eMachines ET1161-07 review: eMachines ET1161-07

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CNET Editors' Rating

2.5 stars OK
  • Overall: 5.5
  • Design: 6.0
  • Features: 5.0
  • Performance: 4.0
  • Service and support: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Inexpensive; ample room for future upgrades.

The Bad Slow CPU; wimpy hard-drive capacity and memory combined with 32-bit Windows.

The Bottom Line At first glance, the eMachines ET1161-07 seems like a decent setup, but a laundry list of subpar components running on 32-bit Windows Vista just can't keep up with other similarly priced systems that give you much faster performance and higher-quality components for just $100 more.

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The new year brings with it a new chance for eMachines to score big with its ET1161-07 budget desktop computer. The system contains the usual fare of baseline components with adequate room for upgrades inside the bare-bones tower, and $380 seems a decent price for the package--until you shop around and find other manufacturers offering more complex workhorses for just a little more money. Shoppers on an immovable budget shouldn't disregard the ET1161-07, but if you can afford to save up an extra $100, you may want to consider a more versatile and powerful system, like the new Acer Aspire X1700.

If the ET1161-07's design gives you a feeling of deja vu, it's because the chassis has been in use for a few years now---most recently in the ET1161-03. You get the same, boring, gray and black chassis with a dual-layer DVD burner on top and room for an expansion drive underneath. The front panel is also home to the digital-media manager that offers direct-input access to SMCs, Compact Flash, SD, and MemoryStick cards. Two USB 2.0 ports and two standard microphone and headphone jacks complete the setup. The back of the unit is just as simple as the front, with four additional USB ports and the usual collection of audio jacks, peripheral inputs, and an Ethernet port for high-speed Internet.

Inside, there's plenty of room for expansion by way of one PCI Express graphics card slot, two 1X PCI Express slots, and one available DIMM slot for additional memory (three out of the four slots are already occupied by 1GB sticks). Two SATA ports are also free for an additional hard or optical drive, and you can even replace the included 56Kbps modem with an aftermarket sound card if you choose. The opportunity for expansion inside is on par with the standard for budget midtower systems. For the price, we don't expect to have an HDMI-out or digital audio, although you can spend a little more and get those features added.

  eMachines ET1161-07 Compaq Presario SR5610f
Price $380 $399
CPU 2.1GHz AMD Athlon Dual Core Processor 4050e 2.5GHz AMD Athlon 64, X2 Dual Core 4800
Memory 3GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM 3GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Graphics 128MB (Shared) NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE integrated graphics chip 128MB (shared) NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE integrated graphics chip
Hard drives 320GB, 7,200rpm 320GB, 7,200rpm
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner
Networking 10/100Mbps Ethernet LAN 10/100Mbps Ethernet LAN
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit) Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit)

We selected the Compaq Presario SR5610f as a direct comparison, because of its parallel price and similar internal offering. The only factor to account for the $19 difference is the .4GHz processor-speed upgrade, which actually makes a substantial difference in performance scores, as you see below.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Acer Aspire X1700-U3700A
149 
eMachines ET1161-07
242 

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Acer Aspire X1700-U3700A
175 
eMachines ET1161-07
208 

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Acer Aspire X1700-U3700A
904 
eMachines ET1161-07
1,212 

Cinebench
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering Multiple CPUs  
Rendering Single CPU  
Dell Inspiron I530S-119B
5,505 
2,947 
Acer Aspire X1700-U3700A
4,796 
2,575 
Acer Aspire X1200-U1520A
4,296 
2,220 
Compaq Presario SR5610f
3,910 
2,029 
eMachines ET1161-07
3,343 
1,721 

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Where to Buy

eMachines ET1161-07

Part Number: ET1161-07

MSRP: $380.00

See manufacturer website for availability.