We normally don't give budget desktop computers less than a three-star rating, mostly because the majority of them contain similar components, so it comes down to a question of pricing and overall value. Unfortunately, the eMachines EL1200-05w just doesn't make the grade and successfully garners one of the lowest ratings we've given to a budget system in a long time.
The problems begin with a subpar collection of internal components. The $298 price tag nets you a single-core 1.6GHz AMD processor, a measly 1GB of RAM, and Windows XP. Chances are, if you're shopping for a desktop at this price bracket, you most likely won't be popping off the side panel, but adventurous types will be disappointed by the cramped interior and meager opportunity for future upgrades. eMachines gives you a slimtower chassis and a handful of port cutouts in the back for aftermarket sound and video cards, but you'll be pulling your hair out trying to perform a simple memory upgrade.
If you're on a strict sub-$300 budget, the eMachines EL1200-05w will barely get you through baseline applications, but don't expect to run any kind of graphics editing software. We recommend saving a little extra for the Acer Aspire AX3200 or the HP Compaq Presario SR5610f.
Check out our full review of the eMachines EL1200-05w.