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Gateway FX 6831-03 Impressions

The FX chassis is solid black with red accents. The side panels and part of the top are more of a flat black whereas the front bezel is glossy black and features two "camouflaged" optical drives -- one being a Blu-ray unit. The eject button for each of them is nicely disguised on the right side of the bezel, while directly below the drives is a panel that slides down to reveal two 3.5-inch hot-swappable drive bays.

On the left there's a large perforated vent that allows the fans to draw in cool air. The right side panel has the FX logo embossed in the center, a specifications sticker and the Windows proof of license and model number stickers.

 

 

Gateway has included five memory card reader slots on the top of the front bezel: xD, CF, Micro SD, SD / MMC and MS / MS Pro. There's also a Photo Frame button with an activity LED, two USB ports, headphone and microphone jacks. Pressing the Photo Frame button will automatically start a slideshow of photos from any inserted memory card or other selectable location on the hard drive. The hard drive activity light is right under the MS / MS Pro card slot.

Just above these front ports is a backup button, power button and sleep button. The power button sits at the center of a chrome switch that turns on or off the red LED accent lights. These lights can be found in three of the four corners on both sides of the system. Near the back of the system are two additional USB ports and a flip-up storage compartment.

 

 

The system is powered by a 750 watt FSP Group power supply that is mounted on the top rear of the chassis. It uses a socket LGA1156 motherboard based on the Intel H57 Express chipset that works with 2010 Core series processors to deliver graphics when a discrete graphics card is absent. But since the Gateway FX6831-03 features a dedicated video card (and the processor doesn't have on-chip graphics capabilities), the HDMI and VGA video connections on the I/O panel have been capped. Other than that you'll find PS/2 keyboard and mouse connectors, two eSATA ports, six USB ports, an 1394 FireWire port, Ethernet jack and audio jacks with S/PDIF out.

To the right of the I/O panel is an exhaust fan -- the only one in the system -- and below it is the ATI Radeon HD 5850 graphics card. Connections here include two DVI ports, HDMI port and DisplayPort port. The expansion ports have a security door on the back that requires removing a single screw and flipping back a hinged door in order to remove cards from inside. Other security measures include a locking slot for the right side panel.

Removing the left side panel requires you to unscrew two black screws at the back of the chassis. The interior of the Gateway FX system is typical grey steel. From here we can see that the exhaust fan is 80mm in size. The CPU cooler has a large fan duct that fits against the perforated side panel to draw in cool air from outside of the case.

 

All four memory slots are populated, each with a 4GB stick. One of the memory sticks in our sample wasn't fully secured and would likely have thrown an error code or failed to be recognized had I not caught this during inspection.

Hard drive expansion inside the case is limited to the two hot-swap bays and one additional slot below the included Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB hard drive. Four hard drive slots in total should be more than plenty for most users, though.

 

 

The Radeon HD 5850 is a standard unbranded card from ATI. It sits on the top x16 PCI-E slot on the motherboard. Other expansion options include a single x1 PCI-E slot and one x4 PCI-E slot. With no secondary x16 slots present, Gateway still decided to include a CrossFire cable as supported by the H57 chipset.

The included keyboard and mouse are average quality at best. The keyboard is lightweight and features island style keys, although they don't have the same quality feel as some notebook island style keys I have used. Likewise, the Gateway branded mouse will get the job done in Windows tasks, but I suspect any serious gamer will replace this with a good aftermarket device in no time. Nevertheless it still features an extra pair of configurable buttons, one on each side of the mouse, in addition to the two standard click buttons and clickable scroll wheel.