Top positive review
One person found this helpful
Very good machine for price and performance
on 21 October 2012
I've had this machine about six months and it's the first desktop that I've had in the last 14 years (the others being laptops). I like the Slimline design; it sits neatly on my desktop at home and is really unobtrusive.
The unit came with 3Gb of RAM installed. I've recently upgraded this to 16Gb as it's a 64-bit system. If you are going to upgrade the RAM, please remember that you have 4 x 240 pin DDR3 1333 UDIMM slots, but you can only put a max 4Gb RAM stick in each slot, so 16Gb RAM is the maximum you can upgrade to on this motherboard. Whatever you do, don't buy 8Gb sticks - they won't work.
The unit allows for some expansion with the addition of a few extra PCI cards. I was going to add a USB 3.0, but bought a full height card, which was a mistake, you need to buy the smaller height cards for this machine, so something else to be aware of.
I sold the wired keyboard and mouse and soon as the unit arrived and purchased the HP wireless keyboard and mouse from here at Amazon.co.uk. This was a really good move and has resulted in a really tidy desk. The wireless dongle can be quickly inserted in a laptop USB port and you are then geared up for using same mouse and keyboard on another device. No wires, definitely the way to go.
The unit originally came with a 3.5" 500Gb hard drive, which wasn't enough for my needs. I bought a Western Digital (Green) 2 Tb SATA 3.5" drive and this was easy to swap with the original drive. Removing the drive / DVD caddy is a doddle, but just be patient and check out that all the screws have been removed (there should be five in total for the drive caddy unit).
Following on from the hard drive replacement, I was curious to know if I could use a second hard drive with this machine. There's no way you can fit another 3.5" disk, but there is plenty of space for a 2.5" drive, but you'll need to also buy a bay adapter so you can screw your 2.5" drive into the adapter, which then fits the 3.5" bay. You'll only have enough height to fit a single 2.5" drive. My thinking was to have a 2.5" drive for the operating system and the 2Tb drive for my data. I tried using an SSD drive, but they don't work with this machine when there is also a mechanical drive installed. Running the 2Tb mechanical drive and the SSD drive just threw up errors all the time, both in Windows and Linux. I then inserted a mechanical 1Tb 2.5" drive instead and everything works fine. An SSD drive on its own works fine as well, but not mechanical and SSD together. I'm not sure why they don't work together, but they don't, believe me I've tried the combination every way possible. So, SSD on its own or two mechanical HDs together. The mother board has four SATA connectors, so you have two for your drives no problems. There's no spare power connectors in the machine, so you will have to go to Maplins and get a Molex 4 pin / SATA 15 pin power cable adaptor and a 4 link SATA power supply cable for HDD (a 2 link would be fine as well, but I couldn't see one in Maplins).
Hooking up the power adaptor and the 4 link will then give you the power cables you need for both drives. Job done.
I've got my unit hooked up to a HP 2211x 22" monitor, which provides a large screen to work with. I may consider upgrading the graphics card at some point, but I'm in no rush. I was thinking about a larger desktop, but now I know I can upgrade and use more than one HDD, there's plenty of scope for this machine. If I need to upgrade the processor at any stage, this motherboard allows this - all the way up to i7, so that would be my next decision.
This machine has enough potential and expandability to keep me go for quite a few years. A good price and a good tidy desktop. Knowing what I now know about the machine I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a tidy solution with limited desk space. Service from Amazon - excellent as always.
Oh, yes, a couple of reviewers have mentioned no documentation. It's all on the drive as too is the recovery partition. You have the facility to create a recovery disk(s) and backup your other docs before upgrading. I didn't, but doing a clean install of Windows is a doddle, so long as you've been to HPs site and downloaded the necessary drivers if using under Windows; Linux deals with all the driver issues for you. However, if you are "old school" and don't take a backup before upgrading the hard drive, then please note, you can get recovery disks from HP. These will cost you about £30 and come over from Holland within a few days. So don't think you are up the creak if you get in this position.
Hope this review is helpful.
GrahamG, Cambridge, UK