The end result was almost a foregone conclusion. This is a good system, the price isn't bad, and it's extremely easy to set up and use. For a business or home-office user, buying a standard OEM system is a good idea - that's especially true if you're not a computer expert capable of troubleshooting all your hardware and software problems. (The warranty probably doesn't cover software problems, though.) Performance definitely isn't going to match the top enthusiast systems, but for business use, it really doesn't need to.

This system is billed as a small to medium business computer, and it is exactly that. Large businesses and corporations could use it as well, though getting them to switch from Intel is going to take a lot more than just a moderately better price/performance ratio. Corporate computers - at least from Intel - have a guaranteed availability timeframe, on all their parts. We discussed this a couple of months ago in our Intel Corporate roadmap. Basically, Intel has the advantage since they can control all aspects of the core system configuration, from chipset to motherboard to processor.

There's also a question of AMD's ability to supply enough processors to compete in the corporate desktop sector. Intel gives OEMs bulk discounts and incentives, and they can do that because they're manufacturing millions of processors. As much as I like AMD's processors, only having one fabrication facility producing their latest processors limits their ability to compete with Intel, at least for now. I'm sure that HP won't have any difficulty supplying these DX5150 systems to interested companies, but if Intel were to suddenly disappear this instant, AMD would likely be unable to meet the demands of all the OEMs of the world. AMD needs to make inroads over time, increase fabrication capacity, and sell more chips; systems like this HP DX5150 help them do exactly that.

What about home users? The price is attractive, the system looks pretty nice, and the system is also quiet. If you're building a system for a computer neophyte, you might save yourself some tech support headaches by just getting one of these instead. The only thing missing is graphics performance, and if you're interested in playing games, all you need to do is add a good graphics card. At higher resolutions, most of the latest games are still GPU limited, so even though the RAM, motherboard, and processor may not be as fast, the difference is less than 10%. I certainly wouldn't purchase one of the systems for my own use, but then I enjoy tweaking computer hardware to get the most performance possible. Families and casual computer users will probably appreciate the ease of use more than they miss the lost performance and features.

As a final recommendation, we think that many people will get better overall satisfaction out of the DX5150 X2 3800+ Smart Buy. The only drawbacks are that it has a smaller hard drive and it uses a CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo drive in place of the 16X DVDR. Those might be useful upgrades for home users, but most businesses don't need a lot of drive space and a DVD burner on every system. (That system might appear to be a single core 3800+, but we have been informed that SKU PZ635UA# ABA is in fact an X2 3800+ chip.)

Power Usage and Noise Levels
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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).
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 # 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. :-)
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • 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.

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