Gateway Profile 3 CX

Zippy all-in-one PC fits well into tight spots, but not into tight budgets

WHAT'S HOT: Gateway's cute, gray-and-white Profile 3 CX squeezes impressive performance into a small package: Equipped with a 1-GHz Pentium III processor, 128MB of SDRAM, and Windows Millennium Edition, it sped to a PC WorldBench 2000 score of 158--seven points (about 5 percent) higher than an almost identically configured IBM NetVista all-in-one we reviewed for our October issue.

The Profile 3 CX also packs in a good number of expansion options. Two USB ports are on the right side of the monitor; two more are on the back, along with standard PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, parallel and serial ports, and a combination modem/ethernet port. While there is no room for extra drive bays or PCI slots, the Profile 3 CX does include an external, notebook-style PC Card slot that can accept Type I and Type III cards. A plastic door on the back of the system (similar to the battery cover on a boom box) provides access to one free RAM socket. The extensive, system-specific manual features plenty of photographs, illustrations, and screen shots.

With its built-in flat-panel display and USB keyboard, the Profile 3 CX is exceptionally quick and easy to set up.

Gateway Profile 3 CX
WHAT'S NOT: You pay a lot for this little package. At nearly $1800, the Profile 3 CX we evaluated is as pricey as some top-performing full-size systems. The hefty price is mostly because of the system's 15-inch LCD flat-panel monitor. Unfortunately, the stereo speakers built into the bottom corners of the monitor sound abysmal--fidelity approximates that of a cheap clock radio, and even when cranked up all the way, the speakers provide little volume.

Not surprisingly, the Profile is less than ideal for gamers. Its integrated Intel 810e graphics cannot handle 32-bit color, which caused our evaluation system to fail one of our Quake III gaming tests. For the three tests the Profile did complete, frame rates were at or near the bottom of the pack among recent home systems.

It's difficult to see or reach the side-mounted USB ports, the PC Card slot, and the floppy and 8X/8X/20X CD-RW drives, because they are hidden behind the flared front edge of the LCD.

WHAT ELSE: The integrated 15-inch LCD screen displayed relatively clear text, though small type appeared a bit thin. The monitor reproduced details well in our photograph test, but oversaturated colors made the image look more like a painting.

The Profile 3 CX's keyboard (a narrower, USB version of the company's standard home PC keyboard) allows for comfortable typing and includes buttons for controlling CD playback, as well as four shortcut buttons for accessing files, e-mail, the Web, and a Gateway-customized version of the Windows Me help menu. The mouse can be attached to either the free USB port on the right side of the PC or a single port on the right side of the keyboard. However, a rather short mouse cord makes either setup awkward for lefties.

UPSHOT: The Profile 3 CX is a handsome, space-saving PC with a lot more kick than its all-in-one predecessors offered.


Gateway Profile 3 CX

PC WorldBench 2000 score of 158, Pentium III-1000 CPU, 128MB of PC133 SDRAM, 256KB L2 cache, Windows Me, 40GB hard drive, 8X/8X/20X CD-RW drive, integrated Intel 810e graphics, 15-inch LCD monitor, integrated sound, integrated speakers, combination network adapter/V.90 modem, all-in-one case; Microsoft Works Suite 2001, Norton AntiVirus. One-year parts and labor warranty; free unlimited 24-hour tech support.

Street price: $1799


By Sean Captain