HP's dx5150 Business Desktop will be a welcome addition to any cramped office where desk and floor space are at a premium: Its small case is less than 10cm high and has a footprint of 33cm x 38cm.
Configured with a 2.2GHz Athlon 64 3500+ CPU and 512MB of DDR400 SDRAM, this model posted a WorldBench 5 score of 93; that's plenty of processing power for most common business applications. And for those looking to switch to 64-bit software applications when they become available, the dx5150 is ready.
Despite its small size, the system is very easy to open and offers a surprising amount of expandability. Beneath, you'll find two PCI slots, an open PCI Express x1 slot, and an open PCI Express x16 slot. All the expansion slots are unobstructed, and all the expansion cards are conveniently secured to the case by a single screw.
The half of the motherboard that holds the RAM is covered by the DVD and hard drives. It looks impossibly cramped. But after tugging on a few clearly marked tabs and levers, I easily removed the DVD drive; the assembly that holds it lifts up to fully expose the RAM, the hard drive and the obscured half of the motherboard. One limitation of the system's size: There's room for only one hard drive.
Although the dx5150 certainly isn't made for games or heavy graphics use, you have to credit the integrated ATI Radeon Xpress 200 graphics with successfully running our graphics gaming tests, albeit at very low frame rates.
Photographic images on the 17-inch HP 1740 flat-panel display looked sharp and rich in colour, but the smallest fonts were a bit hard to read. The integrated speakers provided rudimentary audio capability; however, anyone planning to regularly listen to, well, anything should invest in external speakers.
The dx5150 comes with both DVI and VGA ports so there is more flexibility in choosing a monitor. Two USB 2.0 ports, a headphone jack, and a microphone jack are on the front of case. Six USB 2.0 ports and an Ethernet port are on the back along with the usual assortment of audio connectors, and a parallel and a serial port. The system comes with a basic, no-frills keyboard that feels well made and has firm key action.
HP dx5150 Business Desktop WorldBench
5 score of 93, 2.2GHz Athlon 64 3500+ CPU, 512MB of DDR400 SDRAM, Windows XP Professional, 80GB hard drive, 16X DVD-ROM/48X CD-RW combo drive, integrated ATI Radeon Xpress 200 graphics, 17-inch HP L1740 LCD monitor, internal speakers, compact case. Three-year parts and labour warranty; 24-hour daily toll-free support during warranty period. Warranty includes three-year next-day on-site service.
Local information: The product is distributed by Ingram Micro and Dicker Data.