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Review: eMachines cranks out solid budget PC

eMachines ET1831-07 offers a great deal for its low price.

We've been lukewarm on eMachines budget desktops lately, but the recent ET1831-07 is a welcome exception. It has most of the features we expect from any desktop these days, even a low-cost, $389 PC like this one. You get a DVD burner and a media card reader, for starters, but two other features stand out.

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First, this isn't a Nettop. Instead of a pokey Intel Atom CPU, you get a 2.7GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core E5400. That chip might be a few generations behind Intel's latest Core i3/Core i5 CPUs, but on certain tests this system came in faster than other budget PCs that cost $500 or more.

Second, you get a cavernous 750GB hard drive. Considering Dell's $510 off-the-shelf Inspiron i545 has only a 640GB drive (and, except for its RAM, is otherwise identical to this eMachines specs-wise), and eMachines raises our storage expectations at this price.

Our gripes? Poor video playback. The eMachines stumbled on streaming and downloaded video from all the major online sources. Perhaps this is where the Dell and its 6GB of RAM has an advantage over the 4GB-equipped eMachines. Otherwise, for non-video related tasks and overall value, we'd take this eMachines every time.

Read CNET's full review of the eMachines ET1831-07.