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Upgrading an eMachine

One of the most common search engine hits on this site involves the words “emachine” and “upgrade” or “upgrades.”
There are a number of things to keep in mind. Some of this advice also holds for low-end units from Compaq and Gateway and the like as well.

First things first: eMachines don’t have the best reputation. The majority of their problems are due to the power supply though. Aftermarket replacements are readily available, and I recommend them. Don’t buy a factory replacement; it’ll just fail again like the original. A quality replacement from Sparkle or PC Power & Cooling will run you less than $50. I’ve seen 180-watt Sparkles go for $35. The stock 145-watt unit isn’t very adequate and isn’t of the utmost quality. If I bought an eMachine, I’d buy an aftermarket power supply and install it as soon as I could. I wouldn’t wait for the factory unit to fail.

If I had an eMachine I wanted to upgrade, I’d track down a PCI video card. The problem with integrated video on a lot of motherboards is that the CPU and video chip have to share memory bandwidth. What’s that mean? Part of the time, your nice 64-bit memory bus is reduced to 32 bits, that’s what. Steve DeLassus told me a couple of years ago about putting a cheap PCI ATI video card in his wife’s Compaq, which had integrated video, and everything about the system sped up, dramatically. I made fun of him. But it wasn’t his imagination. I was wrong, and the explanation is simple: After he disabled the onboard video, he finally got the computing power they paid for.

Besides that, any add-on card is going to be faster than the integrated video in anything but an nVidia chipset anyway. Last I checked, eMachines weren’t using nVidia nForce chipsets for anything. If you’re into 3D gaming, you shouldn’t have bought an eMachine in the first place, but look for a PCI card with an nVidia chipset. If you’re just into word processing and e-mail, something like an ATI Xpert98 will do nicely. Yeah, it’s an old card, but it’s still more than adequate for 2D applications, and it’s cheap.

If you’re wondering if your system’s integrated video is holding you back, the best tell-tale sign to look for is called “shared memory.” Enter your PC’s setup program and look for an adjustable amount of shared memory. If you find that setting, you’ll almost certainly benefit from disabling it and plugging in a video card.

The next thing I’d look to do is replace the hard drive. Hard drive speed is significant, and sub-$500 PCs don’t come with blazing drives. Pick up a 7200-rpm drive of adequate capacity. They’re not expensive–you can be in business for under a hundred bucks. The performance difference is dramatic. Most retail-boxed drives even come with all the software you need to move all your data to the new drive. CompUSA frequently has something on sale. I prefer Maxtor drives over Western Digital because they’re faster and more reliable; CompUSA’s house-brand drives are just repackaged Maxtors, so those are fine as long as you can find a 7200-rpm model.

The modems that came in eMachines are worthless. If you don’t have broadband yet, replace it with a USRobotics 2977 modem immediately. That factory modem is costing you 35% of your CPU power. The USR will give that back, give you better throughput on top of it, and costs $40 at Good deal. But don’t settle for anything less than that–any modem that costs less than $40 is going to have the same problems as the factory modem.

Most eMachines can take more memory, but a lot of eMachines already shipped with adequate memory. There’s rarely any reason to put more than 256 MB in a PC. If your machine doesn’t have 256 megs, you can pick up a 256-meg stick pretty cheaply.

Most eMachines can take a faster processor, but I rarely bother. Unless you can increase your clock speed by 50%, you’re not likely to really notice the difference. Doubling is better. You’ll get better results from adding a video card and a faster hard drive.

Likewise, a high-end sound card from the likes of Creative or Turtle Beach can reduce the amount of work your CPU has to do and give you much better-sounding audio than what your eMachine has on the motherboard, but is it worth putting a $100 sound card in a computer you paid $399 for?

It’s easy to see you can very quickly spend $300 on upgrades for a computer that originally cost $399. That makes it hard to justify, when you could just get a new $399 computer. So should you do it? It depends. Don’t spend more than half the price of a new computer to upgrade an old one. But also keep in mind that a new computer won’t come with first-rate components, and the aftermarket parts you’re buying are first rate, or very close to it. If that PC you’re looking to upgrade has a 600 MHz processor or faster, it’s likely that when it’s upgraded, it’ll hold its own with a new computer. In that case, you should think about it.

But if you’ve got a four-year-old eMachine with a 300 MHz processor in it, you’re better off buying something new. When you can buy a 900-MHz PC without an operating system from for $299, it’s just not worth wasting your time. Load your eMachine’s copy of Windows on the new computer and stick the eMachine in a closet somewhere as a spare. Or pony up a couple hundred bucks more to pick up a brand-name PC with Windows and a monitor, then get a couple of network cards and network your computers together. Your family will appreciate being able to share a printer and an Internet connection. If you pay a little extra to get wireless cards, the computers don’t even have to be close to each other.

One last thing: A lot of people sniff at eMachines. Yes, they are cheaply made. But they’re not all that bad of a machine, aside from the skimpy power supply. Replace it, and you’ve got a lot of computer for the money. Packard Bell did a lot to ruin the reputation of cheap computers in the 1990s, but the problems they had were mostly due to skimpy power supplies that were odd sizes so there weren’t many aftermarket replacements, and due to junky integrated modems and/or combo modem/sound cards that did both jobs poorly, killing system performance and causing software incompatibilities. Today’s highly integrated motherboards have eliminated that combo sound/modem problem. I know I malign the company all the time, but in all honesty, once you put real modems and sound cards into Packard Bells, they did OK as long as the power supply held up. I’ve got an old Packard Bell P120 with Debian Linux loaded on it. I ripped out the sound card/modem combo. I left the power supply alone because it looked decent. The machine’s run several years for me without any problems. Of course I covered up the Packard Bell logos on it.

Today, the same holds true of an eMachine–it’s just the power supply and video card you have to worry about now.

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125 thoughts on “Upgrading an eMachine”

  1. A client of mine purchased a HP Pavillion and a e machine a couple of weeks after that. He wanted to network both of them, so I installed NICs and realized that they both had the exact same Intel motherboards. This pissed my client off, because he paid $150 more for the HP when the emachine was essenctually the same except for the case. Same CPU MhZ, Same Memory, Same Seagate HD, both with DVDs.

  2. That’s one of the reasons why I like to be able to look under the hood of a machine before I buy it, when possible. If you know hardware reasonably well, you can determine the differences between the brands pretty quickly–assuming you’re buying retail and can get someone in the store to let you take a peek.

  3. comment I bought an eMachine about three-four years ago – a celeron 550 MHz job. The only thing I didn’t like was the the fact that any time I have to reinstall the OS, I have to remove all the comercial “crud” on the restore disk.
    I’ve put in a new power supply , a hard drive, CD-RE, floppy drive and memory to bring me up to 256. The HD, CD-RW and memory were add ons or upgrades for size. THe power supply wes – you guessed it – blown in two months. I bought a 250W supply and just keep the lid off the machine.

  4. Dave and I replaced a ps in an emachine about four years ago or so for a friends E-Machine, and aside from that, the thing has run very well for her. Only thing she has had trouble with in the past many years was her printer, which for some reason trashed it’s drivers twice. But those were easy fixes.

  5. Another well thought of brand of power supply is Enlight. I’m quite happy with the 350W I installed in my homebuilt system. It’s a bit hard to find these at good prices, even at “discount” retailers like Frys or MicroCenter. I found a good deal on mine at Newegg.

  6. Duh, sorry – that’d be Enermax, not Enlight… Gotta stop entering comments before my morning coffee kicks in ๐Ÿ˜‰ However, the link to Newegg is a good one.

    Enermax = Good, Enlight = ???

  7. Why buy a crappy Emachine/Gateway/Compaq or super integrated piece of junk if you or a local stoer can build one for the same price or less with better parts. I guarantee i can sell a better machine at the same price. If you want the cheapest piece out there, go to walmart and get a lindows system for $199. How cheap do you want to go?

  8. I prefer to build my own, but not everybody does. If someone comes to me asking how to upgrade something, I’ll tell ’em how to do it, regardless of what I think of the machine. And if you’ve already got a PC, eMachine or otherwise, it’s probably cheaper to upgrade it than it is to replace it.

    And be honest. You know ATX and microATX when you see it. Or at least I hope you do. Don’t feed me that old integrated line. You and I both know it’s a lie 3/4 of the time. In fact, a lot of them use the same Biostar motherboards you use. So if they’re crap, so are your systems.

    How cheap do I want to go? I’ve recommended the Microtel systems Wal-Mart is selling to some people. I know people who have to scrimp to come up with $200. At least this lets them get in the game with something respectable. It’s better to have the worst seat in the house than to be stuck outside, unable to afford a ticket.

  9. Which old integrated line where you referring too? I believe a non integrated system is better than an integrated system. What do you think? I have some customers who only care about price and thats fine. To be competitive with the integrated Dell/gateway/compaq/emachine/hp etc systems, we offer an integrated solution as well, BUT we dont use non proporietary cases and cheap 145 watt power supplies that might last a year and cdroms that only fit their own cases..etc. There are a lot of reasons a custom built system will be better in the long run. CHOICE has a little something to do with it too. All i was saying is that buying a computer for the cheapest price you can find is not always a good thing. Have you tried upgrading the processor and motherboards in any of those other systems without buying a new case or a floppy , or cdrom, etc. Good day..

  10. Jim, eMachines are standard microATX and always have been. The power supply isn’t the most common shape but there are plenty of aftermarket replacements for it now (and some clone systems use the same form factor now). You can replace an eMachine motherboard with another microATX board without issues. Just about anything from HP or Compaq or the like built within the past two or three years is standard microATX as well. The only major PC maker I’ve seen use a proprietary form factor recently in large numbers is Dell.

    I’m with you, I’d much rather go and build something with really high-quality parts–Asus motherboards, ATI- or nVidia-based video cards, Adaptec SCSI adapters, Turtle Beach sound cards, old-fashioned clackety IBM keyboards, Micron memory, PC Power & Cooling cases and power supplies. (Most of that’s a tier above the stuff you’re stocking, I note.)

    But integrated isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I suppose you’d pull the serial and parallel ports back off the motherboard? And integrated sound is good enough for an awful lot of people. An integrated NIC is usually a really nice thing to have. Integrated video can be questionable but it really depends what you’re doing with the system. For word processing and e-mail, most integrated video is adequate.

    You’ll have more credibility if you play up your strengths, rather than trashing your competition. “If what you want to do is word processing and e-mail, that eMachine will do the job for you, but for about the same amount of money you can get a clone system in a bigger case with a better power supply and you’ll have more upgrade options in the future.”

    Whenever I say that to someone, you know what they say to me? “So do you want to build me a computer?” I’m not even in that business. I build networks and write magazine articles. But people trust me because they can see I know this stuff and I’m honest. Sometimes I end up building them something, and sometimes I recommend a local dealer. When I recommend somebody, you’d better believe people go there.

    And when someone comes to me with a system they want to upgrade, I tell them their options. And regardless of what they do, when the time comes for them to buy a new PC (and you and I both know that time will come), my phone’s usually ringing again.

  11. Dave. First I want to say that i dont hate Emachines. I build hundreds of computers a year and i have seen all the dells and compaq and some emachines and others that we have in for repairs. Many times they have power supply , memory, and other issues. Most of the time its cheaper for me to sell them a FUll size Mid tower case with 300watt power supply at around $39 and if they want to upgrade the processor while they have it in, many times they are limited by the manufacturer. These manufacturers dont want you to upgrade. Thats why they make it hard for you to find parts to fit it or make you spend a lot more money for replacement parts. Maybe i was a little rough on the integrated systems. Each one is different and has its pros and cons, so i cant say they all stink. They are fine if you just want to do the basics like email and word processing and i reccommend them to people who are not going to play a lot of games . Even a used computer will do that fine. If you are buying new, all i was trying to say is that you can usually spend the extra $50 bucks and get a system with an ATX or micro atx motherboard BUT put it in a good case with expandability and a 300 watt power supply that will last and if they want to upgrade to a new motherboard later, and even get a board with an AGP slot for further choices of video cards down the road. Can the Emachine/compaq/hp/etc do that? You already said you would have them buy a new video card, and a power supply, and a faster hard drive. Why not get it all up front. The price difference in a 5400 RPM to a 7200 RPM 40 gig drive is only about $10. Isn’t it better to have a choice. Secondly, i am glad they integrated the serial and parallel ports on the motherboard. That was the best thing they ever did next to going to ATX power supplies. PS. I sell a lot of different boards and parts, not just the ones on listed on my website. (Most of that’s a tier above the stuff you’re stocking, I note.) By the way, I do sell “Asus motherboards, ATI- or nVidia-based video cards, Adaptec SCSI adapters, Turtle Beach sound cards, old-fashioned clackety IBM (i am using one right now )keyboards, Micron memory, PC Power & Cooling cases and power supplies” even if its not listed on my website. Everyone has an opinion.

    Their are new boards out every week. I try to custom build for each user depending on their personal needs. Like you, I try to give good advice and help the person out by getting the best value for their money.

    I hope some of what I have said makes a little sense. Maybe we can do a project. You give me an Emachine or something and tell me the price you can get it for. I will do a comparable but Better system and see if I can match or beat the price. What do you say? I will even use a clunky used IBM keyboard if you want.


  12. For what it’s worth, my experience with the “big” vendors has been mixed. The Compaq I pawned off on, er, gave to my wife was a refurb I found online. The power supply lasted about six months (shuddup Dave ๐Ÿ™‚ ), and the system ran like molasses with its integrated video. Plugging in a cheap dedicated video board gave it some pep. But those awful Bigfoot drives sound like helicopters, and the case was built for space, not convenience.

    My Gateway system, on the other hand, came with only integrated audio, which is fine. The video and NIC were separate, and the thing has been basically on 24-7 for two and a half years as my everyday workstation. I put in a SCSI card and CD burner. No problems. Now, under NT4, I did have some lockup issues. The symptoms stank of software, not hardware, and an upgrade to 2000 fixed the issues. Overall, a pretty solid system.

    Still, building a machine yourself gives you the ultimate in choice of components, and I doubt I’ll ever buy packaged again. Sure, there’s no warranty, but that’s why you buy quality pieces.

  13. Jim, I hope I’m not being rough on you, but this piece was originally about UPGRADING a system, not about buying a new one.

    Can you build a system better than an eMachine for $399? I hope you can come close because I know I can.

    Let me tell you a story. In 1997 I was in charge of a computer lab on a university campus. There were 20 obsolescent P90s in there. I had $10,000 to replace the computers in that lab. In 1997, nobody wanted to sell a computer for much less than $1,000. Not challenging enough for you? The network was Token-Ring, so $100 per machine went to the NIC alone.

    Between recycling parts like keyboards, mice, monitors and CD-ROM drives and buying in quantity and knowing where I could get away with skimping, I got in under budget and with respectable, off-the-shelf machines without any of that evil integration. Soyo motherboards, Matrox video cards, Ensoniq (now Creative) sound cards, Enlight cases, Quantum (now Maxtor) hard drives… Pretty decent stuff. (I’d have recycled the NICs but there was some reason why we couldn’t.)

    So I know how to build right, and I know how to build cheap, and I can even balance the two when I have to.

    But when someone asks me a question, I’m going to answer the question they asked.

  14. Hmmm… I think I’ll add in my observations/recent experience with the current state of Compaq:

    I picked up a reject from Office Depot in August (1.2g Celeron, 256mb, 40g, CDRW, DVD, nic) and threw a few things in at the time.

    Since then, I realized today while reading this thread I never got around to disabling the on-board video when I put Radeon 8500 in; it just came up! …and the PCMCIA dual slot thingy on the front (where the second FDD could go) that acts as home to the wireless NIC was a slam also. …as will be the burner when I change it out (screwless rails and all). …as was the second HDD. …and the add-on case fan that’s running from the spare three-pin on the motherboard. …or the second audio input from the CDROM that’s labeled ‘aux’ on the motherboard (primary is the DVD player). …or the second memory stick. …or, well you get the idea.

    A one year old Compaq bought at a bargain may be an upgrader’s dream since it appears their machines are now made to allow service techs to actually work on them (I do need to re-check, but I recall the power supply being a 250w job).

    Tidbits: the NIC was a SMC; the modem was a joke. The machine took Win2k on the first pass; the sound files available from Compaq’s site have been the only thing needed so far.

    I’ll have a report from the Linux side of the street within the next week or so.

  15. I have a emachine 400i and woudl like to upgrade to little faster CPU. up to 900 maybe. Is it possible to do so without buying another PC…I’ve upgraded the PS/VC/MODEM/CD to CD-RW,MEM-256, HD-60gb. I would just like to add one more item..a faster CPU.


  16. A 400 would be limited to going to 533 MHz without special tricks. To go higher, check out a CPU upgrade from PowerLeap ( Or you could do a motherboard swap. Get a microATX motherboard that takes whatever CPU you want. That could ultimately be cheaper than a PowerLeap upgrade.

  17. I have a 400idx case lying around and noticed that an Asus Asus A7N266-VM (about $70) fits. These are excellent upgrade boards I use on older systems, and their onboard video is good although not hardcore gaming quality. Their AGP slot allows future card upgrades for those who care and their onboard sound is quite good.
    Get a Duron, 128/256 megs of PC2100 DDR, a decent power supply (with some cutting a full ATX unit will fit) and you have a speedy little box for a couple hundred bucks that is actually further upgradeable in the future with faster Athlons, video cards, and more DDR as the price drops. Beats the Wal-Mart boxes.
    Sure, ya could buy a case for a few dollars (and addtional shipping) but many folks don’t have much cash and recycling every practical part is worth it.

  18. Addendum to the above:
    Twist off the two metal pins that protrude from the motherboard mounting surface (vise grips will do), offer up an ATX power supply to the old power supply area, and cut off interfering tabs with a dremel. Where to trim is self-explanatory.
    There are two dimples in the top of the chassis. After stripping the chassis of all components rest this surface on a sutiable backstop and bash them flat. Drilling them out is neater and works fine.

  19. First let me say thanks for supplying this forum. I did a search on upgrading an emachine 400i and found you guys.

    I would like to upgrade the motherboard and the processor and am having trouble getting a straight answer on if I could keep my case or not. Would like to attempt at doing the work myself, am fairly handy. (have replaced my hard drive, installed memory, and yes replaced my power supply..3months after buying it! but have been happy with it since. Would at least like to get to a 1.0 ghz. Any help is appreciated.


  20. You ought to be able to put a microATX board in there, but you may have to do some minor modifications to the case like “sr” did in the comments above you.

    If the aftermarket power supply you used is fairly heavy (180 watts or more), the Asus board he mentioned would do very nicely for you. If it’s a lower-wattage box, you’re better off with a Celeron since it’s slightly lower-power. Stick with the Socket 370 Celerons. offers several Socket 370 motherboards for under $60. A Celeron 1.2 GHz will run you $44. Add a fan and you’re ready to go. Total cost should be under $120.

    Keep in mind though that a decent ATX case like a Foxconn 3400 will run you about $45 shipped and will take absolutely any motherboard you want. Replacing a motherboard in a retail system isn’t impossible, but if you’ve never done it before, I’m more comfortable suggesting you get a new case/PS/mobo/CPU and raid the old system for parts. If you can scrounge enough parts afterward to turn your eMachine 400i back into a functional system, great. Then you’ve got a secondary PC to use for other stuff, or to give to someone who can use it.

    Those are my suggestions. Feel free to ask more questions if need be.

  21. Very nice forum. I live in Spain and I´m trying to help my Mom, who lives in Chicago, buy a computer. So I´m looking for good computers online. Unfortunately she has very little to spend, maybe $300-400 dollars.

    She has an NEC monitor that is probably 6 years old but was top of the line back then and seems to be going strong. So at first all she needs is a tower. I found this machine for $499 before shipping

    and I was wondering what people think of it, taking into consideration the price and the fact that Mom only needs it for word processing and sending me emails with picture attachments, you know, Mom stuff…

    I thought that the power supply looks a bit weak.

    Any other advice on where to get a decent pc at this price range is very welcome. I´m not a novice, but am far from being an expert, so please, load up on the advice!


  22. Wow, this is a useful article. Good thing I already did most of that. lol. I avoided the nightmares I’ve read on the internet regarding eMachines by simply replacing the eMachines stuff with what I had that was better. This time last year, I had a 300mhz celeron desktop built by a local company. I had gone as far as buying a Lian Li PC12 case, a 400w Enermax psu and a black dvd rom drive so I could build my own new pc. I ran out of money, so scrapped that. I saw an eMachines at Office Depot for a really good price, so I convinced my dad to buy it for me.

    I took out my secondary hd, modem and voodoo 3 video card from my old desktop and the hd, cd burner and mobo/cpu from the emachines and put them all in my cool black aluminum case, which already had the dvd and psu installed. Besides having to get a new activation number from Microsoft, it worked just fine. It still works, I just prefer using my 2.4ghz laptop now. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I did pay my dad back.

    Sic, you often have to watch those lowest prices listed by websites. They are misleading a lot of times. I clicked on the “compare prices” link and got one result, for a tech depot website. I clicked on the product link for that site and what did I see? They offer the 1.7ghz processor for $283, and you can buy it for that price only as part of a custom built system. Gotta watch ’em, like I said. If you’d like a nice cheap system for your mother, I’d recommend this one at I’ll try and post the link, but I have no idea if this thing takes html code or not. ibuypower’s AMD bargain pc for $389

    If I were as strapped for cash as I was last year, this is precisely what i’d get, and this company has fairly good reviews at However, that price is without an operating system installed. That’s a bit extra.

  23. Your CD lens is either dirty (buy a CD-ROM/CD-RW/DVD lens cleaner) or your drive is hosed.

    Drives are cheap: replace it.

  24. Rich is probably right. But there are two longshot possibilities to check. Longshot possibility #1: search the registry for a key called NoIDE and delete it if you find it. Longshot possibility #2: Check config.sys for CD-ROM drivers and delete them if you find them.

  25. Timely timely timely…was ready to go out and buy a new CD-rom (actually a cd-rw) thinking my cd rom was fried…would not spin.

    Dave’s config.sys check cleared the problem, I didn’t think it had a chance in hell of working, but then that’s why Dave gets the big bucks, and the rest of us search for solutions on google.

    Thanks DAVE!

  26. comment: I am looking to buy a emachine T2042 and I want to know if it is an okay machine to purchase. I will be using it for my business which is a travel agency, which I will be on-line most of the time. I will be using WordPerfect, Microsoft Office and other software for a business and personal use. Also, I want to know more about upgrades and about the power supply for this CPU, if you have information on this.

  27. Emachines, according to Dave F., tend to have issues with inadequate power supplies.

    This is what I found in a blurb for it.

    “By offering dual optical drives, the T2042 is tailored toward multimedia enthusiasts seeking an affordable PC for “burning” CDs as well as playing digital music and movies. The PC, powered by an Intel Celeron 2 GHz processor, comes complete with 128 MB DDR, 40 GB hard drive, 56K V.92 ready fax/modem, 40x CD-RW, 16x DVD drives, six USB 2.0 ports, multimedia keyboard, wheel mouse and stereo speakers for $499.”

    128 MB is a bit skimpy. I would use 256 MB to make XP run smoothly.

    The non-mention of the video makes me think that it’s an integrated video set. Probably an Intel or Via/Savage chipset. OK for your purposes, though.

    The dual opticals are OK, though. I do hope they give you Lite-On drives or some equivalent brand.

    That said, I would not buy this machine with any intention of upgrading the CPU. It simply does not make sense – not at that price point.

    Also, it makes no sense buying a machine and immediately upgrading things on it. I would check a local mom and pop PC shop and find out what a machine they built with those specs would cost. I think the parts inside the PC MIGHT be of somewhat higher quality, for about the same price.

    That, or look for the Dell/Gateway/Alienware special of the month.

  28. I put my emachine in the shop the other day to have a cd rewriter installed in it and it gave the tech nothing but trouble.I have a emachine 333i.Everytime he went to click on the software it would freeze up the computer.Same thing happened to me when I tried to install the cd rewriter.So he said that he did some research and found out that you cant install any kind of recorder on this emachine.So he put in a new motherboard and processor and he said it was a 1 ghz and then tried that but windows kept shutting off before it got loaded and evidently burned up the new motherboard so he gave up and put everyting back to its orginal way and gave it back to me.

  29. Bummer. Though if the machine is a standard PC (able to support four IDE devices, among other things) there is no reason why it should not be able to use a CD-R with it.

  30. I have an emachine 433i and wanted to put a second hard drive into it. The guy at the computer place sold me on buying a new box and just moving everything over. I am no computer builder and probably got in a little over my head here, but when I got everything hooked up – nothing. Should I just put it all back into the emachine box and simply replace the hard drive rather than run two?

  31. Ok – I moved everything back over to the old Emachines box because nothing was working in the new box, and the switch didn’t seem to work (I figured it was a bad switch on a $29.99 box). When I get everything back over – same deal. The CD drive lights up and opens this time, and I can hear the hard drives power up, but I just get a blank screen, and again the on off button on the front doesn’t do anything. Have I done something terribly wrong here that I don’t know about? I am not very techy but thoght that this would be a simple task.

    Any help or hints here would be greatly appreciated!!

  32. comment
    disconnect all the data cables then see if your screen lights up
    (most likely you have a floppy cable installed wrong)
    if so hook up and try each cable one at a time
    maybe a bad cable or maybe plugged in wrong
    gl ๐Ÿ™‚
    i noticed an earlier post saying compaq’s are an upgrade dream
    from a person who supports over 8000 compaq workstations and 100 compaq servers
    take that with a whole bottle of salt…
    sometimes they are sometimes their not
    it depends on the model
    as a general rule the nicer it is the more likely you cant do much with out buying parts from them…

  33. comment just got a etower series 3.5f it has a 130 watt power supply can i go up to a 180 watt without any problem or modification?

  34. we got an emachine 600is , new 3 yrs ago . Im self taught but have managed to add a cd burner & upgraded to 256 mb ram also added an ethernet card for dsl . Now need more storage , 10 gb isnt enough! The tech @ Best Buy said I cant upgrade an emachine hard drive (he also acts like women are stupid , so I question his expertise !) Have found a Maxtor 60 gb 7200 rpm , but can get Western Digital hard drive cheaper . will either of these work? Should I replace or just add a second one ? Im running win xp . have had no problems other than storage although im concerned about the power supply issue after reading everyones postings .How can I tell if I need to replace that also , & are the hard drive & power supply things I can do myself ? Would appreciate advise from anyone who can help!

    1. It is the day before the Fourth of July and I am sitting here trying so hard to help my friend get her computer up and working again for her little girl. I have contacted Gateway for recovery disk information and want to charge me for the disks. I guess one of my friend’s disks got stepped on and cracked and now we need the recovery disk(s). Is is possible for you or somebody else to please send me a copy?

      Starving Students
      Brian – Southern California

      1. Even if you find a user so inclined to create duplicate
        recovery disc set for you then you still have the problem of that
        user not knowing the exact model number of your e-Machines

        Dustin D. Cook, A+

  35. Hey Dave F (or anyone else who might know), I own a Emachines T4160, just did a fresh install on Windows 2000. Any idea where I can download the onboard NIC drivers? For some strange reason they didn’t load with Win2K and I tried to update drivers in hardware manager and that didn’t work either. Maybe I should just get a regular NIC card? Thanks!

  36. Found another tech @ best buy who knew something . He sold me a Seagate 40 gb harddrive . I copied all my files to it then reinstalled it as the master drive . it didnt work ! Kept saying “no OS present ” After hours of novice troubleshooting on my own , I went back to step 1 & started all over . Turns out there was an error in the 1st file transfer . Everything works great now ! Btw , I found the only way to start over was to put EVERYTHING back with the new drive disconnected & reinstall the software , it woudnt work otherwise.Hope this helps someone else .

  37. I have my sisters etower 400i3 sitting here. Added 128mg ram 3 weeks ago,$30.00, hard drive started going bad so I put in an IBM deskstar 20 gb, $70.00 and 2 days after that it quit. Got an atx tester for power supply and found out it was bad. Replaced with 180 watt ps for 26.00 with handling and now it runs about 1 minute and quits. Stuck the ps tester on it and it reads just fine on the voltage.
    I think the mobo has a short in it, but is there any way to test it? Don’t know if it is worth sticking more money in it, But with new mobo she’ll have new computer. Any suggestions?????

  38. Avoid IBM and Western Digital hard drives.

    Check to see that the mobo and the PS are not shorting each other out.

  39. comment Got my first computer today(rescued from trash) Presario 4160 Pentium 75 Win 95 1 GB 8 Mb RAM 16 Soundblaster card 19.6 modem NEC XV17 He told me to upgrade the modem. What modem should I buy? Any other upgrades I can do for a few dollars? Thanks for your help. I want e-mail and internet ability.

  40. Mel.

    Three choices.

    If broadband is an option, buy a PCI network card (or bum one off of someone) and go DSL.

    If dialup is what you have to use, either
    -buy an external serial modem (better reliability, but more expensive)
    -buy an internal PCI “winmodem” (not particularly multi-OS-friendly, but cheap.

    Max out the RAM as much as you can.

  41. I purchased a emach T2042 two weeks ago and had to return it after 2 days. The thing would not connect (dail up) to AOL after running fine for the first couple of days. Emach help line said it was AOL and AOL blamed emachine. It would not fully connect and blocked the internet explorer from accessing. After trading it in for another new 2042, since I thought I got a lemon, the second one did the same. Although no one has been able to confirm, iIbelieve the problem was when I installed the MCAFEE FIREWALL…that came on the system. Have you ever seen the MCAFEE FREWALL cause problems by blocking dialup connection and/or internet explorer?

    I liked the 2042 and want to purchase another, but as you can imagine I’m hesitant… Any suggestions?

  42. Hello Carl

    I want to set up a internet service,on my emachine

    400i but,it says I dont have a modem, or it can’t

    find the modem. Please tell me how, to obtain a driver

    for a 400i emachine, and how to download one if



  43. comment I just brought a emachine.T2042 2.0ghz can anyone tell me whyit takes me2-3 times to get the screen to come on.the lights on the power botton ligths up but the screen won,t.I have to keep rebootingto get the screen up.After I get the screen to boot up I get this message that it wants me to click safe mode.If there is someone that has experenced this problem please email me.

  44. comment Just saw your forum. I think you are right on when you comment that you can get a lot out of an apparently slower processor, I have an eMachines 600is which I’ve been getting along with for a couple years. I think I will upgrade the power supply asap after reading your comments. But here’s what I added: Seagate 7200 80G on a Promise card, Plextor burner and Toshiba DVD connected to the original mainboard IDEs, Adaptec Duoconnect USB2/IDE card, NIC card connected to wireless router connected to cable modem, ZOOM external USB modem as backup, HP 1220 printer and HP scanjet 7400c connected via USB.

    I’m running WinXP Pro retail purchased so I got microsoft tech support.

    It’s become kind of a challenge to see what else I can add.

    I’d absolutely like to put in a PCI video card, but the above stuff maxes out the 3 available slots and I’d be concerned that the PCI video traffic would compete with the Promise card hard drive traffic. But maybe it wouldn’t. I think the Seagate drive is an ATA level above what would be supported by the onboard IDE. Measured overhead on the system seemed to go down a lot when I put in the Promise card, as I recall. So I’d hate to pull the Promise card.

    I seems a shame to take up a slot with the NIC card, but the mainboard has no onboard NIC. Maybe I could find a firewire-to-NIC adapter and use it to replace the NIC card?

  45. Hi Winfield …sorry I don’t check this forum..

    What OS are you using…the stock release was probably Windows 98.

    Here is the link to great emachine modem location :

    If the driver does not work…check your card and either move it to another slot or re-seat the card.

    Otherwise it’s Ebay time…modem’s are cheap…surely your won’t find one worse then the one in your emachine..

    Good Luck

  46. comment
    I have purchased an Emachine 633ids going on two years in june, it came with 15gb, 64mb, for some unknown reasn it has gotten slow as molasses, and it is getting slower by the second, I have not added anything new except a CD-RW,it as slow before I installed it, when I try to burn a music cd from the internet it tells it me that a three minute song will over 1 to 4 hours, I only use my computer for chatting with family, and burning cd’s and email to friends.

    I want to know if I can upgrade to 128mb change the power supplier, and if that will make it go faster as far as burning cd’s? I know nothing about computers so I need all the help I can get, but believe it or not, some how I was able to follow the directions good enough to install that cd-rw myself.
    Can someone tell me what I can do to get faster downloads, Please!! anyone?

  47. comment
    Also I would like to know if you can direct me to a site where I can find the parts I will need to get faster speed and the suppy cord, and what parts are best, without having to spend a lot of money, which I don’t have. I paid $499.00 for my Emachine New before tax and all the other extras.
    Thank you in advance

  48. Milly,

    Try deleting all the .tmp files that do not carry the current date.

    Upgrade the memory to 256 MB: it cannot hurt.

    For faster speed on the Internet: hmmm. If you are on DSL or a cable modem, Internet speed should not be a problem. On dialup: yes.

  49. I need help. I have an emachine etower 633 ids. I need better graphics than it provides. So I bought ATI Radeon 7000 PCI bus version. The present video is built into the mother board. I am not computer literite so I need very basic instructions. Can you help me.

  50. Hi Milly,

    I have found (lately that is) that the problem with slow PC’s is not temp files or defrag issues but spybots like xupiter and

    Do yourself a favor go to zdnet and download spybot search and destroy ( yeah that’s the name) it’s free and believe me it works..
    You’ll notice a difference. Remember spy programs are not a virus but damm they can have the affect.



  51. For all you lost emachine owners..most of your questions can be addressed by going to…

    The site is very good and will direct you to yahoo forums that have thousands of issues that have been solved to search and reference.

    A special thanks to Dave Farquhar who have done a excellent job here for users to voice their opinions and get help.

  52. I’ve been using eMachines for several years to keep down
    the costs of my home computing, and found they worked
    really well. Replacing the power supply is obligatory
    (at least on the generation of 300-400mhz boxes I have
    three of). One caveat on memory upgrades: I found that
    I had to be careful to buy PC100 memory due to the
    DIMM slots only accepting 128 megabit memory–most
    PC133 sticks appear to be 256 megabit, so only half of
    the memory probes if you use faster memory. With the
    power supply replaced, it’s easy enough to slap in a
    cheap 3Ware RAID controller, two cheap IDE hard disks
    mirrored, and have quite a nice low-end server for less
    than a thousand dollars. Running FreeBSD on them
    makes them more than adequate for a variety of services,
    be it web, database, etc. I have one eMachine running
    as a Cyrus mail server with well over four million messages,
    processing tens of thousands of messages a day,
    up times of many months, and no problems.

    From my perspective the big “missing piece” from the
    integrated motherboard would be the need for an
    integrated NIC so that I don’t have to use one of the
    two PCI slots for it. No doubt newer machines have
    this built in…

    All in all, quite a reasonable setup, and a very attractive
    price. Part of the attraction is that I can replace an
    entire server with minimal complication.

  53. Wow, I’m glad I found this message board. You guys are great.

    I have an etower 366is, that I’m trying to upgrade. So far what you guys have said about the power supply modem, and memory holds true.

    I have replaced the modem and got a super price on memory modules at

    Now I’ve found a used 145 watt power supply at for only $11.85 with a warranty.

    Anyway, I want to add a CDRW to my system, but don’t know how to tell what will fit/work with what I have. I’m finding a great price on a Artec 52x24x52x Internal IDE CD-R/RW Drive w/Nero Software at: for only $29.95 after a $20 rebate. The sale ends on May 19th. Can any of you experts tell me if this writer will work for me, before I purchase it?

    I sure would appreciate your help!

    Thanks in advance!


  54. help!!! I can not find my restored cd for my emachine 600is. It seem that when I install the cdrw then it give me the rundll32.exe and regenv32.exe error.

    thank you

  55. A little help please for someone who is not computer saavy. I just purchased a Lexmark PrinterX1150cm Printer/Scanner/Copier/Fax. It uses a USB cable, is this compatiable with my Etower 366is. I know is uses a parallel but is there as USB port also. If so where?

  56. comment

    This is a response to Dave who bought the emachine T2042 and could not get the AOL dial up to connect. I had a similar problem with my new W2260 and my cable modem (along with internet access). The computer connected at first then “dumped” the connection for some unknown reason. This happened twice more before it would not work at all. So I switched the cable modem from the Ethernet connection to one of the USB ports and re-installed the cable modem to run off the USB port and it has worked fine ever since. I found out later the LAN 10/100 Ethernet port card died. I replaced the card with a better quality card and it now works. Hope this helps?

  57. comment Hi Dave, Been having trouble finding either a restore disk for e-one machine or what I really need is a driver for the TGHN-Intel HPNAM modem. Have not been able to download one without cpu telling me it cannot find the pctptt.exe and then it goes on to not finding a zillion pct files. Could you possible e-mail one over. I would truly apprecieate. Thank you and PLEASE keep up the good work..bill crowell

  58. hey my computer is mess up the hardware of the keyboard is not on can u help me download a hardware for t2042 restore the computer back plezz.

    Luigi thank you…

  59. Blessed be to all! found this info by error, which is usually how I find things. My E-machine is old but does well since I had a new power supply added. My problem is that I would like it to run faster but it will not allow me to use DSL. Is it worth my while to take this to someone? Or should I just replace it. Use of machine is for research for studies on my doctorate. Perhaps I should do it in computers! Thanks a lot.

  60. I also am wondering if it is worth spending the money for an upgrade. My DSL was to start this week, but the software is telling me I need more RAM. I currently have a 32 MB system, my dsl requires 64 MB, am I able to add to this to bring it up to the operating requirement for my DSl software?

  61. Please anybody? I was recently given a computer from my brother an Emachines Etower 633 dvd, I began by formating the computer ready for my use at home, I got about 75% of the way through and it crashed and now all that comes on screen is insert a disk and press any key? simple enough but i have since found out that the original disc is scratched and not too healthy im now left with a metal and plastic tower i cant use? looked for drivers and no luck and i dont really want to go to pc world because they are expensive?? im gutted and need help

    the operating system is windows me

  62. I loaded win 2000 onto my emachine (600 is) but now the sound doesn’t work. Does anyone know if there’s a way to get a driver for onboard sound? I haven’t had any luck, doesn’t seem like theres much internet help for e machines. Thanks

  63. i would like some advise. i also have an e-machine that’s 5 yrs., model 366is., and it’s now been upgraded to a 120 gig, hard drive, 256 meg’s memory, nero burner. i would like to replace the motherboard, but unclear on which micro-atx to get. i need at least 1 gig memory, and it’s becoming quite combersome to even search. i assume the power supply is only about 150 watts. i’ve been advised that these old timers can’t take more than 180 watts. can someone let me know if it’s possible to even upgrade the motherboard? i would be willing to spend the money on a more powerful power supply if necessary. the bottom line is:


  64. I have a4 year old e-machine 466id, 466MHZ, 64M4MB, 5x DVD ROM, 56K-V.90 Data/Fax modem, 3D 4MB AGP Graphics. I have dial up service may change to DSL (but I get dial-up free so I’m not in a hurry). I am not really a computer junkie but I would like to get the Windows XP (I currently have Windows 98) and Microsoft Office Suite XP.

    I have a few questions.

    -I know I need to upgrade my memory, can I just take out the 64MB and replace it with a 256MB OR do I Have to leave the factory 64MB in it and Add to it? Is there any certain type of memory stick I should buy?

    -I have also been reading and you all have been mentioning problems with “power supply”. What are you refering to, the battery? How will I know if I have power supply problems? Sometimes I have come come and it seems like my computer has cut off and restarted?

    -As for processing speed (the 466MHZ) can I upgrade this? How much can I upgrade to? How much will this cost and is this something I can do myself?

    -Major buring question, My friend recently bought a newer e-machine which came with Windows XP package, can I just use his disk as a start up disk so that I can have XP on my computer?

    -If I upgrade only the memory to 256MB, do I have enough requirements to run WIndows XP and Microsoft Suite XP and still have adequate space, RAM, Whatever else?

    -I just use my computer to type papers, surf the net and play the occasional video game (nothing major). Thanks in Advance maybe this will get me into computers more.

    -Oh yeah anything I an do to make my dial-up service go faster.

    -Please respond to the above question and this one last one? would it be better if I just bought a new computer? I really cant afford to though? I heard about these Walmart computers do they support Windows XP and Office XP? Are they upgradable.

    I know I have a lot of questions, but help a sister out.

  65. I am looking for the drivers for an e-machine 600is. We have lost our disk that had the drivers on it. Where Can I find the drivers running windows 98

  66. I bought my emachine 400i3 in 2000 on a fluke, it was $250 refurbished at Fry’s, thoug it would make a cheap okay second machine. It is now my main desktop, since I’ve seen no need to replace it and my Quantum P90 died in 2000. Only thing I ever did was replace the emachine fan. Otherwise, I added an additional 4GB hard drive back in 2000 and have both a 4x and 52x CDRW in the unit. I have 160MB RAM but am looking to upgrade the RAM to 256 now and perhaps the video card (which is how I found this forum), think I might be able to get away with some performance help for under $50. The unit is wireless networked with my two laptops. Probably one of the best buys I ever made was the emachine. I really hesitated because it was refurbished but it really has been there for me. It could toast tonite and if it left me with the hard drives intact I would walk away feeling like I got more than my money’s worth, and I truly never expected that. Got Windows 2000 Pro installed for the past year, and except for the ability to upgrade to only the 533 processor, I would consider upgrading. Appreciate the comments on the motherboard swaps, as well as the rest of the forum. Answered a lot of questions for me.

    Would appreciate more suggestions for video card upgrades. Thanks.

  67. I bought three emachine 400i back in fall 2000 as well, refurbished, $350 or so, each. Two were for friends and had out-of -box problems (modem, CD) but they were easily replaced without having to deal with the company and are still in action. Mine has worked great for years now. I have upgraded the memory, added a 40Gig hd and a burner.

    I HAVE considered a better modem or install a videocard, but frankly, have not had any issues with stock.

    The fan on the power supply IS noisy, and I have oiled it several times when I thought it was on it’s last legs.

    It still works fine!

    Really, compared to the budget HPs or Compacs, this machine is more adaptable and accepts upgrades more readily. Memory is standard and easy to find at just get a 128 meg and install it in the spare slot. Cheap and easy.

  68. I enjoy reading the info on your site and have bookmark (favorite) it. I am thinking of switching to Linux or going completly back to win98se and using another IE, like opera,etc and not use outlook Express and win. media at all, but that’s another topic. Why? you may ask: MS has too much control over what I can do and there’s always a problem the it. And now they are about to come out with another Os. More money, More money! I have reloaded winxp on one computer 8 times, yes I had to call them to get the release code. what a pain, with win98se you just reload the cert number and go. for that matter any cert win98(se) number will work but that’s not legal.
    Note: If MS is about to cut loose support on 95, 98, 98se well there be a group site(s) that will pick up the torch and do mod’s to the OS’s. Or is there one now?
    A friend had a winxp e-machine T1090. and I help her by upgrading her system without of making poor remarks about it. Her board went bad after a power surge. I built three computers since I gotten burned paying 2000 dollars for and system from Inteva but the good part is all the components are still in use, if not in one of my computers than in one of my other friends’ computers on an upgrade.
    I install a new MB from Soyo and reinstall all the components back it to the the computer and upgraded her memory to 258, pc133. I rewire the the mother’s HHDLED, resetsw, powerled, front usb using ends from an old case but I could not reload her restore disk. I know it’s driven but keys in the Bios and the guy at e-machine almost gave me the way to release it. I guest he saw he was given the company controls away. But she, My friend paid for the winxp as well as all the other programs on the disk. Do you know a way or where I can get the information from to release the programs. I gave her one of my winxp to get started. I stop using it when I reloaded win98se. So I could use the scanner, e-cam., programs, etc that winxp would not permit. Paula

  69. comment:
    I am the proud owner of an emachine, not really it belongs to a friend. It is a T1000 with a anaheim 3 mother board. After adding a pci video card(ati) the video does not respond while powering on. There is a factory pci modem installed. I found that with both pci devices installed the no video problem exists. If I take out the modem the video (pci) works. I tried a different modem, different pci slots, different video card, and upgrading the bios to an XP compatible bios: No Help. After endless searching of the mother board manuf. website I have found no reason for this anomalie. I will really any assistance you can provide.
    Thanks for the forum!

  70. I have an eMachine 633ids and I’ve been looking for upgrade information. According to other eMachine sites, it seems that the machine is very particular about the memory it can take (double-sided pc100 SDRAM). Have other people who have actually upgraded noticed this particularity?

    My big problem with the machine, however, is it’s constant random restarting. I will click on a hyperlink or be typing in Word and *bam* restart. Dave’s article mentions that the power supply on these computers is a problem. Would that be what my problem is?

    Thanks, guys!

  71. commentI’ve been looking at the new emachines T2865 but can’t find any reviews on them. On paper it looks like a sound investment,however I called the company and can not get any info on hard drives,power supply FSB. After reading some of the reviews ,I’m starting to back off this machine. It seems like they have tried to address some of the earlier problems-video cards,memory ,processor. If you have any info, I’d greatly appreciate an e-mail reply. I’ve been saving $ so I could ditch this dinosaur I’ve been using. I just don’t want to make a mistake

  72. I have an older emachine (etower 633IDS) using a phoenix bios version 4.0 rev 6 it will not take more than the 64 megs of ram that came with it. Can this issue be solved by flashing the bios to a newer version and if so where can I get the flash to do it. or is this an issue that cannot be solved short of replacing the motherboard?

  73. i have a e-machine e-tower600is ,w/windows millinium edition. everything is stock. i just bought a dell pc100 128mgb 100-mhz memory module(which im not even sure if it will work cause i need a dimm memory) in a attempt to stop the pain of lag during any operation eg(dial-up internet use) i know dial up is slow but my computer keeps crashing even just sitting idle w/desktop showing.what could i possibly do to make this thing worth using? i read about changing power supply but mines not burnt yet.i like playing games,using internet,and using machine as a jutebox for my music. as always moneys always short but this thing isnt worth spitting on right now!please just send me the basics on what i can do to make this headache worth while! thank-you so much:)

  74. hey all, im wanting to add another hd to my t1090. im not sure if the motherboard will take it or not. im not the best on hardware upgrades. ive read that an ide will take a two drives to a ribbon, and sure nuff, the cd and hd are on seperate ribbons, so can i add a new drive and slave it to teh old or not? as for rails, i can easily build those myself, and if the motherboard will take the drive, it will take teh powerload also. i hope. (note to self, replace ps…)

    also, could i replace the cd drive? i would have to slice into the case to open up teh area for teh drive to slide in, but thats no problem. i just dont know if theres anything propriatary about teh drive. thanks all.

  75. Hi all

    I have a emachine etower 330 for more than two years now. I’ve managed to put in a video card, and a sound card. The most irritating thing is i can’t upgrade my ram. The first 128mb SDRAM i bought and fitted did not work at all. My PC didn’t even start at all. When it get’s to the welcome screen it restarts and repeats the same thing again.

    I got another 128mb SDRAM from where i bought my PC. I plugged it in but my system doesn’t update to tell me that my total ram is 256mb and I don’t even notice any difference. I’t still the same

    Another thing is playing DVD’s. The video is so jerky. I’ve even updated my drive firmware and the power dvd update but nothing changes.

    I’ll appreciate anyones help.

  76. Joe – Do you have an eTower 333c, 333cs, 333i, 333id, or 333k? If you know this information then you can purchase memory from has a memory selector that is 100% guaranteed to get you the right memory or your money back.

    As for the DVD problem, you probably have some program or another running in the background (hit Ctrl-Alt-Del to see what is running) that is using up CPU time that could be going to PowerDVD.

  77. I want to replace a 7gb hard drive that is in my emachines 633ids to 40 gb. However there is only one hard drive bracket. Can I buy a bracket and mount it somewhere. Oh yeah.. there is no addional pin connection from the ide cable that is presently connected to the current hard drive.

  78. comment

    E-mail to Tiger Direct

    This is about ARTEC

    I sent in all of the rebate information that ARTEC asked for, including the UPC symbol. The symbol was on the box the product came in. It was the only symbol that came with the product. In other words I sent them the only bar code that was on the products box. I cut it out and sent it to them. Now I get a post card from them that reads this way. (The UPC symbol or proof 0f purchase tab you submitted is not valid for this promotion.
    Ok, somebody owes me the rebate. I really don’t want to get into false advertisement issues, but I sure as (hell) will if somebody does not pay that rebate. If your suppliers don’t honor the rebates it reflects directly, no pun intended, on you. I will not deal with tiger direct or ARTEC until this rebate is paid. I will bet that I am not the only one with this problem. Don’t ask me to send you anything. You have my order and you know I bought it, period. We have a news program in Columbus Ohio with an investigative news staff that loves to air rebate issues like this on the evening news as well as go after those who commit fraud. Perhaps you can’t control Aztec’s rebate program but you are the ones who put it out there and you are the ones who sent the product to me in the box with the bar code or UPC on it. I have scanned and saved all rebate documents so I (do) have a copy. If this was not the UPC they wanted then I view it as a deliberate attempt to defraud the customer.

    Thank You
    Loyal, royally pissed off customer.

    Thank You
    Loyal, royally pissed off customer.

    Suggestion, do away with all rebate programs. Everybody knows the companies never intend to more than a very small percentage of them and use tactics like this to harass those who send them in.

  79. Comment: This is an answer from TigerDirect to the above post.

    I feel I must post this in all fairness to TigerDirect. I do not feel that this rebate issue was the result of TigerDirect’s actions but rather they were a victim as I was of ARTEC or ARTEC’s rebate program directors. As you can see TigerDirect took immediate action and added an extra 10.00 bucks to the rebate, I must give TigerDirect my (honest company of the year award.) This is the response I got from TigerDirect.

    A 30.00 refund will be posted back to your credit card for the inconvenience.

    We at appreciate your business. If you have further inquiries, please reply to this email, or call us at

    1.800.800.8300. Make sure to include your entire email in any responses, so we can address your issues further.

    I see many folks here are upgrading their emachines.
    Here are some issues you must look out for.

    The first is ESD. Look it up. It will eat your computer.


    Power supply: If you overload your power supply you could take out the motherboard with it. If you are running a 100-WATT power supply can you upgrade to a 300 or 400-WATT power supply. The biggest issue is will it fit.

    BIOS: Does you BIOS support your upgrade. Is there a BIOS FLASH upgrade available?
    Check with the manufacturer for the latest BIOS updates. Warning: the wrong BIOS flash program
    will render your computer usless. (AS IN JUNK) forever. No FIX. Look up flashing the BIOS.

    Newer Larger hard drives must be supported by the BIOS or you can use EZBIOS. Look up (hard drive overlay) or EZBIOS.

    IDE supports two devices per cable.
    Primary cable with master and secondary device

    Secondary cable with master and slave device. Look up master and slave and jumper settings.

    Know how to enter the BIOS setup program for your computer. There are times when you must manualy enter the, cyl, HD, and Sectors info from your hard drive into the hard drive settings. On many computers you press the delete key as the splash screen is loading to enter BIOS setup. Check your documentation. Never change a setting just to see what happens. I had a person with USB mouse and keyboard disable the USB Legacy support. Now there is no way to use the mouse and keyboard with setup. This means setup can longer be edited because there is no support for the keyboard or mouse.

    Another common reason for entering the BIOS setup is to change the Boot Sequence. You may need to do this to Boot from the CD ROM when loading an operating system.

    I know people who have added a (PCI Controller) and have more than 4 IDE devices. This might be an issue with IRQ’s though. There are only 16 IRQ’s and only one device at a time can use an IRQ. Look up IRQ.

    Cooling is an issue. Adding cooling fans may be a wise move. Extra hard drives can cause overheating and pre-mature failure.

    Memory: Check your documentation for the amount of memory your machine supports. Again this is a BIOS issue. If your machine has two memory banks you divide the total supported memory by two and this is the max a single bank will support. If you have three you divide by 3 and so on.
    You will also need to know the type of memorie. Such as SIM, DIM, SDRAM, DDR RAM, RAMBUS and more.

    Over Clocking: DON’T DO IT. The manufactures have got your clock settings optimised for your computer. All sorts of things, none good, happen when you Over Clock the system.

    I hope some of this helps somebody.

  80. Hello, I just upgraded an emachine 333cs. It came with an AGP ATI video card that has been excellent. The crystal 3d sound has done well also. It also has been extremely durable and reliable. True enough, I had to replace the modem the first week I had it and in my upgrade, I managed to rivet in a 400w ATX power supply inside the case, right were the crappy 145w was, it just takes some metal work. The major limitation is the socket 7 processor which never got past AMD’s K6II+ 550 or the K6III+ 450;however, these cpus are triple cached, extremely cool, low volt and I am overclocked to 643mhz no problems. I went with a 7200 caviar. I personally believe Western Digital is superior to Maxor in all catagories. Anyhow, with the correct price searching I went from a 333MMII VIA(actually ran at 250 the rest is external) to 643 with a three level cache boosting it another 15%-20%, from a tiny 2.1 gig to a 20.4 7200rpm and 128sdram to 256sdram plus an old yet unused Mitsumi CD/RW for a total cost of $115.00 including the power supply. I believe I did well and can live with a 650-700mhz cpu for a few years. They are surprisingly good machines. It now outruns my fathers 2.4 cpu Compaq, I’m surfing and he’s still waiting and waiting for that thing to load. Anyhow, anyone considering upgradeing should spend a week tracking down the best prices, that is the key. I’ve known people to spend more than $115.00 on the K6III+ alone. Anyhow, that’s my experience with emachines for what it is worth.

  81. I really appreciate you’re standing up for the likes of emachines and other “cheap” computers out there. I was once on the other side and said I’d never buy a “cheap” machine. But, I just recently purchased one because it’s so cheap and I have been VERY plesently suprised at the speed and quality of the components inside. I’ll keep my eye out of course on the power supply now that I know there’s a possibility of it failing….but there are lots of places to get a replacement power supply cheaply. Also as a note for those of you who’ve had your fan go in your power supply you can pick up a cheap fan from Radio Shack….I’ve done this in the past and got a couple more years out of a power supply that otherwise would’ve been junked. Thanks again and keep on keeping on!!!

  82. I have had alot of problems with my 400mhz,64mb,40x max cd-rom drive 56k. After reading all the postings I know I need a new power supply and probably a fan.The question I have is What is a rendering lens?this flashes on my screen ,I am in black and white on my screen and some of the things in print does not show up on my screen like on ebay.My printer has not worked for a long time.My computer is 4 years old and I have no knowledge on computers and not much money to spend on it.I really appriciate any advise.Also, someone told me that I might need a picture card is that the samething as a video card?

  83. If you want to replace, take the old one out and install the new one. If you want to add on, you have to buy the IDE card with two pins. You can mount it in one of the CD bay.

  84. I Have A Older Emachines Pc Its A etower|333cs Im Looking For A Iso For The Restoration CD It Would Be A Big Help If You Have/Or Can get It And Put It On A Site For Me Email Me @

    When I Get It I Might Even Beable To Throw In A Bouns
    If it Gets The Job Done Ill Email You Back Askin For A Paypal Address To Hit You With A Couple Bones []=[]

  85. I Have A Older Emachines Pc Its A etower|333cs Im Looking For A Iso For The Restoration CD It Would Be A Big Help If You Have/Or Can get It And Put It On A Site For Me Email Me @

    When I Get It I Might Even Beable To Throw In A Bouns
    If it Gets The Job Done Ill Email You Back Askin For A Paypal Address To Hit You With A Couple Bones []=[]

  86. I have an eMachine 400i3 (400 Mhz) computer. I need to know where I can find sound drivers and video drivers for this machine. (win98 or win2000)


  87. I bought a 500 is emachines in 2001 and been happy with it. The power supply is “glitchy” though after moving the box, or a power outage. It has held up however, after adding 2 nics and an extra drive. I’m currently running freebsd on it. The winmodem was already dead when i bought it, and been replaced by USR external. The cdrom has finally died, but i’ll try cleaning it again. On the 600 series at least, u can disable on board sound with a jumper and add a card.

    I hear you can upgrade to 512 meg on the 500 series using the 16 chip variety but i haven’t tried it. If you plan on doing extensive upgrades, check the e4all site mentioned above.

  88. What kind of USRobotics 2977 modem would be good for an emachine? We just got a C2685 emachine. Were’e going to be getting DSL. I’ve seen a few different kinds of 2977s. Newegg ( Model#3CP2977OEM for $37, but it’s not a windows modem. It doesn’t say on the newegg site that it’s not a windows modem, but it says that at pricewatch–”2977″*+AND+%40ctd+42+AND+%40mnd+143&mi=143&m=US+Robotics&i=42&ct=Computer&c=Modems digiconcepts has a US Robotics 2977 Sportster 56K PCI Fax Modem for $40.98 ( I don’t know if the the hard disk that came with the emachine we got should be replaced. It’s an Ultra ATA, but I don’t know who manufactured it.
    Jim Beck

  89. I kind of prefer the external USR’s. My emachines only has one isa and two pci, and those are pretty full. I picked up a USR external v.90 surplus for about $40. I’m sure you can get a v .92 for that price today. There are some differing views on modems, one that an external or hardware is the way to go. The other is that a v .92 winmodem or softmodem can better take advantage of compression on web pages (it’s not limited to 90 kbps throughput). I think cpu needs to be taken into consideration when choosing. And some content is compressible, other content isn’t, and some isp’s don’t offer v .44.

    When i went from the stock 4 gig drive to a nice 7200 rpm, i noticed linux and software installs went much faster. I’ve seen some 7200 rpm 8 meg buffer drives going for $70 or so. Don’t know if that’s overkill or not. I noticed best results with a couple of drives in a software RAID.

  90. Well,
    You’re mostly correct. I had to hack up the emachine case to get a full sized 400w atx in but it was worth it. My WD 20.4 benchmarks way higher than any comparable, even double gig HD though. The ss7 is a big limiter. It’s no big coincidence that the K6 II+/III+ reads 2x multiplier as 6x in my opionion. Burning it in at clock speed then overclocking has yeilded an entirely stable 601.33 mhz tri-level cached 2+. Yes, the 2+ is tri-cached read amds manual on it. Anyhow, most all of your tips are on the money save the maxor plug. Like I said this WD Caviar 7200 benchmarks 10x anything near it with sandra. Finally, they are “considering” boosting the C3 into a 256kb L2 cache and launching a ss7 model. With K6 III+s still comanding prices near and over a hundred US dollars they should. Regards,
    K6 2+@601.33
    AMI 2000 delhi3
    256mb 20.4 7200 caviar
    win98 ie6
    Mach64 3D Crystal 3D
    400w ATX CD/RW
    79 days no BSOD

  91. Ok…..I have a problem….I have a emachine monster 600. It is a p3. it had windows 98 then i installed win 2000. i dont have that disk anymore. but my sound has quit working since the installment. could someone help?


  92. I was glad to find this site. I’m just posting to say thanks for all the info. I’ve recently (Yesterday) aquired a eTower 333i that is completely original. Dropped the Hard Drive into my fiance’s box installed Win Me. Then put it back into eTower. Downloaded Drivers from for sound/video and modem drivers from transfered the drivers via Cd-R, installed drivers and sent the eTower on it’s way to it’s new home. Today I recieve a call that the sound is not working and I am unable to find any other sound drivers that are supposed to work. Does anyone have a clue where I may be able to find them?

    I’ve checked thouroghly through:

    The on-board sound is:
    Crystal CS4235 3D Audio

    at this moment i’m just planning on downloading and burnging as many drivers as I can find and taking the disk to the tower. Also I Kept a back-up of the drivers I downloaded on my fiance’s box so that I know which ones are on the eTower now.

    Thanks in Advance

  93. Well ok, I have my sound working….now i just need to get this stupid dvd player going. it’s a samsung dvd-rom SD 608….I think i just need software for it.


  94. comment:
    I have an e-machines model ETOWER-366is, hard drive went bad and i replace it, however the emachines RESTORATION CD got damaged and it will not copy fromit after certain point, regardless of how mucho i clean it. I have not been able to get any help from e-machines. If someone outhere happens to have this CD and would be so kind to give me a copy i will very, very much appreciate it. Thank you very much.

  95. Liked Daves article On upgrading emachine. I guess he understands not everyone is a computer expert. I am having one problem though. I am having trouble finding (shared memory) setting at setup. I am assuming he means the bios setup screen you get when you hold down the Del key at startup of emachine. Anyone reading haveing advice please post. I read and review site often. Thanks in advance. Oh and thanks Dave / from Mick

  96. I bought a e tower 600is at a garage sale over the weekend. I reformated the hard drive as per the sellers request to get his clicents info off (I’m wishing now I’d just gone in and deleted stuff).
    I’ve done a clean install of windows 98 and the only problem remaining is to some how get this beast to quit demanding a floppy when it boots up. I’ve been in in the BIOS and the settins are Hard Drive , CD Rom Net Work and Removable. Plus When I click on my computer the virtual drive is there.

      1. The usual
        Not reading drive A:
        Abort retry Fail

        I have also just noticed that the Windows 98 start up menu comes up with 3 options. They are
        1. Start with out CD ROM Support
        2. Start with CD ROM Support
        3. View the help file

        1. Though it has been a long time since I’ve dealt with Windows 98, I’m fairly certain that the start-up menu you’re receiving comes not from your operating system but the installation disc.

          Did you install from a Windows 98, Windows 98 Upgrade, or Windows 98 Second Edition disc? I’ll probably bother you with a lot more questions, but in the end I hope we can get your computer up and running fine.

          Dustin D. Cook, A+

  97. In that case, I can only think of about three things that would cause this:

    1. Your floppy diskette drive’s ribbon cable is inserted improperly and is causing your system’s BIOS to think it should boot from there.
    2. The master boot record of your hard disc drive is damaged, and Windows is needing a bootable floppy diskette.
    3. You have a boot sector virus.

    Type this at the command prompt:


    Verify that your floppy diskette drive’s ribbon cable is attached correctly. The “twisted” end should be attached to the drive while the “flat” end should be attached to the motherboard. If it’s upside-down then the drive’s activity LED will remain on at all times.

    Scan your system for viruses using something like the free AVG Anti-Virus software. Make sure you update your virus definitions before performing the scan to guarantee it will detect the latest viruses.

    Failing all of this, I would just run the FDISK utility to completely repartition your drive. I’m going to give you a quick tutorial from memory. If the options aren’t exactly like I say they are then just look for something similar. Run FDISK, hit “Y” to confirm the use of large partition support, choose option “3” to “Delete partition”, delete all of the partitions on the drive, choose option “1” to “Create partition”, hit “Y” to confirm using the entire drive, hit “Y” again to make the partition active (bootable), then reboot once you’ve exited FDSIK. Some people choose to have more than one partition for varying reasons: organization, decreased fragmentation, increased reliability, etc. However, most people don’t want the added hassle that goes along with this.

    Of course, you still have to format the drive. Use these options in this order while you’re in the D:\WIN99 directory (I assume your CD-ROM drive is D:):

    SETUP /P J

    The /P J option for SETUP signals the installer to use an ACPI enabled kernel instead of just APM and Plug’n’Play

    When you install Windows, make sure when it asks what directory you want (in this case, the default will be \WINDOWS.000) you change it to \WINDOWS. It will tell you there is already data there, but you can tell it to proceed anyway. It’s only seeing the setup files. At this point, you can safely eject your Windows 98 installation disc.

    After it has finished, make sure your BIOS is setup to boot in the order you like. I usually do CD-ROM, A:, C:, but since you’re having problems with the computer wanting a floppy diskette at boot you should choose something like C:, CD-ROM, A:, or just C: only.

    Once Windows 98 has completed setup, make sure you install all of the updated device drivers for your hardware. The most critical of these is your chipset drivers. Intel 810, VIA KT-333, and nVidia nForce are all examples of chipsets. Then go about installing your firewall software, anti-virus software, and anti-malware (spyware and adware) software. For good recommendations, see one of my earlier posts in this article.

    If none of this works then you may have a hardware problem. At this point I would recommend you take your computer to a local repair center. Almost any locally owned and operated shop should do – no need to be eMachines (now Gateway) certified.

    Good luck with it, and if you have any more problems after trying this then feel free to post here. I’ll try to help as best I can, but this is about all I can do.

    Dustin D. Cook, A+

  98. Never could get the FDISK /MBR command to work so I just reformatted the beast again and this time I guess every thing went right. I’ve got just a couple of minor problems to figure out now PCI audio and PCI multimedia devices both have questionn marks by them in the device manager. Other that that every thing else looks good. just need to get a sound card for it.

    1. These are missing device drivers for your sound card. You can download them from Make sure your video drivers are installed along with chipset, modem, network card, and other devices that are on your system.

      Dustin D. Cook, A+

    1. I was going to post a direct link to your model’s information page, but, like you, I can’t find driver information on the eMachines web site. Apparently, when Gateway acquired eMachines they removed any useful information from the site.

      I did, however, come across an all-in-one solution to your problem. I had forgotten that eMachines provided recovery media for their systems. To order a new recovery disc click here.

      This will restore the hard disc drive in the eTower to its state at the time of purchase. Otherwise, from looking at the product specifications on the web site, you will need to install the Intel i810 Chipset Information Drivers, Intel i810 Display Drivers, Crystal Audio CS4281 PCI Audio drivers, and probably a modem driver (the web site did not give specific information on the model of the modem or the chipset it uses).

      Dustin D. Cook, A+

  99. Does anyone know if you can disable onboard video for emachine 600is? I do not find jumpers and nothing in BIOS. I have disabled in device manager though. Great little machine….original 4 year old power supply that still works was just replaced with ATX 230 watt, 256k of RAM now, Ge-Force nvidia card, SB live 5.1 sound card, CD DVD RW, and a Maxtor diamond plus 7200 rpm 40gig hard drive. I guess I lucked out on PS.

    1. There used to be another eMachines upgrade site, that I can’t find now, that said the only way to upgrade video was to disabled the on board video from the Windows device manager, then shut down the machine, add the pci card upgrade and from the bios switch video from on-board to pci before going back to Windows. It also helps to have the drivers in the cd drive at reboot. This assumes you have on-board video and the bios will support a pci video card. Windows will have fits if it sees two video adapters.

  100. I bought a 633irx new in Nov, 2000. It came with WinMe. The stickers on the front say "Designed for 98" but I actually like ME better than 98 or XP because ME has the native drivers for external mass storage stuff and the original ASPI layer from Adaptec(which comes in handy when force cloning difficult cd’s and dvd’s).
    I finally got around to doing some serious upgrades last year. Everything but the power supply, case and mobo has been replaced. It now holds 512mb pc100. No one says this is possible, but TRUE pc 100 256mb chips work, not the pc100/133 stuff. The cpu is a socket 370 fcpga 1.1 GHz Coppermine Celeron. The Tualtin chip is better, but won’t work because the mobo doesn’t support the lower core voltage. I don’t know what the real clock speed is. The bios can’t multiply past 10 and the front side bus is 100 MHz. In systeminfo the CPU is id’ed as a 1.1GHZ, but the bios says 1.0.
    My cd-burner is an Artec 48x12x48, which used to cause a blue screen while reading large files before I upgraded the hd to a 40GB 7200 ATA133 Diamond Max. The Artec could read faster than the original 19.5GB udma Seagate could write. I got an IOmega DVD dual format 4x from TigerDirect for 100 bucks, to replace the cd reader. I’ve also added firewire and usb 2.0 pci cards and removed the Conexant (Rockwell) pci modem. I got a usb to ethernet adapter from OfficeMax, so I have every port that matters(and no irq’s to spare!).

    To make my external USR serial modem work I had to force the serial port to irq3 in the bios. By default, it’s irq4, which I have to have for the firewire and usb 2.0.

    I googled to this site looking for eMachines upgrades. Is there a daughterboard upgrade out there? If I change the mobo, my restore discs won’t work, since it reads the mobo id "3151" before reinstalling the os. You have to set the bios clock back to Aug, 1999, before doing a restore, too, because eMachines license with Ghost expired, even before the machine was sold.

  101. My moms emachine got hosed with a power spike or sag. I was trying to find a website that matched emachine motherboards to replacements. Are there anything avail. tnx Gene

    1. I would be shocked if such a site exists, but as long as the chipset on the replacement board is a close match for the chipset on the original, Windows should adjust for any subtle differences pretty smoothly.

      If it’s a fairly recent production machine, a local computer shop may be able to help you. If it’s older, see if you can find a close match from a dealer like or, who deal in older equipment and closeouts, or try Ebay.

  102. I have an eMachine T4160. I want to upgrade my CPU. I have a stock P4 1.6ghz. I was looking for something around 2.8. Is it possible?

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