HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Desktop Mini PC review
A tiny desktop PC, packing all-round performance and plenty of ports
The EliteDesk 800 G1 Desktop Mini PC is the smallest desktop system HP has ever produced. Despite its small-form-factor (SFF) design, the firm has not sacrificed performance or connectivity.
The components for the EliteDesk 800 G1 Desktop Mini PC are squeezed into a matte-black shell, which is 34mm high and weighs 1.3kg. A detachable stand is included, allowing you to place it upright beside a monitor on your desk. There's also a set of brackets for a VESA mount built into the base, so you can mount it on a wall in a retail environment, boardroom, or use it as part of a point-of-sale system.
The slimline design means there's no room for an optical drive. And like the majority of SFF PC's the device ships without a monitor - so this needs to be factored into the buying decision.
HP offers a specific 23in touch-screen monitor called the EliteDisplay, priced at 295 (inc VAT). But there's nothing to stop you from recycling other monitors with the device.
Connectivity And Expansion
Connectivity is a strength of the Desktop Mini PC as you can hook up three separate displays. This is useful in retail or office environments, which would benefit from a multi-monitor set-up.
Despite its compact design, the Desktop Mini PC includes two DisplayPort interfaces as well as VGA. There's no HDMI though, so you'll need to purchase an adaptor if you want to connect a HD display. It's also worth noting that the Desktop Mini PC requires an i5 or i7 processor in order to support three displays, with the entry-level i3 configuration limited to two displays.
There are 6 x USB 3 ports available for connecting peripherals. Because the EliteDesk doesn't have Bluetooth connectivity, two of these are likely to be permanently occupied by the mouse and keyboard (supplied) unless you invest in wireless accessories with a dongle.
Four of the USB connections are cramped together on the back of the unit so chunky USB memory sticks will cause issues. Fortunately, the remaining two USB ports are located on the front of the unit for easy access. There are headphone and microphone sockets on the front as well, with an additional line-out for external speakers on the back.
There's also a Gigabit Ethernet interface on the back for wired networks, so the device doesn't have to rely on Wi-Fi.
Our review unit was equipped with a top of the range quad-core Core i7 processor running at 2GHz, 8GB of memory and 256GB SSD, so we expected strong performance.
The Desktop Mini PC produced a strong overall score of 90 per cent in our benchmark tests. It had consistent scores across the responsiveness, multimedia and multitasking parts of the test, showing it's a good all-round machine. Performance is comparable to workstation laptops we've tested like the Dell Precision M3800.
The EliteDesk will blitz through Microsoft Office and web browsing. There is no discrete graphics card available, but the device can be used for light Photoshop or video-editing work if required.
In terms of noise, the PC emitted a gentle hum from a cooling fan when we ran our intensive video and 3D rendering tests.
Prices for the Desktop Mini PC start at 435 (ex VAT) for an entry-level model equipped with a i3 processor, 4GB memory and 500GB hard drive. You can upgrade to a Core i5 processor for 496 (ex VAT).
We reviewed the top-of-the-range model with a powerful quad-core Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD for 1028 (ex VAT). With Windows 7 Pro pre-installed, our device also shipped with a license for Windows 8.1 Pro and recovery disks for both operating systems.
Plus HP offers four-year next business day on-site warranty (15 ex VAT) to provide peace of mind should anything go wrong with the hardware.
If you want a compact and attractive desktop system for basic computing tasks then Apple's Mac Mini (416 ex VAT) is cheaper than the entry-level EliteDesk (435 ex VAT).
Both the RAM and storage in the Mac Mini and EliteDesk can be upgraded but the HP has the edge when it comes to connectivity, multiple monitor support and wall-mounting options.
The compact design, high performance and connectivity options all come at a high price.
OS: Windows 8.1 Pro, downgradeable to Windows 7 Pro
Processor: 2GHz Intel Core i7-4765T (3GHz Turboboost)
Graphics: Intel HD 4600 (integrated)
Memory: 8GB DDR3
Storage: 256GB SSD
Connectivity: 802.11n Wi-Fi
Ports: 6 x USB 3, 2 x DisplayPort, 1 x VGA, 1 x headphone, 1 x microphone, 1 x line-out
Dimensions: 175 x 177 x 34mm
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