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eMachines M5310 review

 
 
Nick Crawford
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      08-02-2003, 04:00 AM
Hi guys,

This is a "first impressions" review. I previously owned an Averatec 3150P,
a ThinkPad T23, a Gateway 200 series (ultraportable), an Apple iBook 800mhz,
and a Dell Inspiron 7500.

Needless to say, I wasn't very impressed with the Averatec 3150P. The build
quality wasn't very good. However, considering the price of the Averatec,
it was an AMAZING machine. The only reason I was looking for something else
is because I needed a bigger screen -- 12.1" at 1024x768 doesn't cut it for
some of the development projects I've been working on, and I'm technical
enough to work my way through a lot of the problems on the 3150 (I had that
thing in 20 pieces at one time fixing problems).

First impressions of the eMachines is awesome.

Screen:
The screen is amazing -- 15.4" wide aspect at 16:10 aspect ratio (1280x800).

Build/quality:
The build quality is excellent, very solid. I can pick it up with one hand
on one side and it doesn't flex or bend like the Averatec.
It's a much larger notebook, however the machine is still very portable,
decently thin and not very heavy for how big it is (6.5lbs). I was stuck on
ultraportables for awhile, still prefer them, however I can definitely live
with this one. However, my Dell Inspiron 7500 was unbearable as far as
weight and size is concerned.

Wireless:
It has the built in Broadcom 802.11g wireless card, which is in a miniPCI
slot on the bottom of the machine. The reception is simply amazing, very
comparable to my iBook which was also amazing. It appears the machine has
several antennas coming off of the card and going somewhere in to the
laptop, which is probably one of the reasons why the wireless performance is
so good. I'm using a Netgear ME102 802.11b access point with a 1.5mbps
down/56k up cable internet connection.

Processor speed:
The AMD Athlon XP-M 2400+ screams for most applications. I have no
complaints, even my compilers work fast, comparable to my 2.4ghz P4 machine.

Graphics:
Need some work here. The ATI IGP card delivers about the same performance
as the S3 Pro Savage card in the Averatec, which is not very good. With
normal operation, it works wonderfully, however don't expect high
performance on any modern game. This is not a big problem for me because I
do very little gaming.

Keyboard/feel:
full size keyboard. 100% better than the cramped keyboard on the Averatec.

Value/Price:
Unbeatable. Better than the Averatec.

Customer (sales) service (so far):
Excellent. Asked for overnight shipping. No build time. No waiting for
two weeks. The machine was there the next day via FedEx, with a tracking
number delivered the second it was put on the loading dock.

Overall, this machine is an amazing value. So far everything has worked
great, the laptop "feels" excellent, the screen and wireless performance is
amazing, and all for $1200... you can't beat it. This machine makes me want
to invest in eMachines. Never did before because of friends' experience
with their desktop machines...

Putting this machine in to a "value" notebook category, I give it a 9.5/10
so far... the .5 would be satisfied with a better graphics card. Everything
else is perfect or near perfect.

__
Nick


 
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i'm_tired
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-02-2003, 06:01 AM
Nick Crawford wrote:
> Hi guys,


<much appreciated review snipped>

> Putting this machine in to a "value" notebook category, I give it a
> 9.5/10 so far... the .5 would be satisfied with a better graphics
> card. Everything else is perfect or near perfect.


I was hoping to hear from someone owning one of these. They look like a
good value at 1200 bucks (USD). I read some reviews of the M305 in which
the reviewers complained about the performance of the machine due to the
shared graphics (32 megs). Is the share adjustable in the M310? Or is it
locked at 32 or 64 megs?

Annnnd, just how bad are the graphics? Does this controller render DVD
quality video? Or is it going to stutter on HD DVDs? Though I play an
occasional game and even find need to render medium-sized CAD files
occasionally, I'd really like to have a bit of entertainment available to me
if I spend money on a portable even if I have to leave my games and CAD on
my desktop machines.

What OS came installed on that M5310? One day on their website it said
there was a choice between W2K and XP-Home. Now it says XP-Home only.

I'm really torn between the Sagar NP4760 and the eMachines M5310. 1200 USD
is a good value but 2400 can configure the NP4760 into a real beast. I've
also been considering the three offerings in widescreen from Toshiba, but
even though the Toshibas come with 800 mhz FSB P-4s, the least expensive two
of the three come with a video controller that may not provide substantial
"oomph" for new games and the more expensive one of the three is really
beginning to get out of my price range. Does anyone know of other
widescreen laptops to be considered? I've looked at the Gateway and can't
put it in the running with any of the ones I mentioned for a number of
reasons. Am I missing any others that I should take a serious look at?


 
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Joe Davis
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-02-2003, 02:51 PM
i have a friend with a Dell 8500 and loves it. it gets a lot of bad press
here in this group, mostly for the keyboard, but he uses it to demo
high-end, graphics-intensive software and is very happy with it.


"i'm_tired" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
newstIWa.31734$cF.11870@rwcrnsc53...
> Nick Crawford wrote:
> > Hi guys,

>
> <much appreciated review snipped>
>
> > Putting this machine in to a "value" notebook category, I give it a
> > 9.5/10 so far... the .5 would be satisfied with a better graphics
> > card. Everything else is perfect or near perfect.

>
> I was hoping to hear from someone owning one of these. They look like a
> good value at 1200 bucks (USD). I read some reviews of the M305 in which
> the reviewers complained about the performance of the machine due to the
> shared graphics (32 megs). Is the share adjustable in the M310? Or is it
> locked at 32 or 64 megs?
>
> Annnnd, just how bad are the graphics? Does this controller render DVD
> quality video? Or is it going to stutter on HD DVDs? Though I play an
> occasional game and even find need to render medium-sized CAD files
> occasionally, I'd really like to have a bit of entertainment available to

me
> if I spend money on a portable even if I have to leave my games and CAD on
> my desktop machines.
>
> What OS came installed on that M5310? One day on their website it said
> there was a choice between W2K and XP-Home. Now it says XP-Home only.
>
> I'm really torn between the Sagar NP4760 and the eMachines M5310. 1200

USD
> is a good value but 2400 can configure the NP4760 into a real beast. I've
> also been considering the three offerings in widescreen from Toshiba, but
> even though the Toshibas come with 800 mhz FSB P-4s, the least expensive

two
> of the three come with a video controller that may not provide substantial
> "oomph" for new games and the more expensive one of the three is really
> beginning to get out of my price range. Does anyone know of other
> widescreen laptops to be considered? I've looked at the Gateway and can't
> put it in the running with any of the ones I mentioned for a number of
> reasons. Am I missing any others that I should take a serious look at?
>
>



 
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Shawn P. Miller
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-03-2003, 12:55 AM
Hi all,

Maybe I can give some insight to the video capability of the M5310 even
though I don't own one. I own a Compaq Presario 900Z which uses the same ATI
IGP 320 chipset as the M5310. I have an AMD Athlon XP 2000+ mobile CPU with
768MB of DDR ram. 64 MB of that is dedicated to the video - I can adjust
from 8MB, 16MB, 32MB and 64MB. The video quality is excellent on my machine.
Especially watching DVD movies. There is no skipping or pausing. Playing
games is good (at least for me). The games I have played are the following:
Blackhawk Down, Sum of All Fears, Jedi Knight II, Need for Speed (all
versions), Rogue Spear, and a few others. All are playable at 800x600 with
full features enabled. I get probably around 25+ fps. Some games, such as
the Sum of All Fears, I can play at 1024x768 resolution. I would like to
have a better GPU such as the 9000, 9200 or 9600 but this is definietly
adequate for my needs. The biggest lack of the ATI IGP 320 chipset is the
lack of Transform and Lighting support. However, I when I upgraded to the
latest ATI driver from Compaq's website my Transform and Lighting was
enabled - not through the chipset but through the processor. The AMD Athlons
have supported T&L through 3DNow!.

I wish the eMachines was available at the time I bought min Presario 900Z
(Nov 2002).

Oh, you can't own eMachine's stock since the company is privately held. I
use own their stock a couple of years ago.

Anyway, hope this helps.

Shawn

"Joe Davis" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:eeQWa.2662$(E-Mail Removed) ink.net...
> i have a friend with a Dell 8500 and loves it. it gets a lot of bad press
> here in this group, mostly for the keyboard, but he uses it to demo
> high-end, graphics-intensive software and is very happy with it.
>
>
> "i'm_tired" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> newstIWa.31734$cF.11870@rwcrnsc53...
> > Nick Crawford wrote:
> > > Hi guys,

> >
> > <much appreciated review snipped>
> >
> > > Putting this machine in to a "value" notebook category, I give it a
> > > 9.5/10 so far... the .5 would be satisfied with a better graphics
> > > card. Everything else is perfect or near perfect.

> >
> > I was hoping to hear from someone owning one of these. They look like a
> > good value at 1200 bucks (USD). I read some reviews of the M305 in

which
> > the reviewers complained about the performance of the machine due to the
> > shared graphics (32 megs). Is the share adjustable in the M310? Or is

it
> > locked at 32 or 64 megs?
> >
> > Annnnd, just how bad are the graphics? Does this controller render DVD
> > quality video? Or is it going to stutter on HD DVDs? Though I play an
> > occasional game and even find need to render medium-sized CAD files
> > occasionally, I'd really like to have a bit of entertainment available

to
> me
> > if I spend money on a portable even if I have to leave my games and CAD

on
> > my desktop machines.
> >
> > What OS came installed on that M5310? One day on their website it said
> > there was a choice between W2K and XP-Home. Now it says XP-Home only.
> >
> > I'm really torn between the Sagar NP4760 and the eMachines M5310. 1200

> USD
> > is a good value but 2400 can configure the NP4760 into a real beast.

I've
> > also been considering the three offerings in widescreen from Toshiba,

but
> > even though the Toshibas come with 800 mhz FSB P-4s, the least expensive

> two
> > of the three come with a video controller that may not provide

substantial
> > "oomph" for new games and the more expensive one of the three is really
> > beginning to get out of my price range. Does anyone know of other
> > widescreen laptops to be considered? I've looked at the Gateway and

can't
> > put it in the running with any of the ones I mentioned for a number of
> > reasons. Am I missing any others that I should take a serious look at?
> >
> >

>
>



 
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marlinspike
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-03-2003, 02:58 AM
"Nick Crawford" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:AHGWa.45652$o%> Build/quality:
> The build quality is excellent, very solid. I can pick it up with one

hand
> on one side and it doesn't flex or bend like the Averatec.


Do many notebooks flex? I have two here (an HP 5375 and a Compaq 715), and
neither of these have any flex.

How hot does the bottom get? I went with an HP5375 over the Emachines for 2
reasons: 1 I knew how crappy their desktops are and 2 it was very warm at
the bottom in the store (granted they had it one a stand with very poor
insulation, but I also was able to get the HP for $100 less.) Though, it,
like my HP, might be such that it was very warm at first but as it breaks in
it is getting cooler and cooler (how is this possible? I know with desktops
they use a wax on the heat sink that melts to get better contact between it
and the processor, do laptops have heat sinks too?)
Richard


 
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Nick Crawford
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      08-03-2003, 03:27 AM

"i'm_tired" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
newstIWa.31734$cF.11870@rwcrnsc53...

>
> I was hoping to hear from someone owning one of these. They look like a
> good value at 1200 bucks (USD). I read some reviews of the M305 in which
> the reviewers complained about the performance of the machine due to the
> shared graphics (32 megs). Is the share adjustable in the M310? Or is it
> locked at 32 or 64 megs?


I'm sure the shared graphics memory has a lot to do with the performance.
You have a choice of allocating 16, 32, or 64mb.

>
> Annnnd, just how bad are the graphics? Does this controller render DVD
> quality video? Or is it going to stutter on HD DVDs? Though I play an
> occasional game and even find need to render medium-sized CAD files
> occasionally, I'd really like to have a bit of entertainment available to

me
> if I spend money on a portable even if I have to leave my games and CAD on
> my desktop machines.


Surprisingly, the DVD playback performance doesn't appear to be affected by
the poor video card. Age of Empires or low frame rate games work quite well
too, which is really the only type of gaming I do.

>
> What OS came installed on that M5310? One day on their website it said
> there was a choice between W2K and XP-Home. Now it says XP-Home only.


It came with home. This was a downside. I've since installed Pro.

>
> I'm really torn between the Sagar NP4760 and the eMachines M5310. 1200

USD
> is a good value but 2400 can configure the NP4760 into a real beast. I've
> also been considering the three offerings in widescreen from Toshiba, but
> even though the Toshibas come with 800 mhz FSB P-4s, the least expensive

two
> of the three come with a video controller that may not provide substantial
> "oomph" for new games and the more expensive one of the three is really
> beginning to get out of my price range. Does anyone know of other
> widescreen laptops to be considered? I've looked at the Gateway and can't
> put it in the running with any of the ones I mentioned for a number of
> reasons. Am I missing any others that I should take a serious look at?
>


I've done quite a bit of research on the widescreen notebooks. The Gateway
was the runner up. Honestly, I didn't purchase the gateway due to the build
time. I needed the laptop this week for some projects and don't like the
idea of waiting a week+ to have a notebook (that is most likely already
built anyway) shipped to me. No shipping options either, 5-7 day ground is
all that's available. I was kind of upset that it wasn't a centrino based
system either, it does have the P4-M but I'd like the faster bus speed,
power savings and wireless performance that comes with the Centrino.

I looked at the Toshiba and then was turned down due to the weight -- 6.5lbs
is my limit for a laptop, anything else and you might as well buy a small
desktop, pack your cables and take it with you (don't take that too
literally). The Toshiba weighed in at 8+ lbs if I remember correctly.
Also, it came with a 17" screen and some poor choices for resolution. If I
have a 17" widescreen notebook I'm going to want a little more than 1280x800
(that resolution may not be exact but it's close for the model I looked at).
1280x800 on a 15.4" screen is very acceptable though.

Compaq X1000 series -- Too expensive for my tastes, and have heard horrible
things about the keyboard.

vprMatrix -- I don't support Best Buy. Period. Have heard about some nasty
QC issues with these too and horror stories about getting them repaired at
Best Buy (it's basically a Best Buy branded laptop), getting them back 3
weeks later and nothing was touched on it.

Fujitsu P5000 series -- ultra ultra portable. Too expensive. 512mb maximum
memory .. that scares me. I like to run at 640 or more with some of my
stuff, specifically VMware workstation.

That's about all I've researched.

--Nick

That's about all the affordable options I've seen for a full size widescreen
notebook.


 
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Nick Crawford
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      08-03-2003, 03:31 AM

"marlinspike" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:bghtpe$lsk$(E-Mail Removed)...

>
> How hot does the bottom get? I went with an HP5375 over the Emachines for

2
> reasons: 1 I knew how crappy their desktops are and 2 it was very warm at
> the bottom in the store (granted they had it one a stand with very poor
> insulation, but I also was able to get the HP for $100 less.) Though, it,
> like my HP, might be such that it was very warm at first but as it breaks

in
> it is getting cooler and cooler (how is this possible? I know with

desktops
> they use a wax on the heat sink that melts to get better contact between

it
> and the processor, do laptops have heat sinks too?)
> Richard


Cooling on this laptop is 100% improved over the Averatec. The 3150P used
to burn my leg. This one is all hard plastic on the bottom, I've had it on
for 4+ hours on my lap (yeah, I'm a geek) and it barely gets warm. I'm very
pleased with the cooling in this unit. It has one decently sized
multi-speed fan which blows out the back of the unit (very little noise).
It runs cooler than the iBook, the Inspiron 7500, and the Gateway 200.

--Nick

>
>



 
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Nick Crawford
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      08-03-2003, 03:42 AM
Now I just need to ditch Outlook Express for newsreading.. geez this reader
sucks. My apologies for the messed up quotes.

--Nick

"Nick Crawford" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:Fm%Wa.52333$o%2.26501@sccrnsc02...
>
> "marlinspike" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:bghtpe$lsk$(E-Mail Removed)...
>
> >
> > How hot does the bottom get? I went with an HP5375 over the Emachines

for
> 2
> > reasons: 1 I knew how crappy their desktops are and 2 it was very warm

at
> > the bottom in the store (granted they had it one a stand with very poor
> > insulation, but I also was able to get the HP for $100 less.) Though,

it,
> > like my HP, might be such that it was very warm at first but as it

breaks
> in
> > it is getting cooler and cooler (how is this possible? I know with

> desktops
> > they use a wax on the heat sink that melts to get better contact between

> it
> > and the processor, do laptops have heat sinks too?)
> > Richard

>
> Cooling on this laptop is 100% improved over the Averatec. The 3150P used
> to burn my leg. This one is all hard plastic on the bottom, I've had it

on
> for 4+ hours on my lap (yeah, I'm a geek) and it barely gets warm. I'm

very
> pleased with the cooling in this unit. It has one decently sized
> multi-speed fan which blows out the back of the unit (very little noise).
> It runs cooler than the iBook, the Inspiron 7500, and the Gateway 200.
>
> --Nick
>
> >
> >

>
>



 
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i'm_tired
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-03-2003, 03:52 AM
Nick Crawford wrote:
> Now I just need to ditch Outlook Express for newsreading.. geez this
> reader sucks. My apologies for the messed up quotes.
>


Thanks for your earlier reply. Get OE-QuoteFix from here
http://home.in.tum.de/~jain/software/oe-quotefix/ . It doesn't make OE any
good for binaries, but it does sort out the character-wrap and even gives
you configurability as to how you view and quote messages.


 
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Bill Pratt
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      08-03-2003, 04:09 AM
If you look close...the eMachine looks like the vprMatrix.



 
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