Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Gateway Astro

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Gateway Astro

Article excerpt

Gateway's Astro is an affordable and compact desktop computer, which combines a monitor, CPU, and speakers in a single unit, making it well suited for tight workstations. It comes with a 400 MHz Intel Celeron Processor with 128K cache and integrated Intel graphics, so, while it's not quite the fastest computer available, its speed should be more than adequate for most student and educator needs. Its CD-ROM drive runs at a maximum of 40X, easily handling just about any software program.

We were pleased with the Astro's capabilities and the included software. It has a 4.3 GB hard drive, 64MB SDRAM, a 3.5" floppy disk drive, and also comes with a 56K modem, Microsoft Works Suite 99 (a software package including Microsoft Word and the Encarta encyclopedia), and Norton Anti-Virus software. The Astro comes installed with Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition.

The unit was easy to set up straight out of the box; we simply had to plug in three cords. The Astro's screen is 13.9 inches viewable, and, while there's no dedicated video out port, the PC has four USB ports, one of which connects to the keyboard and mouse. Right on the front of the computer are the power button, the CD drive, the 3.5" floppy drive, a headphone jack, a built-in microphone, and integrated speakers. The speakers yield a decent sound quality, but for fuller sound, a speaker upgrade is available for an extra $60. Alternatively, external speakers can plug into the headphone jack. The microphone, however, is a bit awkward to use, and there's no jack for an external one. Thus, the only way to record voice without buzzy undertones is to put one's face within an inch of the machine. Nevertheless, if one is willing to nuzzle his or her computer, voice recording is certainly possible.

The system includes Gateway's Go Back, a program allowing the user to revert the PC to an earlier state, whether to repair damage, retrieve lost documents, or undo changes to the system. This feature certainly could come in handy in a school, where multiple users might inadvertently make undesired changes to a workstation. Fortunately, we never experienced any problems that prompted us to use Go Back, but we did test it out, and found it easy to comprehend. …

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