HP Pavilion Elite HPE-190a desktop PC

A high-end entertainment PC with a fast Core i7 860 CPU

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
HP Pavilion Elite HPE-190a
  • HP Pavilion Elite HPE-190a
  • HP Pavilion Elite HPE-190a
  • HP Pavilion Elite HPE-190a
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Good performance in CPU-intensive tasks, integrated DVB-T tuner, MediaSmart software is good for basic video editing

Cons

  • Infrared connectivity requires additional cable, upgrades aren't particularly easy, slightly expensive

Bottom Line

If all-in-one computers and bargain-priced desktop PCs don't provide enough power, HP's Pavilion Elite HPE-190a might be the ticket. It has a powerful Core i7 processor and provides plenty of connections, though is a little on the expensive side.

Would you buy this?

HP's Pavilion Elite HPE-190a is a high-end desktop PC with a Core i7 processor, plenty of memory and a chassis design that isn't hideous. It has a mid-range graphics card, which means this PC isn't the ultimate rig for gaming; it's better suited as an all-purpose entertainment centre in homes that need computing power for video editing and other intensive tasks.

Enclosure

The HP Pavilion Elite HPE-190a doesn't have one of the outrageous designs you find on some expensive desktop PCs like the Acer Aspire Predator G7770 and Dell's XPS 730. In fact, it looks like a fairly standard, boxy tower PC, apart from a red line around the front panel. We think it's quite attractive, but despite its entertainment centre prowess it will look more at home on a desk than in the living room.

HP has included enough connections to suit almost any setup; there are eight USB 2.0 ports, two DVI ports, one Gigabit Ethernet port and an integrated memory card reader supporting SD, xD, Smart Media, CompactFlash and most MemoryStick formats. It's clear the HP Pavilion Elite HPE-190a is built for entertainment: it has a Blu-ray burner, an integrated digital TV tuner and a range of audio connections, including microphone and headphone jacks, surround sound 3.5mm ports and an optical TOSLINK port. Two 6-pin FireWire ports allow you to capture footage from a digital camcorder, which is great for archiving and editing family videos.

Wireless connectivity includes 802.11n Wi-Fi and an infrared port for controlling the PC with the bundled remote. Unfortunately the infra-red sensor isn't built in to the PC enclosure itself, so you'll need to attach one of the two bundled sensors, which can be unwieldy. Bluetooth is notably missing.

As a mid-tower desktop PC, the Pavilion Elite HPE-190a leaves some room for user upgrades; HP even includes a spare 5.25in bay for installing a second optical drive. The case can be opened through a single Phillips-head screw, though anti-tamper stickers on the side panel and Torx head screws on the back panel are likely to scare away anyone but the determined. Cable management inside the case isn't very neat, making it difficult to install a new optical drive or expansion card.

Configuration and performance

A 2.8GHz Core i7 860 processor lies at the heart of the HP Pavilion Elite HPE-190a, and it's accompanied by 8GB of DDR3 memory. The PC has NVIDIA GeForce GTX260 graphics (similar to the Gigabyte GTX 260) and two 750GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 hard drives. The Pavilion Elite HPE-190a runs the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium.

Performance Benchmarks
Price WorldBench 6 3DMark06 3DMark Vantage iTunes Encoding
Blender 3D
rendering
HP Pavilion Elite HPE-190a $2799 141 14924 P9463 49s 34s
Dell Studio XPS 8000 $1999 124 N/A N/A 52s 36s
Acer Aspire M7720 $3699 104 12977 N/A 1m 1s 24s
Acer Aspire Predator G7770 $4900.11 103 N/A N/A 60s 35s
Altech NRG Storm $4999 103 21700 N/A 38s 22s

We haven't yet reviewed many desktop PCs that use Core i7-800-series CPUs, so there are no real comparison points for the HP Pavilion Elite HPE-190a. However, it clearly excels in all of our benchmark tests, managing the second highest score in World Bench 6 behind a test rig based on the Core i7-965 Extreme Edition processor, which is clocked at 3.2GHz. The HP's ability to quickly encode media and render 3D objects in our tests means it is suitable for processor-intensive tasks.

The Pavilion's gaming credentials aren't as spectacular. The GeForce GTX 260 ran Crysis at 27.42 frames per second in a 1920x1200-pixel resolution and Call of Juarez at 36.4fps. By comparison, the Altech NRG Storm managed 65fps in Call of Juarez with a high-end SLI graphics setup. The GeForce GTX 260 is a mid-range graphics card at best and while it is suitable for gaming, it lacks support for DirectX 11, so it isn't future-proofed for upcoming gaming releases.

Software

As with most current HP desktop PCs and notebooks, the Pavilion Elite HPE-190a is littered with preinstalled software, most of which you'll probably never use. Some of it is useful; the MediaSmart software, for example, provides a good central dock for viewing multimedia and it even has a surprisingly good entry-level video editing suite if you just need to compile video clips and make minor adjustments. However, the inability to choose which software is included during the setup — and the annoyance of HP's customised setup process — makes this desktop PC initially harder to use than some. You'll have to manually uninstall any unneeded software.

Conclusion

The HP Pavilion Elite HPE-190a's high-powered CPU and memory make it an optimal choice for processor-intensive tasks, and the comprehensive connectivity makes it a great entertainment PC too. However, the cramped interior makes for difficult upgrades.

Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters

Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: HP, desktop pcs
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?