Gateway FX 6831-03 Gaming Desktop PC Review

By on April 9, 2010, 6:09 AM
While many hardcore gamers and hardware enthusiasts will tell you it's better to build your own rig, some still choose to go with a custom-built model from a recognized brand name. These often come attached to higher premiums, but also to comprehensive customer support and warranties covering the entire system, plus the peace of mind of not having to deal with any troubles that may occur while assembling it piece by piece.

The Gateway FX 6831-03 on our test bed today features an Intel Core i7 860 processor operating at 2.8 GHz (up to 3.46 GHz with Turbo Boost), a whopping 16GB of DDR3 memory, 1.5 TB 7200 RPM SATA hard drive and an ATI Radeon HD 5850 graphics card with 1 GB of onboard memory.


Priced at around $1,650, the Gateway FX6831-03 is aimed at those who want a very capable gaming system that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. It is more of a "budget" system in the larger arena of gaming rigs, which can cost you upwards of $5,000, but its hardware should be able to deliver enough performance to handle any game you throw at it with little effort. Read on as we put this system through its paces and explore its features inside and out.

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 32

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rpsgc rpsgc said:

Really Gateway? 16GB of RAM and then an HD 5850? That system needs an HD 5870.

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This is definitely a reasonable system for my purposes - thanks for pointing it out.

Guest said:

I learned along time ago with boxed computers that just because is says it has a "x" processor doesn't mean it runs at that speed. Oddly enough that experience was with Gateway. I had a custom built 233 MMX (hey I said it was a long time ago) a friend had a custom built 200 mhz processor and another friend and another friend had a 266 mhz gateway.

since the 266 had a cheep motherboard and other components it had the same speed as the 200 mhz. Which at the time made a huge difference. I other words it wasn't a 266 it was a 200 do to crappy components.

Guest said:

No SSD or option for one? Next.

BlindObject said:

I gotta say, the case looks nice, but of course, I'd much rather build my own.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

LOL...really - you're going to have that kind of a rig with those little, dinky speakers?

That's not too bad of a rig for the price. I agree with the video card upgrade though.

MrAnderson said:

The price is not too bad at all.

And - What?! 16GB DDR3... Super!

I want one of those; add a more powerful video card and I'll take it!

Guest said:

Current user of this rig for over a month now. It is definitely a solid performer. I'm not a gamer, but use it exclusively for web and graphic design, and it handles multi-tasking without a hitch! A lot of computer for the price for sure.

Guest said:

this review should include the rating system that windows has included!! To see how this bad boy compares to our pc's at home..

Guest said:

I'm slightly confused with what is says about the crossfire capabilities. I've read a load of reviews on this pc and they say it only supports one PCI slot, meaning no additional GPUs to add. Does crossfire technology not require another slot or something? Since the other reviews mention that one of this products major downsides is that there is little room for upgrading in the graphics department. Sorry, I'm new to things when it comes to dual graphics card, hopefully someone can clear this up for me!

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

The H57 chipset on the Gateway FX motherboard supports Crossfire. You get three PCI Express slots: one 16x, one 4x and one 1x. The fastest one is used for the primary graphics card and you have the option of adding a second card on one of the slower slots although performance will suffer marginally because of the limited bandwidth.

Higher-end platforms like the P55 and X58 can push much more bandwidth through the PCI Express lanes and in fact do triple and even quad GPU gaming feasible. But that of course goes beyond the scope of this gaming system at this price range.

Guest said:

Thanks for clearing that up. :D

Killview said:

very nice for the price. i would def see my self buying one of these for a friend or myself if needed.

CokeCanNinja said:

I'm getting one of these and putting a ATI Radeon HD 5970 and a better sound card in it.

Guest said:

Unless you are doing video transcoding or 3D modeling and graphics design, a gaming rig or normal home pc doesn't need anywhere near that much ram. Money would be better spent on better graphics or an SSD. My homebuilt runs an overclocked Core i7 920 on an x58 motherboard with 6GB of ram and a Radeon 5870 that would run circles around this thing and have never come close to utilizing all 6GB even with 10 apps open and gaming at the same time. This is a marketing ploy for the ignorant...nothing more.

Guest said:

I think the level of RAM is not a marketing ploy but it is indicative of how cheap the manufacturers are able to get it. To be honest I am very much considering buying the cheaper model of this (the 8GB and no blu ray one) because it is 200 or 300 dollars less that the enthusiast PC, even without SSD and blu ray spinner. Seeing as multi-GPU offerings are never worth the price increase to me (40% increase in performance for 100% increase in price is a bit steep) the lack of 2 16 PCI ports is no issue. Furthermore Turbo boost offers a reason (however slight) not to overclock your processor. Can anyone give me a good reason to build your own PC over buying one of these? The price for what you're getting is very good indeed.

Guest said:

Just a quick question, I bought one of these systems based on the positive review but I cannot figure out how to get the TURBO BOOST feature to go past 2.93Ghz??.....They advertise this i7-860 as going up to 3.43Ghz??

Is this somehow BIOS crippled by Gateway?...if so, is there a way to unlock the FULL TURBO BOOST speed of this chip?

thanks

Guest said:

First off, 16GB of ram is not "cheap". Kit on Newegg sells for $710 - $890. You can get a Radeon 5870, 8GB of RAM (more than enough) and an intel X-25 M SSD boot drive for pretty much the same cost and you've just made your computer much faster and more powerful than this one. More RAM above what your computer is utilizing doesn't make your computer faster...period. Its merely for E-Peen.

Why build your own? There are several reasons. (1) Quality: Retail components are far higher quality, more robust, perform better and last longer, have more embedded features for expansion, overclocking, tweaking etc, and longer individual warranties on components (3-7 years for core components). Essentially you are able to get exactly the computer system that you want and it is far easier to repair if something breaks or expand when you need more capcity. (2) Cost: It is inittially the same or slightly better, meaning you can build a far better computer yourself for the same price you are willing to spend on an off-the-shelf and your computer has more upgradability and expandability. In the long run it saves you money because you can change or upgrade individual parts instead of throwing your whole computer out to buy another. (3) Individuality and Fun Factor: It is more fun to build a model than purchase it already built. Likewise you can customize your rig however you wish. Since you choose every component you get exactly what you want and nothing you don't.

Guest said:

It's probably the case that the processor is always using all the cores, and you are not looking at what it is for just one. Look at the table partway down this review: http://www.anandtech.com/show/2839

Guest said:

Quote guest: First off, 16GB of ram is not "cheap". Kit on Newegg sells for $710 - $890. You can get a Radeon 5870, 8GB of RAM (more than enough) and an intel X-25 M SSD boot drive for pretty much the same cost and you've just made your computer much faster and more powerful than this one. More RAM above what your computer is utilizing doesn't make your computer faster...period. Its merely for E-Peen.

Why build your own? There are several reasons. (1) Quality: Retail components are far higher quality, more robust, perform better and last longer, have more embedded features for expansion, overclocking, tweaking etc, and longer individual warranties on components (3-7 years for core components). Essentially you are able to get exactly the computer system that you want and it is far easier to repair if something breaks or expand when you need more capcity. (2) Cost: It is inittially the same or slightly better, meaning you can build a far better computer yourself for the same price you are willing to spend on an off-the-shelf and your computer has more upgradability and expandability. In the long run it saves you money because you can change or upgrade individual parts instead of throwing your whole computer out to buy another. (3) Individuality and Fun Factor: It is more fun to build a model than purchase it already built. Likewise you can customize your rig however you wish. Since you choose every component you get exactly what you want and nothing you don't.

My reply:

If you had read my comment, you would have seen i said it shows how cheap they can get it. THEY. Clearly because they are buying it in massive bulk they can afford to use this much.

I'm in the UK, and the cost for the Cheaper model of this computer in GBP is £800. If I follow the enthusiast build guide, I can purchase the video card, the processor, the mobo, the ram and the case before it breaks this budget. Im afraid that it is definately more expensive for me to build my own PC.So, for me, anything you say about price is utterly incorrect for me.

While you say constructing it is 'fun', I thought that at first. But then I thought about all the things that could go wrong, or that I might not have, or if I ruined a component somehow. That wouldnt be fun. Individuality does not compensate for much greater costs.

Also this PC allows me to upgrade it - it has a free hard drive space for a SSD, and I dont want another graphics card, so just one good PCIe slot is fine.

Please can someone else give me a better argument!

Guest said:

You obviously know nothing about computers. I gave you several "better" arguments. If you don't want better arguments than take your willful ignorance elsewhere and stop polluting tech blogs with Gateway propaganda.

Guest said:

I'm the guy who originally asked the question...

Your three points: quality, cost, and 'fun'

I can't really say too much about the quality myself, but I'm guessing that they dont like you overclocking your parts, and that should void the warranty, no? You say I could get 'exactly the system that I want', but the only other thing missing from this system (for my purposes) is a SSD boot drive, which I could easily add and use for that purpose.

Cost: Over here in the UK, a HD5870 goes for £300, a 40GB Intel X-25M Gen2 SSD goes for £100, and the RAM goes for £200. So, that's £600. This PC here costs £800. So I have £200 to spend on my case, my processor, mobo, power supply etc. This system, to me, offers exceptional value for money. (The prices stated were the cheapest on google shopping, by the way).

Expandability - if I was going to build my own PC, I would roughly follow the enthusiast guide on this website. They recommend the same socket. I would not really consider buying more than one graphics card, but if I did I would just use the weaker one on one of the *gasp* smaller empty PCI sockets there are! Sure it might limit the frame rate just a teeny tiny bit, but then looking back at the cost advantage to me, it is worth it.

Fun - sure, if you think so. This is, obviously, the most personal of the things you said, so in my opinion it doesnt really matter too much.

Sorry if I offended you somehow, but this PC is probably a better deal in the UK than the US I guess... I was trying to find out if there was a huge advantage to building your own that I had completely missed...

PS: Sorry if some of the sentences are badly phrased - cant be bothered to proofread it.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Cost to much to build your own today. I have purchased 3x Quad-Core and they're all Gateway DX series just like the FX series as ACER has taken the ownership of Gateway. Still for what I had paid for all 3 not bad. I can add almost 7 SATA II drives, RAM maxes out at 8MB far cry of the 16MB you got in this rig. Still, PSU, CPU, video, LAN, HDD can be upgraded using third-party parts. The 3 are so quiet when they run you don't anything. Still prior years I've always build and OC the CPU an etc. But cost to do so was cheaper. Just have to find the right deals online with no tax or no shipping charges. Some might charge for shipping but still comes out better.Shoot I even go a deal on 1080P with 40,000:1 ACER 23" monitor with HDMI ports still cost me less online than heading to the local retail store.

UK Pound vs the USD can't compare the two in prices. Your price will vary from ours. Plus vendors have raised prices more than since 2007.

Guest said:

Quote Tipstir: Cost to much to build your own today. I have purchased 3x Quad-Core and they're all Gateway DX series just like the FX series as ACER has taken the ownership of Gateway. Still for what I had paid for all 3 not bad. I can add almost 7 SATA II drives, RAM maxes out at 8MB far cry of the 16MB you got in this rig. Still, PSU, CPU, video, LAN, HDD can be upgraded using third-party parts. The 3 are so quiet when they run you don't anything. Still prior years I've always build and OC the CPU an etc. But cost to do so was cheaper. Just have to find the right deals online with no tax or no shipping charges. Some might charge for shipping but still comes out better.Shoot I even go a deal on 1080P with 40,000:1 ACER 23" monitor with HDMI ports still cost me less online than heading to the local retail store.

UK Pound vs the USD can't compare the two in prices. Your price will vary from ours. Plus vendors have raised prices more than since 2007.

_________________________

Of course, we do get screwed over in the UK, and that is part of the reason that buying one of these is so appealing to me. Does anyone know why the prices have been increasing, or if it is just to do with the recession?

mrbig1225 said:

I get the review...but like many I'm done with buying computers from the "big manufactures" They use cheap parts and limit your customizations...you can build it yourself but like some say you may not have the time or you simply don't want to spend nights in forums trying to figure out what caused that BSOD this is where the boutique pc companies come into play...All the good ones I know are Main gear, ACS Gaming computers, Digital storm just to name a few...I would never buy from any of the big guns...not worth it IMO

Guest said:

Ive seen the shift from maingear...prolly my favorite design from then in a while...but then again im kinda liking the Colossus from the ACS guys...competition is good!!!

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Guest the market has cause the prices to go up, but here the deals can be had on dealnews.com good place to start or word of mouth. I use to hit the Computer Fairs, but those vendors are cutting deals with DOA parts. I not using them again for building. Still you can use Amazon.uk, but your have two different VAT taxes over there right? I've been to UK several times where the pound was greater than the USD. But you pay more than us.

ACER makes Gateway systems, Along with the Q4-64-bit Gateway I've also purchased 2 laptops and 1 netbook under both names. No issues with them. Only 2nd netbook is made by ASUS. If I see a deal I'll buy it! If I need it though?

Guest said:

I had purchased a Gateway FX 6831-03 and it worked well for one day. Then I would get cursor artifacts, green lines and freeze ups. I believe ATI has many problems with their 58xx series video cards. I tried a bunch of things but ended up returning the computer. I wish the computer had worked out. I don't think it's Gateway's fault really.

http://forums.amd.com/game/messageview.cfm?catid=260&thr
adid=124747&enterthread=y

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/ATI-Radeon-Gray-Screen-Cras
,9529.html

sommop said:

Really Gateway? 16GB of RAM and then an HD 5850? That system needs an HD 5870.

Uvindu said:

I really like that case. If I had te money and was in a place where they sold this, I would certainly buy this. I don't care what you guys say about making your own. I bet none of you could build a PC with a case like this.

Guest said:

Had my Gateway system for 6mths... awesome gaming rig! Proof is in the pudding... I use it all the time from Modern Warfare 2 to Dragon Age 2... to Star Craft 2... it is a great system that has worked amazing well. The extra RAM does help out in performance along with the fact that it is a 64Bit system. Taken it from a person that actually owns this system... it is a great buy! For the poster that says building is better... you are right, but time is money also! I have been working in the IT field for over 15yrs... I have built my own systems, etc... but why do that when I can get this for a fraction and it works great? ;-)

Zilpha Zilpha said:

Some of the parts are questionable, yes, but overall it's a nice build for the price. The case looks very roomy, although I would have preferred a bottom-mounted PSU for it. Just a pet peeve of mine.

Still, this will end up a lot cheaper for a lot of folks than building their own, since these systems typically come bundled with peripherals and software that you would otherwise have to purchase.

In the end - prebuilt systems are a good option for a lot of people, and it's not right for anyone to try to tell them otherwise. You can argue until you lose your voice about how it's better to build your own blah blah blah, but some folks really just want a working computer so they can get right to what they want to use the computer FOR. Sometimes it really isn't about the journey.

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