HP Compaq Presario SA4000 series
Ever since HP and Compaq joined forces, the company has painted its Pavilion line as the desktop for creative multimedia applications while giving its Compaq Presario line a serious-minded productivity persona. But with many of the same parts available on each line, the division is more marketing than engineering. Residing at the top of the Presario pack are two flavors of the SA4000--the Intel-based SA4000T and the AMD-based SA4000Z. (HP is one of the few big-name PC vendors to offer both AMD and Intel chips.) We tested a fully loaded Compaq Presario SA4000T ($2,424 as of October 2004), which, if HP's marketing message is to be believed, goes a bit overboard for button-downed office use. Scale back a bit from our test system, and you'll save a bundle of money and still get ample power for keeping your home or office humming along at a productive clip.