computer/gatewayfx530.jpgIf you dream of a high-end, cutting-edge computer, the Gateway FX530 series is for you. Although the 530 series start at $999.99, with a little customization, these computers can easily run over $4,000. Yet, you can get just about everything you've ever dreamed of.

And that's what Gateway sent me - a dream computer...... with screaming speed and great performance. You've probably heard of dual core processors, but the FX 530 that I tried had even more power with a high end quad-core processor.

The factory overclocked CPU jacked up the speed even more. Overclocking speeds up the CPU by cranking up the clock speed. This overclocking increased the FX530's clock speed to more than 3.2GHz and for an overall processor speed increase of 20%, squeezing even more performance out of an already speedy system. Although overclocking is widely used in the geek community, seldom does the manufacturer provide this type of maximum speed while still offering it under warranty. 

In addition to the unbelievable processor, the 4 Gigs of Ram in this awesome computer is enough power to run large, memory-hungry multiple applications at once without the blink of an eye. It can speed through intensive chores like 3D rendering and video encoding.

Although there may be better video systems for gaming, the Dual Card ATI Radeon X1950 with CrossFire was certainly impressive for high end graphics and to show off the beauty of Microsoft Vista.

The FX comes in a gray case with four color choices for the accent colors: your choice of black steel, redline, blue carbon or copper core. Although the case is no bigger than most other computers, the FX is heavy. A strong case, extra graphics card, cooling fans, and interior supports all add to the weight, but also add to the sturdiness of the entire unit.

Although the XT is noisy during boot-up, it settles down to a level that is very quiet given its high  performance level.

The 24" high-def LCD was nothing short of gorgeous.  Vista Ultimate and the included television tuner gave a great television experience including the ability to record TV programs. My XT also came with an optional speaker bar that plugs into the bottom of the display. The speaker bar is better than most LCD speakers, but it added so much height to the monitor that I got a stiff neck using it. I removed the speaker bar, lowered the monitor and was very happy listening to the wonderful Logitech X-540 5.1 70 Watt Surround Sound Speakers with Subwoofer that was also included with my system. Yet, I must say that the speaker bar makes the monitor more like a HDTV, if you don't mind the height it adds to the monitor.

Since there is so much to this computer, if you decide to purchase one, you may want to consider an extended warranty. One nice thing about Gateway is that they currently offer 100% North America based phone support.  

The base price of the FX530 that I reviewed is $3999.99. It comes with:

Windows VistaTM Home Premium (32-bit)

Intel® CoreTM 2 Extreme Quad-Core Processor QX6700 (3.20GHz, 1066MHz FSB, 2x4MB cache, Factory Overclocked)

2048MB 667MHz Dual-Channel DDR2 SDRAM

1000GB 7200rpm Serial ATA II/300 hard drive w/ 16MB cache (2-500GB hard drives)

Gateway® 24" Widescreen High Definition Performance LCD Display

16x/48x DVD-ROM Drive

NVIDIA GeForce 8800GTX w/ 768MB, Dual DVI-I Dual link TV Out (Factory Overclocked) w/ VGA adapter

9-in-1 Memory Card Reader

Logitech® X-230 2.1 32 watt Speakers

High-def LCD 24"

The FX530XT that I received had even more. It also included an upgrade to Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate, 4Gigs of ram, Dual Card ATI Radeon X1950 CrossFire solution with 512MB GDDR4 memory DVI w/HDCP, VGA & TV Out, a SoundBlaster X-FI PCI Card , a Logitech X-540 5.1 70 Watt Surround Sound Speakers with Subwoofer, a Gateway Premium Wireless Keyboard & Mouse, and an ATI Theater 550 Pro TV Tuner with Wireless Remote Control. All of that brought the computer up to about $4,700.

 For a complete product tour, check out Gateway's FX Tour. For more detailed information on the FX's specs, check the Gateway FX530: Mad Cows and Quad Core Overclocking article at the AnandTech website.