Gateway DU10G Inverness
This is the first Gateway PC we've seen since the revered Californian company was revived by Acer earlier this year and, at first glance, it looks awfully familiar - in fact, the chassis is virtually identical to the one used in the generation of Acer Veriton L410 business PCs.
A bright orange strip has been daubed down the front of the unit, presumably to differentiate the system from the rest of its corporate stablemates. While it may not be the usual business style it's certainly distinctive, and the rest of the machine's exterior feels tough enough to withstand knocks or scrapes.
The Gateway may be no bigger than the average nettop, but it's surprisingly versatile inside. The hard disk is housed in a caddy that's screwed into one half of the machine. Although slotting it back into its SATA port can be awkward, replacing the hard disk itself isn't difficult at all. A spare SO-DIMM socket equipped with additional RAM and the LGA-775 processor socket is also easily accessible. Its small heatsink, which boasts two heat-pipes that loop around and extend toward a pair 45mm fans, can be removed with a screwdriver.
Commendably, this tiny PC makes a decent fist of offering as much expansion potential as our current business favourite, the Lenovo ThinkCentre M58. The Gateway can't compete with that machine's superbly engineered fold-out chassis, but both systems allow for easy upgrade of core components. The Lenovo, however, allows for the upgrading of the optical drive and its empty PCI Express and PCI sockets, which this Gateway's tiny frame just can't match - the DVD writer is stowed away below the motherboard and can't be reached.
Its decent specification, though, should mean that you won't need to upgrade for a while. The Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 may belong to the last generation but it still provides lashings of power, with its 3GHz core clock speed returning a score of 1.48 in our 2D benchmarks - faster than the 1.3 scored by the Lenovo.
2GB of DDR2 RAM is enough to cope with Windows Vista Business, but up to 8GB can be installed if you're interested in running more intensive applications. The 320GB Western Digital Caviar Blue desktop hard disk comes with a 7,200rpm spindle speed and 8MB cache, promising better performance than we see from the mobile disks that often appear in smaller computers.
Businesses will be pleased with the inclusion of a TPM 1.2 chip, and a Kensington Lock socket is also provided. The included keyboard and mouse are fine, if basic: the mouse is adequate, while the keyboard offers plenty of travel and an understated but comfortable key action. There are plenty of connections on the chassis, too, with nine USB sockets and even an eSATA port.
Those looking to deploy the DU10G in large numbers should be heartened by the low power draw of the Gateway. When idling, the system needed only 33W, with this figure rising to 68W when running at its performance limit. It's a result far lower than that of the average desktop PC, and could add considerable value in large roll-outs.
We'd have liked a few more business concessions, though, and the chassis doesn't come close to matching the Lenovo's tool-less entry, and its colour-coded interior that made upgrading components easy for even inexperienced users. The less intuitive Gateway offers no such help and lacks an intrusion detection switch. These are the trade-offs involved with such a small chassis, so it really comes down to how space-saving you need your business PCs to be.
At £543, the Gateway is over £50 more expensive than the Lenovo, and we're not sure the slightly faster processor really makes up for that. True, the DU10G is a tiny, powerful machine with a good specification and decent upgrade potential for its size, but unless you have real space issues we still prefer the stunning design and attention to detail of the fold-out Lenovo. Nevertheless, it's a good showing from Gateway on its return.
3GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E8400; 2GB 800MHz DDR2 RAM; 320GB Western Digital Caviar Blue hard disk; DVD writer; Intel GMA 4500 graphics; D-SUB in/out; DVI-D; 9 x USB; eSATA; TPM 1.2; Kensington Lock slot; Gigabit Ethernet; Wired keyboard and mouse; Windows Vista Business; 1yr RTB warranty; 102 x 204 x 258mm (WDH); 2.32kg.
Gateway returns to the business PC world with a fast, capable and tiny machine.
Author: Mike Jennings