Gateway DX4870-UB2B review

The Gateway DX4870-UB2B gives its users what they expect: the latest technology and decent power in an inexpensive desktop PC.
Photo of Gateway DX4870-UB2B

The Gateway DX4870-UB2B ($499.99 list) is a basic tower desktop PC that checks all the boxes on what you need from a new desktop, particularly if you already have a LCD display that you’re carrying over. It’s speedy for its segment, has capacious storage, will let your family keep many documents open simultaneously, and it’s relatively inexpensive. Unlike the $300 bargain basement specials, the DX4870-UB2B comes with a modern Intel Core i3 processor, dual-band Wi-Fi, and lots of drive space. It’s expandable, so it can grow with your family. It’s not ground breaking, but it’s a solid choice with a great bang for the buck, so it’s our latest Editors’ Choice for budget desktop PCs.

Design and Features
The DX4870-UB2B follows other Gateway desktops, looking almost identical to the last black tower Gateway DX4870-UB17 ($500). Like that model, the DX4870-UB2B comes in a tower chassis with black panels all around, including the plastic front panel and metal side panels. The system’s tray-loading DVD burner is hidden, but two of the system’s USB 2.0 ports, SD card reader, and audio jacks are exposed on the top front of the chassis. In the back, the system has four more USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, more audio jacks, and two connectors for the included WiFi antennas. It would have been nice if the front USB ports were USB 3.0 to accommodate USB hard drives instead of the slower USB 2.0.

The inside of the system is certainly expandable, with plenty of space to move around for future upgrades. The system has space for two additional drives: one optical 5.25-inch bay and one 3.5-inch hard drive bay. Theoretically, you could shoehorn another three to four 2.5-inch notebook class drives in the same space, provided you have the correct brackets to hold the drives. The motherboard has four free SATA ports to service these drives. The system also has two DIMM slots free, along with a slot for a PCIe 3.0 x16 graphics card and two additional PCIe 2.0 x1 expansion cards. One PCIe x1 slot is occupied by the included 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi card, which will serve most users well. This is an improvement over other budget systems like the Lenovo IdeaCentre Q190 ($400) and Zotac Zbox ID83 Plus ($473), both of which don’t support 5Ghz WiFi, only the more common and crowded 2.4GHz channels.

The last consideration you have to make for expandability is the system’s 300W power supply. While sufficient for additional drives and minor expansion cards, 300W will be insufficient for a high-powered discrete graphics card with Nvidia’s or AMD’s highest end GPUs. You can of course swap out the included power supply, but most budget system buyers never open their chassis, even if they are tempted by the system’s expandability. Bring a screwdriver if you dare, because you’ll need it for the case door and the drive bays. At least the internal card slots are tool-less.

Like other Gateway systems, the DX4870-UB2B comes with quite a few pre-loaded applications and utilities. These include 7digital, Zinio, Kindle, eBay, Chacha, Netflix, NewsXpresso, Amazon, Tunein, Hulu Plus, Xbox Games, Cut The Rope, Stumbleupon, Skype, Merriam-Webster, Britannica, Spotify, Microsoft Office (ad), Norton Internet Security), and Wild Tangetn games. That’s a lot of pre-loaded apps, and most if not all are available for free from Microsoft Windows Store. While you may want to spend a few moments uninstalling all these programs, fret not, since the system has a capacious 1TB hard drive with plenty of free space left. The DX4870-UB2B comes with a standard one-year warranty.

Performance

The system comes with a third-generation Intel Core i3-3240 processor, 6GB of DDR3 memory, Intel HD Graphics 2500 (integrated in the Core i3 processor), and a 1TB 5,400rpm SATA hard drive. All of these components mean the system is plenty fast on our benchmark tests, certainly faster than the Lenovo Q190 and the Zbox ID83 Plus. That said, there are systems in this price range that are faster, notably the Polywell Nano i3-Q7 ($595) which trades physical and storage space for SSD speed, and the Acer Aspire AT3-600-UR11 ($600), which has a discrete graphics card and slightly more powerful processor adding to its performance totals. Check the performance chart link to see the final numbers, but suffice to say the DX4870-UB2B has the performance to keep your family happy for the next five years or so.

The Gateway DX4870-UB2B is a great choice for the budget-minded PC buyer who wants to replace that old desktop, but still needs the traditional large screen, keyboard, and mouse of a PC. It’s not anything flashy, but it’s a great buy, and likely will last you another five years before you need to replace it, something that can’t be said if you decide to go with a cheaper tablet or laptop. This mix of components (and the changing of the seasons) lets the DX4870-UB2B inherit the budget desktop Editors’ Choice from the previous Gateway DX4870-UB17.

Specifications
Primary Optical Drive Dual-Layer DVD+/-RW
Processor Family Intel Core i3
Storage Type HDD
Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics 2500
Operating System Microsoft Windows 8
RAM 6 GB
Type Mainstream, Value
Storage Capacity (as Tested) 1000 GB

Verdict
The Gateway DX4870-UB2B gives its users what they expect: the latest technology and decent power in an inexpensive desktop PC. It's what we currently recommend for general purpose computing.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc