Larger than the Acer Veriton 1000 Acer Veriton 1000, but smaller than the Lenovo ThinkCentre A61e Lenovo ThinkCentre A61e, HP's new small business, small form factor PC does a good job of mixing form with function.
This slim design is made possible thanks to the use of notebook technology. First of all the HP Compaq dc7800 uses 1GB of DDR2 notebook RAM and a notebook motherboard, a notebook optical drive (a DVD re-writer) and an 80GB 2.5in notebook hard drive, but it also uses a notebook-style external power supply saving valuable internal real estate.
Despite all of that the CPU is still a desktop-based Intel E6550 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo CPU with a 1333MHz front side bus and a 4MB L2 cache. HP has managed to passively cool the CPU, relying on the tiny intake fan to cool the heat sink. The only other fan is another tiny extraction fan at the rear of the case. Overall, the system runs quietly and keeps out of the way.
The optical drive is easily accessible from the front, as well as two USB 2.0 ports, as well as headphone and microphone jacks. At the rear of the case you get another six USB 2.0 ports and some PS/2 ports for older mice and keyboards. Keeping with this old/new theme the HP Compaq dc7800 offers both VGA (D-Sub) and DVI video outputs. A second set of audio jacks reside at the back, covering audio output and input.
Unlike its Acer counterpart, this machine is designed for one orientation only -- flat. However, a set of four screw holes at the top of the box suggest it's ready for mounting; to the back of a monitor or some other location. IT administrators will appreciate the ease with which you can open the box. A single thumb screw locks the lid down. Unscrew this and it's a simple matter of sliding the lid off to access the internal components. The optical drive and hard drive slide and flip out respectively without the involvement of a screwdriver, which is a nice touch.
Unfortunately, like most other business PCs, the HP Compaq dc7800 has been designed as a one-off device with little to no upgrade options. There are no DIMM slots free for more RAM and there's absolutely no room for more hard drives.
This system also offers Intel vPro. Intel vPro has yet to take off, but has a lot of promise. It is a remotely accessible subsystem of the PC that exists separate to the operating system and can be used by administrators to diagnose and repair problems remotely. The PC doesn't even need to be turned on to access it via vPro, potentially saving unnecessary time on desk-side visits.
In our benchmarks the HP Compaq dc7800 did reasonably well, but isn't a powerhouse. In WorldBench 6 it scored just 78, which is fairly good for notebook technology, but still not at the top of the line. However, the bottom line is this machine will do all your word processing, Web surfing and other everyday tasks with ease. In our MP3 encoding tests the CPU performed well, encoding 53 minutes worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3 files in 73sec using iTunes. Using Cdex, which applies just one core of the CPU to the task, took 116sec.