The Gateway GM5074b is a typical example of what you can expect should you go with a Gateway PC.

Something of a PC giant in the late nineties, Gateway scaled back its UK presence in the stormy waters of the early 21st century PC market. However, it's spent the last two years rebuilding its reputation, and now has prized berths in a string of high-profile retail stores (Tesco and Toys R Us among them).

The bad news first. In terms of power, the Gateway GM5074b is far from an astonishing PC.the Gateway GM5074b costs £500 even before you've added the cost of a flat-panel, the E6320 isn't a particularly stunning chip compared to those used by the monsters of the £500 PC division – the E6420, for instance, or the AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+.

The Gateway GM5074b's WorldBench real-world speed benchmark of 81 isn't at all bad, but it falls well short of the 89 points notched up by the Eclipse Ultimate A60N86GT.

And the graphics on the Gateway GM5074b PC aren't exactly stunning either - the integrated GeForce 7500 LE struggled to cope with our intensive games tests. The Gateway GM5074b's 320GB hard drive is ample, although the DVD writer is a slightly dated model – you get only 16-speed DVD-R/+R, while the quad-speed DVD+R DL and lack of DVD-RAM are underwhelming.

But complaining about these features is perhaps missing the point of the Gateway GM5074b, for this machine is aiming squarely at the family market.

The price includes a Hauppauge TV Tuner (allowing you to watch and capture television signals) and a flash memory drive. And given that most PCs in this price bracket come without software, the Gateway GM5074b's bumper selection is healthy indeed.

From Microsoft Works 8.5 to CyberLink Power2Go and Gateway's own BigFix program (plus 60- and 90-day trials of Microsoft Office 2007 and McAfee Internet Security Suite), there are titles to satisfy everybody. You also get Intel Viiv capabilities and, as with Windows Vista Home Premium this is a Windows Media-Center PC, we can see the Gateway GM5074b slipping into family life beautifully.

Gateway GM5074b: Specs

  • 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6320 processor
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 320GB hard drive
  • 256MB nVIDIA GeForce 7500 LE
  • 16x/16x/16x/4x//6x/8x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/+R DL/-RW/+RW)
  • TV tuner
  • 1-year warranty
  • large software bundle
  • 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6320 processor
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 320GB hard drive
  • 256MB nVIDIA GeForce 7500 LE
  • 16x/16x/16x/4x//6x/8x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/+R DL/-RW/+RW)
  • TV tuner
  • 1-year warranty
  • large software bundle

OUR VERDICT

Less a straight PC system and more of a media centre, the Gateway GM5074b is a nicely constructed product. It perhaps lacks a little in terms of raw components, but its TV tuner, software bundle and all-round ease of use will make it a great addition to many a family.

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