HP revamps consumer desktop lineup

HP unveils three new consumer desktops with updated designs and specifications.

Rich Brown Former Senior Editorial Director - Home and Wellness
Rich was the editorial lead for CNET's Home and Wellness sections, based in Louisville, Kentucky. Before moving to Louisville in 2013, Rich ran CNET's desktop computer review section for 10 years in New York City. He has worked as a tech journalist since 1994, covering everything from 3D printing to Z-Wave smart locks.
Expertise Smart home, Windows PCs, cooking (sometimes), woodworking tools (getting there...)
Rich Brown
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HP unveiled three new towers for its consumer desktop line this morning. The Pavilion, slim tower Slimline, and higher-end Pavilion Elite series all received new external designs. HP wasn't overly specific regarding the new hardware specifications in the new systems, but we do know HP is bringing Intel's second-generation Core (aka Sandy Bridge) CPUs to certain models in all three new systems.

HP's new Pavilion desktop chassis.
HP's new Pavilion desktop chassis. HP

Compare the new Pavilion p7 series design with that of the p6 series and you'll see that the p7's new look is really more like a straightening up. The glossy black front panel is a little smaller than before, and HP moved the power button down from the top of the chassis, but otherwise the Pavilion looks very similar between generations.

We don't mind the incremental aesthetic tweaks, especially for a workhorse system like HP's Pavilion. Pricing for the new p7 models will start at $299 when they launch online on May 18th. In addition to the new Intel chips, HP will offer AMD CPU options as well.

The new HP Slimline s5 design also looks a lot like the previous model.
The new HP Slimline s5 design also looks a lot like the previous model. HP

We're ambivalent about the bread-and-butter Pavilion, but we confess some disappointment in the new Slimline s5 design. It too looks like a cleaner version of the previous model, but with smaller systems like Apple's Mac Mini, and Dell's Zino Inspiron HD performing capably in the living room, we'd hoped HP might trim down the Slimline's measurements. It's still also larger than Gateway's SX slim tower series, which has traditionally offered all of the configurability of the Slimline series, but with a significantly smaller chassis. We like the new front panel well enough, but based on the preview we saw a few months ago, the new Slimline is unnecessarily large.

The Slimline s5 will hit HP's Web site a bit later than the Pavilion, appearing online June 15. Prices start at $329, with both AMD and Intel CPU options.

The Pavilion Elite received the biggest design overhaul of HP's new line-up.
The Pavilion Elite received the biggest design overhaul of HP's new line-up. HP

HP seems to have poured most of its design effort into its Pavilion Elite h8 chassis. Compared with the previous Pavilion Elite, which mostly seemed like a tricked out standard Pavilion, the new higher-end chassis features sharper angles and a more streamlined front panel.

The red line across the front of the system indicates the Beats Audio-boosted audio jacks. This is also the only model in the new line-up for which HP specifically calls out discrete graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia, as well as dual-monitor support.

The Pavilion Elite will debut on HP's Web site alongside the regular Pavilion on May 18. Pricing starts at $599.

In addition to the new desktops, HP is also announcing a new feature available on all three systems called HP LinkUp. Essentially a local network file sharing service, LinkUp will let you draw down files from an HP desktop to a laptop on the same wireless network.