HP dx2355 MT (FH209PA)
We need a resolution
- Tri-core CPU, quiet operation, small, looks good
- Needs a better graphics chip
This business PC has an enticing price tag and is useful for multitasking, but it needs much better graphics capabilities.
Price$ 999.00 (AUD)
For a typical office environment, a machine that's capable of running multiple applications simultaneously is essential. For this, multi-core CPUs are extremely handy, and that's why this $999 HP business desktop is appealing. It features a triple-core AMD Phenom CPU, so you know it will be able to handle office applications with ease.
It's a small and good-looking PC that doesn't offer much beyond basic functionality. You get a DVD burner and some front-loading ports for your USB devices and headphones, but most importantly you get a machine that runs very quietly. Only a very slight whirring is audible from this PC's two cooling fans.
But let's face it: there isn't a whole lot to cool in this thing anyway. The star component of the machine is the tri-core AMD Phenom 8600B CPU, which runs at 1.16GHz. In our Blender 3D test, the PC was able to employ all three of its cores for a total rendering time of 1min 03sec. This is a relatively quick time and it means that you'll be able to perform some taxing tasks with this machine, such as photo editing and even some video encoding, if you're keen.
However, the rest of the configuration, which consists of 2GB of DDR2 RAM, integrated NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE graphics and a 160GB hard drive, isn't anything to write home about. For a sub-$1000 price tag, that isn't surprising. However, we wish HP had installed an entry-level ATI Radeon or NVIDIA GeForce card with dedicated RAM and better processing power. It scored 445 in 3DMark06, which is a poor result, and its functionality was sub-standard, too.
For example, the graphics chip was unable to run at the native 1680x1050 resolution of our 22in LCD monitor; instead, it maxed out at 1600x900. This is an annoying shortcoming, especially for businesses that want to deploy screens larger than 19in. It only has a D-Sub output, which is inferior to DVI and means you might have to fiddle with a monitor's controls in order to get the best out of it.
However, the motherboard does have a free PCI Express graphics slot, so a better graphics card can be plugged in when needed. A couple of PCI slots and a PCI Express x1 slot are also free on the small, micro-ATX form factor motherboard, which sits upside down in the mini-tower case. This puts the expansion slots near the top of the unit, and the CPU down the bottom, in an effort to keep it cooler. There are four DDR2 memory slots for expansion (only one slot is used by a 2GB stick) and there are two more available SATA ports for storage.
Consider this PC if you're going to use it in a small office or home office environment, but be aware that while it might be useful for multitasking, its graphics chip is a let-down and might not play nice with a big monitor.
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