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HP Pavilion p7 1070t review: HP Pavilion p7 1070t

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MSRP: $729.00

The Good The HP Pavilion P7 1070T offers faster Photoshop CS5 performance than competing systems in its price range

The Bad Increased competition from Acer and its Gateway subsidiary make this HP seem too expensive.

The Bottom Line In a competitive vacuum we would find the HP Pavilion P7 1070T a fine mainstream desktop computer, but except for Photoshop CS5-users, you can get more PC for your money from other vendors.

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5.7 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 5
  • Performance 5
  • Support 7

We mentioned in our review of a recent HP Slimline computer that the mainstream desktop market seems more competitive and commoditized this year. The workaday HP Pavilion P7 1070 helps us illustrate that point yet again. We like this $729 no-frills configuration well enough, but next to competing systems from Acer and its Gateway subsidiary this Pavilion feels either underequipped or too expensive. Heavy Photoshop CS5 users should consider this PC, otherwise, you can get more for your money elsewhere.

HP updated the design of all of its desktops this quarter, and while the new standard Pavilion chassis isn't a major departure from the earlier look, the new offset, glossy black front panel is a bit more stylish and less monolithic. Its circular power button also seems more inviting than the older version's nubby alternative.

HP Pavilion P7 1070T Gateway DX4850-45 Acer Aspire AM3970-U5022
Price $729 $749 $559
CPU 3.1GHz Intel Core i3 2100 2.8GHz Intel Core i5 2300 3.1GHz Intel Core i3 2100
Memory 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM 6GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM 6GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics 64MB Intel HD Graphics 2000 embedded graphics 64MB Intel HD Graphics 2000 embedded graphics 64MB Intel HD Graphics 2000 embedded graphics
Hard drives 1TB 7,200 rpm 1TB 5,400 rpm 1TB 5,400 rpm
Optical drive DVD-burner Blu-ray/DVD burner combo DVD-burner
Networking Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

Going entirely by list price, the Pavilion P71070T makes a decent comparison against the $749 Gateway DX4850-45u. The HP costs $20 less and has a faster CPU clock speed, more RAM, and a full-fledged 7,200 rpm hard drive to the Gateway's 5,400 rpm drive. The Gateway's main edge comes from its Blu-ray drive, although its Core i5 CPU is a true quad-core chip, to the dual-core Core i3 that can only simulate four-core performance through Intel's HyperThreading technology.

Though we don't normally like to consider price drops in our comparisons, we feel obligated to note that despite its $749 list price, as of this writing the Gateway is on sale at NewEgg for $499. At that price, the HP can't compete. Even if that deal goes away, we must also point out the Acer Aspire AM3970-U5022, which costs $549, and varies from the HP's configuration only in its hard-drive rotational speed and the fact that it has 6GB of RAM to the HP's 8GB.

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

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Multimedia multitasking test (in seocnds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Cinebench test
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering Multiple CPUs  
Rendering Single CPU  

As our performance tests demonstrate, that extra RAM and faster hard drive separates the HP from the Acer and the Gateway systems on our Photoshop CS5 test, and nowhere else. The Acer and the HP are tied on every other test, and the Gateway and its true quad-core chip are otherwise faster than the Pavilion P7. That added Photoshop performance may be enough to sway some of you in the HP's favor, but in general, the HP's comparative speed doesn't justify its cost.

We've criticized Acer recently for skimping out on expansion and connectivity in its budget systems, but unfortunately for HP, the Aspire AM3970 is stronger in this regard than the more expensive Pavilion P7 1070T. HP and Acer both give you plenty of room to add expansion cards, with a PCI Express 16x slot for a discrete 3D card, as well as three 1x PCI slots. HP skimps on the memory slots, though, providing you with only two, next to four in the Acer system.

You also get eight external USB 2.0 jacks on each system, and only 5.1 analog audio support, but where the HP has VGA and DVI outputs, the Acer provides VGA and HDMI. You can always add a DVI-to-HDMI adapter to the HP, and a VGA-to-DVI adapter to the Acer.

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