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Notebook computers have been stealing the spotlight in the PC proscenium for years now, but desktop systems still have their place in the office. If you need the most powerful system you can buy, are concerned about expansion capabilities, need to use a very large monitor or are worried about notebook computers being stolen, then you need a desktop system.
Although desktop computers can be powerful and expandable, they can also be quite affordable, depending on their configuration. As far as bang for the buck goes, you get more bang per buck with a desktop computer than you do with a notebook or even a netbook. That’s mostly because you don’t get a monitor with a desktop system; they cost extra. Hewlett-Packard recently announced its latest crop of desktop systems, and B&H is the place to get them at the best prices possible. Let’s turn the house lights down and spotlight the new offerings.
Compaq Presario CQ5700F
Hewlett-Packard’s Compaq Presario CQ5700F desktop computer is a perfect example of getting a lot of bang for your buck. The system is powered by a 2 GHz AMD Athlon II 170u CPU and 2GB of RAM. It also comes with a 500GB 7200 rpm hard drive and a SuperMulti DVD Burner with LightScribe, which can burn labels directly onto compatible blank CDs and DVDs. Graphics are handled by an ATI Radeon HD 3000 accelerator.
The CQ5700F leaves the user with some room for expansion. While it comes with only 2GB of memory, that can be bumped up to a maximum of 8GB. There’s also one available 5.25-inch external drive bay and two available PCI Express x1 slots. Ports include two front and four rear USB 2.0 ports, VGA and DVI-D outputs and a 10/100 Ethernet port. Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) is the installed operating system.
Pavilion Elite Series
Hewlett-Packard’s Pavilion Elite series of desktop systems is housed in an attractive, modern looking black tower chassis featuring two external 5.25-inch drive bays, one external 3.5-inch drive bay and two internal 3.5-inch drive bays. All configurations include 10/100 Ethernet and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, which is unusual for desktop systems. That makes it easy to connect the system to a network without having to physically connect to a router so you have more flexibility in choosing the best location for the system.
All configurations include seven USB 2.0 ports (four in back and three in front), DVI-I and HDMI video outputs, a full host of audio inputs and outputs and a 15-in-1 memory card reader conveniently located on the front panel. The Pavilion Elite series of desktops can support up to three monitors at once so you can have multiple windows in view at all times. Not only does this allow for easy multitasking, it also lets you play games without cluttering up the action with control and information panels. Every system comes with a USB mouse and keyboard, and Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) is the installed operating system. Otherwise, the systems are populated with different components, depending on the intended use and price point.
If you’re looking for a powerful desktop system that won’t break the bank, consider the Pavilion Elite HPE-500f, which is powered by a six-core 2.7 GHz AMD Phenom II 1045T processor and 8GB of memory. Abundant storage space is provided by a 1.5TB 5400 rpm hard drive, and optical discs are spun and burned by a SuperMulti DVD burner with LightScribe. An AMD Radeon HD 6450 graphics accelerator with 512MB of dedicated memory offers enough horsepower to drive complex 3D computer games.
The Pavilion Elite HPE-510f is powered y a six-core 2.8 GHz AMD Phenom II 1055T processor and 8GB of memory, and it’s configured as a media center with a capacious 1.5TB 5400 rpm hard drive. A built-in TV tuner, in combination with bundled software, lets you watch, record, pause and rewind live TV with no monthly fee. A free online program guide lets you check out the upcoming TV schedule and set the DVR to record any shows you’re interested in. A Blu-ray ROM with DVD burning and LightScribe printing lets you watch movies on Blu-ray or DVD, read and write DVDs and CDs and burn labels on LightScribe-compatible media. Graphics are handled by an AMD Radeon HD 6570 graphics accelerator with 1GB of dedicated video memory. Video outputs include DVI-I and HDMI, and a media center remote control is part of the package.
If you prefer an Intel processor in your desktop system, HP has you covered. The Pavilion Elite HPE-530f is designed to make mincemeat out of multimedia and entertainment applications. It’s powered by a quad-core 2.8 GHz Intel Core i5-2300 processor and 8GB of memory. The processor can be overclocked to 3.1 GHz via Intel Turbo Boost technology. A 1.5TB 5400 rpm hard drive provides plenty of storage space, and network connectivity is upgraded to gigabit Ethernet. An AMD Radeon HD 6570 GPU with 1GB of dedicated memory handles the latest 3D computer games with ease. A Blu-ray ROM drive with DVD burning and LightScribe printing completes the package.
If 2.8 GHz isn’t fast enough for you, consider the Pavilion Elite HPE-540f. This system is powered by a quad-core 3.1 GHz Intel Core i5-2400 processor that can be overclocked to 3.4 GHz via Intel’s Turbo Boost technology. The system also features 8GB of memory, a 1.5TB 5400 rpm hard drive and a Blu-ray ROM drive with DVD burning and LightScribe printing. An AMD Radeon HD 6770 GPU with 1GB of memory offers enough horsepower to drive the latest 3D computer games and supports up to three monitors at once. An integrated TV tuner turns this powerful system into a DVR. If you don’t need a TV tuner but want even more power you can turn to the Pavilion Elite HPE-550f. The HPE-550f loses the TV tuner but gains a 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7-2600 quad-core processor that can be overclocked to 3.8 GHz. The final configuration for this powerhouse of a system is the Pavilion Elite HPE-570f, which features a 3.2 GHz AMD Phenom II 1090T six-core processor, a huge 2TB 5400 rpm hard drive, a TV tuner and a Blu-ray ROM drive. All three of these configurations feature gigabit Ethernet.
Hewlett-Packard’s Pavillion series of desktop computers is made to be very affordable yet powerful and upgradeable. The computers are housed in a tower chassis with a sliding door that conceals all the ports. The Pavillion systems have integrated graphics, allowing the motherboard’s PCI Express x16 slot to remain free for upgrades, which would likely come in the form of an upgraded graphics accelerator if you find you need more graphics-processing horsepower down the road. There are also three free PCI Express x1 slots that you can use for any purpose. The Pavillion desktops also leave one external 5.25-inch bay and one internal 3.5-inch bay free for upgrades.
All Pavillion desktops feature a SuperMulti DVD burner with LightScribe, a 15-in-1 memory card reader, six USB 2.0 ports (two front and four rear), VGA and DVI-D graphics outputs, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and 10/100 Ethernet, unless upgraded with gigabit Ethernet. Memory can be upgraded to as much as 16GB. They all come loaded with Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit).
Getting to specific models, the Pavillion p6710f is powered by a quad-core 3 GHz AMD Athlon II 640 processor and 4GB of RAM, and comes with a 1TB 7200 rpm SATA hard drive and ATI Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics. The Pavilion p6720f has the same hard drive and graphics accelerator, but it’s powered by a 2.93 GHz AMD Phenom II 840T quad-core processor and 6GB of memory. The Pavilion p6740f is powered by a quad-core 3.2 GHz AMD Phenom II 955 processor and 8GB of RAM, and it has a larger 1.5TB 5400 rpm SATA hard drive.
If you prefer an Intel processor over an AMD unit, the Pavilion p6730f is powered by a dual-core 3.2GHz Intel Core i3-550 processor and 6GB of memory. It also features a 1.5TB 5400rpm hard drive, integrated Intel GMA HD graphics, a FireWire-400 port and gigabit Ethernet.