Gateway's Profile 6, a compact PC unit popular with organizations seeking computers for limited workspaces, left me with few complaints. The form factor is basically a flat-panel screen attached to the side of a central processing unit (CPU) that juts out under the screen for inserting CDs, DVDs and floppy disks.

The Profile won't win a beauty contest with its chunky, boxy structure, but it's clearly meant for those seeking practicality over aesthetics.

I can see how this machine can make an IT technician's life easier. The back of the machine detaches easily without tools -- a clear plus for IT repair technicians wanting fast access to the hard drive.

The Profile's design eliminates the need for multiple cord attachments and cuts down on installation time, not to mention, there is no need to carry around several components for one single machine. If I were an IT guy, I'd certainly rather set up 100 all-in-one units than 100 traditional desktops.

Many government agencies create temporary workstations and classrooms requiring PCs where they normally wouldn't reside. The Profile's simple setup and small footprint would make it a handy choice for such deployments.

I encountered a glitch in how Gateway installed some software, so our help desk technicians had to visit a few times to fix the sound settings so I could get sound through my headphones.

If you're like me and listen to music at your desk throughout the day, use headphones. This machine's exterior speaker made Bach's Brandenburg Concertos sound like they were trapped in a tin can.

Also, each time I clicked "play," the Windows Media Player installed on the Profile habitually froze my music after the first few bars, only to resume a few seconds later. In addition, because the CPU is behind the screen, be prepared for its noisy fan to accompany your music.

The Profile withstood all the applications I installed and rarely froze when I had several different programs running simultaneously.

It comes with Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition, an Intel Core2 Duo Processor and several other applications.

Overall, the Profile 6's performance was reliable and gave me few problems. I recommend it to governments with small IT staff wanting to reduce installation time or set up temporary training classrooms.

I'd use it if I were an IT guy.

Ranking: 3 out of 5

Specifications:

  • Intel Pentium D Processor 915 featuring two processing cores (2.80GHz 800MHz FSB, 2x2MB cache, non-HT EM64T)

  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition (SP2)

  • Microsoft Office Basic Edition 2003 (Includes Word, Excel and Outlook)

  • Intel 975X Chipset with DDR2 and Intel Core Duo support

  • 512 MB 533 MHz DDR2 SDRAM (2-256 MB modules)

  • 80GB Serial ATA II/300 7200rpm hard drive w/ 8MB cache

  • 48x/32x/48x CD-RW / 8x DVD combo drive

  • 6 USB 2.0 ports, 1 Serial (back), 1 Parallel, 2 PS/2, VGA-In/DVI-in, IEEE 1394 (FireWire) -- 1 x 4 pin and 1 x 6 pin

  • Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 with up to 224 MB shared memory

  • 17-inch LCD flat panel display (1280 x 1024)

  • Base price: $1,149
    Andy Opsahl  |  Staff Writer