The first thing you notice about the dc7800p is its tiny chassis. With case dimensions of 255mm x 250mm x 66mm it is among the smallest fully functional PCs you can buy, even surpassing the dc7700p. Indeed it even has VESA screw mountings on the top and bottom so it can be attached to the back of a monitor and hidden away completely. At least that's the theory.
You see, a normal VESA mount consists of a metal plate upon which you can screw a monitor. Creating a PC to sit between the two would require holes to pass right through the PC case, so a bolt can run through the plate and PC then attach to the monitor. With the dc7800p there's rather a lot of PC in between the two sets of holes so you'd have difficulty passing a bolt through the whole lot. This limits the use of these mounts to attaching the PC to a wall bracket or security cage, which can be discreetly tucked away under a desk or in a cupboard.
The case itself is built from steel and, due to its compact design, it is very rigid and sturdy. A coating of suitably tough but generic silver paint coats the outer surfaces and a partially perforated black plastic strip runs round the front and sides. Aesthetically it's an improvement over the previous model and is as much as you would expect from such a system - clean, simple, and dull. Of course the main thing is how well it will stand the test of time, and in that regard it looks to be every bit as good as you could hope.
The front houses a slim-line laptop style DVD drive, which in this case is a multi format rewriter with Lightscribe technology - very useful for labeling those backup discs. These arent' the most convenient drives to use when a PC is hidden away, as you have to manually pull the tray open, but for the size of case, there's no alternative.
Under this are a couple of USB ports that have cleverly been spaced apart slightly to enable two over sized USB devices to be used simultaneously. There's also headphone and microphone jacks, the power button, a couple of LEDs to indicate power and hard drive activity, and an intake for the front ventilation fan. Considering its likely positioning under a desk where wayward feet can swing, the power switch is a little too easy to press for our liking and we'd prefer to see it recessed a little further. However, this is a very minor complaint and it is at least flush with the front.