System Specifications

HP's DX5150 comes in a variety of configurations. The base model ships with a 1.8 GHz Sempron 3000+. Yes, these chips do exist for socket 939, but you can only get them in OEM systems - and you can go all the way up to an Athlon 64 X2 3800+ or 4000+. HP elected not to send us the base model, so we have an upgraded hard drive, DVD burner, processor, and memory. Here are the detailed specs for our configuration.

HP DX5150 Specifications
Motherboard: HP DX5150 (ATI Xpress 200 chipset)
Processor: AMD Athlon 64 4000+ (ClawHammer)
RAM: 2 x 512MB Samsung PC3200 (3-3-3-8-2T)
Hard Drive: Samsung 160GB SP1614C SATA
Graphics: ATI Xpress 200 IGP
Optical Drive: 16X DVD+/-RW Dual-Layer (GWA-4161B)
Audio: AC'97 Realtek (AL655)
Power Suply: 250W HP-2567F3P
2 X SATA Power
2 X 4-pin MOLEX
1 X Floppy MOLEX
1 X 24-pin ATX
1 X 4-pin ATX12V)
Front Ports: 2 X USB2.0
2 X 3.5mm Audio
Rear Ports: 6 X USB2.0
3 X 3.5mm Audio
PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse
LAN (GbE)
1 X VGA and 1 X DVI-D
1 X Serial and 1 X Parallel
Operating System(s): Windows XP Professional SP2

It should come as no surprise that this system has integrated graphics; nearly every business computer in the world does. Using the ATI Radeon Xpress 200 chipset, this is actually one of the fastest IGP solutions available. When the DX5150 was first created, the Xpress 200 was, in fact, the fastest IGP chipset. One of the good things about this chipset is that it has full support for DVI ports, and the motherboard in the HP system includes both VGA and DVI ports. In our opinion, providing a DVI port is critical for business computers. (Most modern chipset supports DVI ports, but there are still many computers that don't come with such support.) Very few businesses are going to want to use an old CRT these days, and you get the best results by plugging an LCD into a DVI port. As mentioned in our recent TV tuner review, the DVI port can also be used to connect this computer to an HDTV.

One sort of interesting side note is that the internal speaker in the HP system can actually function as a mono sound output. Full 5.1 audio is supported with speakers, but that will almost never be used in the business environment. For the times when you need to play a quick audio file, watch a video, or perhaps just so that you hear the Windows sound alerts, the front mounted speaker will suffice. It even works for games, although 1D audio isn't very impressive.

The remainder of the system is fairly high end. An Athlon 64 4000+, 2x512 MB of RAM, a 16X dual layer DVD burner, and a 160 GB hard drive round out the package. The only change that we would make today is to use an X2 3800+ processor, which would only cost a few dollars more. This is where things get somewhat confusing.

If you go to HP and custom configure this exact system, it will come out to around $1500, not including a monitor. That may seem like a lot, but there's a catch: this particular build is one of HP's "Smart Buys". What that means is that thousands of computers are built with the exact same setup, and the lack of customization options allows HP to build them for less. It's $1500 to take the base DX5150 and turn it into our review system, but the same system is only $1169 as a Smart Buy. It's important to note that this is not a sale or a special offer; this is a standard configuration. While the current Smart Buy for this system ends at the end of this month, it will almost certainly be replaced with an equivalent or better offer. (We want to see the DX5150 with some higher-end components and the additional X2 processors added as Smart Buys!)

For comparison, we configured a similar system at Dell. A Dell OptiPlex GX620 with the Pentium D 840 (3.2 GHz) and similar specs on the other parts roughly equals a custom configured HP on price. Dell doesn't have a direct Smart Buy equivalent, but they often have short-term sales that will more or less equal the price of the HP Smart Buys. Overall, the Dell and HP systems end up being very comparable in price and performance; the AMD chip in the HP will win in certain areas, and the Intel chip in the Dell will win in other areas, so it mostly comes down to personal preference. Getting an X2 HP system, though, would of course make it faster than almost any Intel Pentium D configuration from Dell.

As we mentioned, the bundled copy of Windows XP Pro and a three-year warranty contribute to the cost. However, it's Christmas, so many OEMs are offering sales on similar systems. Regardless, with the included software and the standard three-year warranty, the prices are very competitive with what you could build on your own. The only thing missing from these systems are options like overclocking support, but that's not surprising.

AMD Custom System
Hardware Component Price
Processor Athlon 64 4000+ 2.40 GHz 1MB (939) - Retail $334
Motherboard ASUS nForce 430 GeForce 6150 (939) A8N-VM CSM $88
Memory Crucial Ballistix 2x512MB (2-2-2-6-1T) $119
Video Card Integrated GeForce 6150 $0
Hard Drive Hitachi SATA 250GB Deskstar T7K250 3.0 Gbps $108
Optical Drive NEC 3550A DVD+RW $42
Case and Power Supply COOLER MASTER Centurion 540 with 380W PSU $69
Keyboard and Mouse Logitech Internet Pro Desktop $16
Operating System Windows XP Professional SP2 $142
Shipping 3 day UPS (varies by location) $37
Warranty Two year extended warranty - offsite RMA $175
Bottom Line $1130

As a second comparison, we put together a similarly equipped custom-built system. As you can see from the price rundown, it's only slightly cheaper to build a PC yourself, and potentially slightly more expensive. It's going to be a more flexible route, but it also requires more time and effort. We used the Newegg extended warranty prices for comparison, but you only get limited onsite support (for large/bulky items); otherwise, you have to take the part to an authorized Service Net dealer. It's also only a two-year extended warranty. Relative to a custom-built system, then, you're getting a better warranty for a slightly higher price with the HP desktop, at the expense of enthusiast features. This is exactly what will interest businesses: stability, homogeneity, and service at a lower TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).

One final note regarding the DX5150 is that it is available in two different form factors. We are reviewing the mini-tower version, but the desktop version is also available. The desktop system is slightly smaller, and there isn't as much room for expansion. I personally prefer the tower, but many businesses might find the desktop to be the better option. It allows you to tuck the computer underneath the monitor, potentially raising the monitor to a high level while conserving desk space at the same time. However, we would be hesitant to try stuffing a high-end graphics card into the desktop design, since it doesn't have the extra case fan.

Index Installation and Setup
POST A COMMENT

48 Comments

View All Comments

  • 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

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now