HP Pavilion A6620f review: HP Pavilion A6620f

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 7.0
  • Service and support: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Built-in digital audio; stylish good looks; decent amount of upgradability.

The Bad Faster PCs with better components are available for less.

The Bottom Line The HP Pavilion a6620f makes a decent case for its budget price. We like the design and the built-in digital-audio ports, and if you're on an unbreakable budget, the a6620f will get you through a variety of processes, but we recommend saving up for a system that will give you a more powerful set of components for a negligible price difference.

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The HP Pavilion a6620f desktop PC gives you plenty of features at a price that won't leave a smoking hole in your wallet. For $570, you get a dual-core 2.5GHz Intel processor, 4GB of RAM, a low grade integrated video chip, and 500GB of hard-drive space--a solid configuration for the price. The case itself is easy on the eyes and will blend into any home-office environment, and we also like the integrated digital-audio port on the back of the chassis. Dell offers another budget computer with better features, but it doesn't have a digital-audio connection and it costs $30 more. The HP Pavilion a5520f is an acceptable budget PC for audio enthusiasts who might want a digital output, but if you use programs that display intense graphics or need the extra storage, the competition gives you a better system for a little more money.

Like many desktops in the HP Pavilion line, the tower integrates a media-card reader onto the top of the chassis for transferring files directly off a number of different card types including SD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo, Compact Flash I/II, SmartMedia, etc. A dual-layer DVD burner sits below the card reader, and under that there's an expansion bay for portable hard drives. Finally, a covered slot at the bottom hides microphone and headphone ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and a FireWire 400 port. The rear is standard for a budget PC, except HP includes ports for digital-audio out and in, something we hardly ever see in this price range. Home audio engineers might be glad to see those ports, but anyone with a digital-only display will be disappointed, because this system only has a VGA video output. Fortunately, most LCDs include the adapter you'll need; aftermarket adapters are also available for cheap.

The HP also provides a wide array of internal expansion options. You can add a secondary hard drive as well as an extra portable hard drive through the front bay. You can also put in a third-party video card or add two 1x PCI Express cards to your system. You can also squeeze in another PCI slot if you gut the inside and pull out the 56k modem. It's possible to increase the 4GB of RAM, but be prepared to sacrifice at least one gigabyte for future upgrades--all four slots are already filled with 1GB sticks.

  HP Pavilion a6620f Dell Inspiron 530-115B
Price $570 $600
CPU 2.5GHz Intel Pentium E5200 Dual Core 2.66GHz Intel E7300 Dual Core
Memory 4GB 832MHz DDR2 SDRAM 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Graphics 128MB (shared) Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100 integrated graphics chip 256MB (shared) Intel GMA 3100 integrated graphics chip
Hard drives 500GB, 7,20 rpm 640GB 7,200rpm
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner
Networking 10/100 Ethernet 10/100 Ethernet
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit)

For our side-by-side comparison chart, we're using the Dell Inspiron 530-115B, another off-the-shelf Best Buy computer similar to the HP Pavilion a6620 in both price and components. The two standout differences between these computers are processor speed and hard drive space. The Inspiron's 2.66 GHz processor is slightly faster than the 2.5GHz HP, but it adds an extra 140GB of hard drive space. Both computers offer an integrated Ethernet card and have the same amount of onboard memory, but the HP gets an extra point for the aforementioned digital audio in/out. For a paltry $30 difference, we argue that the Dell offers more generally useful features for your dollar.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion a6620f
130 

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion a6620f
143 

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion a6620f
864 

CineBench
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multiple CPUs  
Rendering single CPU  
Dell Inspiron 530
6219 
3192 
HP Pavilion a6620f
5636 
2931 
Gateway DX4720-03
5601 
2926 
Acer Aspire X3200
5034 
1862 

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Where to Buy

HP Pavilion A6620f

Part Number: FQ515AA#ABA

MSRP: $569.99

This configuration is no longer available from HP.
Click here to view HP's latest offers.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Graphics Processor Intel GMA 3100 Dynamic Video Memory Technology 4.0
  • Capacity 1 x 500 GB
  • OS Provided Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Monitor Type None.