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Acer, Dell and eMachines budget PC review roundup

Reviews of three low-cost desktops at Best Buy this month.

Believe it or not, not every PC out there is a Netbook. All the usual suspects still have new systems flowing into retail, and we have a pile of them here in our lab waiting for a review. Each of the systems here is available at Best Buy, and we have four categories represented: sub-$500, $500 to $750, $750 to $1,000, and $1,000-plus.

Acer's Aspire X1700 is our favorite low-cost desktop. CNET

With the posting of our Acer Aspire X1700 review Wednesday afternoon, we have the sub-$500 category covered. Alongside the Acer, systems from Dell and eMachines round out this ultrabudget segment.

Of the three, the Acer Aspire X1700 impressed us the most. This little system doesn't quite have the performance of the competing Dell Inspiron I530s-119B, but at this price we tend to value overall features more than raw speed. And with an HDMI port and digital audio outputs, the Aspire X1700 can work as either a workaday desktop or a low-impact living room system. We've seen this Acer's chassis twice before, and we liked it then as we do now. We think you'll find it remarkably versatile given its cost.