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eMachines T5224 review: eMachines T5224

As we said, the eMachines T5224 features an updated design over last year's models. It's still a fairly sleek-looking PC, and as long as HP sticks with its boring old all-gray design, eMachines will remain our low-end aesthetic pick. The changes are mostly cosmetic, though. Gateway, eMachines's owner, made a point to show us the removable faceplate on the bottom half of the front panel when it gave us a preview of its new desktops at ; it may one day offer a customization option for the front panel. Whether you can ever make it your own, we'd rather Gateway find a way to make it less of a lint magnet: within five minutes of putting the eMachines T5224 on our Labs' bench, the plate was covered in dust.

In our reviews, we've called out eMachines', Dell's, and HP's remote tech-support capabilities, which let you hand over control of your mouse to a company tech for fixing problems that you're not sure about, ever since those companies introduced this plan for their systems. We remain fans of that service today, as it seems to be a feature only large companies have the resources to offer. We're glad that Gateway, among the others, continues to offer customers this functionality with its current desktops, as well. In addition, the eMachines T5224 comes with a year of parts-and-labor coverage. You also get e-mail-based support and phone-based help, but the latter is a toll call outside of the 408 area code. While not 24/7, its seven day, 5 a.m. to 12 noon PT operating hours are still fairly generous.

System configurations:

Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.6GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+; 2,048MB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Radeon X1300 Pro HyperMemory graphics card; 320GB Western Digital 7,200rpm hard drive

Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.8GHz Intel Pentium D 820; 1GB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 224MB (shared) Intel GMA 950 graphics chip; 250GB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive

Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6400; 1,024MB DDR2 533MHz SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 7600GS graphics card; 320GB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive

Windows Vista Home Premium; 1.66GHz Intel T2300 Core 2 Duo; 1,024MB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) Intel 950 GMA graphics chip; 250GB 7,200rpm Seagate Barracuda hard drive

Windows Vista Home Premium; 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6300; 2,048MB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT graphics card; 300GB 7,200rpm Samsung hard drive

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