We tested this machine using SYSmark 2004 SE and PCMark 2005 and we compared to a previously reviewed Acer Aspire E300-7NB73 which has a 3500+ on an nForce 4 platform, discreet graphics and 1GB of memory.
We were a little disappointed by the performance of this machine. SYSmark illustrates this with an overall score of 140, compared to the 180 that the Acer achieved. In reality, these machines are very close on paper, so this really illustrates how a few minor changes could increase performance significantly.
PCMark 2005 shows the areas that are lacking in more detail. Overall, the Acer was 37 per cent faster. The CPU score was almost identical, showing how little difference the HyperTransport speed makes. Memory performance was significantly lower due to running in single channel mode and being shared with the graphics. Hard drive performance was also slightly lower, due to the slower ATI chipset.
On paper, the hp machine is excellent value for money. Performance on the other hand is a little disappointing. We can blame most of this on the badly configured memory. We can almost forgive hp for this, as for around £25 you can buy another 512MB of memory which will make up for this performance drop. We’d sooner do this than cripple upgrade options by having two 256MB sticks.
For most, this drop in performance will barely be noticeable and there is no denying that any base unit for £339 made from decent quality components is worth considering.
If you are looking for a drop-in box to replace your current system, this should be high on your list.
NOTE: This machine has caused a lot of interest, as it should. But we've had one reader e-mail us suggesting that PC World are in fact selling this for £429.99, not the £339 we were quoted. Upon phoning a store myself, I also found this to be the case. This machine does not offer as much value as previously thought, therefore I have removed the recommended award.