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Old 12-08-2003, 11:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
Junkie
 
eMachine or Compaq? Cheapo

I need a cheapo computer for home and see a 2.5 Celeron eMach and Compaq for $379 and $399 (after rebates). They include flat screen monitors and printers that I don't need, but the package is cheaper than CPU alone (and I can make no payments till 2005!). My current eMach from 3yrs ago has never had a glitch but salespeople say they now suck.

It will mostly be used for internet, digital camera pictures, word, kids games (not serious gaming) and hopefully DVD burning.

Which should I get? Is one brand better than another?

The Compaq has only 128 ram and the eMach has 256 otherwise the same.
(CD-RW, 40 G HD)

I will be putting at least a total of 512 ram in and hopefully a DVD +-R burner I picked up.

I suppose I the DVD burner would work in this system, right?

Let me know your thoughts.
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Old 12-08-2003, 11:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Winston-Salem, NC
If I had to choose between an eMachine and a Compaq, I would go eMachine 100%. I've heard 100% had things about Compaq, but only about half and half for eMachines. I bought a Compaq 5 years ago when I knew shit about PCs and took it back THREE days later. Yes, I had that many problems. I'd go for the eMachines...that RAM will make XP run a bit faster as well.

If there's an extra bay for CD drives, etc. then the DVD burner should work fine. If not, then you can always replace the CD-RW burner with it.

-Lasereth
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Old 12-08-2003, 12:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: Canada
My parents bought a Compaq a few years ago.. big mistake. They had lots of problems with it and had to send it to repair couple of times. Then again, it was a few years ago, so maybe they improved.. but personally I'd stay away from Compaq.
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Old 12-08-2003, 12:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Quote:
Originally posted by ninety09
My parents bought a Compaq a few years ago.. big mistake. They had lots of problems with it and had to send it to repair couple of times. Then again, it was a few years ago, so maybe they improved.. but personally I'd stay away from Compaq.
This is all strange to me... I have been running Compaq almost exclusively for about 5 years and havent had the first problem. For that matter, I am typing this on an old Compaq 800mhz machine that I installed Debian onto. Granted, the machines are stock, and are only used for browsing, word processing, etc, but still... What kind of problems were yall having with them? Were they hardware or software based?
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Old 12-08-2003, 01:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
Junkie
 
The compaq's we had at work back in 98 had that lame compaq stuff with the operating system and caused nothing but problems. I would expect they are simple clones now.
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Old 12-08-2003, 02:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: Farm country, South Dakota
Check out an eMac. Yes, gasp, he said it, the M word. It'll piss pound any Celeron machine in any of the things you suggested using it for and it is not really that much more expensive. Plus the Apple CRT's are absolutely fucking beautiful.

Anything with Celeron's in it are not worth the PCB's used in making them. They may be advertised as 2.5 GHz, but the performance is more in line with an 800 to 900 MHz P3. Great for web surfing, e-mail, and Word Processing. But if you throw DVD burning in there, you will need either a lot of time or more power.

As for the original question, e-machine versus compaq, I cannot compare as I have never used an e-machine. The one compaq I used was a first revision P4, That was honestly the only generation of compaq that was good.

Dell usually has good bargains and it is worth checking it out. Dell is probably the best mass manufacturer of computers out there right now (Home PC market only...well their network and servers are also beyond top notch, but that's neither here nor there).

Cliff Notes:

Look into eMac
Look into Dell
Celeron not good for DVD burning
e-machines > compaq
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Old 12-08-2003, 02:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
Eh?
 
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Typing to you from an emachine, i really do like mine, i say go for the E baby!
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Old 12-08-2003, 04:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Here's another vote for Emachines. We've had them as office computers for a while with no problems. My parent's Compaq is a different story, however.
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Old 12-08-2003, 04:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Same system, same specs, same hardware, same ROA rates.

Get the cheaper one.

Sorry SuperMidget, check the price he's looking at eMac is little more then double that.
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Old 12-08-2003, 06:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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got a referb compaq AMD 600 like 5? years ago and haven't had any problems. upgraded hard drives, RAM and video card but the thing still runs pretty damn well. it just got replaced with a AMD 1800+ so it's now my *nix box.
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Old 12-08-2003, 07:35 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Hummm, I've been in the computer industry for years and have owned many, many compters throughout the years. At this time, I currently own a Compaq IPaq Legacy Free Desktop and a Compaq Presario Laptop. Both of which have performed extremely well.

Now, if I were joe-average computer user and never did any windows updates, driver updates, firmware upgrades or registry tweaking I think just about ANY computer would have problems.

---------
Throughout my years I have rarely ever had a hardware problem! I can count in my head the problems that I've had that weren't directly related to my OWN stupidity.

Burnt out 125Meg drive in a 5 year old 486.
2-3 fried modems from lightning strikes that were the result of sing cheap opto-isolators.
Burnt out 100Mbps network cards, but they were 3com's that had been used for 2 years previous, (bought used)
16 bad sectors marked one one drive out of almost 20 drives.


So, when it comes to reliability of a machine could you guys clue me on on what you think makes the Emachines or the Compaq so bad?

-SF
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Old 12-08-2003, 08:11 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by saltfish
So, when it comes to reliability of a machine could you guys clue me on on what you think makes the Emachines or the Compaq so bad?
Well, from my experiences, the Compaq that I bought wouldn't stay on. Yes, it would lose all power every 3-5 minutes. I could barely get into Windows. It wasn't a software issue, but a hardware issue. On top of that, the Compaq customer support was worthless. I took it back 3 days after I bought it and got a Hewlett Packard which is still running today, even after a case transplant.

A friend has a Compaq and hers gives her trouble on a daily basis. It's been formatted numerous times, and the problems still exist (I won't bore you with specifics, but HDD errors are constant).

My friend's parents have one, and he says that it would barely get to Windows straight from the store. After he formatted it, it still gave various HDD errors like my friends. Neither one of those computers support extra HDDs or CD-ROMs...they have to be Compaq.

Straight up, every single person that I know that owns a Compaq has had bad experiences with it. Compaq is simply infamous in the computing industry as being unreliable. I know that this isn't always the case, but you can't change the facts.

-Lasereth
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Old 12-08-2003, 10:05 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Location: Chapel Hill, NC
I really want to know what all these Compaq problems were. Like I said, I have used quite a few of them over the years, and never had a problem. Granted, the machines were not retail, they were all machines that had been imaged either by work or by myself--which again, makes me want to know--were the problems software or hardware based? Im really curious about this, I didnt know there was such an aversion to Compaq out there.
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Old 12-08-2003, 10:34 PM   #14 (permalink)
Junkie
 
I believe that most of the long-term issues are software related. The compaq we had in 98 had a stupid compaq interface with windows that developed problems over time with more advanced programs.

The problem that I have with my eMach does not have anything to do with the eMach it is a MS Window update that did not stick and I need to fix to get rid of the "run-time error"?

What I am trying to avoid is the DOA or soon afterward due to inferior design, poor quality components or bad assembly.

I remember back in 2000 a stream of complaints about HP computers from friends and family who were just getting on the internet and bought the friendly HP and had nothing but problems both hardware and how the software worked with the hardware.

Basically I am keying in on a salesperson saying the eMach is poor quality and not to buy it and the Compaq is much better. Is ther any validity to this claim or is the current production weak?
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Old 12-09-2003, 12:03 AM   #15 (permalink)
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No, I don't think their is anything wrong with either of them. They are both built with quality components. Neither is inherently better or worse since they use the same components. It is a question of possibly asking too much of the hardware and developing problems because of it.

For juan:
Yeah I know the price is different, but I was listing similar viable (maybe, but they were other possibilities) options.

For Sailor 420:
Compaq had major problems with the Willamette P4's when they switched from the 850 chipset (Workstation) to the 845 chipset (Home PC market). I have no idea why they didn't work as well, But they were not nearly as stable and reliable as the original P4's using the 850 chipsets.

I have a pet theory but it is pure speculation. Hopefully someone can prove me wrong. But i digress, so here it goes. I think they had a problem with the custom bios interfacing between hardware and software.
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Old 12-09-2003, 09:59 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Just to brag, on black Thursday I picked up an eMachines 2.5ghz with CDRW/DVD drive for $200. It was at Best Buy - regular non-sale price was $450 - the rebate was for $250.

I did have a 600mhz eMachines desktop prior to this whose hard drive got hosed on a hard reboot. The new machine had an extra hard drive bay so I plugged in the old drive and got it to work fine. I'm happy with eMachines - the glitch I had was a software problem that I probably caused myself.
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Old 12-09-2003, 10:00 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Now, I will agree with you Lasereth, Compaq does have a higher DOA rate. For this reason, some stores such as Best Buy, have decided to boot up the computer and run a few tests before the computer leaves the store.

But I would have to say that, one you have weeded out the Dead On Arrivals, a modern Compaq machine will run with the best of the "Pre-Built, Pre-Configured" computers.

----

Beleive it or now, I recently fixed a Compaq that hade the same problem as yours. The 3-5 minute problem was related to a large gap between the heatsink and the proc. Seems as though the high proc time during boot led to repeated overheats...


-SF
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Old 12-09-2003, 12:31 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Location: BFE, Kentucky
Hp has improved Compaq quite a bit from what it once was. I love alot of HP's higher end products (mainly test equipment), but would say go with the E. I am currently running a E-Machine 333 as a firewall with a Smoothwall distro on it. I have recommended them to several freinds and the only problems I have encoutered with them is years ago one had a power supply die, but they replaced the entire machine for the pserson and even upgraded it (although they had a choise of them sending them a new PS and letting them install it). And had a hard drive go out on one about 2 months ago but not bad for a 3-4 year old pc.
I have see and repaired so many more compaq's, and when i used to work at Circuit City there were more returns/complaints about them.
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Old 12-09-2003, 10:12 PM   #19 (permalink)
Junkie
 
FunkyJ...damn that is the one I was after!! got to mine in Mission Viejo at 5:30 right after they had handed out the last ticket for one. Now after rebates I will get one for $150 more (after rebates) w/o dvd but it has a bonus monitor and cruddy printer I don't need. I walked the line asking for a ticket with no luck but a bunch of guys offered up other tickets they got for items they really didn't want but had resale value.

Good job dude. It was definitely a great deal.
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Old 12-10-2003, 03:49 AM   #20 (permalink)
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You can build a damn nice machine for 400 US dollars. I know becuase I just priced a email checker budget machine I'm building for a friend's mom at $307.

That aside, I hate Compaq. So, good luck bucko.
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Old 12-10-2003, 03:04 PM   #21 (permalink)
beauty in the breakdown
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
It may be the difference between the consumer and workstation models. Admittedly, I have never used one of the consumer models. I have used tons of the workstations though, and like I said, never had a problem. In fact, my employer (who shall remain unnamed) uses tens of thousands of them, and I havent heard of many problems. Granted, we do image our own installs, so there is no prebuilt software crap on it, only what we need.
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Old 12-10-2003, 03:58 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Stay away from Celeron's. They aren't worth shit.
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Old 12-10-2003, 05:17 PM   #23 (permalink)
Psycho
 
Yeah Celeron's are total crap but... I'm not sure Emachines are great pcs but that Celeron is a big problem.
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Old 12-10-2003, 05:35 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Celerons aren't a problem if the PC is $379 with a monitor and flatscreen. A Celeron will get the job done as long as the computer isn't being bought for benchmarking and gaming. Renew clearly stated that he needs a cheapo computer for home. A Celeron fits the bill perfectly since they're so cheap.

-Lasereth
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Old 12-11-2003, 01:44 PM   #25 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Well Guys, I read through everything everybody had to say and I really do appreciate the feedback. The true deciding factor was $$. This is a second pc for the home and the other one is a 800 Mhz celeron eMach that I never had a problem with. We are not advanced users. Celeron or not became a bigger "what if" than the eMach/Compaq issue!

You guys will get a kick out of the Best Buy upselling and acessories push. I said that I would like to buy the computer and finance it as it says in the advert. Before they would even get the pieces off the shelf they said I would need the extended warranty, especially if I financed it. I said that I was not interested. They slowed to a snails pace. Finally the got it down. They then wanted to sell me USB cables because if mine were over 7 months old they were no good. Then a UPS - I was stupid not to have one for each precision computer (cant share). More ink for printer (I am donating to church). Sample software 3 shareware titles for the price of 1. Blank CDs. The pressure was ridiculous. When I said I did not want to buy anything else they said that this computer would barely work on the internet and word anything more intesive it would not work. Burning DVDs forget it. The integrated video cannot handle it?

The financing they want you to get the mastercard and shield protection free for 3 months. Hoping you forget to cancel it.

I bought extra 256m of memory $29 they said they could install for $49 . I said I could handle it. They said that would void the warranty (BS I believe).

I think they are into the high pressure upsell to customers buying the starter PCs because they are naive and to recover their cost when somebody is going to finance $900 with no interest over 13 months and be getting $550 in cash rebates in 6-8 weeks. No brainer.

The only part that I am questioning is with this 512meg Ram, 2.5 Celeron and 40g HD will I be able to burn DVDs. Based on the DVD burners requirements it will work. I know it will not be a speed demon. But it should work. Hopefully by this time next week I will know.

Thanks again and If you think burning DVDs on this machine will never happen properly and I am in for nothing but problems I would like to hear from you. Or if you have a similar level computer and are burning let me know as well.
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Old 12-11-2003, 02:01 PM   #26 (permalink)
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My dad bought an eMachine about 6 months ago. He hasn't has a problem with it, and although I think it's a slow ass PC, he loves it. He basically uses it for the same stuff you'll be using yours for. He's certainly not a power user geek. Best Buy always tries to up-sell everything. I don't buy anything other than games from that place because of that. They also tried to up-sell my dad and rip his ass off. Lucky for him I went with him to buy the PC. Shit, I knew more than the dumbass salesman. People say Celerons are junk.. Well, they're just slow, and can't handle gaming or some serious multitasking. So if you won't be doing that you'll be fine. I wouldn't worry about the DVD burning. If you aren't worried about speed then I think you'll be OK.
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Old 12-11-2003, 04:20 PM   #27 (permalink)
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It'll burn DVD's no problem. It will just take six hours instead of three. If you don't mind waiting, and not using the computer for that long go ahead.
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Old 12-11-2003, 11:03 PM   #28 (permalink)
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eMachines had a horrible reputation from a few years ago. They were known to have really junky power supplies, and horrible / inaccessible tech support. They changed owners, and have apparently improved on both ends.

If you're on a budget, a hundred dollars or so might be an issue -- but upgrading from a Celeron to a P4 (or even an AMD thunderbird or better) will be worth it in the long run.

Remember, with the integration done by OEM's (like Emachines and Compaq/HP), it's not always as easy to upgrade as it would be for a DIY box.
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Old 12-12-2003, 06:10 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I have bought 3 Compaq's from Best Buy in the past 5 years. 2 Laptops and 1 Desktop. Used their brand Credit card and the multi month same as cash option. Never saw the pressure sales technic you mentioned, just told them what system i wanted, and went to check out. As to the difference in the machines, I have never owned an E machine, however I have heard they aren't upgadeable. That would be one factor i would check on, for sure.
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