We'll make this quick. If you're considering the eMachines T5062, don't. Do yourself a favor and spend an additional $50 on the eMachines T5230. That extra bit of money buys you a lot more budget PC.
The two systems are identical in outward appearance, and inside they nearly match component by component. We recommend outlaying the extra money for the T5230 because it features a dual-core processor. The T5062 uses a single-core Athlon 64 3800+, and the performance difference between the two systems is great, particularly with multithreaded applications like Photoshop and iTunes. There's no need to settle for single-core processing in a budget PC when a dual-core chip is within reach.
|eMachines T5062||eMachines T5230|
|Price (after $50 mail-in rebate)||$400||$450|
|CPU||Single-core AMD Athlon 64 3800+||Dual-core AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+|
|Memory||1GB 667MHz DDR2||1GB 667MHz DDR2|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce 6150SE (integrated)||Nvidia GeForce 6150SE (integrated)|
|Hard drive||160GB 7200rpm SATA||250GB 7200rpm SATA|
|Audio||Eight channel (7.1)||Six channel (5.1)|
|Optical drive||16x dual-layer DVD burner||16x dual-layer DVD burner|
|Operating system||Windows Vista Home Premium||Windows Vista Home Premium|
Regardless which of the two eMachines systems you choose, you'll get the same inoffensive and functional case. Both systems provide a DVD burner and a multiformat media card reader, and inside you get a x16 PCI Express card slot should you want to add a graphics card on down the road. There's also room to add a second optical drive and another hard drive, but we would have liked to have seen more memory slots. The systems supply two DIMM slots, both of which are occupied by 512MB sticks. In order to expand the memory--and Vista gobbles memory resources--you'll need to replace what's there instead of simply adding to it.
In addition to the CPU, these two budget PCs differ in two other areas: hard drive and audio. The T5062 comes with a 160GB hard drive--smaller than the T5230's 250GB drive. Oddly, the lower-end T5062 features eight-channel sound to the T5230's six-channel audio.
Our Photoshop CS2 makes clear the advantages of dual-core processing. The single-core T5062 took more than twice as long to finish the test as the dual-core T5230. Perhaps you don't intend to run a high-end photo-editing app, but threaded applications like Photoshop that can take advantage of multiple processing cores are only going to become more common. Vista, itself, is multithreaded. iTunes is another multithreaded application, and as a result, the single-core T5062 took 16 percent longer than its dual-core doppelganger to complete the test. On Cinebench, a 3D rendering test, the two eMachines PCs finished in a statistical tie when testing on a single-core. The single-core T5062 obviously couldn't complete the multi-CPU portion of the test, but you can see how the performance of the other systems increases when running the same test over multiple processing cores.
eMachines' single year of parts-and-labor coverage is on a par with the industry average. And while it's not 24-7, we can certainly live with phone support that's open from 5 a.m. to midnight (PT), all week long, even if it's not toll-free. Better yet, via eMachines' live chat support, you can let a technician take control of your system to help diagnose and solve problems. eMachines desktops also feature Gateway's BigFix diagnostic tool, which notifies you of potential software conflicts and available updates.
|Rendering multiple CPUs||Rendering single CPU|
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.4GHz AMD Athlon 64 3800+; 1GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 6150SE graphics chip; 160GB 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drive
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.3GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+; 1GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 6150SE graphics chip; 250GB 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drive
HP Compaq Presario SR5050NX
Windows Vista Home Premium; 3.0GHz Intel Pentium D 925; 1GB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 224MB (shared) Intel GMA 950 graphics chip; 250GB 7,200rpm Samsung hard drive
HP Pavilion SlimLine s3020n PC
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.0GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+; 1,024MB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) integrated Nvidia GeForce 6150LE graphics chip; 250GB 7,200 rpm Samsung hard drive
Dell Inspiron 531
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.6GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+; 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT graphics card; 250GB 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drive