HP's classy petite PC, new monitor

Design plays a big role in Hewlett-Packard's overhauled small-form factor PC. But slicker looks isn't all the new HP Pavilion Slimline s3020n PC gains. Now, this line includes a desktop processor (previously, HP used a mobile processor in its small footprint PC, generally with mediocre performance results.

The s3020n is predominantly piano black, with silver accents. At the top, you get four conveniently placed multimedia flash card slots, covering the most popular formats (billed as a 15-in-1 media card reader, it supports flavours of CompactFlash, Memory Stick, Secure Digital, SmartMedia, and XD). Beneath the slots, at left, is a bay for HP's optional Pocket Media Drive add-on for additional hard disk storage; and a vertically mounted, slot-loading 16X SuperMulti DVD burner (with LightScribe disc labelling capabilities). At the bottom, you get one USB 2.0 port (four more are at the rear) and one headphone jack.

HP has even paid attention to the design of the rear backplate: The back panel of ports is flush to the unit. This convenient touch makes it easier to see where you're plugging in peripherals--or to do so simply by feel, as often happens when you have a PC set up in a spot that's not conducive for reaching around to the back.

Inside, the s3020n has an 2.4-GHz AMD Athlon 64 3800+ processor, 1GB of memory, nVidia GeForce 6150 LE graphics, and a 250GB hard drive. The unit also has built-in wireless 802.11 b/g connectivity. We haven't tested this unit yet, but based on these specs, the S3020n has potential for being a solid PC for home use.

HP also introduces today its newly redesigned w2007 monitor. This widescreen flat-panel display has a native resolution of 1680 by 1050. It features HP's BrightView technology, HDCP (High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection) certification, and DVI-D and VGA support.

The monitor has several unique design points. For one, its black and silver looks complement those of the S3020n. The monitor's sculpted base accommodates the S3020n's matching keyboard, giving you a place to naturally park your keyboard when you're done with it. Finally, the ridged bezel around the monitor accommodates HP's new Easy Clip system, for by clipping on photo or document holders, a Web cam, or other accessories.

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