Good value, embedded securityCons:
The E-6500D we tested is a middle-of-the-road system, not really shining in any of our tests but not failing any of them either. Still, it may be hard for agencies to overlook a couple of salient features: its price tag and hardware-based security. There's also plenty of room to expand the system in the future.
The E-6500D scored 6,373 on the GCN/Alterion benchmark test. We might attribute that below-average score to the slower clock on its 2.8-GHz Intel Pentium D 920 dual-core processor, except that the Lenovo system we tested uses the same CPU and is much faster.
In our power-efficiency tests, the E-6500D, with its 305-watt power supply, idled a little high at 106 watts per second on average. Energy consumption in applications was a mixed bag. The E-6500D did well drawing our Excel chart (100 watts), but it did consume a lot more power loading applications than other systems. It sucked up 503 watts to open a single application, almost 100 watts more than any other system. This is likely because our E-6500D had a slower hard drive than others, meaning the operation took longer. The test system came with a 160GB SATA drive and an ATAII/300 controller. It spins at 7,200 RPM and has an 8MB cache.
As for other features, the E-6500D has a nice 16X double-layer DVD writer and a 9-in-1 memory card reader. And if you want to add more drives, the E-6500D ships with a seven-bay case, so there is plenty of room to expand.
But we were pleased most of all to see that the E-6500D comes with a Trusted Platform Module, an embedded security chip that can't be removed from the motherboard. When used with the Gateway Embassy software, you can automatically encrypt files, protect your passwords and monitor e-mail and file transfer operations for intrusions or abnormalities. The software is fairly easy to use and without authentication, nobody is going to be able to hack into your encrypted data. And if the security chip is somehow removed, it will break the motherboard.
The E-6500D, as configured for our test, goes for $1,179, which won't harm many budgets. It's not the fastest or most efficient system on the planet, but is adequate for most applications and can be had for a reasonable price.
Gateway Inc., Irvine, Calif., (800) 846-2000, www.gateway.com
John Breeden II directs the GCN Lab.
Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.