January 9, 2003 8:07 AM PST

eMachines updates its PCs, prices

eMachines on Thursday polished its line of desktop PCs for consumers.

The No. 2 seller of PCs at retail in the United States either maintained or lowered prices, which start at $399 for a computer without a monitor, while adding faster processors across the board and keeping other features largely the same.

The lineup, launched at this week's Consumer Electronics Show 2003 in Las Vegas, features four new desktops.

eMachines' new $399 T1842 offers a 1.8GHz Intel Celeron chip, 128MB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive and a CD-ROM drive. Its fourth-quarter predecessor, the T1742, had a 1.7GHz Celeron.

The $499 T2042, meanwhile, offers a 2GHz Celeron chip with dual optical drives--a CD-rewritable and a DVD-ROM--along with 128MB of RAM and a 40GB hard drive. It replaces the T1840 that featured a 1.8GHz Celeron.

A third model, the T2260, offers an Athlon XP 2200+ chip from Advanced Micro Devices, along with CD-rewritable and DVD-ROM drives, 256MB of RAM, a 60GB hard drive and a new eMachines Office Multimedia keyboard. At $599, it is $50 less than its predecessor, the T2085, which included an Athlon XP 2000+ chip with an 80GB hard drive.

At the high end, eMachines pulled back from its $749 and $999 fourth-quarter prices. Its new flagship model, the T2460, offers an Athlon XP 2400+ processor for $649. Its configuration is otherwise the same as the new T2260.

The T2460 essentially takes the place of that T2200, but at price that's $100 lower. The earlier model, sold last quarter, included an Athlon XP 2200+ with 512MB of RAM and a 100GB hard drive. A special-edition T2200 included ATI Technologies' Radeon 9700 graphics board for $999. eMachines did not announce another special-edition machine for the first quarter.


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eMachines found itself in nearly everyone's sights over the holiday season. Hewlett-Packard and Gateway each offered desktops that, after rebates, matched the $399 starting price.

eMachines has reaped the benefits of offering low prices. With many consumers choosing to buy $1,500 to $2,000 notebooks instead of desktop PCs, much of the growth in the desktop market has been among models priced well below $1,000, notably in the $600 and under range, analysts have said.

While the majority of eMachines customers are consumers, some small and medium-size businesses, such as doctors' offices, purchase them as well.

The company does have its eye on the notebook market, but has not made a move there yet. In the wings, it also has a line of flat-panel monitors, which were originally expected to hit the market last quarter.

 

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