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Intel Pentium D 920
This processor is suited to high-end multimedia and gaming performance. It is "dual core," meaning it has two processing engines, which share the processing load. Each core has a clock speed of 2.8 gigahertz and 2 megabytes of L2 cache (4MB total). Although the result is not 5.6 gigahertz of performance, it is significantly more than a single, 2.8-gigahertz processor can deliver.
1GB DDR2 SDRAM (533MHz, 2 modules)
This amount of memory is good for power users. Its type, DDR2 SDRAM, and speed, 533 MHz, are performance-oriented. It comes packaged as two 512MB modules.
250GB (7200RPM, SATA II, 8MB Cache)
250 gigabytes is a massive amount of storage space. (For perspective, see "What Can Fit into 10 Gigabytes?") "7200 RPM" means the drive's disc makes 7,200 rotations per minute, which is normal for this size of drive. "SATA II" (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) is the drives' interface, which is the newest type of drive interface on the market. The "II" part indicates the second generation of SATA technology, which has roughly twice the data-transfer rate of the first generation. Finally, "8MB Cache" refers to a type of memory the drive maintains to speed the flow of data between it and the computer's CPU. An 8-megabyte cache is a relatively large one, which is good.
DVD±RW (16x, double-layer write)
This all-in-one drive allows reading and writing of both DVDs and CDs. For DVDs, where two different rewriteable DVD standards exist, this drive reads them both—a great feature. It also has "double-layer" write capability for some types of discs, meaning it can write nearly twice as much data as a standard DVD writer. It has different speeds for reading and writing different types of CDs and DVDs, but "16x" is the most important to know. It refers to the drive's write speed for DVDs, with "16x" meaning it writes at sixteen times the speed a DVD plays. (In other words, writing a full DVD movie will take one-sixteenth the time necessary to watch it.)
Integrated Audio (7.1 channel capable)
"Integrated audio" refers to audio components that are integrated with the computer's main hardware, as opposed to being part of a separate sound card. Integrating allows the computer to deliver very good sound with relatively little extra cost. In this case, the audio system is capable of delivering "7.1" channel surround sound, an advanced form of surround sound based on eight speakers. In terms of sound quality, unless you are a highly discerning audiophile with high-quality speakers, you will be unlikely to notice the difference between this and more expensive choices.
128MB NVIDIA GeForce 6600
This is a powerful video card, with 3D processing suitable for intense gaming. It also has enough general power to drive one big virtual screen across two displays.
Gateway Multifunction Keyboard
This keyboard has a standard 104-key layout, which includes a numeric keypad and a row of function keys. Along the top are a set of specialized controls, primarily for controlling playback of CDs and DVDs.
Optical Two-Button Scroll Mouse (USB)
This mouse includes the normal controls: left and right buttons, plus a wheel that scrolls whatever document you are in. Unlike a traditional mechanical mouse, which has a ball and rollers on the inside, this mouse tracks its position optically. A recessed sensor (basically, a little camera) does the tracking, eliminating the need for moving parts that can pick-up dirt, which distorts tracking. As a result, an optical mouse requires less cleaning and is more accurate than a traditional one. This mouse connects via a USB port on the computer.
Gigabit Ethernet (integrated)
Gigabit Ethernet is the newest generation of Ethernet, with up to 1 gigabit per second of bandwidth. For most people, 10/100 Ethernet is already far faster than their Internet connections, so upgrading to Gigabit Ethernet will not speed-up Internet access. Thus, this feature is for those who have Gigabit Ethernet local-area networks or those who expect to have some form of faster-than-100-megabit connection within the next several years. "Integrated" refers to the hardware being integrated with the computer's main hardware, as opposed to having its own card. This is generally a good thing because it leaves an extra card slot open for other components.
56K Data/Fax Modem (integrated)
This modem is a typical 56K modem, meaning that it can receive data at up to 56 kilobits per second; for sending data, it's somewhat less. "Integrated" means the modem is not a separate card and thus does not occupy an expansion slot.
3 PCI, 1 PCIe (x1), 1 PCIe (x16)
This configuration of 5 PCI (peripheral component interconnect) expansion slots should be plenty for most people. PCI is a well-established standard for function-specific cards such as for high-quality audio and networking. Included here are three standard PCI expansion slots, plus two PCI Express (PCIe) slots. PCIe is a newer, higher-speed version of PCI technology. "x1" and "x16" represent multiples against a base speed, so "1 PCIe (x16)" means a single PCIe slot that supports 16 times the standard speed.
6 USB ports (2 front, 4 rear, version 2.0)
USB is now the primary way for connecting most types of peripherals to computers. This configuration—four ports in the back and two in the front—is common on desktop computers. It provides plenty of ports for most people's needs. The purpose of having two front ports is to make them more readily available for connecting portable devices. "Version 2.0" refers to the speed of the ports, which in this case is the latest and fastest.
1 Parallel port
A parallel port is a traditional connector, typically used by printers. Network connections and newer ports, such as USB, have largely superseded the parallel port, but it does not hurt to have one.
2 PS/2 ports
A PS/2 port traditionally is used for connecting either a mouse or keyboard to the computer. This computer has two PS/2 ports. However, PS/2 ports are becoming less important because many keyboards and mice now use USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports.
1 Serial Port
A serial port is a traditional connector, once used primarily by modems and other small peripherals. Today's far-faster USB ports are superseding the serial port, but it does not hurt to have one.
3 IEEE 1394 (FireWire) Ports (PCI)
FireWire (or IEEE 1394) is a type of high-speed data connector widely used in digital-video camcorders and external hard drives specialized for digital video. While most computers with FireWire have it as a built-in port, this component requires the use of one of this computer's PCI slots.
Speakers Not Included!
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