- Review Price: £335.00
Not to long ago we examined the Acer Veriton VT7600GT office PC and now it’s time to have a look at a similar machine from HP – the dx6050. The dx6050 is based on an AMD Athlon XP 2800+ processor, compared to the Pentium 4 2.6GHz that we saw in the Veriton – this makes the HP a fair amount cheaper than the Acer, but how well does it compare for everyday business applications?
First of all, let’s take a closer look at what HP has on offer in this little package. The dx6050 is a very basic PC and rightly so, since it is targeting entry level office users that aren’t looking to play games on their PC, nor run any multimedia hungry applications.
Apart from the Athlon XP 2800+ processor, HP has fitted 256MB of PC2700 DDR SDRAM and a 40GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 IDE hard drive in the dx6050. The motherboard is based on nVidia’s nForce2 chipset and features integrated 10/100Mbit/sec LAN.
Oddly enough HP has gone for a motherboard that supports the MCP-T southbridge, but there is no support for 5.1-channel sound due to the Analog Devices AC’97 controller which only supports 2.1-channel sound. The Analog Devices AC’97 is however targeted towards the business user with support for advanced microphones which can be used with voice recognition software or similar applications. The dx6050 also features an integrated speaker capable of playing back Windows sounds, but don’t expect it to be any good for music.
For those interested in a possible later upgrade there is one free memory slot, but I would suggest that you populate this sooner rather than later, as 256MB of memory is going to hamper your productivity, especially since some of it is shared with the onboard graphics. The amount of shared memory can be set in the BIOS to an amount between 32-128MB.
Thanks to the nVidia nForce 2 chipset the dx6050 supports dual displays, although both of them have to use analogue D-SUB connectors, which is not ideal if you use TFT monitors. The two D-SUB connectors are fitted on the motherboard, which is common on nForce 2 boards with integrated graphics. You also get two PS/2 ports for the keyboard and mouse, a serial and parallel port, four USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet connector and three audio connectors for speakers, microphone and a line input. There are a further two USB 2.0 ports at the front of the system together with headphone and microphone sockets.
I almost forgot to mention that the dx6050 comes with a CD-RW/DVD combo drive, which can be used to backup your data with. The drive is capable of writing CD-R discs at 48-speed and CD-RW discs at 32-speed. The supplied keyboard and mouse are both of average quality, but neither is terrible in use and I’ve seen far worse examples on machines at this price point.
Even as a very basic machine, the dx6050 comes with a pretty good set of features, especially considering the target market. Although AMD has not traditionally been a choice for business PCs the dx6050 shows that there is no reason why you wouldn’t go for an AMD processor instead of one from Intel. What really impressed me were the benchmark scores, where the dx6050 managed to keep up very well with the Acer Veriton VT7600GT and in fact even outperformed it in both SYSmark 2004 and PCMark 2004. There aren’t huge differences in performance, but as the dx6050 is a fair bit cheaper, it is definitely an added bonus.
Where the dx6050 doesn’t show off as well as the Acer is in the software department. Admittedly you get a copy of dantz retrospect express backup software, a copy of Norton Antivirus 2004 and Roxio Easy CD Creator basic edition, but this is hardly an extensive software package on a business PC. Although, there is that price point we keep coming back to and HP has really made this system affordable, and thus more attractive to small businesses on a tight budget. At £334.88 inc VAT directly from HP, the dx6050 represents surprisingly good value from a Tier 1 player like HP.
Even if you’re looking at buying a basic second PC for home, purely to work on, the dx6050 is a bargain. Ok, you don’t get a monitor for that price, but neither do you with the Acer. It also lacks support for Gigabit Ethernet and some of the memory expandability, but for over £140 less the HP dx6050 is definitely tempting.
The HP dx6050 is an excellent value office machine with good base specifications and more than acceptable performance. It is worth adding another 256MB of memory to it though, then you’d be able to run pretty much any office application you like. If you’re looking to equip a small office with PCs, this HP is definitely worth considering.
Score in detail