At a Glance
A little can go a long way. So it is with Apple's eMac, the least-expensive Mac and an excellent computer for educational environments or anyone on a tight budget. With this revision, all eMacs get faster G4 processors -- 800MHz and 1GHz, up from the original 700MHz -- and a faster graphics card, the ATI Radeon 7500. (See our September, 2002 review of the original eMac; .)
The eMac comes in three configurations. The least-expensive model's price has dropped $300 to $799; this eMac has an 800MHz G4 processor, 128MB of memory, a 40GB hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive. The $999 model has a 1GHz G4 chip, 128MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, and a Combo drive. The $1,299 model (which we tested) has the same 1GHz chip, twice as much memory (256MB), an 80GB hard drive, and a 4x SuperDrive.
All three eMacs still have 17-inch CRT displays, two FireWire ports, three USB ports (plus two on the keyboard), an Ethernet port, headphone and audio line-in jacks, and a 56K-modem jack, as well as a security slot for attaching the Mac to a desk with cables. But you may find that the eMac sits too low on a desk for adult use and that its all-encompassing case makes it difficult to upgrade.
Macworld's Buying Advice
This revision strengthens the eMac's position as the best Mac desktop for education environments, and the eMac retains its endearing qualities: a squat, heavy, kid-resistant exterior; easy-to-use programs; and an intuitive operating system. But it's also a great choice for everyday consumers who need only the basics.