The Bottom Line
Feb 9 2012 - HP's Pavilion HPE h8z may be a welcome addition to those hoping to get a new AMD FX based desktop computer system but frankly the new platform has a number of issues that plague it. While the base features are quite good for the h8z and there is a wide range of customization, the cost and performance of the platform make it less compelling than HP's Pavilion HP3 h8xt that is based on Intel's better performing Core i7 quad core processors yet costs just a little bit more.
- Blu-ray Drive
- Wireless Networking
- AMD Processor Trails Behind Similar Intel Offerings
- Power Supply Upgrade Needed For Any Video Card Upgrades
- AMD FX-8100 Eight Core Desktop Processor
- 8GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 1TB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- Blu-ray Reader And Dual-Layer DVD Burner Combo Drive
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 530 Graphics Card With
- 7.1 Audio Support
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Two USB 3.0, Six USB 2.0, HDMI, DVI, VGA, 15-in-1 Card Reader
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter, Norton Internet Security
Review - HP Pavilion HPE h8z
Feb 9 2012 - HP is probably best known for their low cost retail computer systems. The HP Pavilion HPE h8z is a customizable desktop system that is based around the new AMD FX processor lineup. It features a base price of roughly $790 after rebates and can be upgraded in a number of ways to improve performance and features. This review primarily looks at the base configuration and what upgrades are available.
The new AMD FX processors have been much anticipated because they were bringing an affordable option for desktops with a greater number of processor cores. In the case of the base FX-8100, this is eight processor cores which is far more affordable that Intel's Core i7 Extreme. While this is great on paper, in practice the processor has a number of problems that plague it such that performance is frankly below what can be achieved in a similarly priced Intel quad core based system. The 8GB of DDR3 memory should be plenty for a smooth experience with Windows 7 but those looking to do a lot of video editing may be interested in upgrading to extra memory.
For storage, the base configuration uses a typical 1TB hard drive that spins at the traditional 7200rpm rate. This gives it a good amount of storage space for applications, data and media files and provides a better performance than the green drives finding their ways into more consumer desktops. If you want additional performance, there is an option to install solid state drives or you can get a larger hard drive if you need additional space. Prices on the solid state drives is fairly reasonable while hard drives are on the high end likely from the drive shortages from last years flooding in Thailand. A Blu-ray combo drive is included that allows the system to playback Blu-ray movies as well as playback or record CD or DVD media. This is a nice feature for those wanting to use their system for media watching. If you need additional high speed external storage, the system does feature two of the USB 3.0 ports.
The base graphics card for the HP Pavilion HPE h8z is a bit disappointing. It comes equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce GT 530 graphics card that is just a small step from the lowest of the 500 series graphics cards. While it does feature 2GB of video memory, the performance from the 3D engine is not really going to support high resolution graphics in most games. This is best suited for casual PC gaming at low resolution and detail levels or accelerating non-3D applications. Now, HP does offer a variety of video card upgrades up to the Radeon HD 6850. Frankly, consumers would be better served by purchasing their own graphics card upgrade and installing it themselves. The key thing here though is that they must get the upgraded power supply as the 300W base model can't support many of the latest graphics cards.
One nice aspect of the HP Pavilion HPE systems is the software setup. While HP's standard Pavilion lineup has been plagued by an increasing number of preinstalled applications, they take a much better approach here by installing fewer and more useful programs. It is also nice to see that HP includes over a year of security software subscriptions with the system while many just include 30 to 90 day trials.