Conclusion

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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  • 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? 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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