The eMachine is easy on your wallet

The eMachine is easy on your wallet

BOX SCORE

B Plus

eMachines T4155


TOWER CLIENT PC


eMachines Inc.;
Irvine, Calif.;

tel. 800-362-2446

www.emachines.com

Price: $800



+Inexpensive

+Internal CD-RW and DVD-ROM drives

-Poor chassis design



Real-life requirements:

Monitor

The $800 eMachines T4155 desktop client breaks the gigahertz barrier but not the bank.

Besides a 1.5-GHz Pentium 4 CPU, it has 256M of synchronous dynamic RAM and a powerful nVidia GeForce2 MX 200 graphics card with 32M of memory.

The T4155 competes with the compact Compaq Evo, the Gateway E Series, the Hewlett-Packard eVectra and the MicronPC ClientPro. But it's a little bulkier than the others, and the price does not include a monitor, just a low-end pair of speakers. It does, however, have a whopping 60G hard drive, a 12X DVD-ROM drive, a 12X/8X/32X CD-rewritable drive and a 10/100-Mbps Ethernet port.

One annoyance I found in testing was the well-hidden power button, obscured by two output ports in front. Users could be stumped just trying to turn on the eMachine.

The CD-RW and floppy drives and the dual Universal Serial Bus ports were difficult to find, too. The USB ports hid in a pop-out compartment, and the CD-RW and floppy drives were just below the DVD drive. USB ports should be out in plain sight.

Two USB ports in back supplemented two in the front.

The most notable flaw was the screwed-together chassis, an outdated design from the early 1990s. That might be OK if upgrades were impossible, but as it stands, the T4155 can accept up to 2G of RAM, and there are two free PCI slots inside'if you can get the machine open.

On the GCN Lab's benchmark suite from Alterion Corp. of Conshohocken, Pa., the T4155 scored 3,611. That's above average; most PCs in the 1- to 1.2-GHz range score 3,000 to 3,500. The impressive Accelerated Graphics Port card accounted for much of the high score. But the large Maxtor Inc. hard drive spun at only 5,400 rpm.

Tech support'yes

Some users might consider eMachines' low-end reputation another minus. Unlike most of its rivals, eMachines historically has not given technical support. Now, however, its entire line comes with a year of support.

Despite the design, the T4155 proved problem-free in testing. And with Microsoft Windows XP preinstalled, it worked just as well as any other machine in its class. Plus it cost less and had more inside the box: a solid system at a low price.

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