I bought this computer for my wife based on her needs and my experience with a new eMachines ET1831 desktop computer over this past year. She had been using a Sony VAIO RZ-22 with Windows XP for close to 10 years, so performance wise this was like going from a buckboard to a new Mustang. Like my ET1831, it has the Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium software package which is outstanding software for home computer use. A nice addition to the software is MS Office Starter 2010, where you can opt to purchase the full software package after trying it, or use a more basic version of Word and Excel for free which work really well. There doesn't seem to be any provision for MS Works, so trying to open Works documents from my ET1831 computer will not work. I will be looking for a reader program that she will at least be able to open documents I create in Works. The computer is very fast to start-up and will run multiple programs simultaneously. Where my ET1831 uses a Intel Pentium Dual-Core 5400 processor, the new EL-1358G uses an AMD Athlon II X-2 220 Dual-Core processor. I can't really tell any difference when using them for everyday processing, both are very quick to load large files of pictures, music and videos, and allow you to run several programs at the same time. A HUGE difference from Windows XP! This computer is very small for a desktop, and if you have minimal space available, this would work great. It's not much larger than a folded up laptop standing up on its edge. The downside to that is that upgrades are going to be very difficult with the very tight space inside. You'll need to be happy with the average performance of the graphics, which is probably the biggest downside of this unit. BUT, having said that, the graphics is still very good and streaming video is great, we can feed our large screen LED TV using a long VGA cable from this computer and watch TV shows we missed with no trouble - and they look great. If high performance gaming is your main objective, you might want to look for one of eMachines' larger units that can be more easily upgradable. This unit also has a rather compact 220watt power supply which won't drive many of the graphics card upgrades. Several people don't seem to like the vertical loading tray for inserting discs - - personally, I LOVE it and wish all 5 of my computers had it! True, there's not much to secure the disc in the tray, (a small lip along the bottom), but I haven't had one come out yet and I love how easy it is to put them in and take them out. In my opinion, this is a 5-star plus feature. When you get everything hooked up and turn on the computer for the first time, get your 3 back up discs loaded up right away before making any changes on your new computer. You will more than likely need them down the road, as I have used the ones for my other eMachines computer several times now. Which brings me to another really excellent point - - the recovery program that eMachines has included in the software package. In my mind, it sets the standard for all other computers, and relieves a lot of the worry about picking up a really bad virus or accidently dumping a big chunk of your software. This recovery program makes it really easy to get your computer back to its fully operational status. Go to: START - All Programs - eMachines - eMachines Recovery Management, to learn about all of your recovery options. What you WON'T get included in the new computer box are the operating instructions, recovery discs (you will need to make them from 3 blank DVDs right away), and any written info on the software. You will get the basic connection instructions, warranty information, and that's about it. You will need to spend some time digging your operating instructions out of the software package when you start your computer, (click START - eMachines Documentation - User Guide), and there is lots of info about using Windows 7 that comes with your computer or you can the Microsoft Windows website and learn all about the features of the software. WalMart also sells a really nice 19" Acer monitor for $94 that is a good match for this unit if you are looking to upgrade your old monitor, we bought one to replace our old AOC monitor and really love it. The only other upgrade you might want to do real soon is the keyboard, it is pretty basic and very lightweight, wants to move around on its own, so put some non-skid under it or get a nicer heavier one. We bought a Logitech Illuminated keyboard that stays put plus is really easy to see in low light conditions - - highly recommended! The bottom line - - Would we purchase this computer again? YOU BET! It's compact, fast, easy to use, has great software, is VERY quiet and looks great. And one other nice feature lest I forget, that 1,000 GB hard drive - - for less than $300. "Oh Mom, look what Santa brought you!"
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