The eMachines W3653 is a bundled set that includes a preconfigured computer, an eMachines 17-inch wide-screen LCD, and the other peripherals needed for a complete desktop setup. For the purpose of this review, we'll be looking at the computer alone but factoring in the price of the monitor to the overall value. The $500 system comes with a dual-core Intel Celeron processor, 1GB of memory, and a 320GB hard drive with 32-bit Windows Vista Home Premium. If you subtract the price of the $190 monitor, the computer itself doesn't look like such a bad deal. Unfortunately, the monitor makes this system much less of a bargain than it should be.
The outside of the W3653 tower looks very basic and includes a dual-layer 16x DVD drive, an empty drive bay, and a standard media bay with two USB 2.0 ports, and storage card access (SMC/xD, Compact Flash I/II, SD/MMC, and Memory Stick/pro). Our only gripe with the tower design is that the media card bay sits underneath the two drives--we prefer to have the card inputs on the very top for easy access, much like the Gateway GT5674. The guts of the W3653 are as equally bare as the outside, with an acceptable level of expandability. There's space for an extra hard drive, a graphics card, and one PCI card. Unfortunately, the W3653 only has two DIMM slots that are already occupied by two 512MB DDR2 sticks. If you want to upgrade with more memory in the future, you'll need to sacrifice the two sticks currently in place.
|eMachines W3653||eMachines T5274|
|Price||$500 (with 17 inch Monitor)||$400|
|CPU||1.6GHz Intel Celeron Dual Core||2.0GHz Intel Pentium E2180 Dual Core|
|Memory||1GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM||2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM|
|Graphics||224MB (shared) Intel Accelerator 950 integrated graphics chip||224MB (shared) Intel Accelerator 950 integrated graphics chip|
|Hard drives||320GB, 7,200rpm||320GB, 7,200rpm|
|Optical drive||dual-layer DVD burner||dual-layer DVD burner|
|Networking||10/100Mbps Ethernet LAN||10/100Mbps Ethernet LAN|
|Operating system||Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit)||Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit)|
The eMachines T5274 offers a few upgrades that make it a better system for running Windows Vista than the W3653. For starters, even though they both have dual-core processors, the Pentium processor on the T5274 is clearly faster than the W3653's Celeron and as a result, will be able to handle a wider array of software applications. The T5274 also benefits from an extra gigabyte of ram that will give you better Vista performance overall.
|Rendering Multiple CPUs||Rendering Single CPU|
While the performance of this system is not outstanding, it helps us show two points. The first is that the $400 standalone eMachines T5274 with 2GB of RAM and a Pentium Dual-Core chip outperformed the 1GB, Celeron-based W3653 on every test by a wide margin. If we assume the W3653 is $300 worth of computer, it's worth noting that for only $100 more you can buy a significantly faster PC. The other thing we find is that as slow as this system is compared with other standard budget PCs, it makes the Asus Eee Box look even worse. We won't rehash our review of that system here, but suffice it to say that you might be able to find a scientific calculator that's faster than the Eee Box.
If eMachines had put Windows Vista Basic on the W3653 and freed it from the 17-inch LCD, it would have a respectable budget PC on its hands. The problem is the monitor. Its standalone price is $190, which is a little more than the going rate for an average 17-inch display. And if you shop around, you can find a decent 20-inch LCD for roughly the same price. This unfortunate bundle does considerable damage to the value proposition of the W3653. Considering the performance of the $400 T5274, you'd be better off purchasing that system by itself and spending $200 for an LCD with a much larger screen.
eMachines' warranty program fits the standard for the desktop industry. The warranty that comes with the W3653 covers parts and labor for one year. You can obtain tech support over the phone (7 days a week, 5 a.m. to 12 p.m. PT) and online via live chat support at the eMachines Web site. You can also purchase the extended warranty program that includes two or three extra years with on-site service and labor.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Dell Inspiron 530
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 1.8GHz Intel Pentium E2160; 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB Nvidia GeForce 8300 GS graphics card; 320GB, 7,200rpm hard drive.
ZT Affinity 7221Xa
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.1GHz AMD Phenom X3 8450; 4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics card; 500GB, 7,200rpm hard drive.
Asus Eee Box
Windows XP Home SP3; 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270; 4GB 1GB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB (shared) Intel GMA 950 integrated chip; 80GB, 5,400rpm hard drive.
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E2180; 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 64MB shared Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics chip; 320GB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive.