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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.
Today we'll be taking a look at one of two new high-end Gateway FX Gaming Desktops, or "gaming supercomputers" as Gateway likes to label them. The FX6831-01 and -03 are built upon the original FX6800-05 released at the end of 2008 and that's still available for purchase on the company's website. The hardware on this original model is showing its age, though, and the asking price has not dropped accordingly so these new models bring the line back up to date.
The 03 model 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. The more afforable 01 model is nearly identical but ships with half the system memory and lacks the Blu-ray drive, good for savings of $400.
Both systems are equipped with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, share the same chassis design, and come bundled with similar peripherals and accessories. These include a Gateway keyboard and mouse, power cable, DVI-to-VGA adapter, CrossFire bridge, warranty, Windows 7 setup documentation and a quick setup guide.
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.