I'm now posting via my new acquisition, an eMachines M6809 laptop. I've been in the market for a laptop for a few months now and have done a lot of research. Not being rich I sure can't throw away $1500, I've got to get the most bang for my hard earned buck, cos there ain't that many of 'em! Seriously though, I had to get over a major stigma. About 5 years or so ago, eMachines broke into the PC market for, let's face it, some really crappy PCs. Of course, around that time AMD was making some pretty crappy CPUs, and now they're step for step (some would say ahead) of Intel as far as technology, stability and performance [though clearly not in market share]. After browsing many hardcore and knowledgeable computer bulletin boards, I've learned that eMachines is turning a similar corner. Specifically, these new laptops (the M680x series) is really cutting edge *and* a great value. My M6809 retails for $1649 but I got $250 in mail in rebates and 24 months same as cash from Best Buy. I will also be getting $65 in rewardzone coupons so that helped ease the pain. Here are the specs for the M6809: CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (64-bit processor running at 2GHz) RAM: 512 MB PC2700 DDR (2 x 256MB, one upgradable) VRAM: ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 64MB (dedicated) HD: 80GB (4200 RPM) Screen: 15.4" WXGA (1280x800) Optical Drive: DVD +/- RW 6-in-1 Digital Media Reader Built-in 802.11 b/g wireless LAN 4 USB 2.0 ports 1 IEEE 1394 1 VGA External Connector 1 S-Video Out, Microphone In Headphone/Audio Out 1 PCMCIA Slot 7.5 lbs Okay, the weaknesses: 1. Weight - this is not an ultraportable, this is a "desktop replacement" type of laptop. 7.5lbs isn't unreasonable (there are 8+lbs laptops out there) but it certainly isn't one you want to lug while backpacking through the Himalayas. 2. 4200rpm HD - this is the slowest aspect of the machine and many who've bought this laptop have invested an additional $100-$200 on a 5400 or 7200rpm drive and reported dramatic performance increases. 3. Only 1 upgradeable stick of RAM, the other is further in and inaccessible. According to tweakers you can get to it if you dig deep enough, and the mobo can support 2GB technically (eMachines claims only 1.2GB on their site) but it will probably invalidate the warranty. Though I suppose you can just put the old stick back in if you ever needed to service the laptop. Still 1.2GB is going to be more than enough for the next 3-4 years, which is about how long people go before upgrading anyway. Unless you work for Pixar. 4. 800MHz "bug" - apparently when you go unplugged the CPU drops to 800MHz to conserve energy [almost all of the mobile CPUs, Intel's mobile P4s and Centrinos, do this, but by changing the power management setting you can force an override of the dropping of speed]. There are some fixes on the web, apparently it's a problem with AMD's XP driver, because if you use Win2K it doesn't happen if you set Power Management to "Always On". However someone benchmarked the M6809 while at 800MHz and the drop in results wasn't very stark. Along the lines of 15%-20%. Of course this is only a concern for hardcore gamers, who wouldn't be using this for games unplugged anyway. It's more than enough juice to do what you would normally do when unplugged: word processing, net surfing, etc. ----------------- The strengths: 1. The most powerful laptop at this price range. Actually, I'll go as far as to say under $2000, maybe even up to $2500. Voodoo uses the same OEM model as this and soups it up (more RAM, faster HD, replaces stock speakers w/ better ones) and charges between $3000-$4000 for it. 2. Great graphics. The only better thing would have been to use the 128MB flavor of the 9600 (or wait for the 9700 to come out) but hey, for $1499 after rebates, I am not complaining. 3. Nice widescreen LCD. It's not quite 1.78 but the scaling is nice on PowerDVD and looks really sharp. Just watched a bit of Finding Nemo and Underworld, both were spectacular. And most importantly, when it's "doing it's thing" I don't feel like I'm on a laptop. By that I mean the inevitable decline in power and performance that has traditionally accompanied using a budget laptop. Sure in the past if you were willing to plunk down $3K+ you could get a nice laptop, but if you paid $1500 or less, you could pretty much expect a marked decline in performance. This machine truly is a desktop replacement (and in fact feels a lot faster than the Intel P4 1.5GHz box I built a couple of years ago for my girlfriend). I can't wait until I put a 7200rpm drive in here, as that is where I feel the most slowdown for sure. Just wanted to post this so if anyone's in the market, these things are a great buy right now with the rebates. And don't just take my word for it, do a web search with eMachines + M6805 or M6809 and read for yourself! For my money, this gets: Hope this helps those who are in the market for a DTR laptop.