Introduction

We write a lot of articles here at AnandTech about the latest and greatest hardware. Computer enthusiasts like that sort of stuff, but let's be honest: your average person would read one of our articles and probably end up scratching his/her head. More importantly, it's unlikely that a large business is going to read an AnandTech Buyer's Guide or Price Guide and decide to go out and hand-build 150 computers. Doing a cost benefit analysis on that would show it to be a waste of time and money.

That's how OEM companies like Dell, HP, Gateway and others came into being. With their assembly lines and bulk discounts, large OEMs are able to deliver more computers in less time, while still delivering reasonable quality. The standard warranty and support that comes with OEM business computers is also catering to that market. Note that we're not talking about their home computers, which is often a different story.

Just by way of introduction, most of you realize that I already write a lot of our buyer's guides. Outside of AnandTech, I've spent several years working in a large corporation, providing computer, network, phone and technical support. There are over 150 PCs, 15 laptops, and 12 servers. Besides the large IBM mainframe, every one of the computers is from Dell. Are they great computers? Not really, but they also aren't bad, given how they're used. The fact of the matter is that modern PCs are so fast, most home and business users don't even need to buy a high-end system. We have 1.13 GHz Pentium III systems (Dell GX150) that are still more than sufficient for running Windows XP, Word, Excel and browsing the company intranet. Having spent several years supporting Dell desktop computers, I have a pretty good feel for how reliable they are. After three years, the number of failures begins to rise. Of course, after three years, it's probably time to upgrade anyway. That's all part of the business computer market.

When HP offered to send me one of their small to medium business desktops for review, I wasn't entirely sure that the AnandTech readership would appreciate such an article. Hopefully, you won't all think that we've "sold out". Let's make this clear: this system is not meant for the computer enthusiast. It's meant to be reliable, reasonably fast, and easy to set up and use. It's not dirt cheap, but it also includes a legal, preinstalled copy of Windows XP Pro and three full years of next-business-day on-site support. For businesses, those aren't just nice things to have; they are required. The goal of this review is not so much to show how the system performs, but instead to look at the entire package. Is this the sort of PC that you want to use in your business, or perhaps even in your home? Let's find out.

System Specifications
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  • JarredWalton - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    I understand, though I would never want to actually reach the point where I was running a PSU at maximum output power. I personally like to think of the input power as a buffer: if your input Watts exceed the rating of a PSU, you're treading on dangerous ground (IMO). Reply
  • Cygni - Thursday, December 15, 2005 - link

    Im loving the variety of reviews coming out of anandtech recently. When there isnt much new stuff coming out (like right now), its great to have something from a totally different angle to read and chew on, like this review. The addition of the add on graphics board and 6150 comparison system was a great touch, and really helped me think about my needs for my next box.

    All in all, some may not enjoy this article because it isnt a 500 card 7800GTX reference design roundup (which nobody reading can afford anyway), but i certainly think it was a good touch... if for nothing else than "Hey, lets look how an upper-mid level system from a builder performs versus a homebuilt" or "Lets look at true integrated graphics performance."
    Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Thursday, December 15, 2005 - link

    ...but this article has given me more info about graphics performance than many recent video card write-ups here. You actually tested at a variety of setttings and on hardware that didn't incllde an FX-57. I know the cards may be CPU limited, but so what. I now know that I can build someone an office computer and tell them that if they add a $100 6600 they can play some pretty nice games at 60+ FPS at decent quality, something the FX-57 with all settings on 'high' articles wouldn't tell me. Please keep this trend up, and feel free to work in the other direction as well - higher levels of AA and AF and Image Quality tests. Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Thursday, December 15, 2005 - link

    Jarred - You and Anand continue to be my favorite writers here at AT. I really like the intro to this article, especially the background you provide. By letting us know your out-of-AT existance it makes it easier to understand why you are reviewing this particular part and how it is not an example of AT "selling out". I think this is a great example of how the internet era allows a much closer relationship between the content providers (you editors and writers) and the users (us) that can help us identify with your perspective on hardware. I strongly support this type of intro for the other writers here - let us know who you are and what you do, so we can view your opinions in the framework of your actual life. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, December 15, 2005 - link

    Thanks, Sunrise! :)

    I do my best to keep the readers happy. The extra benchmarks on this are really somewhat extraneous to the actual review, but I hope a lot of people found the numbers useful.
    Reply
  • kilkennycat - Thursday, December 15, 2005 - link

    Jarred, I suggest correcting the last paragraph ASAP.
    Why AMD decided in their (er) wisdom to use the same base number for the 2 different parts beats me.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, December 15, 2005 - link

    I have a direct from an HP representative that the linked SKU is in fact an X2 3800+. Here is a direct quote from the e-mail I received:

    "We actually have an X2 3800+ Smart Buy, sku # pz635ua#aba....it might be
    listed incorrectly as a 3800+, but it's an X2. I'm in the process of
    getting that fixed."

    Obviously, that needs to be corrected, but for now I'll trust the management of the small-business division. :-)
    Reply
  • Furen - Thursday, December 15, 2005 - link

    AMD did not want to release an X2 3800+, if you remember. People bitched and moaned about the X2s being expensive so the 3800+ was released. Reply
  • Paratus - Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - link

    We've got HPs at work and I'm generally happy with it for a work computer. The LCDs are fine the chip was a P43.2 which was a nice step up from a 2.2 P4. Only main issues was the lack of dual channel ram (512mb only) Reply
  • phaxmohdem - Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - link

    Yeah, unfortunatly for some reason, corporate buyers seem to think that RAM is the least of their worries when purchasing. Faster CPU's and stuff are nice, but if you don't give it the memory to play with whats the point? A PIII 1GHz machine with 1GB of ram is still hella fast for any standard white-shirt business task.

    I simply don't understand it, its a relatively inexpensive upgrade but businesses just don't go for it. Whatever, I'm sure they have a good reason.
    Reply

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