RealTime IT News

Gateway Opts for Custom Jobs

UPDATED: Gateway is bolstering its Media Center PCs offerings with two new customizable offerings.

The Poway, Calif.-based computer maker, which recently closed its retail stores and returned to the direct sales model, served up a new Gateway 3250X Media Center PC ($799.99) and the Gateway 7200S Media Center PC ($1,399.99).

Both desktops are the first Gateway computers to run on Microsoft's new Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 operating system. A built-in TV tuner comes standard on the 7200S Media Center PC and is available as an option on the 3250X Media Center PC, so both computers can be used as a Personal Video Recorder (PVR) and FM radio.

The hook is that the PCs can be customized, Gateway said, so that customers can choose their favorite processors, displays, memory, hard drives, optical drives, speakers, audio cards, graphics cards, memory card readers, keyboards and application software.

The company, which made its name selling computers direct to consumers and businesses has seen its market share shrivel up in the face of harsh competition from Dell, HP and IBM . For example, Dell said that customers can custom-configure their new PCs with Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 for as little as $19 on its Dimension 3000, 4700, 4700C, 8400 and XPS systems.

But plucky Gateway has been trying to differentiate itself from the pack by adopting new technologies at a faster pace. Case in point its Intel's Balanced Technology Extended (BTX) architecture, which Gateway has included on its 7200S Media Center PC.

The technology adds an advanced cooling system that can handle high-speed processors as well as the fastest and most power-consuming graphics and add-in cards as well as hard drives. First highlighted at last year's Intel Developers Forum (IDF), BTX was developed as an evolutionary follow-on to the widely used ATX form factor. Intel has said it expects to eventually replace ATX as the industry standard.

The 7200S Media Center PC also includes an Intel Pentium 4 540 (3.20GHz) processor with Hyper Threading (HT) Technology, a dedicated ATI RADEON X300SE PCI-Express 128MB graphics card, PCI Express technology, a 250GB 7200RPM Serial ATA hard drive, a DVD-ROM drive and an 8-in-1 digital media reader, which accepts the most popular media cards used in digital devices such as digital cameras and camcorders.

The 3250X Media Center PC boasts an Intel Pentium 4 515 (2.93GHz) processor supported by the Intel 915GV chipset and 512MB of DDR SDRAM. The computer also comes with a 160GB hard drive, a 48x CD-RW and an 8-in-1 digital media reader.

Like the 7200S Media Center PC, the 3250X Media Center PC comes with a wireless remote control. The 3250 also comes with an internal 10/100 Ethernet and 56K data fax modem.

"Our new PCs are perfect for people who are ready to embrace more entertainment and digital media applications -- and our multiple offerings and ability to customize take into consideration the different needs of our customers," Ed Fisher, Gateway's senior vice president of product planning, said in a statement.