HP hasn't made many major changes to its back-to-school desktop line-up. Of the four new systems, each has a slightly updated chassis design from preceding models, but from the components to the pricing, HP largely stays within its mainstream comfort zone. We hoped for a more thorough revision at some of HP's clunkier design elements, but aside from that these systems appear to offer the same aggressive mix of pricing and components we expect from HP, if not much in the way of headline-friendly innovation.
HP Pavilion SlimLine s5000 Series
We reviewed a SlimLine
HP Pavilion p6000 Series
We last saw HP's mainstream desktop in the Pavilion
HP Pavilion Elite e9000 Series
The new Pavilion Elites benefit most from HP's design tweaks, as the almost uniformly piano-black front panel seems most befitting HP's highest-end PCs. Unfortunately, HP failed to address the feature we most dislike about these systems, which means the case is still crowded with a pair of bays for HP's proprietary external hard drives. We've complained about this
Compaq Presario CQ5000 series
Finally, apparently after all these years the Compaq brand still has some mileage left. HP calls this a series, but from what we can tell there's only one, non-configurable Compaq model available at the moment. The CQ5100F is a $370, dual-core 2.5GHz AMD Athlon 7750-based midtower with a respectable budget configuration. In addition to the AMD chip, you get 3GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, integrated Nvidia graphics, and 32-bit Vista Home Premium. The design for this model also looks sleek enough, although we find it interesting how a piano black finish has become the new apparent tech industry standard. As long as it's not beige.
We actually have three of HP's four new back-to-school desktops on hand already, so look for reviews in the coming weeks. Also keep in mind that like most PC vendors, HP is taking part in Microsoft's free, which gets you a free voucher for a Windows 7 upgrade with the purchase of any new Vista PC between now and the end of January 2010.