"Great gaming rig if you add a couple things yourself."5.0 starson by Kbrownin
Pros: Great CPU -FAST
Z75 mobo runs RAM at default 1600MHz
600 watt PSU standard
Case looks - red lights- and isn't massive
Room for almost any graphics card up to new GTX 680
Very good customer support and warranty
Cons: Limited expandability
Needs a better choice of graphics cards
Wiring is sloppy inside
SSD is pricey
Avoid AMD Bulldozer CPUs- stay with i7 3770, or i7 3930k
1333MHz Ram is all you can get (RAM is cheap and you can upgrade yourself -so not a big con)
Summary: I have to say I am very pleased with my purchase of this HP Phoenix rig. Say what you will about HP or Dell (I used to hate them myself - back in my building days), but it is a very nice gaming rig. I mean really nice. I can do anything I want with this rig, play ANY game at max settings (I can destroy BF3 on Ultra), and it isn't some massive sized case, so my wife never says a word about it. It looks just like a regular desktop in my office (except for the red case lights, but you can unplug them if you want to with no effort).
I looked around for a nice pre-built for weeks in the Alienware/boutique area because I wasn't able to do a build my own this time. I hadn't even considered HP until I heard about this Phoenix rig. The price was exactly what I was looking for - but the quality I wasn't sure about at first (like I said I haven't been a big HP fan over the years). After I looked into it though, I was very pleased. Very good quality! And a great 2 year warranty.
While looking around I found it very hard if not impossible to keep it around a $1000 to get what I wanted. Piecing together similar components on Newegg came to over $1400.
With an on-line 25% off coupon through HP mine came to just under $1100, with a 160GB SSD as the boot drive and a 1TB HDD (plus the 2 yr warranty and free shipping) **shipping and warranties add a lot at other sites**
The Z75 mobo runs RAM default at 1600 MHz (unless of course they are 1333 sticks installed) so I purchased some Crucial Ballistix 1600MHz RAM sticks [which are dirt cheap if you buy at Newegg and not from HP)-and when I plugged them in, the system immediately recognized them as 1600MHz and runs them in XMP mode. I didn't have to adjust a single thing. Very Nice. I ended up buying two more sticks after I saw it was working perfectly - and with a $10 off coupon- I got 16GB of 1600MHz RAM for $70 bucks!!! Insane. Overkill- yes, but still awesome.
And I can't say enough good things about the i7 3770 CPU (you can get the unlocked k version if you want, it is available). The other Intel choices are the LGA 2011 chips (i7 3820/3930k/3960x), but the prices jump way up if you pick those. I was happy with my Ivy Bridge i7 3770, and I now know definitely made the right choice. This rig is so fast it's crazy. ***Avoid the AMD Bulldozer choices***
It comes with an decent Asetek liquid closed loop cooler which works pretty well. Idle temps are 27-32c [actually 26C as I type this]. HP also has this "Beats audio" sound processing and it is really decent if you have a good set of headphones (I have some nice mid-range Sony ones and music and movies sound fantastic). It's way better than stock sound that's for sure. And the Blu-ray drive is a nice perk if you like to watch movies using the Beats audio.
The graphics cards options are a little limited and pricey I admit, but the Radeon HD 7950 is available. I just happened to already have a overclocked XFX Radeon HD 6950 2GB card in a box not being used so I cheated a little in that regard, since I already had a top notch card. And it works like a dream!!! My suggestion is get the cheapest card they offer (in my case was a GTX 550Ti), and then start saving for the card you really want and buy and install it yourself ***MUCH CHEAPER**(like I'm doing right now- saving for the GTX 680). Then when you get it- it will work just fine with this rig.
With my setup right now I have:
Case- Modified HP Pavilion case with gun metal trim and inverted mobo and red lights - It looks really cool at night.
CPU- i7 3770
Mobo- Z75 Pegatron HP made mobo with PCIe x16 3.0 [4 USB 2.0 ports, and 2 USB 3.0 ports]
Cooler- Asetek closed loop liquid cooling
RAM- 16GB Crucial Ballistix 1600MHz running in XMP
GPU- XFX Radeon HD 6950 2GB ("XXX" OC model) ALREADY HAD
PSU- Delta 600 watt PSU ***HP says it will handle a 250
watt card including the GTX 670 or 680)
Mouse- Razer Deathadder ALREADY HAD
SSD- Intel 520, 160GB
HDD- Hitachi 1TB HDD
OS- Windows Home Premium 64 bit
Keyboard- Stock HP but its not too bad
Monitor- Using an LG M2262D 22" HD 1080p monitor.
I can run BF3 right now with EVERY single setting on Ultra and all other settings turned to their highest and still get 50-60 FPS consistently. It is truly amazing. Plus I usually have iTunes running in the background. With Ambient Occlusion off and MSAA turned down just a hair - I get 60-80+ FPS consistently with spikes into the 90's and even triple digits. It looks freaking fantastic (1920x1080). And my temps stay in the upper 40's with the liquid cooler.
If you can get your own card later, and add some higher speed RAM, I would SERIOUSLY consider this rig. For around a grand you can't get any other pre-built with a 2 year warranty this good. If something happens, HP lets you decide- 1)they will send you the part to replace yourself, 2)send a tech to your house to fix it 3)or you can mail the system in and they'll fix it.
For 2 years!!! Pretty sweet.
Like I said - just start saving for a good graphics card and buy it yourself and add it later.
I still would build your own if you can, but if you're in the market for a pre-built system and have bee looking around- give this Phoenix some research. You'll see what I'm saying.