CNET First Look
HP Pavilion Elite h8xtWe'd recommend the HP Pavilion Elite h8xt to anyone in the market for well-rounded, higher-end desktop, and for headphone users especially; the included Beats Audio software will provide a marginal boost to audio output.
-Hi, I'm Rich Brown. I'm here today with maybe one of the last HP desktops. We don't really know. We'll see what HP decides with its systems business, for now, we'll talk about this, which is the Pavilion Elite h8xt. So, this is a high end customizable system that features a brand new case from HP. It's actually pretty sleek looking. We like the sort of sharp angle here on the front and you will see this Beats Audio logo here and that's because the system comes with HP sort of Beats audio collaboration. Now, Beats in the system is a software based program that affects the analog audio output. So, when you connect the headphone or speakers, Beats essentially acts as sort of system wide equalizer. It lets you set different tones for audio output that apply to every application that you used. So, it's not like the EQ and iTunes for example that's only application specific. Now within that, Beats makes sound kind of warmer in some cases. For the most part, it feels a little bit gimmicky. That said it is fairly convenient that you can use the beat software to apply audio changes across every application that you play in the system, so that maybe a bit of differentiator particularly for people audio hits. Otherwise, the system is fairly priced for what you get. It's 12.99 for this configuration and that includes a Core i7 CPU, 8 gigs of ram, 1.5 terabyte hard drive, a higher end graphics card as well as a Blu-ray player. So, if you will just take a look at the front of the case, you will see the Blu-ray player here in the top. You may drop this front door down to see the SD reader as well as a couple of USB slots. And guess if you have HP credit because up here in the top of that are USB 3 slots. Over here, you can see as well you have a couple analog slots including the beats audio headphone jack and you get a nice assortment of connectivity options on the back of the system. You've standard USB ports here on the back as well as digital audio output, which we are glad to see, an Ethernet out 71 analog jacks and here on the graphics card, you've got DVI outputs, HDMI, as well as a pair of mini display and that gives you a lot of connectivity options for audio down here between the sets of jacks well as video and you can click thing pretty much in a standard computing or home entertainment hardware. HP loses some points with its clanky interior and you can see it's messy up here with all these wires and it feels like overkill with these big bars and this really bulky hard drive bay and these overdone hard bays common to HP and it's a hustle. It makes adding a second driver really irritating because you take the whole thing out, mount it here and it's just sort of a mess. It's way more complicated than it needs to be. Otherwise though, this is a fairly decent upgrade platform. You can see the graphics card up here takes up 2 slots and you get a couple free 1x PCI express slot. Fortunately, HP gives you a 460 watt power supply that's enough to support this card and can probably an upgrade down the road if you are so inclined. Over here you've got the Core i7 CPU and that's a Core i7-860. So, it's 3.4 gigs. It's nice and fast and over here you've the 8 gigs RAM along with free slots if you wanna upgrade late. So this is a higher end PC that has a few imperfections on the inside, but overall it's pretty fairly priced and stronger performer. For gamer, you probably wanna look to boutique vendor that will overclock the system and make it a little it more 3D focused, but for general purpose performances, this is a fine PC. So, I'm Rich Brown. This is the HP Pavilion Elite h8xt.