Shuttle XPC G2 2200
Just 7.2 inches high and 7.8 inches wide, the $999 Shuttle XPC G2 2200 saves space; but as you'd expect, it lacks room for expansion. The shoe-box-size case houses a 2.4-GHz AMD Athlon 64 3800+ CPU and 1GB of RAM, a combination that helped power this system to a creditable WorldBench 5 score of 95--fast enough to support some video and image editing.
Unfortunately, this system can't handle even casual gaming. The G2 2200 barely completed some of our graphics tests, and it failed two others. Our test model used an integrated VIA Chrome 9 IGP graphics chip; you can add a dedicated graphics card via the machine's single PCI Express x16 card slot. The system offers both coaxial and optical digital audio outputs (the PC supports up to 5.1 surround-sound audio). Shuttle's portable, 17-inch XP17 LCD monitor produced strong colors and good shadow detail.
Compared with its bargain-basement cousin the T5048, the eMachines T5212 has better specs, a better feature set (a larger hard drive, for example), and a higher price. The T5212 costs $870; in addition, $50 mail-in rebates are available for the monitor and the PC.
Although the T5212 delivers solid features for the money, it is constrained by disappointingly lethargic performance. It scored 17 percent lower on our WorldBench 5 tests than the Dell Dimension C521, which costs about $140 less. With its dual-core 2.66-GHz Intel Pentium D processor (a CPU older than processors of the Core 2 Duo chip family) and 1GB of memory, the T5212 ambled to a sluggish WorldBench 5 score of 79--sufficient to handle tasks like e-mail and Web surfing, but not video or image editing.