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33 Comments

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  • flamethrower - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - link

    A pre-built micro-ATX based performance system. To me this means $800 to $1500 excluding monitor. Enthusiast systems like this don't interest me much.

    Have I been missing your coverage of this type of system? Should I look at laptops if I only need a performance-class system?
    Reply
  • cashkennedy - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - link

    So this pre-built , micro-atx equivalent (same size) performance system that ranges from 1000-1700 clearly has nothing in common with what you are interested in...

    What do you mean by performance class? Cause you can order this with a crap video card for 999 and it would no longer be a gaming class if thats what you consider this...
    Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - link

    I think he's referencing the argument that OEMs should play to their strengths and not try to compete with homemade systems.

    Enthusiasts can easily make cheap, tweakable, expandable performance-first systems. OEMs have no chance of seriously competing in that space.

    But OEMs CAN appeal to the enthusiast by providing a product that the enthusiast cannot get anywhere else. Machines like the Alienware X51 and almost every mini-ITX HTPC are examples.

    flamethrower is asking for something in the middle.
    Reply
  • Etern205 - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    One area DIY can't compete to OEM is the OS. If someone can only spend $1000 on a gaming build, then shelling out $100 means, they will have to get a less powerful graphic card, not like a GTX 670 or HD7950.

    BTW, I tried to configure a simlar PC from newegg to as close as possible the system review in this article, and total comes out to $1,530, and that also includes the OS.
    Reply
  • bah12 - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    Keep in mind that Microsoft's OEM license for $99 is not legal to use on your own machine. Load's of us do it, but from a strictly legal perspective using an OEM licence on a DIY build is not compliant with the terms of the licence. The only licence Microsoft sells for a "naked" PC is full retail, so in reality you should price in a $299 OS not $99. But who's going to do that really :) Reply
  • Einy0 - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    You are somewhat correct in that notion, the license clearly states that an OEM license is for a new PC and must be sold to a third party. It purposely does not place other obstructions on the license, in order to allow knowledgeable PC people to build systems themselves for reasonable licensing fees. If they did not intend this they would make more restrictions on the license. An example would be the "system builder" would need to a be a qualified and licensed business or employee of such a business. Legally, I could have my wife purchase the software, install it on a new PC and sell it to me for $1. The key restriction here is the software lives and dies with the PC. Microsoft considers the motherboard to be the key item in that transaction and even then there are concessions for failed components.

    From MS Licensing:

    e. To distribute the Software or Hardware in this Pack, you must be a System Builder
    and accept this license. “System Builder” means an original equipment manufacturer, an assembler, a refurbisher, or a software
    pre-installer that sells the Customer System(s) to a third party.

    Pricing the OS at $299 in a complete system build would
    be just plain idiotic. If MS enforced $299 an OS, they would kill their market overnight! People would find alternatives quickly...
    Reply
  • Zink - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - link

    To me a performance system would need an SSD and this case is about 2" higher than other mATX systems because of the non-standard power supply and case design.

    If performance-class means mediocre gaming ability then I think a laptop is a great way to go. Intel quads hit 3.5Ghz and have 80% of the performance of the quad desktop i7s.
    Reply
  • flamethrower - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    You cannot edit your posts on here. I got distracted by the lead-in about the $2900 system. This is a midrange system after all. Reply
  • bigboxes - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    Maybe you should RTFA next time before giving a knee-jerk response. Reply
  • JeBuSBrian - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - link

    How is it that the mainstream system builders always seem to make their gaming rigs so fugly? Reply
  • quiksilvr - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    I think the question you should be asking is: "Why are the best functioning computer cases so fucgly?" Reply
  • Wolfpup - Monday, July 23, 2012 - link

    Compared to what? I think this is an attractive design-far more so than most if not all boutique systems. Reply
  • duffman55 - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - link

    HP's website says they're doing free upgrades from 8GB of memory to 10GB of memory with 3 DIMMs. Seems kind of odd that they would use an odd number of sticks. What sort of effect does this have on performance in this day and age? Reply
  • RaistlinZ - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    It's because OEM's like HP don't know what the hell they're doing when it comes to high end gaming rigs. 3 DIMMS is silly, obviously. And for that price there really should be at least a 60GB SSD for the OS, 1600 DDR instead of 1333, at least a moderate overclock on the CPU, and a 7970 instead of a 7950. Reply
  • ggathagan - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    3 DIMMS might be more than silly; it might be detrimental to performance.
    I don't know about the Z75 chipset, but many of the chipsets out there revert to single channel memory control when the DIMMS aren't in pairs.
    Reply
  • Denithor - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    Nah, ever since the Nehalem days CPUs have been able to use a hybrid channel memory setup if you use odd numbers of sticks.

    The matched pair will run in dual channel mode, the single stick will run single channel. Still faster overall than entirely single channel mode.

    But yeah, that's basically a moronic 'upgrade' from HP for a system intended as a 'performance' class computer.
    Reply
  • ShieTar - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    My guess? It breaks Dual-Channel mode, drives up power consumption by about 5 to 10 W (not just the stick, the CPU will use more power too), and do absolutely nothing for your performance unless by chance you manage to use more than 8 but less than 10 GB of memory. Hint: Gaming won't use more than 8 GB for a long time to come.

    This seems very much like advertising acted on this "special offer" without consulting engineering about it.
    Reply
  • RDO CA - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    why all the 2.0 ports and I think you meant 22nm processor--1333 memory and no ssd??
    Come on HP you can do better.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    The bandwidth requirements for USB 3.0 are quite steep, and the Z77 chipset only supports up to four USB 3.0 ports natively. If you want more USB ports, you either use USB 2.0 or you have to add a second USB 3.0 controller, which requires PCIe lanes that you might not have. Besides, mice, keyboards, and many other devices have no need of the bandwidth offered by USB 3.0.

    I'm not sure what you mean by the other comment: "I think you meant 22nm processor--1333 memory and no ssd??" If you're simply saying HP should have done better on the RAM and storage, I'd agree; maybe you're just responding to some other post?
    Reply
  • Pennanen - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    Just built similiar system for a friend month or 2 ago, even tough it had i5 2500k but otherwise pretty much the same. Total cost ended up 1100$.

    Prebuilts are very overpriced but this one does it even harder.
    Reply
  • dj christian - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    Which program did you use to test it's power consumtion under load? It's the barebone excluding the monitor i suppose? Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, June 21, 2012 - link

    They use a power-meter and measure draw off the wall. Of course it is just the PC they measure with no monitor. :-) Reply
  • soloburrito - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    1.) Expensive unlocked processors for a product targeted at consumers who most likely won't overclock.
    2.) Offering more CPU options in their base systems than GPU systems.
    2a.) Offering high-end CPUs and low-end GPUs on gaming systems to begin with.
    3.) Clear lack of motivation to create a compelling product.
    Reply
  • danjw - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    Since that is the only way to get rid of the spamware these OEMs install on these systems. Reply
  • IlllI - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    if they actually wanted to build a good gaming system they should not have killed off voodoo like they did. Reply
  • hapkiman - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    I have to agree with almost everything you said about the HP Phoenix, BUT with a few exceptions... I ordered the i7 3770 version, and as soon as I got it changed out the 10GB (I know weird amount) of 1333MHz RAM to 4 sticks of 4GB 1600MHz Crucial Ballistix, (which I got for only $80 @ Newegg), and it was immediately recognized and runs in XMP mode at 1600MHz for an awesome 16GB on the Z75 mobo. I caught a Memorial Day 25% off coupon and got my rig with a 160GB Intel SSD added and a 1TB HDD for $1100 w/free shipping. You can't touch that price on any vendor. With my added Crucial RAM it was close to 1200.00. And a standard two year warranty from HP say a lot for me and I'm willing to bet to a lot of others as well. That warranty adds several hundred on any vendors site, and it was free with HP.

    I got the cheapest graphics card they had at the time (a GTX 550 Ti), because I already had a overclocked XFX 2GB version of the Radeon HD 6950 which I wasn't using (and the stock Delta 600 watt can handle it easily).

    Here's the thing...My benchmarks are WAY-WAY better than your readings. Not sure what exactly is going on, but my rig is fast as all get out and was very reasonably priced. I am very satified and think I got a great deal. And it looks badass. With all settings on Ultra (1920x1080) in BF3 and everything else turned up as high as it will go (4xMSAA - Ambient Occlusion - Motion Blur - EVERYTHING MAXED) I get right at a sweet 60+ FPS running smooth as melted butter. If I turn a few things down (and I mean barely) I can easily get 80+ FPS on BF3 with spikes into triple digits.

    I know there are people who say "why would you shell out a grand on a HP pre-built when you can build yourself and save $ and get better components?" I used to be one of those guys and hated HP and Dell. But situations change, and there is a market for this rig. With a full-time job and little kids I just can't do it anymore. I shopped around a lot and think I made the right choice.

    I am not your average gamer or enthusiast. I work full time 50+ hours a week. And again, I just don't have time to build and have no desire to do so anymore (and I have built two gaming rigs from scratch). But I still have a passion for computers. I don't care about overclocking anymore, but I may want to tinker around a little inside the case from time to time, but that's about it. Adding the RAM and the 6950 card is about all I want to do.

    I use this Phoenix rig constantly and absolutely love it. The i7 3770 with 16GB of 1600MHz RAM and the Radeon HD 6950 is screaming fast - and with the closed loop cooler (which you failed to mention is made by Asetek) stays right around 30c idle +/- 5c. It hits upper 40s at load, but that's no problem at all, and is barely higher than my old Sandy Bridge rig which I just got rid of a few months ago (it had an i7 2600 paired up with this same 6950 card).

    Putting these same components together or as close as I could get on Newegg comes to almost $1600. And I have to mess with each manufacturers individual part warranty which is a pain in the butt. I only have to call HP now if I have an issue and they give me the option of sending me the part to replace myself, sending a tech to my house, or mailing it back to them to fix. I call that piece of mind.
    Reply
  • hapkiman - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    Yes- I meant "Peace of Mind." Reply
  • Curt1234 - Saturday, June 30, 2012 - link

    I was thinking the same thing, dumb down the config and use a coupon code to get a steal deal. Great job. I work with HP all the time at work and at home, I have had several z800's, now just one and its a great box, wish HP would make a G820 for Gaming, this is nice box though.

    Some of you might remember HP sold a gaming computer based on the Awesome Coolermaster Wavemaster case, it has an Asus board and side window, lights, 3.2 P4, it was a beauty, sold at compusa. I basically copied the specs and built my own, except I went with a 2.4 Norwood and overclocked, then later Asus had a socket adapter to allow the awesome Pentium M to drop in, did that with a 2.0 and overclocked it would smoke anything and the TDP was still almost half of the Prescott and AMD's.

    That cooler you have is also the one I had in a Z800 I sold on ebay, it had dual liquid cooling and is probably the same one in single configuration, HP probably uses a decent Delta in that rig?
    Reply
  • kedesh83 - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    Wow, my homebuilt system with an i5 2500k, with a HIS 6950 2gb blows this out of the water in terms of gaming performance. And it's not even overclocked. What a waste of money. Reply
  • hapkiman - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - link

    Sure you can equal me in gaming performance- of course. Multiple cores aren't utilized in gaming and hyperthreading doesn't matter for gaming either. And ..I don't know exact what model HIS 6950 card you have- but mine is OC'ed pretty nicely and beats the crap out of a reference model 6950. You can run hand in hand in gaming with me for sure, but you DO NOT blow me out of the water on anything else. Not at all. You're kidding yourself.

    Any other tasks besides gaming (and I am a very casual gamer and use my computer for mostly for other tasks) you can't hang exactly with me and my i7 3770. I will win. Unless you overclock the crap out of your 2500k of course.

    The i5 2500k is a fine GPU (perhaps the best gaming CPU there is), but stock for stock I win in anything but gaming.

    http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core...

    Hey- I'm not slamming your rig or for your building bro- I was right there with you about five years ago, but things change (like marriage, job, mortgage, kids, etc..and mostly free time), and I just can't build anymore. I needed a good pre-built for around a grand- with a solid warranty and I wasn't about to get Alienware.

    Enjoy your 2500k rig. I'm sure it kicks butt.
    Reply
  • hapkiman - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - link

    Sorry -trying to type too fast. I meant:

    "The i5 2500k is a fine CPU" Not GPU obviously.

    And the most important point I left out was - even if you still want to call it a "waste" of money....well.....It's MY money. God Bless America.
    Reply
  • Nikonhead - Thursday, July 05, 2012 - link

    I just purchased this unit from the HP website. I searched for the best deal according to the specs and this one fit the bill. HP has free Blu Ray upgrade, Free 10GB upgrade, 600W power supply, TV tuner with remote, wireless Beats keyboard and a decent AMD graphics card all for $1,250 and that includes tax. I can't see finding anything for less that has so much. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Monday, July 23, 2012 - link

    I've been looking at this, building stuff myself, and similar systems from other vendors the past week, and I think it does pretty okay on price, with the caveat that yeah, you don't want the base GPU, and I'm not sure if it has the proper connections, etc. if you don't order it with a higher end GPU to begin with (which now includes the Geforce 680 for $100 over the 7950 by the way).

    I'm really glad SOME big company is making an actually reasonable high end system. Dell's become completely uninteresting to me for years. Technically they do have some stuff under their Alienware brand, but I don't like the options there, and the desktops are too ugly IMO to use at work.

    It's almost like HP and Dell swapped systems...Dell used to have the high end stuff, and HP the gimmicks, and now they're reversed.
    Reply

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