Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Just Bought E-Machines EL 1331-05 Desktop Computer At Best Buy In Anchorage, And It Is A Winner (So Far)

Update February 4th, 2012: Two years after the fact, still satisfied with the performance of my EL1331-05, although I keep wearing out some of the letters on my keyboard (the keys themselves are fine). Looks like one commenter had a bad experience; even the best companies can put out a lemon once in a while.

Because I was having a problem getting randomly bumped off my DSL Internet connection on my existing computer, I was searching for a replacement. And on Monday January 11th, I found one - the E-Machines EL1331-05 sold at Best Buy for $249.99. You can view the computer and its specs HERE, at least for the rest of the week.

You can also visit the E-Machines website and read about the computer HERE. The 1331-03 described is just like the 1331-05, but with only 2 GB of RAM.

The basic specs of the 1331-05 include an AMD Athlon™ single-core processor 2850e, 3GB DDR2 memory, DL DVD±RW/CD-RW drive, 320GB hard drive, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. It has nine USB ports, four in front and five in back.

This was not an impulse purchase. For the past two weeks, I compared it with other units on sale at Best Buy. For the general price range, this unit graded out better than other E-Machines. Customer reviews available HERE show that 92 percent of respondents would recommend this unit to someone else.

Paper documentation is scanty, consisting of only two foldouts, but they provide the essential start-up instructions; many more details about the system are contained on software pre-installed on the computer. After plugging everything in and starting everything up, the computer took me through a series of simple menus designed to initialize it. All steps were successful. The unit does not come with "rescue DVDs", but the E-Machines software permits you to make rescue DVDs of the system software. The process of making the three rescue DVDs takes about an hour. It is suggested that you make the rescue DVDs immediately after setting up the computer. You can also make a rescue DVD for the applications; the latter takes about 15 minutes. Caveat: You must use blank DVDs for this operation, NOT blank CDs. While the computer will read ordinary CDs, the backup software will only burn the rescue files on a DVD.

I already had my own monitor, which is actually a Dynex HDTV I bought at Best Buy months ago shortly before the transition to HDTV. Since I stopped watching TV, I decided to put it to better use. As a result, I did not need to buy external speakers; I just bought a 6-foot audio cable (3.5 mm plug) to connect the monitor with the computer, along with the VGA cable.

I then decided to plug my modem in without installing my ISP's DSL software. Surprise, surprise; after I provided the computer with the username and password I use with my ISP, it automatically linked up to my ISP and activated the modem. This means you are not a slave to your ISP's modems; you can use your own successfully. Of course, the advantage to using your ISP's modems is when they fail, they replace them for free. By the way, Internet access on this new computer is seamless so far; the five-year-old Gateway laptop I was previously using was randomly bumping me off my DSL Internet connection several times a day, and apparently the network card on the laptop is crapping out. In addition, the letters had worn off the keyboard, and even one of the key caps had fallen off. To fix all those problems would equal the price of a new computer, so I opted for a replacement.

As for Windows 7, the transition from XP is quite intuitive. So far, Windows 7 operates as smooth as a baby's ass. Microsoft got this version right. The computer also comes equipped with the standard assortment of crapware. One of the programs I'll keep is Norton Internet Security.

With 3 GB of RAM (4 maximum) and a 320 GB hard drive, the E-Machines EL1331-05 is much more than a computer merely for light duty. It can accomodate medium-duty applications as well. Of course, if you're a heavy gamer, this computer won't be for you, but most people will find this unit sufficient for their needs. E-Machines is clearly starting to grow up. For $249.99, this computer is a "Good Buy", at the very least.

1 comment:

  1. good luck with that, mine was a piece of shit, it would crash often and when rebooted it would have zero memory of ever having any operating system installed. i threw it in a dumpster after a cpl months of frustration and bout a used dell complete system for 150 bucks from a lady on boniface who sells computers. and have never had a problem since.