HP Compaq dc7700 review

Price when reviewed

We’ve already seen a model from HP’s dc7700 range: the small-form-factor desktop. This tower chassis is huge by comparison, larger even than Lenovo’s A60, but the extra footprint means more expansion room.

HP Compaq dc7700 review

For a start, there are two spare 5.25in bays and a single 3.5in front-panel bay. An extra internal 3.5in bay means you can add a second hard disk to go with the existing – and capacious – 160GB disk. All bays are tool-less, as is the side panel for gaining access to the innards.

At the back, it’s odd that HP has installed a micro-ATX motherboard in a full-sized ATX chassis, wasting three expansion slots at the base. At least the four expansion slots on the motherboard are free, and full-height cards can be installed with room to spare. Surprisingly, the HP is the only machine here with a quick-release motherboard.

Its 1GB of 667MHz DDR2 RAM occupies two of the four easily accessible memory sockets, while under the 80mm fan and heatsink resides a Core 2 Duo E6400. This steamed through our 2D application benchmarks with an overall score of 1.31.

Like the Fujitsu Siemens and Dell, there’s no PATA controller, so you can only install SATA drives, and there are only two connectors free. At the rear are six USB ports and, as the mouse and keyboard are PS/2 versions, all six are usable. There are also serial and parallel ports for legacy hardware.

With Intel vPro support, remote management is made simpler, and HP also includes Altiris Deployment Solution and ProtectTools Security Manager, which works in tandem with the TPM chip to secure your data. Backup and recovery software adds another layer of protection. Lastly, ProtectTools allows sysadmins to change many of the BIOS settings from within Windows. BIOS options are as you’d expect, with control over which USB ports are live, detailed system information and the ability to boot the PC at a specified time every weekday.

With a three-year on-site, next-business-day warranty, the HP is good value at £530. Fujitsu Siemens’ Esprimo is even better value at only £447, but doesn’t offer half the expansion potential of the dc7700. If you want machines that can be expanded and upgraded, the HP is a great alternative to the winners.

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