CNET First Look
HP Firebird 803HP's Firebird 803 brings the influence of its Voodoo PC acquisition to the mainstream with a compelling design, admirable power efficiency, and strong bang-for-the-buck.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:04 >> Rich: Hi I'm Rich Brown, Senior Editor for CNET.com today we're gonna take a look at the HP Firebird 803. Now this system is a mainstream gaming PC from HP and also its partner Voodoo PC. Voodoo is a boutique vendor that HP acquired a couple years ago. You can see HP's gone with a unique design for this PC it has kind of an accordion style minimalized case, the front panel has just the Bluetooth slot and a power button. On top here there's a little door hiding the media card reader but in general there's no other ports on the front of this system. You can see from the side the case is sitting on this canelevered base that leaves this whole space underneath for airflow that helps keep the system nice and cool inside. On the back panel here you actually get kind of a hint of what else is going on with this PC you get the usual collection of ports for the most part it's 6 USB 2.0's, an HDMI which is great, digital audio output as well as a few others, there's no Analog audio out, I mean you get a single speaker output but there's no 5.1, 7.1 audio inputs but you also see there's no standard power cable input on the back of this system that's because HP's gone with an external power supply. Now the benefit is that it keeps the system nice and small but of course you have to keep the power supply on the floor somewhere so it can be a little bit clunky. Now you also see there's no card slot bays on the back of this system HP has tried to help the situation by adding an express card slot which will take laptop sized TV tuners and other expansion cards, but in general the upgrade pass for this system is very limited. Getting inside the Firebird is very easy just pop a little button on the bottom the door comes right off. So you can see this is definitely not your typical computer you have your CPU here with liquid cooling tubes going around to the CPU and the 2 graphics cards, so what these are are actually MXM standard cards which is a laptop kind of all in one PC standard developed by NVIDIA designed to make it easy to upgrade graphics cards to those closed-case systems. You get 2 memory slots here as well as a hard drive bay here behind this door and that's about it. So if that seems crazy for a standard desktop PC we actually like this system quite a bit. For this price the power and the features are right exactly where they should be but it's also very capable gaming system and that's what it's really all about. You can't dial those settings all the way to the top but in general you can play pretty much any game on this PC that you want to. We tested this PC against a couple other standard gaming desktops in its price range and found that it uses a third less power in some cases, that's really remarkable and we have a feeling over a year you will definitely notice that on your power bill. So I'm Rich Brown, this is the HP Firebird 803. ^E00:02:28