Familiarity breeds contentment for HP's Compaq Presario 8000T. The understated black midtower with its silver face has been around for a while, but it's a better fit for home and small-office users than the new crop of flashing and blinking performance PCs are.
A pair of captured thumbscrews (they stay connected to the case even when unscrewed, to prevent loss) holds the side panel in place. The single case-cooling fan (in addition to the requisite CPU and power-supply fans) wouldn't normally be worth mentioning; it cools the system just fine, and it runs quietly. Because the system has no room for adding more fans, however, overclockers who need to beat the heat will want to look elsewhere.
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|Filled drive bays leave no room to add more, but at least you have plenty of PCI slots for adding cards.|
The downside to the Presario 8000T's generous configuration is that most of it leaves little room for drive expansion. All five drive bays (three front accessible and two inside) are filled, but few people would require more than DVD+RW and CD-RW drives, dual hard drives, and a floppy drive installed. You could always replace the floppy with a media-card reader or a Zip drive, if you are so moved. Along the same vein, both memory sockets are filled, but the system's 1GB of memory is enough to get you through all of the normal applications and even heavy-duty graphics and video tasks (HP gives you the option of upgrading to 2GB of memory). The slot situation is better, with half of the system's six PCI slots available. Two of the Presario 8000T's six USB 2.0 ports are front mounted, as is one of its two FireWire ports.
Like many of today's high-end PCs, the HP Compaq Presario 8000T ties together a 3GHz Pentium 4 with 1GB of DDR memory, RAID controlled Serial ATA (SATA) drives, and an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro card with 128MB of memory. Its 865 chipset plays second fiddle to Intel's high-end 875P, but the 8000T still delivered almost untouchable performance, thanks in part to its Promise Technology RAID SATA card and the dual 120GB Seagate SATA drives attached to it. The striped RAID 0 array provides faster data access, and the two drives together give you 240GB of storage. That's ample room for the large video files that home DV editors most likely have hogging drive space.
The Presario 8000T's multimedia outfit has almost all the right moves. A 48X/24X/48X CD-RW drive and HP's 4X DVD Writer 300n let you create or play music and video discs. The Sound Blaster Audigy 2 card matches well with the Klipsch ProMedia 5.1-speaker system; the latter gives you 500 watts of audiophile-quality sound that will rock your world--and your neighbors'. Our only disappointment is the system's 17-inch Compaq CRT. It looks great wearing text, graphics, or video, but it's less intriguing than the 19-inch CRT (or large LCD) we've come to expect from high-end systems. Worse, this is the largest display that HP offers with the 8000T.
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|A 48X/24X/48X CD-RW drive and a 4X HP DVD Writer 300n give you a great degree of flexibility when creating or playing music and video discs.|
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|You'll be hard-pressed to find a better speaker set, but we wish we had the option of choosing a larger display than the bundled 17-inch CRT.|
HP bundles Microsoft Works 6.0 and Money 2003 for business productivity, while WinDVD and ArcSoft's Showbiz Video Editor handle your more creative productions. HP also puts you on the right security track with a 60-day subscription to Norton's AntiVirus Live Updates.
The Compaq Presario 8000T is the next generation in HP's high-performance Presario line. Using Intel's new 865PE chipset with a 3GHz processor and 1,024MB of DDR SDRAM, the 8000T performed on a par with the rest of the 3GHz systems we've tested, including systems using the supposedly higher-performing Intel 875P chipset. Overall, the 8000T provides outstanding performance for any application you throw at it.
|Application performance (Longer bars indicate better performance)|
To measure application performance, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's SysMark2002, an industry-standard benchmark. Using off-the-shelf applications, SysMark measures a desktop's performance using office-productivity applications (such as Microsoft Office and McAfee VirusScan) and Internet-content-creation applications (such as Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Dreamweaver).
3D graphics and gaming performance
The Compaq Presario 8000T uses the 128MB ATI Radeon 9800 Pro graphics card, which just so happens to be the highest-performing graphics card we've seen in a system to date. The 8000T's 3DMark2001 performance is among the fastest we've seen; it beat Nvidia's GeForce FX 5800 Ultra by a healthy margin. (We have yet to see Nvidia's GeForce FX 5900 Ultra in a system.) Its Quake III performance of 300-plus frames per second (fps) means that the 8000T will handle any of today's games with ease.
|3D graphics performance (Longer bars indicate better performance)|
To measure 3D graphics performance, CNET Labs uses Futuremark's 3DMark2001 Pro Second Edition, Build 330. We use 3DMark to measure a desktop's performance with the DirectX 8 (DX8) interface at both 16- and 32-bit color settings at a resolution of 1,024x768. A system that does not have DX8 hardware support will typically generate a lower score than one that has DX8 hardware support.
|3D gaming performance in fps (Longer bars indicate better performance)|
To measure 3D gaming performance, CNET Labs uses Quake III Arena. Although Quake III is an older game, it is still widely used as an industry-standard tool. Quake III does not require DX8 hardware support--as 3DMark2001 does--and is therefore an excellent means of comparing the performance of low- to high-end graphics subsystems. Quake III performance is reported in frames per second (fps).
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.System configurations:
ABS Ultimate X5
Windows XP Home; 3GHz Intel P4; Intel 875P chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB; two Seagate ST380023AS 80GB 7,200rpm, Serial ATA; integrated Intel 82801ER Serial ATA RAID controller
Compaq Presario 8000T
Windows XP Home; 3GHz Intel P4; Intel 865PE chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB; two Seagate ST3120026AS 120GB 7,200rpm, Serial ATA; Promise FastTrak S150/TX2 SATA controller card
Dell Dimension 8300
Windows XP Home; 3GHz Intel P4; Intel 875P chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB; WDC WD2000JB-75DUA0 200GB 7,200rpm
Polywell Poly 880NF3-3200
Windows XP Professional, 2.2GHz AMD Athlon XP 3200+; Nvidia Nforce-2 chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; Nvidia GeForce FX 5800 Ultra 128MB; two Western Digital WDC WD360GD-00FNA0, 36GB 10,000rpm; Highpoint RocketRAID 1520 SATA RAID controller
Velocity Micro Vector VX-W
Windows XP Home; 3GHz Intel P4; Intel 865PE chipset; 512MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB; WDC WD2000JB-00DUA0 200GB 7,200rpm
The Compaq Presario 8000T's warranty is disappointingly tepid for a system of its ilk. The standard warranty on parts lasts just one year. If your system needs repairs during that time, you can mail it to HP, carry it in to a local Compaq dealer, or if the problem involves replaceable pieces, you can fix it yourself with parts that HP supplies. But there's no onsite service, depriving users of a house call should a truly prickly problem arise. Tech support is available to help diagnose the problem, and it's a toll-free call available 24/7 for the length of your warranty. (A per-incident charge is applied for each call after your contract expires.) E-mail assistance and live-chat support on HP's site are available for the life of the system.
Warranty upgrades are available, but the Texas-based company must have it in for certain Yankees: everyone outside the state of New York has the option of upgrading to a second or third year of coverage that includes 24/7 tech support. If you have young kids or errant pets in the house (and, again, your house is not located in New York), HP's second- and third-year Accident Damage Warranty upgrade offers "coverage for liquid spills, drops, falls, collisions, electrical surges, or any other accidental damage."