Power Usage and Noise Levels

One item that's almost sure to cause concern among many people is the 250 W power supply in the HP DX5150. We were a bit concerned as well, so we took some readings during testing. You can see the results below.

System Power Draw

System Power Draw

The custom system ends up using 10 to 25 W less power in every configuration except when running on the IGP at idle. Given that the IGP and an idle computer are a likely combination for office PCs, the system does very well in the expected role. However, even in the worst-case scenario (i.e. using a 7800 GTX), power draw never reached above 225 Watts. You would still have enough room to add a second hard drive, assuming that the power supply can sustain 250 Watts.

Some PSU manufacturers rate by peak power output, while others rate using sustained power output. Hopefully, this HP power supply is the latter. Despite our concerns, though, the HP system didn't crash once during testing. (Also note that the power draw does not take into account PSU efficiency; the HP PSU is rated to output 250W, so if it's 70% efficient it would draw up to 350W.)

System Noise Levels - IGP

One of the nice things about the DX 5150 is that, like many OEM systems, noise management is a concern. Besides the power supply fan, there's a single 80 mm fan in the rear of the case, and the CPU is cooled by a 60 mm fan. The chipset is passively cooled, so you won't have any 40 mm fans burning out in six months. This is not a silent system by any means, but it is quieter than your typical custom-built computer. Even under full load, it doesn't make a whole lot of noise. Adding in a graphics card will change that to a degree, but the base configuration would not be at all distracting in a work environment. We can't say the same of our custom system, but most of the blame lies with the noisy power supply that we used. A 3500 RPM 12 cm fan may do a great job at keeping the internals cool, but that's the only positive aspect of such a design. (Frankly, I'm surprised that the fan isn't using a 20W of power all on its own....)

Synthetic Benchmarks Conclusion
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  • ozgure - Thursday, February 2, 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?
  • 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.
  • trexpesto - Thursday, December 15, 2005 - link


    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.
  • 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. :)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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