eMachines T6524 review: eMachines T6524

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 7.0
  • Service and support: 6.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Great deal for the money; x16 PCI Express slot allows for future graphics upgrades; 1GB of memory; double-layer DVD burner; respectable application performance.

The Bad Fixed configuration; wimpy speakers; grainy DVD playback; rollerball mouse.

The Bottom Line The versatile, expandable, reasonably powerful eMachines T6524 is a solid family computer and a perfect dorm-room companion that gets mainstream jobs done with aplomb.

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eMachines T6524 Media Center PC

Gateway's low-end eMachines PCs target families, students, and the similarly budget-conscious with a tried-and-true formula: offering a tiny selection of cheap, ready-to-ship products. Want to configure your own system? Try somewhere else. Need a fancy graphics card or a big monitor? You're in the wrong place. But if you want the basics at a bargain price, you need look no further than the $600 (after $50 mail-in rebate; monitor costs extra) eMachines T6524 Media Center PC.

The T6524 we evaluated is actually the highest-end model in eMachines' current five-model fall lineup--indicating just how deep into budget country we've ventured. Like its brothers, the T6524 is available only through retail chains such as Circuit City and Best Buy, and in only one fixed configuration. All five models share the same silver-and-black external plastics (clearly bearing the stamp of Gateway's in-house designers), differing only in their guts.

Based on AMD's 2.2GHz Athlon 64 3500+ processor, the eMachines T6524 Media Center PC delivers impressive application performance for this class of system. Although the 3500+ is 200MHz slower than the 3400+ chip found on last quarter's eMachines T6520 , the 3500+ is based on a newer chipset that allowed the nearly identical T6524 to edge out the T6520 on CNET Labs' SysMark 2004 application benchmark. Compared with its Intel competition, the eMachines T6524 turned in a score similar to that of the HP z555, which uses a low-end Pentium 4 500-series chip, while trailing the Sony VAIO RB44G, with its midrange Pentium 4 600-series chip. Aiding both Intel-based systems was their use of dedicated graphics cards with 128MB of graphics memory.

Like the T6520 that preceded it, the eMachines T6524 relies on integrated ATI Radeon Xpress 200 graphics that shares main system memory for graphics chores. You'll be able to play only older games on the T6524 at moderate resolutions. Fortunately, its unoccupied x16 PCI Express graphics slot can accommodate an upgrade to a discrete graphics card.

Once you wrestle the deceptively difficult side panel off the case, you'll find a nifty interior that provides ample room to grow. In addition to the aforementioned PCI Express graphics port, you get plenty of spare PCI slots and drive bays, should you need them. Two of the four DIMM slots are filled, allowing you to expand the system's already ample 1GB of 400MHz memory to 4GB.

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Where to Buy

eMachines T6524

Part Number: T6524 Released: Sep 23, 2005
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Sep 23, 2005
  • Graphics Processor ATI Radeon Xpress 200 shared video memory (UMA)
  • OS Provided Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
  • Installed Size 1 GB / 4 GB (max)
  • Monitor Type None.