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Comparing Computer Brands

Rob from Knoxville, TN asks:

How do Acer / Gateway / E-Machine, stand in the rankings of Good Better and Best computers by support and durability?

Gateway Computers purchased eMachines at the start of 2004 and then was purchased by Acer in the fall of 2007. Even though these computers essentially belong to the same owner, they are still manufactured in different locations.

All three of these companies manufacture notebook and desktop PCs. Gateway and eMachines both have their headquarters in Irvine, California, while Acer is based in Taiwan. As with most types of computer equipment, personal preference is always involved when determining if one brand of computer is better than another. One person might prefer eMachines to Gateway computers, while another might prefer Acer over eMachines. However, there are plenty of customer reviews provided for each type of machine. Keep in mind that one brand might be more suitable for the tasks you need to perform.

Since these computers are all owned by the same company, it’s hard to find reviews that divide them out into separate computer systems. When talking about tech support or other functions, most reviewers lump Acer, Gateway, and E-Machine into Acer/Gateway/E-Machine. This isn’t really a fair way to look at these companies because each one still manufactures computers with different capabilities.



In the fall of 2009, Acer passed up Dell Computers as the second largest PC maker in the world. As of now, Acer is the number one shipper of notebooks. Acer offers notebooks that include Linux operating systems and sometimes a dual boot system that is combined with XP. This is a bonus to people who seem to be continuously plagued with viruses on their PC. There are plenty of viruses written for various versions of Windows, but rarely are there any created to destroy Linux operating systems.



Gamers might enjoy the systems created by Gateway. They have an excellent amount of memory, quad-core processing, and hi-fi sound. Gateway has one desktop and one laptop in their selection of gaming computers. Laptops made by Gateway fell in among the five with the best reviews in 2010. They actually had two different desktop models fall into the top five desktops of 2010 category as well.



Basic machines for checking email and getting on the internet are manufactured by eMachines, which enables the price to remain fairly low. These aren’t going to be the most sought after computers for avid gamers or individuals who deal with a lot of video editing software. These are computers that supply people with the bare-minimum. Due to the limited amount of functions they perform, customers don’t often have to send these in for repairs. E-Machines have the fewest reported instances of replacements or repairs that need to be made, which can be a huge incentive for some people to purchase these computers.


Out of the three brands listed above, Acer still has the highest repair rate of them all, with Gateway coming next in line. On a scale of 1 to 10, customers tend to give each company the following ratings:

Overall Score:
Acer – 7.2
eMachines – 7.4
Gateway – 7.7

Acer – 7.7
eMachines – 7.7
Gateway – 7.9

Likelihood of Recommending this Brand to Others:
Acer – 7.4
eMachines – 7.5
Gateway – 7.1

Each individual home page for Acer, Gateway, and eMachines has a section devoted to answering technical questions. Simply choose the appropriate product family, the specific product line within the family, then the model type. This final selection will lead you to another page with commonly asked questions. If you don’t find your specific question here, then the next option is to chat online with a tech rep or give them a call.

In short, for support, these three brands seem to be as follows:

Acer – Good
eMachines – Better
Gateway – Best

As for durability, reports of how often computers are sent in for repairs help to form the following ranking:

Acer – Good
Gateway – Better
eMachines – Best

For customer support, Acer has a few actual phone numbers that can be called for tech support, while Gateway and eMachines both have only chat and email support listed. However, despite the phone number being listed, customer reports about tech Acer’s support are very low. Remember that eMachines might rank higher in the durability factor because there are fewer instances of them needing repairs, but they don’t have nearly the extensive amount of capabilities that are found in Acer or Gateway computers.

Overall, Gateway seems to be the best choice out of these three for a combination of both expectable support and durability. Customers who have purchased a laptop or desktop seem to be happy with their machine.

~Cory Buford