All-in-one PCs aren’t exactly omnipresent on the market, which makes every encounter with one of them a pleasure. This time we have two HP Pavilion PCs, very impressive in both characteristics and appearance. The significant bit concerning both models is that they weren’t conceived only to attract attention to the desk, but also contain hardware that enables comfortable work in more demanding professional applications. The PCs may only differ in one character in the name, but the invisible differences are much larger than that.
Third number - two
The model bearing the exact name 200-5200ad is packed inside a sizeable black enclosure that’s housing a 21.5” TFT panel with full HD resolution. Although the display in question isn’t a LED-backlit one, the first thing that we noticed upon turning the PC on for the first time is that the image is more than pleasant, which is extremely important for the usability of a PC such as this in everyday conditions. The edge around the panel isn’t too thin, which shouldn’t be considered a drawback, though, as the design is very neat on the whole, and the entire PC looks very elegant and attractive.
Most connectors are placed on the back, including five USB 2.0, Ethernet, the power plug and a line-out for connecting external speakers. On the left, one can find two more USB 2.0 ports, a card reader and the headphone/microphone plugs, so that the most commonly used features remain at hand. To the right, you’ll find the DVD device with the tray mechanism (which we’ve always preferred to the disc-scratching slot variants), together with the display brightness controls and the hard disk activity LED. No video outputs are available, which doesn’t come across as a surprise, since the display is large enough for films to be viewed directly on the monitor, which makes the need for displaying image on an external monitor or TV nearly redundant. What hasn’t been omitted is the webcam placed directly above the display; video call fans won’t have to install any external cameras and ruin the appearance of the device. The speakers chosen for this model don’t seem too powerful “on paper”, but are in fact quite loud. Sound quality is satisfactory; it won’t cause any jaws to drop, but it’s far superior to the meagre one that we’ve encountered in “multimedia” PCs over the years. For films and casual gaming, the sound system will do more than well, while perfectionists can always connect something better to the PC in case that they’re dissatisfied. The top edge is reserved for cooling slots, and we’re glad to say that heat hasn’t been a problem during the testing of either PC, regardless of the strain put on the system.
As we’ve already mentioned, hardware isn’t remotely weak - you won’t find any Atoms or similar power-saving chipsets that you might expect to find in various nettops and all-in-one models; this PC contains a thoroughbred Core2Duo CPU, which is still more than capable of coping with nearly every task you put in front of it. Memory is aplenty, the hard disk is large and fast enough, and the only thing that’s really holding this PC back is the integrated graphics. Intel’s X4500 HD will cope flawlessly with film reproduction and all sorts of 2D manipulation, but don’t expect to be playing any modern games.
The software section is pleasing. The licenced 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium will see and use all available RAM, and the PC also comes with a 60-day trial of Norton Internet Security, as well as Office 2010 Starter, which contains impoverished, but free and unlimited-for-use versions of Word and Excel. Needless to say, the system is very responsive and the applications quick to start. An HP keyboard and mouse come bundled with the PC, with a more than satisfactory level of quality. The keyboard has notebook-like “shallow” keys, but retains its comfortableness and usability, while the mouse is conservative in design, so that users are quick to get accustomed to its shape and ergonomics.
Third number - three
The model name of the second PC seems almost identical to the previous one, but the features aren’t as similar. The key difference is the inclusion of a hybrid TV tuner inside this model, which covers both analogue and digital ranges. True, the digital tuner is of DVB-T type, which won’t be very usable once the industry has switched to the second-gen DVB-T2 in a few years, but that doesn’t detract from its usability now. In order to make the experience complete, besides the wireless mouse and keyboard, HP has provided us with a remote compatible with Windows Media Centre, as well as an extension IR sensor, the purpose of which remains unclear to us, as the PC was detecting our commands even when it was detached. The significant bit is that the remote is high-quality and with very good command response, which makes usage a breeze. Furthermore, it cooperates splendidly with Windows Media Centre and its excellent interface. This makes this PC a successful replacement for a TV for at least a few more years.
In order to clarify this topic entirely, we’ll go a bit more in-depth on the DVB-T problematic; once the industry has switched to the second-gen digital TV, owners of devices incompatible with DVB-T2 (and many current TVs aren’t, including HDTV models) will have to buy a separate set-top box, which is essentially a separate TV tuner that sends the signal to the monitor/TV. Since this PC doesn’t have any additional video inputs, the image from the set-top box will be transferred through an ordinary coaxial cable, which eliminates the possibility of viewing programmes in high definition. Pity, considering the properties of this display, but you’ve probably renounced TV in order to conserve your mental health long ago anyway.
Since the only visual difference between this model and the previous one is comprised of the TV connectors on the back of the PC, we’ll concentrate on the hardware differences. Instead of a Core2Duo CPU, this PC contains the largely superior Core i3 with two cores and hyperthreading. As we know, the only use hyperthreading ever sees is during heavy multitasking, so the difference between these two CPUs in everyday conditions is mostly due to the architectural improvements of the younger generation. There’s also the larger HDD with twice the cache memory, and the high-quality graphics subsystem shouldn’t be disregarded either. GeForce GT 210 is a rather weak chip for typical desktop PCs, but compared to the integrated Intel, the difference in performance is more than evident. Truth be told, you won’t be playing anything in full HD, but a lot of games will at least work decently at 720p with medium detail levels. Since the image is “soft” and the display large enough for you to stand back from the PC while playing games, you won’t notice the difference that much. Finally, most console games still work at only 720p, but owners of 1080p HDTVs aren’t complaining at all.
|HP Pavilion 200-5220ad||HP Pavilion 200-5230ad|
|Everest 5.50 memory read/write/copy||5,436 / 4,174 / 4,609 MB/s||8,911 / 9,277 / 9,574 MB/s|
|Everest 5.50 memory latency (less is better)||85.3 ns||87 ns|
|7-Zip 9.20 64-bit comp./decomp.||3,833 / 58,178 kB/s||6,957 / 97,908 kB/s|
|HD Tune average transfer / access time (less is better)||98.5 MB/s / 21.3 ms||98.5 MB/s / 18.9 ms|
|3DMark 06 CPU/GPU||2,218 / 744||3,388 / 2,419|
|Street Fighter IV 1280x720 low/high||23.4 / 8.9 fps||96.9 / 40.2 fps|
|Power consumption (idle/max)||42 / 82 W||43 / 99 W|
More similar than different
Both PCs come with PSUs much stronger than what these PCs can actually “spend”, and as we’ve already mentioned, ventilation and cooling are very good, so that noise and heat are minimal. Having in mind that not even Apple’s iMacs aren’t exempted from overheating problems, the results of HP’s engineers’ work are respectable.
Although these PCs are anything but cheap, their price is still far superior compared to Apple PCs, for instance, while their appearance isn’t off-putting at all. Their usability is high, as the PCs are fully capable of serious tasks, and they can serve as media centres in living rooms just as well. The only thing that we truly disliked is the absence of any additional video output, which is bound to surface as a problem sooner or later. However, the remainder of the characteristics and impressions are laudable.
|HP Pavilion 200-5220ad||HP Pavilion 200-5230ad|
|Display||21.5" TFT LCD, 1920x1080, 1000:1 contrast ratio, 5 ms response, 250 nits brightness|
|CPU||Intel E5500 2.8 GHz dual-core, 2 MB cache||Intel Core i3-550 3.2 GHz dual-core (4 threads), 4 MB cache|
|Chipset||Intel G45S Express||Intel A57 Express|
|RAM memory||4 GB DDR3-800 (max 8 GB)||4 GB DDR3-1333 (max 4 GB)|
|Graphics adapter||Intel GMA X4500 HD (upgrade possible via MXM slot)||NVIDIA GeForce GT 210, 512 MB DDR2 (replacement possible via MXM slot)|
|Hard drive||Hitachi 500 GB, 16 MB cache, 7200 RPM||Hitachi 750 GB, 32 MB cache, 7200 RPM|
|Optical drive||LG GT30L DVD RAM|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|Connectivity||7 x USB 2.0, LAN, mic in, headphone out, line out, card reader||7 x USB 2.0, LAN, mic in, headphone out, line out, card reader, coaxial TV in, infrared connector|
|Miscellaneous||HP 2.4 GHz Wireless keyboard, HP Wireless mouse||HP 2.4 GHz Wireless keyboard, HP Wireless mouse, Windows Media Center-compatible remote controller|
|Speakers||2 x 2 W|
|Size||42.85 x 55.6 x 6.5 mm|
|Weight||8.25 kg||8.5 kg|