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after buying one, second hand, for 25 quid near 3 years ago. i can honestly say this product has served me well. i brought it from a college, which had had it for 4 years. hailing from the ppc/unix days when mac was truly mac, ive fallen in love with this computer. it suffers from a small hard drive space (at around 40gb) and low ram. but for its day was one of the best computers. it is very compact, and fits nicely and efficiently into corners. people often complain that it is large, though this is not so. because its all in one, it takes up far less space than your average joe desktop. speakers have a good response, only issue i have with them is with very heavy bass sounds it starts distorting the sound. good graphics card. mines only just started to have issues (7 years down the line) with an annoying pink flicker. cd/dvd reader is fine, though started to stutter on some cds. would have been great if they'd added extra jacks for surround sound purposes, however a quick fix is to buy a few jack splitters, until youve got enough jacks (the soundcard can handle surround sound, it just needs the jacks made available). the microphone is fantastic, and often out performs my professional mic. could do with a few more usb ports, but i just brought a hub to get round that. all in all, though it has its faults, it is a fantastic computer and is perfect for mac fans and first time computer users.
Though I have only recently bought an eMac, I based my descision on countless opinions of people who use them everyday- the techies at an organisation. They said out of all the computers they had every used and had to deal with the eMac was the most reliable. They have over a hundred in constant use and only one has ever gone wrong (somebody forced a usb dongle in the wrong way). If you do get one get the 1.42ghz one with superdrive (dvd+-rw) which is dual layer and is an invaluable drive if you watch and record your own DVDs. It comes with Mac OSX Tiger (OS 10.4.0).
iMovie HD and iDvd are bundled with this (neither are much worth shouting about) but Garageband which is also bundled is fun.
It is the best value Apple computer by far (avoid the macmini like the plague) though it doesnot sport the G5, the G4 is very much adequate and the ATI radeon graphics card is great.
Buy it now before apple destroy it by replacing the powerpc with a crappy intel processor.
As far as iMacs go, dont bother- I've heard the CRT gets burned out with the close proximity to the powerful G5 processor and the mac mini has ALL the disadvantages of the iBook and powerbook but None of the advantages apart from easy mobility (but you still have to aquire a monitor on site).
The only bad things about the eMac are (and this is nit picking really) it's sheer weight and the noise of the fan (which can be expected as it has a powerful G4 Processor to keep cool and it battles on with the heat of a CRT).
My advice- dont faulter Get one, more RAM is advisable as is airport if you want wifi (though both can be added later and third party hardware can be used) Allways get Applecare with any apple product because in the event of a breakdown it will pay for it's self.
Take a good look at eMac. What's not to like? All-in-one design, plug-and-play simplicity, great performance and an affordable price tag: you get everything you need to work, learn and play, right out of the box.