eMachines ET1810-03 review: eMachines ET1810-03

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.1
  • Design: 6.0
  • Features: 6.0
  • Performance: 6.0
  • Service and support: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Inexpensive; low cost to maintain; ample room for minor upgrades.

The Bad Slow performance; lacks extra features to sweeten the deal.

The Bottom Line The eMachines ET1810-03 isn't the fastest or the most attractive computer, but we can't argue with the low price, attractive design, and a complete (if not slightly barren) set of components. If you can deal with the midtower size, it will make for an excellent general purpose PC for the home.

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If you're shopping for a light-duty computer on a budget but still crave the performance benefits of a full-size desktop, the $370 eMachines ET1810-03 budget desktop might be the answer. It doesn't have the eMachines EL1300G-01w's slim-tower profile, but it makes a dramatic improvement in performance with a fast Intel dual-core processor, 3GB of memory, and a larger hard drive for less than $100 more. If you don't expect too much out of this system and relegate your activities to Web surfing and light media editing, the eMachines ET1810-03 won't disappoint you. Just know that spending slightly more money will net you a much faster system.

The ET1810-03's midtower design isn't considered large by today's standards, measuring 14.5 inches tall by 7.2 inches wide by 16.1 inches deep, but you still don't get the space savings offered by smaller slim-tower PCs such as the HP SlimLine series or the Gateway SX2800-01, our new favorite budget desktop. Instead, what you get is a concealed DVD burner, an empty slot below to fill with another optical drive, and a media bay down below with two USB 2.0 ports, media card ports, and jacks for a microphone and headphones. The case itself retains the same creamy white finish as the EL1300G-01w--the design emulates a slightly less modern Apple iMac. Regardless, we're confident that it will blend well into almost any home or office environment.

  eMachines ET1810-03 Gateway SX2800-01
Price $369 $510
CPU 2.2GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core E2210 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200
Memory 3GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Graphics 256MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 7050 integrated graphics 32MB Intel GMA X4500
Hard drive 320GB 7,200rpm 640GB, 7,200rpm
Networking 10/100 Ethernet; 56k fax/modem Gigabit Ethernet; 56k fax/modem
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit) Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit

We chose the $510 Gateway SX2800-01 budget computer as a direct competitor based on the Gateway's strong bang-for-the-buck. Of course, it's a faster and better-equipped PC than this eMachines, with a larger hard drive, more RAM, and even a quad-core chip. That's to be expected given the price difference. The eMachines' components make sense for its price, and if you're locked into the $375 to $400 range, it's a fair deal. However, for the sake of overall performance and capability, you would be wise to save up for the Gateway, which you can even find at some retailers for $480 or so.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
eMachines ET1810-03
191 

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
eMachines ET1810-03
177 

Multimedia multitasking test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
eMachines ET1810-03
949 

CineBench test
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multi-CPU  
Rendering single CPU  
Gateway SX2800-01
10,085 
2,773 
Asus CM5570-AP002
5,832 
3,046 
Dell Inspiron 537s -002B
5,391 
2,917 
eMachines ET1810-03
4,191 
2,232 

The performance scores of this group also don't surprise us. The Gateway leads the pack in all four benchmark tests, eMachines ET1810-03 makes a fair account for itself given its specs, even outperforming the $480 Dell Inspiron 537s on our iTunes benchmark. This is no multimedia editing powerhouse, but the eMachines is at least capable for its price, especially when you consider it next to the $298 eMachines EL1300G-01w, an even lower-end lesson in the benefits of spending just a few dollars more.

In terms of upgradeability, the eMachines offers ample room inside for one more hard drive, the aforementioned optical drive, a 16x PCI Express card, and one more PCI card slot. You can also open up another PCI slot if you remove the 56K modem. Unfortunately, both DDR2 memory slots are taken by one 2GB stick and another 1GB stick--you'll have to sacrifice one if you ever upgrade the memory. The inside of the case has plenty of wiggle room to beef up this budget PC, but you're better off saving up and getting a faster system now if you're already looking to upgrade. For everyone else, the core components in this system can aptly run productivity applications, media playback, and streaming video online.

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Where to Buy

eMachines ET1810-03

Part Number: ET1810-03

MSRP: $369.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Graphics Processor NVIDIA GeForce 7050
  • Capacity 1 x 320 GB
  • OS Provided Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Monitor Type None.