An inexpensive, small and expandable desktop PC, the HP dc7800 will be a good solution for many businesses.

Long gone are the days when PCs were dull, gray towers.While performance is still the most important factor, design and style have become increasingly important, as has form factor and size.

Hewlett-Packard seeks to address the enterprise need for big performance in a smaller package with its HP dc7800 line of PCs which includes three models: an ultra slim model, a small form factor model and a desktop model.

We tested the small form factor model, which weights just under 12kg and measures 177x452x447mm. The HP dc7800 is smaller than the average PC, we'd compare it to an older-generation VHS recorder. Since it's a desktop model though, and not a tower, we had to sit it horizontally on the desk rather than vertically on the floor, as one would with a tower. This negates some of the size advantage.

The HP dc7800 is a nice looking PC though, with a silver and black finish, and it's well laid-out. The DVD-RW drive with LightScribe is at the front, as are two USB ports, jacks for a microphone and headphones, and a power button.

At the back of the HP dc7800 there are PS2 connections for a mouse and keyboard, useful for the enterprise that probably has quite a few of those laying around.There's also six more USB ports at the back, audio in and out ports, parallel, VGA and RJ-45 ports and a serial port. Serial ports are becoming rarer on PCs, but they're a must for many enterprises connecting legacy business equipment.

While various configurations are available our test model HP dc7800 ran Windows Vista Business with an Intel vPro running an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 1GB of RAM, with expandability up to 8GB.

The hard drive options range from 80GB up to 500GB, and various graphics options are available. HP also touts the HP dc7800's energy efficiency and Energy Star rating.

NEXT PAGE: performance tests, and our expert verdict > >

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An inexpensive, small and expandable desktop PC, the HP dc7800 will be a good solution for many businesses.

We were pleased with the performance of the HP dc7800. While we wouldn't want to use it for high-end gaming, this is a business computer after all and there shouldn't be much gaming happening at the office anyway. For all our business tasks we found the performance speedy and reliable and we didn't have a crash during our review period, something we rarely get to say.

The boot-up speed was also particularly impressive, and while the hard drive would whirl once and awhile overall the HP dc7800 was a fairly quiet PC.

Along with the HP dc7800 we also tested the HP L1910, a 19in flat panel LCD monitor, sold separately. It had a beautiful sharp, clear picture and we quickly got used to the larger screen size, missing it more than we thought we would when it was gone.

The setup was easy, and on connection the monitor auto-configured. It could have swiveled and adjusted more easily though, and the settings buttons were confusing.

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HP dc7800: Specs

  • 1 x Core 2 Duo E6750, 2.66GHz
  • 1GB RAM
  • Windows Vista Business
  • 1 x 250GB hard drive (options from 80GB to 250GB)
  • DVD±RW (±R DL)/DVD-RAM
  • Intel GMA 3100
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Intel vPro Technology
  • 177x452x447mm
  • 11.8kg
  • 1 x Core 2 Duo E6750, 2.66GHz
  • 1GB RAM
  • Windows Vista Business
  • 1 x 250GB hard drive (options from 80GB to 250GB)
  • DVD±RW (±R DL)/DVD-RAM
  • Intel GMA 3100
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Intel vPro Technology
  • 177x452x447mm
  • 11.8kg

OUR VERDICT

HP's dc7800 Small Form Factor PC has all the power a business user will need, but it's desktop orientation mitigates some of the size advantage of going to a small form factor. Still, it would be a good option for the business looking to save a little space while still keeping standard-sized components for easier support. Configurations of the HP dc7800 start at £499 inc VAT.

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