eMachines T series

eMachines treads exclusively in the budget PC space, churning out a handful of fixed, retail configurations each fiscal quarter, all of which are priced below $600. The T6212 resides at the top of this quarter's line, with a price of $579 (after a $50 mail-in rebate). Compared to the T5026 released last quarter, the T6212 trades some performance for upgradability. To its credit, the T6212 is well designed and comes packed with features, including a DVD burner, an 8-in-1 media-card reader, and 512MB of 400MHz memory. We'd advise against the bottom-rung T3882 because of its piddling 256MB of memory. The middle child, the T3985, appears to be a good value with 512MB of 333MHz memory, a 160GB hard drive, and a DVD burner. Both the T3882 and T3985 use a low-end Intel Celeron D chip, whereas the T6212 uses a midrange AMD Athlon 64 3200+ chip. For basic computing chores, consider either the T3985 or T6212. On the whole, the eMachines budget T series provides excellent value for the money among budget PCs.