The Bottom Line
- Very Good LCD Display
- More Features Than Nettop Based All-In-Ones
- Still Has Limited Performance Compared To Traditional Desktops
- Keyboard And Mouse Not Wireless, Feel Cheap
- AMD Athlon X2 3250e Dual-Core Processor
- 2GB PC2-6400 DDR2 Memory
- 320GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 18.5" WXGA (1366x768) Display With ATI Radeon HD 3200 Integrated Graphics
- HDA Audio With Stereo Speakers
- Fast Ethernet, 802.11b/g Wireless
- Six USB 2.0, 6-in-1 Card Reader, Webcam
- 18" x 15" x 8"
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Works, MediaSmart, Norton Internet Security
Guide Review - HP Pavilion MS214 18.5-inch All-In-One Desktop PC
Dec 22 2009 - While many low cost all-in-one desktop systems are based around the extremely low cost and limited performance Intel Atom processors, HP has decided to use an older but very efficient AMD Athlon X2 3250e processor for the Pavilion MS214 This gives it a good deal more performance than the Atom processors especially for multitasking or doing video, but it still falls well short of traditional desktop systems with their more powerful processors. The 2GB of memory also helps against the 1GB limit on most nettop classed all-in-one systems.
Storage on the HP Pavilion MS214 is about average for a system with a $600 price tag. The 320GB hard drive is double the hard drive sizes found in most nettop all-in-ones but still well below more expensive models. There is also a dual-layer DVD burner burner for playing back or recording CD and DVD media. This drive also supports burning labels directly to LightScribe compatible media.
Pretty much all of the low cost all-in-one desktop solutions use an 18.5-inch display screen. HP is no different in this case but their have used a very good panel on the Pavilion MS214. The screen offers a very bright picture with excellent color. The real advantage is that the panel has some very wide viewing angles with little color dropoff that is found in many with this screen size. It also uses an integrated ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics processor that is far and away better than the GMA 950 used with Atom based processors. Don't expect superb HD video though as stuttering was apparent even in 720p video feeds.
Networking on the Pavilion MS214 is fairly minimal. It includes a Fast Ethernet (10/100) wired connection or an 802.11b/g wireless adapter for use with a home wireless network. It would be nice to see support for 802.11n now that it is a formal standard but they are trying to keep costs down and it is pretty much standard for all-in-one's in this price.
With its low cost, HP has decided to use a traditional wired keyboard and mouse combination with the Pavilion MS214. They are acceptable for everyday use but they lack a very solid feel to them compared to some other models. It would be nice to see wireless models used to keep cable clutter down but that would increase costs.
The big issue that the HP Pavilion MS214 has is the performance compared to traditional desktop systems. The processor and features fall well behind what can be found in a standard desktop with Intel Pentium Dual-Core processors or even AMD's low cost Athlon II's. This is including the cost of an external monitor as well. Of course, the HP does pack everything into the small case that can fit just about anywhere and is perfectly find for web, productivity and light media usage.