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Desktops

eMachines plants new PCs for spring

The low-price PC maker releases its second-quarter PC lineup: Three new models feature faster processors. Some include more memory and larger hard drives, as well.

eMachines is sprucing up its desktop PCs for spring.

The low-price PC maker on Monday released its second-quarter PC lineup. The three new models, whose specifications were quietly posted on its Web site over the weekend, feature faster processors. Some include more memory and larger hard drives, as well.

eMachines, which sells desktops mainly at retailers such as Best Buy and Circuit City in the United States, refreshes its PC lineup quarterly, upgrading components such as processors as prices fall. Its opening price is always $399, and the company usually offers models at $499 and $599 or $649.

Using this strategy, eMachines has become the No. 2 PC seller at retail, behind Hewlett-Packard. PC prices also move in its favor. In February, desktop prices hit an all-time low at retail in the United States. They averaged just $717, according to new research from NPD Techworld.

eMachines' new $399 desktop, the T2240, includes a 2.2GHz Celeron processor from Intel, along with 128MB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive and a CD-ROM drive. Its predecessor, the T1842, offered a 1.8GHz Celeron.

The PC maker's new $499 desktop, the T2245, also includes a 2.2GHz Celeron. It pairs the chip with 256MB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive, a CD burner and a DVD-ROM drive. eMachines' previous $499 model, the T2042, included a 2GHz Celeron and 128MB of RAM.

The $599 T2385 features a 2.3GHz Celeron, 512MB of RAM, an 80GB hard drive, a CD burner and a DVD-ROM drive. It replaces the T2260, which had an Athlon XP 2200+ from Advanced Micro Devices.

Meanwhile, eMachines has been expanding its horizons by offering desktops models at prices between $749 and $999.

eMachines' most recent models in the $749-and-up category were the Intel Pentium 4-based T4480 and T45110 desktops, priced at $849 and $899, respectively. The two models were released at the beginning of March.

The company is also building special models for chains such as Costco and Wal-Mart Stores.

Wal-Mart recently began offering a computer dubbed the W2260. The desktop includes an AMD Athlon XP 2200+, 256MB of RAM, a 60GB hard drive, a CD burner and a DVD-ROM drive and is bundled with a 15-inch eMachines flat-panel display. It sells for $798, including the price of the monitor, according to Wal-Mart's Web site.

eMachines has been eyeing a wider launch of the flat-panel display that is bundled with the Wal-Mart PC, but the company has not yet said when it plans to do so.

The 15-inch display appears to add about $200 to the price of the W2260 PC bundle. That's a competitive price relative to other 15-inch flat panels now on the market, which start closer to $250.

The company is also planning a move into the notebook market later in the year, but it has not revealed details yet.