Almost exactly a year ago we took a look at the dc7700p, which was the first desktop computer we'd seen with support for Intel's then new vPro technology. It impressed us with its decent productivity performance, low power usage, quiet operation, and of course its tiny chassis and altogether we deemed it a solid solution for large-scale low-power IT departments. So, one year on, HP has updated this line and we now have the dc7800 ready to take over from its erstwhile sibling. Let's see how it stacks up.
Built using the same principles as its predecessor, the dc7800p is the ultra slim version of HP's newest range of 7800 business desktops. It's available in two configurations, the GV968ET and the GW012EA. The former comes with an Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 running at 2.66GHz, 1GB of 667MHz RAM, a 160GB hard drive, a multi-format rewriteable DVD drive, Microsoft Windows Vista Business Edition, and all the vPro capabilities as standard. This will set you back around £450, which isn't bad considering the size of the system. However, the best bit is the incredibly comprehensive warranty that HP offers with these systems. As standard you get on-site three years parts and labour cover with next business day response and 24-7 telephone support. Now that's what I call support!
There are a number of configuration options available so you can increase the amount of RAM or get a faster hard drive. However, HP being HP, the machines are only available off the shelf from retailers and they seldom offer changes to the specification so you're more than likely to be stuck with the standard configuration. If you want to specify your own configuration you'll have to order with one of HPs partners, in which case costs will vary greatly depending on specification and numbers. And, as for the GW012EA, this is currently listed as 'Call to discuss options. Currently may not be available direct from HP.' but essentially it seems to consist of the same sort of spec with a slower CPU.
Before I move onto the PC itself, I'll just quickly reiterate what vPro is all about. Essentially, it's a combination of hardware and software that enables IT departments to remotely manage and troubleshoot PCs in a more sophisticated manner. It also incorporates a robust virtual machine client that greatly enhances security on the client machine. To read more about it, you can refer to our review of the dc7700p, which explains further, or you can visit Intel's website, here. The key thing to remember is, unless you run a large or very spread out IT department, the benefits are going to be limited and you'd be better off saving some money and going for the none-vPro version.