The HP Compaq dx2250 is the least-expensive PC in HP's Compaq business PC line.

Although you can get a very inexpensive HP Compaq dx2250 if you skip the extras - the range starts at £240 inc VAT - even a judicious amount of optional equipment can substantially jack up the price. It can end up costing as much as or more than many of HP's more sophisticated business PCs, such as the Compaq dc5750 we tested a few months ago.

Our test configuration cost £699 with a 19in monitor and a three-year warranty.

The HP Compaq dx2250's case is very similar to that of Dell's Vostro 200. It's a generic metal chassis with a plastic front panel, plus a metal side panel secured by two screws (no fancy latches here).

Inside the case, all components except for the expansion cards are held in by lots of tiny screws tightened to bare metal. A small metal plate holds the expansion cards in place; a single screw secures the plate. The motherboard is surprisingly tiny, in part because it too is pretty basic.

The HP Compaq dx2250 we tested had the same dual-core AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ CPU as the HP Compaq dc5750 did, but the new review unit took advantage of more RAM (2GB) and a discrete, low-profile ATI Radeon X1300 graphics card (instead of integrated graphics) to post a WorldBench Beta 2 score of 70, which is about 13 percent higher than the dc5750's score of 62. Our test system wasn't very noisy - perhaps about the same as the dc5750 was - but it was louder than the Dell OptiPlex 740 we tested a couple months back.

HP offers a tool set called HP Total Care Advisor with its business PCs; the software costs nothing extra, unlike the Dell Vostro's similar tools, which cost extra after the first year. One HP component monitors PC health and security, while another, called Business Solutions, provides access to free or inexpensive online classes covering software, business skills, and IT concerns.

HP says that its business-PC customers receive faster access to tech support than its home-PC customers get, and that business customers talk to a different set of reps.

We received HP's LP1965 19in standard-aspect display with our test HP Compaq dx2250 PC. We did not formally evaluate its image quality, but we did like that it allowed a wide range of adjustments, including height and swivel.

Changing the height wasn't very easy, though. You must first push down on the supporting post, then push a button, then push down again, and then finally pull up. It's definitely a two-hand operation.

HP dx2250: Specs

  • 2GHz Athlon 64 X2 3800+
  • 2GB RAM
  • ATI Radeon X1300
  • HP LP1965
  • 80GB hard disk space
  • 2GHz Athlon 64 X2 3800+
  • 2GB RAM
  • ATI Radeon X1300
  • HP LP1965
  • 80GB hard disk space

OUR VERDICT

The HP Compaq dx2250's price doesn't differ substantially from the HP dc5750's if you configure them similarly. So unless you're intent on buying a computer with few options, you'll do better with a PC from HP's 5000 series or 7000 series, which offer better case designs with more tool-less component mechanisms.

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