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.

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  • gibhunter - Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - link

    That's not an X2 3800+. It's the standard 2.4GHZ 3800+ single core.

    Regarding these HPs, I have a few of these at work. They are realy great. For $500 and change you get an Athlon 64, 512MB of ram and a WinXP Pro. Try and put a system like that yourself and you'll spend just as much or more and that's not counting the snazzy keyboard and mouse that comes with that system. It really is a good deal.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, December 15, 2005 - link

    Just to reiterate, the linked 3800+ is indeed an X2:

    "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."

    That's from an HP representative, one of the marketing managers of the small-business division.
  • Googer - Thursday, December 15, 2005 - link

    Equally impressive for the $500-ish range is this">e-machine
  • LoneWolf15 - Thursday, December 15, 2005 - link

    If you're a business, e-Machines isn't equally impressive. Part of what you are paying for is the support. The system reviewed carries a three-year warranty (par for the course on business systems) and probably carries business-level support too. Most HP systems also use a fair number of brand-name parts (i.e., ASUS mainboards in most systems). I don't deny that eMachines has its place, but it comes nowhere near something that HP puts out.

    P.S. While I like most of HP's system configurations, even home ones, I haven't heard good things about home-level support. And one other thing, Jared...why does the article say this system has a Clawhammer core CPU? I thought Clawhammers went the way of the dinosaur on Socket 939 long ago. Anything this new ought to have a Venice or San Diego core chip in it.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, December 15, 2005 - link

    Well, it does have a ClawHammer -- at least the system I have does. You have to remember that AMD only has one fab producing 90 nm parts, and they have an old fab that still produces 130 nm parts. Perhaps AMD gives them a better deal on the older chips? Or perhaps it's just that this model was made a little while ago? If it had used a San Diego core, I expect power draw would have dropped another 20 W at least.
  • mino - Saturday, December 17, 2005 - link

    You are wrong on this. AMD publicly stated sometime in the Q2 that they have converted all of their lines onto 90nm production.
    Also AMD does have only one fab - FAB30 - currently in producing CPU's. While there is FAB25 it produces flash and is part of Spansion division and there is also FAB35(or 36?) in qualification process the only fab producing AMD CPU's in volume is currently FAB30 on 200mm wafers.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, December 23, 2005 - link

    Hmm... obviously I'm not paying close enough attention to AMD's fabs. I could have sworn they still had a 130nm fab making CPUs. I would have thought 130nm would be sufficient for a lot of stuff - better to keep what you have running instead of retrofitting old fabs, right? Then again, new fabs are getting more and more expensive.
  • mino - Sunday, January 1, 2006 - link

    Well, Austin FAB25 was not suitable nor meant for smaller than 180nm process (for logic products). AMD thus made a cash cow out of it during hard AthlonXP times. Also the capacity of any FAB is measured in wafers/time not chips pre time. In other words AMD could make twice as many K8 CPU's on 90nm than on 130nm. Couple that with huge capacity constraints AMD faced in 2005 and fact they had only one 200mm FAB and it becomes clear why not to produce on 130nm. Around this time FAB35 should come online so the tight supply of the last quarter should not repeat for some time. Also AMD's 90nm SOI process is pretty good so don't expect FAB30 phase-out anytime soon(90nm is last logic process for FAB30). Shame FAB35 wasn't online in 2005, Intel would've had a way hotter year than it had.

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