E-Machines computers - any drawbacks?

It’s new-system time, and I’m tempted by the seriously-lower prices of E-Machines products compared to Compaq or HP or Sony - roughly 75%. I’d like to know if there is anything to worry about in regard to product quality, in the experience of the board’s PC-hardware geeks. Do they use cheaper/crappier components, or would I simply not be paying for as much advertising and overhead?

Thanks in advance.

I saw a single e-machine fail 3 times due to faulty power supplies.
I would assume they do use cheaper components.
I know their repair model is less expensive… rather than having factory authorized repair shops locally, your machine gets shipped off to a nationally centralized location if it breaks, and you get a different machine back. However, the new machine (probably refurbed, actually) will be as fast, and frequently faster, than the one you bought.
In addition, the parts on their low-end machines are, predictably, low-performance. The thought of buying a PC with an S3-based video subsystem makes me cringe. However… you shouldn’t expect $498 at Wal-Mart to get you the world’s fastest computer.
In short, if you aren’t scared off by the thought of downtime (I would be), then go ahead and get one, and use that 25% you saved to buy a good backup solution, like an external hard disk drive for the USB port.

I found them not very reliable, slow & use their own parts most of the time. So you can’t just swap out a part. I don’t know what you mean by that much cheaper but I can assure you that a Dell 4550 is a much better investment.

I bought several of these for backup processing machines in the office (running reports, etc.). They are, without exception, the worst machines I’ve ever dealt with. I have been unable to pin down their failures to a single faulty component. They are just slow, flaky and unreliable compared to similar machines from other vendors. We typically build our own boxen or buy to very exacting specs, so maybe I’m too used to getting the very best performance from any given configuration, but there is definitely something lacking in the e-Machines.

I’ve used an emachine for 6-7 years. I’m not a hardware geek, and I’ve not used any other machines because the emachine has worked so well for so long. I’ve had one major system failure – the power supply blew out. I upgraded easily and inexpensively and got a much-needed addition of hard disk space as well.

I highly recommend them, but I am not a hardware geek and my experience is limited. That said, hardware geeks tend to be into system performance and don’t necessarily use the system for the same things you do. I think system performance as far as speed, etc., is only critical if you do the latest games and/or high-end graphics/video.

Isn’t this better suited to IMHO?

Not necessarily. There certainly are non-opinion-based drawbacks to eMachines systems. For instance, they seem to use proprietary hardware and drivers, preventing the user from changing the operating system (a real pain in the neck because the computer I was trying to fix came with Windows ME). Furthermore, even if you do manage to find drivers for a different OS, don’t expect any help from tech support; they flat-out refused to help at all until I restored the original OS. Aside from that, most of my dislike for them stems from the less quantifiable flakiness that others have mentioned.

Is there any particular reason you’re not also considering Dell and Gateway?

I once had an e-Machines computer. The first one had a faulty power supply, which I discovered right away, and traded it. The good one worked without a hitch for the three years I kept the machine. The only two annoyances were that the monitor stopped working a year into it, and the graphics card was onboard. Otherwise, I appreciated the way it didn’t have ten megabytes of stupid software pre-installed.

I have an Emachine that I bought the maintenance agreement for. It’s a good thing, as I had both the monitor and the actual computer replaced once each.

If you never want to add your own components to the system, the Emachine is a good alternative. Mine came with Windows ME on it, with a restore disc that lets you reset everything to the original if you mess something up. To install Windows 2000, I needed to have my b/f, a professional computer guy, get involved.

Extra memory has to be a certain type, which you can find on the Emachine website. My computer isn’t very friendly to new components. I’ve installed a new video card and a SCSI card, and had loads of trouble with each, until Win2K got installed.

The video card only had 1M of memory on it! That wasn’t enough to play Arcanum, which was my addiction for a while.

Overall, if you want a system that works out of the box, and you never plan on messing with it, I recommend the Emachine. Just make sure that what you buy does what you need. If you are ever planning on making any upgrades, though, I would recommend that you pay a little more now and avoid the hassle.

(also, you can get the extended warranty for about $150. It was worth it for me, and still cost less than another system might. Circuit City immediately gave me a new PC when I brought mine in for service. It was an upgrade, and I had about 1.5 hours of downtime)

You might want to look into building your own. Hardware is cheap and as long as you make sure everything’s compatible it’s not that difficult.

I think eMachines are fine for a low-end brand. But YOU HAVE TO BUY THE EXTRA SUPPORT. It is very very worth it.

I advised my on-welfare aunt to purchase one with the support. I knew her 8-year-old son would end up doing something damaging to the machine. He did, twice. Now they’re on their third machine.

My cousin plays lots of games (well not high-tech 3d games, but alot of Disney titles), installs alot of crapware, watches DVDs and lets his snot-nosed friends do what they will with the machine. So far the only thing I’ve had to replace was the CDR/DVDROM, which only broke because of the stupid kids forcing the drawer in.

The OS is winME, which doesn’t make me happy but so far it works ok. I spent a good 5 hours over there a few weeks back cleaning up spyware and crapware and installing updates, but that’s not eMachine’s fault.

So the eMachine is more sturdy than I’d thought. I’ve told them several times don’t be upset if it up and dies. They took the first 2 deaths in stride. Now that their warranty is up (it’s been over 3 years) I’m waiting to have to guide them through another purchase. But they bought this machine when eMachines were really hot and really cheap, so she has definitely gotten her money out of it plus some.

I was shying away from Gateway and Dell because of concerns over shipping damage and the increased difficulty of warranty repairs, combined with their no-better-than-Circuit-City prices. Perhaps I’m mistaken about that, too?

The attraction of eMachines is simply their prices, and you have all provided enough information to make clear that their reduced costs come out of the product as much as their business methods. Thanks, and off to buy a Compaq I go.

Definatley, look online for systems that are marked down and customize it. I got my lap top from gateway, 2.2 ghz intel celeron 512 mb ram and 40 gb hard drive for 950. A lesser system at Circuit City would have run me 1050. It came IIRC 6 business days after I ordered it.

Dell offers Free Shipping several times a year, mainly through the Small Business section. While I have never had to call them, my sister and friend had no trouble with their repair department when their machines had problems earlier this year.

I suggest a compromise between building your own and buying a branded package- your local custom system builder.

They’ll build you a complete system for a lot less than the major retailers or the major direct sellers (my local one, from who I buy all my components and have them do tricky things like seating processors) is selling an Athlon 2400+ based system thats as well specced as any top end manufacturer’s systems for $600 plus tax. They will provide an extended warranty for another 100 or so- an excellent buy. Just make sure you find a local builder with a good reputation, and read their warranty policies carefully.

And if you go the build-your own route, my best suggestion is buy as many components as possible from the same manufacturer.

I’ve never dealt with e-machine, so I don’t have an opinion. However, in this thread alone, several people have mentioned problems with them - especially power supply failures, and that in itself will steer me clear of them in the future.

I’ve tried going the “cheap” route before and have regretted it. My last purchase was from Dell and I was and am extremely happy with it. I’m almost ready to buy a new system and I will definitely go with Dell again.

Dell always has some kind of freebie going - either free shipping or free hard drive upgrade or CD drive upgrade or instant rebates in some combination or other. They are all worth about the same money-wise, so visit their site often. Everything was perfect out of the box; it arrived on the “expected ship date” and to date, I haven’t had a problem with the system.

try techbargains.com or xpbargains.com or fatwallet.com to manage those special Dell deals cause they are usually pretty complex.

Actually, and this may be rumor, but I heard that E-Machines was recently bought/merged/went out of business. Maybe that is why they are so cheap. Someone please correct me if this is wrong.

I have heard bad things as well concerning the quality of their hardware. But who cares if you get a free brand new computer each time the last one fails? Just make frequent backups.

Hell, I’ll build you a computer.