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Looking for a Good, Reasonably-Priced Computer

by leliathomas / April 11, 2005 9:09 PM PDT

In the last eight months, my Sony Vaio laptop of three years has had one thing after another go wrong, the latest being the LCD screen's backlight is dead (I currently type from my laptop, while hooked to a monitor). The cost of repairs, most of them done by myself, to fix this laptop now would be anywhere between $450-$600; that's not even touching on the fact that this only has the limited power that existed three years ago.

So, I believe I'm looking for a new computer. I've seen mixed reviews about eMachines, which was my first look (due to the pricing), so I'm coming here. Let me outline some of the things I'm looking for:

- Desktop computer; no more laptops for me
- Lots of hard drive space, at least over 100GB
- 512MB RAM
- AMD chip (I'm a fan...)
- 3+ USB ports
- Sound doesn't have to be great, but it has to be reasonable; I want a place to hook my headset
- At least reasonable graphic capabilities. Doesn't have to be the best, but doesn't need to be the worst.
- Monitor doesn't really matter to me, so long as it supports 1024x768 resolution at least
- Price under $900; in or around that, feel free to post it too

I really like the look of some eMachines' computers, but some of the prices make me wonder if what one pays for ISN'T what one gets (or at least in terms of quality)--(also DO they or DON'T they come with a monitor?). If anyone can offer some details into eMachines, such as which model is currently looking to be the best and most reliable, or knows of a computer that fits or closely fits my specifications, I would greatly appreciate the information. Thank you!

Lelia Katherine Thomas

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Generally speaking...
by culture_of_one / April 12, 2005 3:56 AM PDT

people seem to be pretty happy with Emachines. I've also heard some good things about Gateway, so I suggest you check that out as well.


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by culture_of_one / April 12, 2005 4:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Generally speaking...

In case you didn't know, they're basically the same company now. (Emachines was bought out by Gateway.) However, Gateway is still marketing stuff under the Emachines and Gateway brands.


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by leliathomas / April 12, 2005 8:28 AM PDT
In reply to: BTW

Yeah, I had read about their buying eMachines, but what led me on more to eMachines was definitely the AMD chip. Not that things don't change LOT in seven years, but I did have a Gateway 1998, and it was good for the time, though had a lot of instability. Never did figure out whether that had to do with the OS or the computer quality. lol, things sucked back then. XD

Thanks for the reply! Happy

Lelia Katherine Thomas

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by damasta55r / April 12, 2005 11:29 AM PDT
In reply to: Gateway/eMachines

AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Socket 939
512 MB PC3200
160 GB Hard Drive
DL DVD+_RW Drive
+monitor,speakers,mouse,printer,and keyboard for $600.

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eMachines T6212
by leliathomas / April 12, 2005 2:01 PM PDT
In reply to: emachines

I had looked at that, but I also saw a previous post that there were a lot of problems with the large hard drive. I saw someone saying it was due to their being old(er) parts. That's the only reason I haven't been as sure on this one. If you have any information that can disprove that issue, I'd greatly appreciate it. Happy

Lelia Katherine Thomas

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by damasta55r / April 12, 2005 3:45 PM PDT
In reply to: eMachines T6212

There will always be machines that will be sent "dead on arrival". The best thing you can do is to immediately test the machine and if it doesn't work, send it back and get another one, or demand a full refund. I know ppls who have had no problems with the machine. If you're lucky, you'll get a working one, if not, well do what i just suggested. If you don't want to take the risk, build your own pc. Because all computer manufacuturers have these sort of problems.

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Re: Looking for a good reasonably priced computer.
by Big Steve / April 13, 2005 6:22 PM PDT
In reply to: eMachines T6212

I read that too; someone submitted a post stating that the problem was set to be corrected in May 2005 so I'm sitting tight for now and have decided to wait to see if EMachine plans to correct the problem with the HD. I read a post similar to that somewhere on this website.

Big Steve
End Of Message

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Re: T6212 HDD
by stonehkm / April 25, 2005 8:24 PM PDT

This machine is a great buy, but I was put off when my local Best Buy discouraged me from buying. They had an unusually high number of repairs to the HDD and I was the one who posted about that concern. The socket 939 mobo will take an SATA HDD, but it comes equipd with an ancient ATA100 (IDE) 2mb cache 160 gig drive! Why?! Price, of course. When I check HDD prices there is only aout $20 difference between an IDE drive and a SATA drive. Logic says eMachines would have used the SATA. It seems (a guess) that they must have had older drives in inventory and "dumped" them into this otherwise great for the money machine. I am still going to buy one within the next month, but I am buying a Maxtor 160gig SATA drive to replace the IDE drive. The price of the T6212 plus the new HDD still beats anything else I have found:)

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(NT) T6212 question
by sb909s / April 26, 2005 1:38 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: T6212 HDD

In response to your concern with T6212 HDD..what does HDD mean (such a novice sorry) I plan on purchasing this item this weekend but am concerned with the do I alleviate this situation when purchasing the computer? Do the newer ones not have this problem? Any suggestions as to the best place to buy this desktop? Can't seem to find any good deals!

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You asked what does HDD mean?
by stonehkm / April 30, 2005 6:19 PM PDT
In reply to: (NT) T6212 question

HDD simply is short for hard drive just as mobo is short for motherboard and OS is short for operating system. Have a great day:)

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by golftango / April 12, 2005 11:44 AM PDT

I've had no issues with my Gateway built eMachines T6216. I added an additional 512MB or DDR (did not even really need it) and a 17" Gateway flat panel monitor which matches the tower.

My last Gateway, a 900 Series, was bulletproof and is still running like a champ at a friends house.

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by leliathomas / April 12, 2005 2:04 PM PDT
In reply to: T6216

I've heard mixed things about this version of eMachines, thus my reluctancy. I've heard some things about the large hard drive being rather unstable. Know anything about this? :/ Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated! Thanks already for posting!

Lelia Katherine Thomas

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no issues at all
by golftango / April 12, 2005 2:50 PM PDT
In reply to: T6216

I've had no issues with the HD or making a recovery DVD. The HD is a Seagate, which from what I understand is a decent HD.

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by jrmar07 / April 13, 2005 8:15 AM PDT

Well just like everyone else on the planet I'm gona reccommend the T6212 because it is simply a good computer for the price. (I wish I could buy 1!) I felt the same hesitancy about buying my T3256 but I did alot of research and I'm completely satisfied. The emachines company has made great strides in the past years and you shouldnt look at them any differently than Dell, HP, Sony, etc. Now if I was buying 1 of those Microtel computers from Walmart then I'd be alittle wary. My computer has had no problems to this day. Windows still boots up in 30 seconds. I'm a happy guy lol.

As for the stability of the 160gb Seagate, I highly doubt Seagate would make an unstable harddrive. Problems with hardrives are not usually caused by a "bad hardrive," it's the software that you put on the harddrives. Maybe that is the case with your hearing of the bad harddrives. I haven't heard anything. All the components of the T6212 are compatable with each other and shouldn't cause any problems. If they did then why would emachines sell the computer?

To answer some questions...
Emachines computers are technically sold as stand-alone computers(without monitors, printer..) Outlets like Bestbuy tend to package an Emachines monitor with a system, just look in a Bestbuy flyer, you see them every weekend. This is good if you want everything in one purchase. But you can get your own monitor if you want too by buying the computer stand-alone. It's an advantage and disadvantage. (I think it is smart of emachines to do this)

Look out for rebates. There is a $50 rebate for the T6212 alone. Also another $50 rebate for the emachines CRT monitor. So if you buy them seperate then you could save $100. You could purchase the computer and monitor for $699.98 with savings at Bestbuy. Then compare that to the package deals with the T6212, if there is any?

If you are still nervous about an Emachines, buy the extended warranty. I wouldn't let the "old" hard drive issue prevent me from buying at this time. Just as damasta55r said, you can always return it and if luck has it you won't be affected.

Hope that helps.

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by ozos / April 13, 2005 1:09 PM PDT
In reply to: Yeah...

while I haven't personally owned an eMachines, and the last time I bought a computer at retail it cost nearly $5000 and eMachines was considered junk at the time (and they still cost $700+ for a system about 1/3rd the power of what I bought)

I'd suggest two things:
The T6212 as every one seems to be suggesting it, and from the specs i've seen it looks very nice for the price

but my personal choice would be to extend the budget about $125 and build it yourself

configured at, $1004.93 w/no monitor, shipping, KB, mouse or speakers:

Athlon64 3500+
ATI Radeon X600XT
1GB PC 3200 DDR
7.1 sound
250GB Maxtor SATA-150 Hard Drive
WindowsXP Home Edition w/SP2
DVD/RW Drive
Antec 450W PSU w/Antec SOHO File Server case (it's REALLY expensive ($139.00 for the case/PSU combo, which imo is great considering the PSU boasts better rails than the NeoPower, and the entire thing costs $15 more than NeoPower (and NeoPower doesn't have a case w/it...)

and it includes a free 128MB USB Thumb drive
i'm assuming you have a monitor, by the fact that your using your laptop through a monitor
and a KB and mouse can be had for $20 or less at newegg

speakers are your choice, but you said you had a headset, so this works in that case

you can get the eMachines, which afaik sports no graphics card, 512MB of RAM, and a 160GB hard drive

or build it yourself, getting an Athlon64 3500, over a 3200, getting 1GB of RAM, almost 100GB more of hard drive space (and it's brand new, i doubt the eMachines would have issues, but this one won't have any (i am personally a Maxtor fan))

and the X600XT is easily fast enough to power through any game you can come up with (At a VERY attractive price)

that is just my suggestion...
here are the product links for the hardware I configured with
if your want to cut costs things to consider cutting:

CPU, downgrade from Athlon64 3500 to Athlon64 3200 (i wish the 3400 still existed for Socket 939)
RAM, downgrade from 1GB (2x512) to 512MB (2x256)
HDD, downgrade from 250GB to 80-200GB sized drive (80's are as cheap as $56, 160's for about $100, this 250 is $135)
Case, downgrade to a $30 case
PSU, downgrade to a Thermaltake or cheaper Antec or Enermax unit

I would not change:
the motherboard
the platform (meaning don't goto Socket 754)
the gfx card (for $124 it is about the best deal your going to find)
the casing (i really wouldn't, it's a great case, and PSU, both from a great company, it includes good cooling (adaptive 120MM fan, should do perfect) and will make things easier)

i would really not change the RAM, as 1GB makes gaming and WindowsXP in general run MUCH smoother

Product links:


DVD/RW Drive

DVD Drive

Hard Drive



CPU (includes a HSF)


Video Card

personally i'd use those parts
if you decide to build on your own, i'd avoid the following parts:

Intel entirely - too expensive for comparable performance to AMD (Currently)
AGP for mid-range gfx - the mobo may be cheaper, BUT the gfx cards will be $100-$150, and that X600XT will probably outperform them all
Bad PSU's - if it looks cheap, avoid it, you want 24A on the +12v or better (or 2 +12v, like the Antec I linked, which has 2 +12v @ 18A each, meaning VERY good power)

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You can also upgrade the t6212
by damasta55r / April 13, 2005 1:37 PM PDT
In reply to: agreed

get a new case, psu, ram, graphics card. No need a new hard drive. 160GB is more than enough.

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consider what your saying...
by ozos / April 13, 2005 1:48 PM PDT

$700 for the system
new case (if you were buying the same parts i'm talking about)

new case/PSU - $140
new RAM - $100 or more
new graphics card - $124+

so your at $700 for the system
and around $365 in upgrades
so it's like $1065
with less harddrive
a less featured motherboard (i gurantee eMachines' board can't touch that Chaintech in features, quality, and performance)
and a slower CPU...

if you throw in a 3500 your up to around $1400

so please
consider before posting

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by damasta55r / April 15, 2005 9:20 AM PDT

the system cost only $579 for a crt,keyboard,mouse,speaker, and printer on sale.

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Re: Reasonably-Priced Computer
by John Robie / April 14, 2005 7:42 AM PDT

Hi Lelia,

Well, if considering the Emachine T6212, you may as well wait for the next big sale. Last week was when to buy the T6212.

The packaged deal for the CRT Monitor and Printer with the emachine T6212 for $550 expired at Best Buy after this past Saturday, April 9th. They change their sales flyers every Sunday. Circuit City also had the same $550 package deal with monitor and printer for $550, but unaware of when it expires...probably last Saturday also.

Since Best Buy indicated in last weeks flyer for a upgrade from the 17" CRT monitor to a 15" LCD monitor for $80 increase on their emachine T3882 and T3958, perhaps they might consider doing the same on the T6212 for the next sale.

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Lelia.....Today 5PM ET is last call for special
by John Robie / April 15, 2005 2:39 AM PDT

combination price at Circuit City on the T6212 if interested. Just now noticed. Had thought it expired last Saturday like Best Buy. Course' the combination special could reappear in weeks to come with Best Buy.

Anyway the T6212 normally sells for $580 without a monitor or printer. Circuit City showing sale extension for T6212 with emachine 17" Flat-screen CRT monitor and Canon PIXMA Photo Printer, in package for $550 that ends at 5PM ET (Eastern Time) today.

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T6212 upgrading - what to get?
by Sarre / April 15, 2005 6:58 AM PDT

I just today bought my T6212 package from Circuit City - played with it in the store and it was much faster than the old 1Ghz P3 laptop I've been using. Evryone on these forums says to upgrade, but I am confused as to what to get. I bought some memory online:

but it was suspiciously half the price of the PC3200 they had at Best Buy, tho as far as I could tell it is the same product for half the price. Was this good memory to get?

I guess I need a video card too? Very hard to find recos - any thoughts as to what is the best to get for around $150-200?

PLUS, I need to hook it up to my Wireless network - is PCI card or USB best for this, and if so, which one?


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by John Robie / April 15, 2005 8:39 AM PDT

Congratulations.... yes, the 1 gig of Kingston is right on and should be A-OK. For good gaming in your price range I would suggest the Nvidia GeForce 6600GT PCI-Express around $172 from NewEgg.
I have no personal experience with wireless networking, perhaps others will comment.

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Upgrading EMachine T6212.
by Big Steve / April 15, 2005 7:10 PM PDT
In reply to: Upgrading.....


So soon after purchasing a new EMachine T6212 I read these posts of owners planning to make immediate upgrades to their machines. Wouldn't that void the manufacturer's warranty or do the owners wait until the warranty on the computer has expired?

Big Steve
End Of Message

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Re: Warranty
by John Robie / April 16, 2005 12:16 AM PDT

I do not know what the current warranty is with emachines or if there is a clause concerning breaking a seal of some type. Of course it is very easy to uninstall upgraded RAM and a Video Card. Also if there is a defect in something, emachines would probably mail the new part and suggest where to go to have it installed.

Of course, since you indicated what you need a computer for, you would not be installing additional RAM and a Video Card, as that is to increase performance primarily in gaming.

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Steve....just clicked on Circuit City & noticed the 5PM
by John Robie / April 16, 2005 12:55 AM PDT
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Expired apparently at 11:59PM last night
by John Robie / April 17, 2005 3:59 AM PDT

Clicking on the link today (Sunday) will get, "We're Sorry! You've encountered an error at"

So now pay $579.97 without a monitor or printer for the T6212. Course' Best Buy/Circuit City may offer the same 'package deal' again sometime in the future.

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Graphics Card...
by ozos / April 17, 2005 11:04 AM PDT

I would suggest the GeForce 6600nU for PCIE, instead of the GeForce 6600GT (the nU is slightly slower, yet still easily capable (and only around $135))

or the Radeon X600XT, which is $124 and equivalent performance to the 6600 (the GeForce 6600 = GeForce 6600nU = GeForce 6600 128MB)

as to networking
I would suggest a PCI add-in card, mainly because you can't accidentally unplug it (at least, it'd be harder to do) and PCI add-in cards usually offer the ability to connect an antenna that isn't on the back of the PC or that is wired into a larger antena to send/recieve (a large Wi-Fi antenna, like a large Yagi (simmilar to the "Cantenna" concept)

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by rockon1569 / April 15, 2005 10:00 AM PDT

I have a Compaq Presario SLR1215CL.

AMD Sempron 3000+
512MB RAM (I think expandable to 2GB)
120GB Harddrive
Windows XP Home

17in Flat Pannel CRT Moniter

Of course I got this at christmas time, so you won't get this excact model.

I would suggest going on the website and looking at the SR1010Z series.

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Re: HP SR1010Z
by John Robie / April 16, 2005 3:04 AM PDT
In reply to: personally,

Good suggestion Rockon about the HP SR1010Z for those who would want similar to the emachine T6212 at just a slight increase in the regular cost.

Compaq Presario SR1010Z customizable Desktop PC

* ? Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP Home Edition with SP2
* ? AMD Athlon(TM) 64 3200+ operating at 2.2GHz
* ? 512 MB DDR / PC3200 (1 DIMM)
* ? 160GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
* ? Double Layer 16X DVD +/-R/RW drive
* ? 48x max. CD-ROM Drive
* ? 9 in 1 Card Reader, 3 USB, + Front Audio Ports
* ? Integrated SIS Mirage2 Graphics
* ? Integrated 5.1 Capable Sound w/ Front Audio ports
* ? JBL(R) 2-Piece Speakers
* ? Compaq Keyboard & Scroller Mouse
* ? Microsoft(R) Works 8.0/Money 2005/MSN Encarta Plus
* ? hpshopping in-box envelope
No monitor or printer

All above same as emachine T6212, except:
Unknown motherboard.
Has AGP slot for upgrade,T6212 has PCI-Express x16 upgrade slot.
Unknown power supply (T6212 has 300Watt)
T6212 has 8 in 1 card reader instead of 9-1, LAN - 10/100 Integrated, and V92 56K modem (not indicated, but may have in the SR1010Z).

Order Total $649.99 - $50 mail-in rebate = $599.99 plus standard shipping $52.99

The emachine T6212 machine without monitor & printer is $580 regular (after mail-in rebates) at Circuit City, Best Buy, CompUSA.

As of today, Circuit City is still offering a package deal on T6212 with monitor and printer for $550. The same package deal with Best Buy ended last Saturday, but may be repeated in some weeks to come.

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hp sr1010Z
by scottinindy / April 16, 2005 8:43 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: HP SR1010Z

Very similiar to what I have, I have the HP A810n, I checked and both have the Asus K8SLA (salmon) motherboard. The A810n came with a 250 watt HiPro power supply, I changed to a 450 watt PSU because I wanted to run a high end grapics card.
So far I am very happy with my computer. It runs quiet, Cool and after upping the ram to 1 gig and getting a nice AGP video card I can do pretty much anything I want in regard to gaming, And playing with DVD burner, Etc.
With the upgrades I added. (except the video card) I was able to get the computer, The memory, and a 17" lcd monitor for under $900. I paid 679 for the actual computer, However HP had a 100 rebate on any athlon 64 purchased at the time. I purchased the computer on March 4th and I got the rebate check from HP on around the 1st of April. (btw, With any rebate, Send it certified mail, It truly helps!!)
Btw, The E-Machines are also nice computers for the money, My brother in law has had a couple and some friends at work have them also and they have never had any issues with them.

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