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Review - Gateway DFM 700XL / 710XL
A serious Digital Video Workstation for the serious “Pro/sumer”
December 28th, 2003 by Zack Bryce, Tech Lab Mgr.

We asked Gateway to loan us a top of the line Digital Video reader high powered Workstation for our ongoing series on building or buying a digital video workstation for a professional. Of all the major brand companies we looked at, Gateway was the only one with an “off the shelf”, albeit customizable in the order cycle, legitimate viable professional level workstation.

Before you ask, no we aren’t talking about a workstation that ILM, Pixar or Disney Studios is likely to buy to produce a major production. But we are talking about a DV studio workstation that corporate multimedia department, an independent commercial producer, and you a avid (no pun intended) “prosumer” with a good budget might want to quench a serious hobbies needs.

Certainly a computer workstation isn’t your only hardware need, to be an operable “system”. You’ll also need: a break-out box (for multiple video sources), editing tape decks to match your source material, pen tablets, external high-speed RAID multiple drive enclosure, a large NTSC color studio monitor, CD/DVD duplicator system, probably a ProMedia Media Converter, a ShuttlePro, Adobe Premier Pro Suite or Avid Xpress Pro and how deep are your pockets?

Gateway’s 700XL, and the newest 710XL, delivers most if not all of the workstation system hardware that you’ll need, depending on your level of competence and the level of work you intend to do. If you are producing corporate multimedia projects, you’re a professional wedding/special events video producer or making commercials for local cable and TV broadcasts, these systems are nearly perfect as is.

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Housed in an impressive silver and black ATX computer case with a fast accessible side door, the 700XL looks like a Workstation Tower you would expect to see attached to a pair of 17” SGI LCD monitors at Disney Studios. Pop the case open and the inside is incredibly organized and clean. Everything is clip wrapped, routed and sterile. Upgrading this baby will be a dream when it becomes necessary as your needs dictate.
   
                        Click on images for enlargements

The heart of this fire breather is an Intel 3.06 GHz Pentium 4 Hyper-Threading Processor,
512MB PC1066 RDRAM Memory (upgradeable to 1.5 GB) and an awesome 128MB ATI Radeon 9800G Pro 8x AGP video card with dual DVI outputs and a Creative Labs Audigy 5.1 card. Ouch, that’s hot!

All the drives are mounted in quick release bays for fast access and swap-outs. This is a very professional touch that you won’t even see in any Dell, Sony or Compaq/HP high-end computer.

                  Click on images for enlargements

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