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A good bit of engineering design has gone into the cooling of this machine. There’s a large (for a slimline PC) 92mm fan drawing air in from the front and pushing it through the fins of a substantial, heat-piped heatsink on the Core 2 processor. An 80mm fan sucks it from the other side, too and pushes it over the fins of the heatsink on the bridge chip. This complete, through-flow system keeps the PC very cool, so you shouldn’t have any heat-related troubles – it’s quiet, too.
Apart from the operating system, there's little software provided as standard. Roxio provides a couple of media utilities and there's a 60-day trial version of Symantec's corporate anti-virus software.
Setup is very easy, as there's only a keyboard and mouse to plug-in, along with power cables. The system doesn't include a monitor, so you'll need to provide your own or order an HP unit at the same time as the PC.
The dc7700 scored 3730 on PC Mark, which isn’t bad for a business PC, but is low in comparison with more media-centred designs. This is enough processing power to handle most of the Office tasks you might throw at the machine, but don’t expect to get it to edit videos in a hurry.
The keyboard and mouse are standard fare, with nothing extra in the way of special function keys on the keyboard and a simple optical mouse, looking like a rebadged Logitech device.
The PC is unobtrusive, thanks to its optional, vertical mounting, and was well-behaved during the entire test period. Given its tandem fan design, it’s also surprisingly quiet and these machines could be installed in a library without raising any hackles.
You need to be really careful when specifying this PC, as the model number dc7700 covers a whole range of configurations. The type number we’ve tested is the GK506ET and we can’t find anywhere selling it for less than a couple of pounds under HP’s list price. That’s a lot for a machine of this spec, and a quick look at the Dell site, for example, shows a PC with a better spec and including a monitor, for around £50 less.