Gone are the famous spotted cow boxes. The FX6803 arrived in a much sleeker-looking box with graphics in red and black that echo the machine's color scheme.
A quick start guide greets us after we open the top flap.
Below that, we find the accessory box, which contains a mouse, VGA-to-DVI adapter, power cable, troubleshooting guide and warranty info. We did not receive any physical restore or software discs.
Foam brackets cushion the system during transit.
One unique feature of the FX6803 is the two swappable (but not hot-swappable) hard-drive bays accessible via a sliding panel on the front of the chassis.
The system also sports both a Blu-ray drive and a "Super-Multi" DVD burner.
The front/top I/O consists of multimedia card readers, a "Photo Frame" button (pushing it plays a slideshow of the images in your Windows "Pictures" folder), 2xUSB 2.0, and headphone & mic jack. Two more USB 2.0 ports sit on top about one-third of the way from the rear. Along with the indentation on the top panel, these ports are meant to connect your MP3 player or external hard-drive.
Behind the USB ports is a small compartment with lid.
The rear panel offers PS/2 mouse and keyboard inputs, a serial port, 2x eSATA, 6xUSB 2.0, FireWire, Ethernet, and analog audio outputs. In addition to dual DVI outputs, the video card has DisplayPort and HDMI outs.
The first thing you'll notice after popping off the side panel is the rat's nest of wires hanging in the middle of the chassis. This situation is all too common with mass-produced PCs and one of the telltale differences between such systems and ones made by boutique builders. Apart from looking messy, the mass of wires impedes the airflow required to keep the system in a comfortable operation temperature range. Though we didn't experience any overheating issues with the FX6803 as configured, if a customer wants to pack a few more hard-drives in there or experiment with overclocking, this is something to keep in mind.
Documentation & Accessories
As we mentioned previously, the only accessory of note included with the system is a laser-tracking two-button mouse with clickable scroll-wheel.
Printed documentation is also a bit thin. Instead, Gateway includes a digital system manual on the hard-drive and a prompt to help you burn your own backup discs. One nice thing about this utility is that it gives the user a choice to burn either a regular, disc-image-based restore disc or a drivers and applications disc (or both), each of which has its own particular advantages when restoring a machine, depending on the problem.