eMachines EL1300G-01w review: eMachines EL1300G-01w

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.8
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 4.0
  • Service and support: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Pleasing, compact design; rock-bottom price; DVD burner and media card reader.

The Bad Dog-slow performance; easily outclassed if you spend just $50 more.

The Bottom Line We cringe at the idea of recommending such a slow PC when you can get significantly better performance for just a few more dollars. That said, it's hard to argue with the eMachines EL1300G-01w's low price, clean good looks, and relatively complete budget feature set. As long as you have no ambitions for this PC performing anything resembling serious work, it will make a fine second or third home system.

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We're this close to really liking eMachines' most affordable desktop. The $298 EL1300G-01w has a sharp design, and sacrifices little in the way of core features. Our hang-up lies mostly in its pokey performance. We recognize that many of you are willing to sacrifice speed for a borderline throw-away PC that might be relegated to light duty Web browsing and media-playing duties. Spend just an extra $50, though, and you'll realize dramatic performance gains. Perhaps you really will only use the EL1300G-01w to check sports scores in the morning. But when it comes to a screeching halt the minute you try to rip music from a CD or create a photo album, you can't say we didn't warn you.

The EL1300G-01w's case design slots it firmly into the slim-tower family, alongside HP's SlimLine series, Acer's Aspire X line, and various trimmed down Dells. Unlike a Mac Mini, the Asus Eee Box, or other small desktops, the slim tower gives you the same reduced size, but still lets you get at the interior to make upgrades like a normal tower system. The front of the EL1300G-01w features a concealed DVD burner, as well as a set of USB, audio, and media card ports along the bottom edge. Aesthetically, the EL1300G-01w has neither the industrial polish of the Mac Mini nor the glossy black panache of HP's SlimLines, but between its predominantly white plastic casing and a few subtle curves, there's a certain charm to this eMachines system. We'd feel comfortable putting it almost anywhere.

  eMachines EL1300G-01w eMachines ET1161-07
Price $298 $349
CPU 1.6GHz AMD Athlon 2650e 2.1GHz AMD Athlon 4050e
Memory 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM 3GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Graphics 128MB (shared) Nvidia Geforce 6150Se (integrated) 128MB (shared) Nvidia Geforce 6150Se (integrated)
Hard drives 160GB 7,200rpm 320GB, 7,200rpm
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner
Operating system Windows Vista Home Basic SP1 (32-bit) Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit)

We could pick several other PCs to compare with the EL1300G-01w, many from eMachines' own stable. Dell, HP, and others also have PCs in this price range, with Dell's Inspiron 530 scraping bottom at $269. We'll go with what we've laid our hands on, which makes the $349 eMachines ET1161-07 the best comparison among desktops we've actually tested.

You'll note a few differences between these two systems. The ET1161-07 is more expensive by $50, but that gets you a faster processor, 50 percent more memory, and twice the hard-drive space as the EL1300G-01w. If the ET1161-07's midtower case turns you off, eMachines also has the EL1210-11, also for $349. That system features a slim-tower case similar to that of the EL1300G-01w's, but with almost the exact same specs as the ET1161-07. The key feature to note is the ET1161-07's processor, the 2.1GHz AMD Athlon 4050e. Compared with the EL1300G-01w's 1.6GHz Athlon 2560e, the 2.1GHz model is an Olympic sprinter.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
eMachines EL1300G-01w

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
eMachines EL1300G-01w

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Asus Eee Box
eMachines EL1300G-01w

(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering single CPU  
eMachines EL1300G-01w

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Where to Buy

eMachines EL1300G-01w

Part Number: EL1300G-01w Released: May 19, 2009

MSRP: $298.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date May 19, 2009
  • Environmental standards EPA Energy Star
  • Graphics Processor NVIDIA GeForce 6150 SE
  • Capacity 1 x 160 GB
  • OS Provided Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Installed Size 2 GB / 4 GB (max)
  • Monitor Type None.