HP Compaq dc7800p review

Price when reviewed

The HP Compaq dc7800p is the smallest system on test. It has a footprint of just 252 x 254mm, and can also stand on its side for even greater space saving. This miniature design certainly has its drawbacks, but it also threw up some pleasant surprises.

HP Compaq dc7800p review

The main shock was the dc7800p’s benchmark performance: with a 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo E6550 and 2GB of RAM, we’d expect it to finish behind the Dell and NEC, but its score of 1.46 was streets ahead. This is mainly down to the presence of Windows XP rather than Vista, but it’s notable nonetheless, particularly with so many businesses still opting for the reliability of the older OS.

Other than that the internals are as you’d expect. Space limitations lead to the use of laptop memory rather than full-sized sticks, and reaching the hard disk requires the removal of the optical drive. There’s no room for any expansion slots, although with 160GB of storage there shouldn’t be much need to add anything.

Any cooling worries we might have had appear to be unfounded: a fan at the front-right draws air straight onto the passive CPU heat sink, while a smaller fan at the rear-left completes the chain of airflow through the case. It certainly isn’t the quietest here at 27dBA when idle, but it still isn’t as loud as the average desktop PC. It also consumes the least power of the group at 40W when idle.

The HP is one of only two systems here to offer a DVI output, along with eight USB ports, two of which sit on the front panel. We were a little disappointed to see it also uses an external 135W power supply, similar to that of a desktop- replacement laptop. For use in an office, this isn’t the end of the world though, and it does contribute to that remarkably compact case.

A three year on-site warranty covers any problems, and for an extra £93 that can be upgraded to one with a four-hour response. But the dc7800p already costs more than any of the other PCs here, and for overall value we’d recommend the cheaper Lenovo.

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