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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  • ozgure - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    You have said "Full 5.1 audio is supported with speakers". I couldn't manage to get a sound from line-in port. Are you really sure?? Can you share me howto? Reply
  • bzsetshot - Thursday, December 22, 2005 - link

    I standarized my company to this machine almost as soon as it came out and I have not regreted this decision for one second. Ultra stable, ultra flexible and perfect size. It even has integrated RAID!! I highly recommend this machine. Reply
  • trexpesto - Thursday, December 15, 2005 - link

    quote:

    It may become necessary to install a faster GPU once Windows Vista ships


    That is so wrong. Or very funny. Can't tell if you are serious == great writing.
    :D
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, December 16, 2005 - link

    Oh, I'm serious about that. Vista will have a bunch of graphical effects that will actually leverage the power of the GPU. You should be able to drop back to a Windows XP style interface, and technically the DX9 integrated graphics should be able to handle the new UI effects... but then, technically the DX9 IGPs can run all the latest games at reasonable rates. :) Reply
  • mino - Saturday, December 17, 2005 - link

    Have you tested it or is it just a guess? Actually many would like to know how high performance is necessary to achieve acceptable performance of aero-glass. Nice theme for a short folow-up article IMHO. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    Just a guess, hence the "may" part. What I'm basically saying is worry about Vista when Vista is actually available. If it turns out that the graphical effects don't work well with an IGP, then you can upgrade. Reply
  • Ditiris - Friday, December 16, 2005 - link

    I believe the integrated GPU, the X200, supports the 3d Aero Glass theme in Avalon/WPF. So, there shouldn't be any need to upgrade.

    I don't think this is much of an issue for business users, but home users considering the model might want the eye candy.
    Reply
  • Foxbat121 - Thursday, December 15, 2005 - link

    I bought a HP a1250n from CC recently. It comes with x2 3800+, 1GB memory, 250GB HDD, 1 16x LightScribe DL DVD Burner and 1 DVD-ROM Drive, meida card reader, 300W PSU, MCE 2005 OS. All for just $799 AR. Upgraded to a 6600GT and plays BF2 and HL2 just fine. I configured a DIY system on NewEgg, and it is around $1,000. When compare OEM system to DIY, please also take into account of OS cost (for your DIY). I know it's not much for OEM, but it will cost you $100+ for MCE or XP Pro legally. Reply
  • Lifted - Thursday, December 15, 2005 - link

    Bought one of these a while back to have a user test out and it's working out great. I am ordering another 10 next week, from CDW since they have them in stock, for $850 or so in a bundle with an HP 19" monitor. $599 for the system and $250 for monitor is a great deal, especially considering they both have standard 3 year next day on site support. 4 and 5 year warranties are also available for not too much more. Reply
  • Lifted - Thursday, December 15, 2005 - link

    Oh, one odd thing though. I comes with two video ports but the DVI is digital only, meaning no DVI - VGA adapter. So if you want to use two montiors, which IS supported by the on board ATI chip, you have to use one analog monitor and one digital monitor, or buy two analog/digital monitors which cost more. I think they did this to sell the optional PCIe cards. The system is cheap enough though so I'm happy with it. Reply

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