Fujitsu Siemens Esprimo P5905 review

Price when reviewed

The Esprimo is the successor to Fujitsu Siemens’ successful Scenic range, coming in three varieties: the C Series is ‘ultra small’, the E Series has a retro desktop case, and the P Series is a more standard midi-tower. On review is the 945-chipset-based P Series sporting a dual-core Pentium D, and all for under £1,000.

Fujitsu Siemens Esprimo P5905 review

It’s a perfectly sensible move to have dual-core business PCs; documents, spreadsheets, music players and Internet browsers all eat up processing resources, as does the company virus scanner. A system’s responsiveness is a qualitative measure, making it difficult to pin down through benchmarks, but the two cores made their power felt in our multithreaded 3ds max rendering test: it ran 40 per cent slower with the second core turned off.

Suffice to say, this is a system that’s difficult to overload: we ran as many separate applications as we could to stretch its processing abilities, including two instances of audio conversion using different suites, but the Esprimo remained responsive throughout. While 2.8GHz doesn’t sound like much from what are essentially two standard Prescott Pentium 4 cores bolted together, just one of these gave an application benchmark score of 1.61. The 512MB of RAM, running at 533MHz in dual channel, provides a reasonable amount of space for Windows XP to stretch its legs.

The 80GB hard disk in our configuration is also adequate for most business needs and can be upgraded to 160GB or downgraded to 40GB, should you need either more storage or a lower system cost. The DVD-ROM drive is also fine, although, again, other options are available. Either way, the most impressive aspect of the optical drive in our setup was the lack of noise, thanks to Fujitsu Siemens’ speed-reduction utility; we barely noticed any drive noise when installing our benchmark suite, and that goes for the system in general too. Just one fan is used to keep it cool: a slow-spinning 120mm model buried between a passive CPU heatsink and PSU.

The internal arrangement is slightly eccentric. It’s easy to get to most areas with the PSU in place, since the PCI Express graphics slot, 1x slot and two conventional PCI slots sit below it. The hard disks are side-mounted perpendicular to the case on sliding rails for easy insertion and extraction. However, if you do want to access any of the four RAM sockets, you’ll have to remove the PSU. This is a matter of removing two screws. The PSU then pops out, as it’s spring-loaded. This reveals only one Serial ATA header free, and that two optical drives will have to share the same IDE connection.

More annoying was refitting the PSU, as the spring-loading mechanism caused it to squirm as we tried to screw it back down. We found it best to lay the case on its side and lean on the PSU while screwing.

The case itself isn’t the most attractive we’ve seen – more like a throwback to the 1980s. It’s a bit shorter than standard midi-towers, though, so could be tucked away. There’s the option of front-mounted USB ports, and also support for Memorybird and smart card-based security keys. The side panel can be locked too, with an intruder detector to prevent tampering. The two-channel High Definition Audio from the Realtek ALC260 codec is a nice inclusion, while Gigabit Ethernet is also handy.

We’re particularly pleased to see Fujitsu Siemens’ commitment to the environmental requirements laid down by WEEE (EC Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) regarding the restriction of certain hazardous substances, even though the law only comes into force next year. This includes having less than a gram of lead in the motherboard, and Fujitsu Siemens already has a recycling centre for end-of-life systems. Power draw is fairly low too, despite the two processing cores. The PC itself is also well looked after, with a decent three years of international collect-and-return warranty.

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