The SX2840-01 from Gateway features the new Intel Core i3-530 CPU in a small-form factor desktop computer that has a small price to go with it. Its multimedia features are aimed and media-enthusiasts and offers decent performance.
The Gateway SX2840-01 body design is the exact same as previous similar models from Gateway with a glossy, black plastic chassis with some chrome. Behind a front panel, there's a door that hides the optical drive and another door that covers front USB ports, a FireWire port, media card reader, and audio inputs/outputs. On the top of the chassis is a rubberized tray for setting devices on it while they're connected to the system. The tray also has some cord management built-in to help guide cables to the back of the device where they would be plugged in.
On the back, this system is very well-gifted with various connections. In total, there are nine USB 2.0 ports, 1 FireWire port, 1 eSATA port (for external hard drives), VGA/DVI/HDMI video outputs, SPDIF digital audio out, and audio analog outputs. For a budget desktop, the SX2840-01 definitely doesn't leave out any inputs and outputs. However, for a system designed for multimedia users, it does not come with a Blu-ray DVD drive, but a regular DVD-RW SuperMedia dual-layer burner is included. You also get a 1TB hard drive and a whopping 6GB of DDR3 memory, which is definitely enough for high-performance video and audio editing. The Intel Core i3 CPU is clocked at 2.93GHz and the graphics card is an integrated Intel GMA X4500HD. Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) operating system is pre-installed.
On the subject of pre-installed software, it is worth mentioning the sheer amount of bloat ware installed on this system by Gateway. Just some of the installed trial and "free" software includes Norton Internet Security 2010 (60 days), Microsoft Office (60 days), WildTangent Gaming, Microsoft Works, and loads of other ad-related offers and programs.
Because this system is geared toward media enthusiasts, some may want to connect the Gateway SX2840-01 to an HDTV, and this is a decent system to do that with. However, there is no built-in wireless networking, so you'll probably have to install a Wi-Fi card via the open PCIe x1 slot or connect it through wired Ethernet networking. With Internet connectivity, you'll be able to watch Internet TV from sources like Hulu.
In terms of system performance, this system is an excellent performer when it comes to day-to-day computing tasks as well as advanced graphics, video, and audio processing. While using Adobe Photoshop and video processing, performance is extremely fast due to the 6GB of system memory and the Intel Core i3 processor. One area where this computer doesn't perform well is 3D graphics and that's due to the integrated graphics, which isn't anywhere near enough to run today's 3D games. If you want to use this system for that purpose, you will definitely need to upgrade this computer with a discrete graphics card.