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eMachines ET1810-03 review: eMachines ET1810-03

eMachines ET1810-03

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Justin Yu
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Justin Yu

Associate Editor / Reviews - Printers and peripherals

Justin Yu covered headphones and peripherals for CNET.

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5 min read

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.

OVR
6.1

eMachines ET1810-03

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.

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.

Juice box
eMachines ET1810-03 Average watts per hour
Off 1.63
Sleep 3.14
Idle 38.58
Load 58.24
Raw (annual kWh) 153.02406
Energy Star compliant Yes
Annual energy cost $17.37

Annual power consumption cost
eMachines ET1810-03
$17.37 

None of the desktops in the comparison uses a lot of power, but the eMachines ET1810-03 winds up among the cheapest to operate at only $17.37 per year. The Dell Inspiron 537s and the Asus Essentio are both faster than the eMachines and understandably cost a bit more at $20.59 and $24.57 year-over-year, but overall the eMachines' power efficiency, if not its performance, benefits considerably from its slower dual-core, 2.2GHz clock speed.

eMachines backs the ET1810-03 with a one-year parts-and-labor warranty. Technical support is available seven days a week from 5 a.m. to midnight PT, and the support section of the Web site offers live chat with a technician from 3 a.m. to midnight. For $99, you can also extend the warranty for two additional years. Given the $370 price of the system itself, it's most certainly not worth extending the warranty.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:

Asus Essentio CM5570-AP002
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.6GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5300; 6GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 640MB 7,200rpm hard drive.

Dell Inspiron 537s
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.5GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core E5200; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 640GB 7,200rpm hard drive.

eMachines EL1300G-01w
32-bit Windows Vista Home Basic; 1.6GHz AMD Athlon 2650e; 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 6150SE integrated graphics chip; 160GB 7,200rpm hard drive.

eMachines ET1810-03
32-bit Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.2GHz Intel Pentium Core 2 Duo E2210; 3GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) Nvidia nForce 620i integrated graphics chip; 320GB, 7,200rpm hard drive.

Gateway SX2800-01
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.3GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 640GB 7,200rpm hard drive.


OVR
6.1

eMachines ET1810-03

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 6Performance 6Support 7
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