HP shrinks full-sized Haswell desktops with new mini PCs

HP crams a Haswell processor, storage, memory into small desktops sizes such as thin clients

Hewlett-Packard has redesigned its beige-boxed desktop PCs, sizing them down into mini-desktops without compromising on components.

HP says the new EliteDesk 800 G1 and ProDesk 600 G1 mini-desktops are its smallest business desktops yet. The mini desktops, which weigh around 95 grams, can be easily held in one hand and offer the performance of normal desktops.

The desktops resemble lightweight thin clients, but have the latest components, including storage, memory and Intel's Core processors code-named Haswell. A customized HP motherboard with an Intel Q87 chipset, wireless capabilities and a slot for solid-state drives are built in.

The EliteDesk 800 G1 box is priced starting at US$669 and targeted at power users. The back of the box has an Ethernet port and two DisplayPort slots, and the front has two USB 3.0 ports. A Kensington slot allows the desktops to be locked up and secured to a desk. Other features include a VGA port and support for Intel vPro technology, which allows PCs to be managed remotely by system administrators.

The ProDesk 600 G1 has a similar feature set, starts at $489 and is targeted at entry users. It does not include BIOS-level security features found in the EliteDesk 800 G1.

Both mini-desktops announced Tuesday will be available in April. The PCs resemble Intel's NUC (new unit of computing) desktops, which became available through small PC makers late last year.

PC form factors are evolving and the mini-desktops represent a new design for HP, said Martha Rost, commercial desktop category manager for the Americas at HP.

HP already offers small form-factor desktops, but they are not as small as the mini-PCs. Demand for desktops has remained strong and is a steady business for HP, Rost said.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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