Computer works good right out of the box. AMD Phenom X4 chip doubles work of dual core processors. Windows Vista Premium 64bit runs very nicely. Two 1394 ports to transfer video from camera to hard drive. Front panel card reader very convenient.
Installed 6GB ram is 4 DIMM, upgrading to 8GB requires requires 4GB (2x 2GB DIMM). HP website does not provide number of DIMMs, and information provided by tech support was wrong. Power supply is barely adequate. DVD drive is louder than expected.
The computer works fine and would satisfy most consumers for web surfing, email, Microsoft Office applications. The hard drive is a fast Western Digital 7200 RPM SATA which transfers data 3.0/Gbs. I purchased the computer for video editing using Adobe Premiere Pro, which works better with a quad ... Read full review
The computer works fine and would satisfy most consumers for web surfing, email, Microsoft Office applications. The hard drive is a fast Western Digital 7200 RPM SATA which transfers data 3.0/Gbs. I purchased the computer for video editing using Adobe Premiere Pro, which works better with a quad core process, lots of ram memory, and a discrete graphics card with lots of GPU power and on-board memory. I bought this computer because it advertised most of what I wanted and upgrading where I need more is optional.
The motherboard has a slot (PCI-E .X16 2.0) for installing a high-end discrete graphics card. MOBO also has 4 SATA slots with two open to install additional SATA drives. I installed a second SATA internal hard drive which is required for capturing video. I found a SATA cable at a local electronics retailer that has the L shaped motherboard connector on one side and the E-SATA connector on the other to connect my one terrabyte external drive directly to the motherboard, which will transfer at 3.0gbs, comparted to 400Mbs USB or firewire speeds, Those are the positive things I discovered about the motherboard. But there are some negatives.
The AMD Phenom CPU has Hyper Transport 3.0 capabilities which doubles capacity from 8 lanes to 16 lanes, but the motherboard is Hyper Transport 1.0, so you do not get the full power and benefits of the Phenom X4 chip. The HP website and marketing materials say the motherboard is ASUS M2N68-LA, or HP name NARRA3-GL8E. The board has ASUS name printed on it, but it shows up in the system as a Pegatron motherboard. ASUS utilities will not install on the system as the motherboard is not recognized as an ASUS product. The ASUS website has product specification for several M2N68 motherboards with various configurations, but the M2N68-LA does not exist in the search engine. So, the motherboard is the child that ASUS had with HP under a different name that will not be supported by ASUS. The bus speed is advertised as 1000MHz, but is running at 200MHz on my system. The motherboard is the smaller ATX form factor 9.6x9.6 size, so upgrading using the orignial HP case is limited to same size motherboards.
The power supply is 300W. According to the motherboard manufacturer, ASUS, the power supply should be at least 450W for the components that ship stock with the system. I am adding the Nvidia 8800GT graphics card and a hard drive, so I am upgrading the power supply. I don't know if running the stock system on 300W will have problems in the long run, but that is an issue that should concern anyone who will use the computer more than casually or briefly.
The HP website and marketing materials show the system with 6GB ram but does not specify the configuration, which is 4 DIMM, meaning 2x 2GB and 2x 1GB. The HP support technicians gave me wrong information pre-purchase by saying there is an additional slot open to install a 2gb chip. You must remove two 1GB and install two 2gb chips to be at the maximum of 8GB. The memory is 1.8v DDR2 PC6400 800Mhz SDRAM. The HP parts web page says it is CL5 (5-5-5-15), but it is actually CL6 (6-6-6- 18) which is better.
The DVD drive is a SATA drive, which offers faster data transfer than the older IDE type drives. The drive is very loud. When I was researching which power supply I was going to upgrade with, some of the reviews complained about how loud the fan noise was. The DVD drive is twice as loud as any other component in the system and worries me about what using this everyday or for watching DVDs will mean for the component's longevity. Running the drive everyday is not part of my normal computer usage, so hopefully it will survive the useful life of the other components.
Overall, it is a good computer for the price. If you add up the value of the individual components, you will find that the HP bundle would be hard to find separately at this price. A case, motherboard, memory, hard drive, operating OS, DVD combo drive and power supply would cost you more to purchase separately.
I would buy this computer again, knowing what I know now after 80 hours of research and analysis. If you are planning on doing sophisticated gaming, plan on a graphics card and power supply upgrade. If you are planning to do video editing with Adobe software, plan on upgrading graphics card, power supply, adding a hard drive and 4 GB memory. This is a good platform to upgrade onto.