The Bottom Line
Apr 20 2012 - The HP Pavilion p6-2100 is certainly not going to be winning any speed contests among budget desktop systems but with its street price near $400 it does provide a decent experience for anyone that is looking to get a basic desktop PC. Just be warned that a number of features such as peripheral connectors are dropped to help keep the prices down. This makes it more difficult to upgrade the system either internally or externally than competing desktops that cost just a bit more.
- Wireless Networking
- Dual Core Processor Slower Than Intel Core i3 Offerings
- No HDMI Video Output
- Lacks USB 3.0
- AMD A4-3420 Dual Core Desktop Processor
- 4GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 1TB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 16x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- AMD Radeon HD 6410D Integrated Graphics
- 5.1 Audio Support
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Six USB 2.0, DVI, VGA, 6-in-1 Card Reader
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter
Review - HP Pavilion p6-2100
Apr 20 2012 - HP is no stranger to using AMD processor with their budget class systems. For the HP Pavilion p6-2100 desktop, they have elected to use the A4-3420 dual core processor. This is a very interesting choice as most companies have elected to use the A6 quad core model instead. While the base clock is a bit higher per core than the quad core which helps when using a single task at a time, it loses any mutlicore and multitasking advantages compared to the Intel Core i3 processors. In fact, this processor is all around slower than the competition but still sufficient for anyone looking to use a PC for basics like media watching, web browsing and productivity software. Where is lags is in graphics and video works. The processor along with the 4GB of DDR3 memory do help keep the price of the system roughly $50 to $100 less than its competition. The system can be upgraded up to 8GB of memory pretty easily thanks to the two memory slots with only one being occupied.
Storage features are pretty typical of a budget class system. HP provides the Pavilion p6-2100 with a one terabyte hard drive which is the average size for a system between $400 and $500. One nice touch though is that the drive spins at the full 7200rpm spin rate compared to many that use green class drives that spin at 5400rpm. This gives it a bit faster access when booting or loading programs. On the other hand, HP does not feature a USB 3.0 port for use with high speed external storage drives which is found on other AMD APU based systems from Acer or ASUS. HP does include a dual-layer DVD burner for recording and playback of CD or DVD media as well as a media card reader.
Graphics for the Pavilion p6-2100 is based around the AMD Radeon HD 6410D integrated graphics that are built into the A4 processor. This is sufficient for most basic computing tasks and video work but it is one of the lesser integrated offerings from AMD. While the faster ones could do some casual PC gaming at lower resolutions and detail levels this one doesn't quite achieve that level. It does still offer better performance for accelerating non-3D applications like Photoshop compared to the Intel HD Graphics that are limited to media transcoding. Another issue with the built-in graphics is the connectors. Rather than using the ubiquitous HDMI connector, it comes with a DVI connector. This makes it a bit more difficult to use with a HDTV or many new monitors that are dropping the DVI connector with an adapter cable.. There is a PCI-Express graphics slot available within the system for adding in a dedicated graphics card but the system has a very low wattage power supply that will only allow for the most basic of budget class cards to be installed.
HP has typically been known to include a fair amount of installed software on their PCs but much of it tries to avoid the trialware aspects. Of note with their latest desktops is the inclusion of the Magic Canvas bundle. This was formerly known as the TouchSmart suite on their line of all-in-one touchscreen desktops. While there obviously isn't a touchscreen involved here, the suite does put together some nice features into a single user interface. Just be warned that these features do run on top of the standard Windows interface which means it will use up more memory.