I am going to get right to the point. There isn't a machine you can buy from a major retailer that is going give you more bang for your buck then this one. For $436 (includes tax) you are getting a fairly good, dual-core processor, 6GB of RAM and DVD burner. If you price those specs out anywhere else, you are looking to spend at least $500 or more BEFORE taxes. Trust me, I spend 3 weeks researching and agonizing how to spend my money. My only complaint is that, I checked online and saw that a couple stores around me had this 'In Stock'...I even called up and asked a sales rep if they had some on the shelves. Each time, they told me they did and each time I went to the store and they had none. I finally found a couple stocked at the 4th store I went to and happily picked it up.
The initial setup was a breeze, and like others have posted, you need to create DVD backup's to restore your system as this does not come with any physical copies in the box. The process, though, is quick and simple, and when its done, youll have a way to get your PC up and running if you ever need to.
The performance of the system is great. Everything loads quickly and toggling back and forth between applications puts little or no strain on the system at all. I only bought this system for mainly doing internet related things, email, editing photos, etc, and for me, it works better then expected. If you are looking at this rig for hard-core gaming, you might be disappointed....at first. While it can handle all of today's high-end games, it cannot handle them at full resolution with all of the bells and whistles turned on. This is because the system comes with no graphics card, but rather an intergrated graphics chip. Its is perfectly fine if you just plan on viewing photos, watching DVD's, browsing the net, but if you plan on playing Warcraft, Fallout, etc, you will need to upgrade the both the graphics card and powersupply. Both can be done for under $100 for the pair.
Another great selling point, to me at least, was the upgrade potential for the machine. It comes with a couple PCI slots open, one being a PCI 2.0 x 16, which basically means you can throw in the newest and latest graphics cards on the market or a good TV Tuner to use the machine like a DVR.
The DVD burner works fast and hasn't produced a 'coaster' for me yet. It gets the job done, plain and simple. Windows 7 is a vast improvement over Vista, and I've noticed that the ReadyBoost functionality works even better. Simply take a USB thumbdrive, stick it in, turn on ReadyBoost, and you just incresed the performance of your machine even more. It will turn your thumbdrive into, essentially, virtual RAM that will help speed up the system overall.
Multiple USB 2.0 ports give me all the room I need to keep my IPOD, camera, webcam, printer, and exteranl hardrive connected at all times. Even though the speakers that come with the system are sub-par, the actual 7.1 sound that its capeable of producing is remarkable considering the price of the system.
In the end, I was hesitant on buying an Emachine. I have only bought from the big companies before...HP, Gateway, Dell....but now I realize, like all other forms of retail sales, that you ultimately pay alot more just for the logo/brandname of the company selling you the product. I highly recommend this machine for anyone looking to upgrade from a P4, Celeron, older machine and does not want to spend more then $500 dollars.
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