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eMachines stocks its summer PC arsenal

The maker of low-priced PCs is heating up its summer lineup with four new desktops. All of the machines, even the lowest-priced $399 desktop, will include a CD burner.

eMachines is heating up its summer lineup with four new desktops.

The manufacturer of low-priced PCs debuted the new machines Monday. Unlike past models, all of the machines, even the lowest-priced T2341 desktop--which will sell for $399--will include a CD burner.

The company is hoping a desktop with a CD burner at its traditional $399 entry price will help woo more retail customers. eMachines also is offering its first desktop with a DVD burner, the T2625, which will cost $749.

"We're extremely excited about being able to give the customer an increase in performance," said Gary Elsasser, vice president of engineering at eMachines.

Aside from the CD burner, the new T2341 includes an Athlon XP 2300+ processor, 128MB of RAM (random access memory), and a 40GB hard drive. It also comes with speakers, a modem, and Microsoft Works software. The $499 T2482 model adds an Athlon XP 2400+, 256MB of RAM, an 80GB hard drive, and a DVD-ROM to go with the CD burner.

The company's $649 T2615 comes with an Athlon XP 2600+, 512MB of RAM, a 120GB hard drive, a premium keyboard, a CD burner and DVD-ROM. The T2625 DVD-burner desktop model incorporates a dual-format DVD drive, which can use either the DVD+RW format or DVD-RW format to record data. Otherwise, it offers the same components as the T2615.

eMachines is the second-largest seller of desktops at retail and recently has made further gains in that market, according to analysts. But it still is up against rival Hewlett-Packard.

HP, the top retail PC seller, offers a broader range of desktops--sometimes at lower prices than eMachines PCs. HP is touting a $349 desktop via its HPShopping Web site and retail kiosk program. The company also recently launched its Presario S4000NX desktop family, which offers prices and features similar to eMachines' desktops.

One HP model, the Presario S4000NX, includes a 2.4GHz Intel Celeron processor, 128MB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive, and a CD burner. It costs $399 after a $50 rebate.

While eMachines faces tough competition in desktops, it's looking to branch out. The PC maker recently launched a new notebook PC. The company also plans to build more special models for retailers such as Wal-Mart and is creating a line of flat-panel displays that is expected to come out soon, Elsasser said.