That said, if you're interested in cramming as many options as you can into this system, or just a few, HP has you covered. Upgrades include a Draft N wireless card, a CableCard-ready TV tuner, a Blu-ray burner, larger hard drives, and up to 8GB of RAM. Serious gamers are really the only customer left out, because the 3D card options stop at the midrange, and the motherboard won't support more than a single graphics card.
For software, you're treated to a semiuseful utility and HP's usual collection of trialware icons. The utility, HP's Total Care Advisor, gives you the now familiar set of tools for monitoring your system performance, updating Windows, and troubleshooting help. The trialware icons create desktop clutter, but they're all easily carted off to the recycle bin.
Like Dell, HP's service and support policy rises above the rest because of its thoroughness. The basic warranty covers you for one year of parts and labor, and you get 24-7 toll free phone support. HP also offers in-home support if it finds that dispatching a tech would be the best solution to a particular issue. Online help is also widely available with various e-mail, chat, and remote control assistance, as well as the usual raft of FAQs and system specific help.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Apple OS X; 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7700; 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro graphics chip; 320GB 7,200rpm hard drive.
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600; 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Radeon HD 3450 graphics card; 320GB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive.
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.2Ghz AMD Phenom X4 9550; 6GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Radeon HD 3450 graphics card; 640GB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive.
HP Pavilion Elite m9300t
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.4Ghz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600; 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9500 GS graphics card; 500GB 7,200rpm Hitachi hard drive
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.53Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo E7200; 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 384MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GS graphics card; 500GB 7,200rpm Hitachi hard drive