor's Choice, the small form factor Gateway SX2380-UR318 ($489.99). The DX4870-UB17 is a tower PC with a glossy black front panel and black painted steel sides. Like the other Gateway systems listed above, the DX4870-UB17 has a flying bridge-style protrusion on the top, housing the system's two front mounted USB 2.0 ports, media card reader, and audio ports. We would've preferred USB 3.0 ports in the front for connecting speedy USB 3.0 hard drives. You'll find the system's two USB 3.0 ports on the back of the chassis, along with four more USB 2.0 ports, VGA, Ethernet, PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, more audio ports, and HDMI. You'll also find a pair of connectors for the included 802.11 a/b/g/n dual band Wi-Fi card. This is one of the DX4870-UB17's strengths: it can connect to most current Wi-Fi routers easily.
The mid-tower chassis form factor means that the DX4870-UB17 is a lot more expandable than small form factor PCs in the same price range like the Zotac Zbox ID83 Plus ($472.99) and inexpensive all-in-one PCs like the Lenovo C540 ($499). The internal expansion includes space and internal connectors for two more hard drives and an additional optical drive to supplement the included 1TB hard drive and DVD burner. Other internal expansion includes free slots for a PCIe x16 graphics card, two more memory DIMMs, and two PCIe x1 cards.
The system comes with 6GB of memory so you may never need to upgrade, if you're a basic user that doesn't multitask too much or play with graphics creation apps. On the other hand, the 6GB will come in hand if your family members are the types that leave dozens of browser tabs open simultaneously. If you're thinking of turning this system into a budget gaming system, make sure to check the rating on the card: you may need to upgrade the DX4870-UP17's relatively pedestrian 300W power supply if you want an enthusiast level graphics card.
The DX4870-UB17's 1TB hard drive is certainly a copious storage unit for your digital life, capable of holding tens of thousands of MP3 and photo files, while storing hours of HD video. That said, there is still quite a bit of extra pre-loaded software on the system. Most of it is useful, however, it does clutter things up a bit if you're used to a stock simple Windows 8 interface. Gateway packs in copies of Evernote, 7Digital (music store), Kindle, eBay, Skitch, Netflix, 1 Cookbook, Amazon, Tunein Radio, Cut the Rope, Hulu Plus, Britannica, Sumbleupon, Skype, Merriam-Webster, Newsxpresso, Norton Internet Security (60-day trial), Spotify, MS Office trial, and Wild Tanget. While in and of themselves, the programs are (mostly) useful, the sheer number of them does clutter the interface a bit. What's more, the programs are 99% available for free in the Windows store, so they are kind of redundant unless you are already a user of all of them.
The Intel Core i3-3220 processor with integrated Intel HP Graphics 2500 is considered an entry-level CPU for the Core i family, but it's certainly got more power than others in the entry-level space. The DX4870-UB17 is significantly faster than the AMD A6-5600K-equipped Gateway SX2380-UR318 and Intel Pentium G645-equipped Gateway One ZX4970-UW308. You won't necessarily be using the budget DX4870-UB17 to do high-end video and photo editing, but it could do light quantities of both in a pinch.
The DX4870-UB17 also has one of the better PCMark7 scores for the budget category, which means that the system will feel faster at day-to-day tasks. The AMD Radeon GPU built in to the Gateway SX2380-UR318 is better than the one in the DX4870-UB17, but neither is suited to playing high-end games. Both should be fine playing casual and browser-based games, including most MMO universes.
The Gateway DX4870-UB17 has just about all you'd want in a basic Windows 8 desktop PC. It's powerful for its category, has very good storage and system memory, is expandable, and has dual radio Wi-Fi. It's more expandable than its EC predecessor, the Gateway SX2380-UR318, and since that system has reached the end of its life, we can't recommend it any longer. Thus, the new DX4870-UB17 is our new Editors' Choice for budget desktops because it does most things right.
This review is in partnership with PCMag.com.