Since the HP-Compaq merger, the HP Pavilion line has been given a creative, multimedia-focused personality while the Compaq Presario line has been given the responsibility of more worklike, home-office productivity tasks. Certainly, there is overlap between the two: our high-end, 3GHz Pentium 4-based Compaq Presario 8000T test system illustrates this fact by including a DVD+RW drive, booming 5.1 Klipsch speakers, and dual 120GB Serial ATA hard drives in a striped array. Despite top-notch performance and competitive pricing, however, the Presario 8000T's anemic warranty and limited monitor options make it slightly less attractive than comparable high-end configurations, such as its Pavilion siblings or PCs from makers such as Dell.
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.
HP covers your digital-device connections with both FireWire and USB 2.0 ports on the front panel.
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, 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 Serial ATA RAID card gives you fast access to the data on the two 120GB hard drives.
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.