September 29, 2003 8:48 AM PDT

eMachines unwraps holiday PC line

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eMachines on Monday launched four new desktops designed to tempt holiday shoppers.

Like other manufacturers, the low-price PC maker had to grapple with rising component costs when putting together the new lineup. But an eMachines executive said the company was still able to add features such as faster processors and extra RAM to its lowest-priced system.

"We focused on improving our business model and were able to adjust to it," said Gary Elsasser, vice president of engineering for the Irvine, Calif., company. "Our costs keep coming down...and we put (savings) right back into building better boxes."

The company also brought back a limited version of its rebate program, abandoned for last year's holiday lineup. Its two lowest-priced desktops carry a $50 rebate.

The company's new lowest-priced desktop, the T2542, includes a 2.5GHz Celeron processor from Intel, 256MB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive and a CD burner. In addition to the faster processor, the new model offers an extra 128MB of RAM over the previous lowest-end model--a feat with rising DRAM prices. The computer starts at $449 and comes with a $50 rebate.

By offering the extra 128MB of RAM, eMachines asserts that it can compete more effectively with Hewlett-Packard. The retail PC giant's least-expensive holiday 2003 Compaq Presario model, the $459 Presario S5000NX, comes with a 2.5GHz Celeron, 128MB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive and a CD burner, meaning the eMachines model offers twice the amount of RAM for a lower price.

Many of eMachines' new models are priced lower than similar HP Compaq Presario models. However HP will close that gap with $50 rebates on many of its newer Presario models, according to the HPShopping Web site.

The second new eMachines' model, the T2682, offers a 2.6GHz Celeron, 256MB of RAM, an 80GB hard drive, DVD-ROM drive and a CD burner. It starts at $529 before the $50 rebate.

eMachines also launched two models that sport a new black- and metallic-colored chassis and a built-in 8-in-1 memory card reader.

The T2825 comes with an Athlon XP 2800+ processor from Advanced Micro Devices, 512MB of RAM, a 120GB hard drive, a DVD-ROM drive, a CD burner and--unlike past eMachines models--Nvidia's Nforce 2 chipset. The chipset, created for AMD processors by Nvidia, offers built-in graphics processing. The desktop costs $619.

The company's T2865 adds a 160GB hard drive, a multiple-format DVD burner and an extra CD-ROM drive. It is priced at $719.

None of the four desktop models comes with a monitor.

eMachines does plan to sell a new flat-panel display. It will begin shipping a 17-inch flat panel, the E17T, in mid-October for $499 before a $100 rebate. The company already offers a 15-inch flat-panel monitor.

eMachines is also offering new extended service plans for the desktops. eMachines will sell 2-year and 3-year service plans for $99 and $139, respectively. The plans, which will send a technician to one's home or business, let people sign up within 90 days of purchasing a PC.

 

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