Gateway has offered its Performance line of desktop machines instead of its Essential series as the ideal buying choice for the Christmas buying season. Encased in the larger tower-style design, the Performance 500 incorporates a wide range of features and also has a significant amount of space to grow. Like most Gateway machines, the case is solid and the internal layout is very clean offering plenty of space to get in and exchange components or install drives.
In fact, the Performance 500 comes with two free external 5.25in drive bays and two free 3.5in drive bays one of which is internal and the other external. An interesting feature of the Gateway system when compared with many of the other machines in this Labs is that if utilises the power supply fan, via a kind of exhaust funnel, and a passive heat sink to dissipate the heat generated by the Pentium III/500 CPU. Many of the other systems use a fan situated on the passive heat sink itself to do this but that requires a separate power cable to be connected to the motherboard.
A quick appraisal of the Performance 500 feature set and it becomes obvious that the main roles for this system are games and multimedia. The machine incorporates an Hitachi DVD-ROM drive as well as DVD-Video playing software. This feature is well complemented by both the Creative Sound Blaster Live! Value sound card and the Boston Acoustics Digital BA735 speakers included with the system. The speakers, which include two satellites and a subwoofer, feature a coaxial digital input and offer excellent performance for both DVD-Video playback and audio CDs.
The Gateway Performance 500 was no slouch in either our applications-based 2D benchmark tests or our 3DMark 99 Max tests. It performed consistently well across the board and was beaten only by the much faster AMD Athlon-based and PIII/600-based machines. Two factors which help the Performance 500 was the fact that it incorporated an Ultra-ATA/66 controller onboard, along with a 13Gb hard drive, and included 128Mb of SDRAM.
Although still priced over $2,500, the Gateway Performance 500 is a solid performer with a lot of features for the multimedia and game-playing aficionado.