Hewlett-Packard Compaq Presario SR5040AN_01

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Hewlett-Packard Compaq Presario SR5040AN_01
  • Hewlett-Packard Compaq Presario SR5040AN_01
  • Hewlett-Packard Compaq Presario SR5040AN_01
  • Hewlett-Packard Compaq Presario SR5040AN_01

Pros

  • Pocket Media Drive bay, 15-in-1 media card reader, LightScribe DVD re-writer

Cons

  • Performance, Windows Vista Basic only

Bottom Line

The HP Compaq Presario SR5040AN may not be the most powerful machine around, but it comes with some useful features and plenty of upgrade potential.

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Built with some useful features and connectivity options, the stylish HP Compaq Presario SR5040AN Desktop PC is a good machine for people with basic computing needs. The lower-end specifications mean it's far from being the fastest PC around, but there's plenty of room for upgrades, while offering a quiet, compact solution for the home or office.

The AMD Athlon 64 3500+ 2.2GHz CPU and 512MB of DDR2 667MHz RAM don't give this system a tonne of power to run on, and we found running Windows Vista Basic was a little sluggish. Microsoft only recommends 512MB of RAM for Vista Basic, but upgrading to at least 1GB of RAM would definitely make the experience better. We ran an MP3 encoding test to see how the CPU held up. Using CDEX, a freely available encoding application, we converted 53 minutes worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3 files. The HP Compaq SR5040AN completed this task in two minutes and seven seconds, a reasonable, but not impressive result for a desktop PC. Windows Vista Basic doesn't offer all the bells and whistles found in Windows Vista Home Premium edition, like the Aero interface or Windows Media Center, so if you want the full experience then an upgrade will be necessary.

Above and beyond its specifications, the Presario SR5040AN Desktop PC also provides some features that give casual PC users some advanced functionality, such as a removable hard drive bay for HP's Pocket Media Drive and a LightScribe DVD burner. The Pocket Media Drive is a portable hard drive and allows up to 120GB of data to be easily transferred from PC to PC. The Pocket Media Drive slides into a bay on the front of the case and can be ejected like a cartridge at the press of a button. It uses a USB interface, so it can be connected to other PCs, even if they don't have the drive bay.

The LightScribe, dual layer DVD re-writer allows specialised discs to be creatively labelled using LightScribe technology, which is both nicer to look at and healthier for your optical drive, as labels can unbalance the rotation of discs. There is also a 15-in-1 media card reader, which has support for CF Type I/II, SM, MMC, SD, MS/MS-Pro, Micro Drive, xD Media (Extreme Digital Card), miniSD, MS Duo, MS Duo Pro, RSMMC, MMC+ and MMC Mobile media cards, making it a simple process to store any of your personal media onto the PCs hard drive. All of these added features, as well as audio, FireWire and USB ports, are easily accessible from the front panel.

The 160GB (7200rpm) hard drive will store enough data for basic users, but the case can hold one additional hard drive if added storage is needed. No dedicated graphics card is installed. Instead, the Compaq Presario SR5040AN relies on an onboard NVIDIA 6150LE graphics chip, which is good enough for everyday computing but not running any 3-D games. One PCI Express 16x slot is free for a more powerful graphics card if desired. The case is designed to allow for mostly tool-free maintenance, so upgrading should be fairly straight forward.

As it comes, out-of-the-box, this system runs without heating up too much. The few cables that run between the devices have been tied together using cable ties and is relatively neat, allowing unobstructed air-flow throughout the case. The CPU is cooled by a standard AMD heat sink and a small 70mm fan, while a 120mm case fan extracts hot air. Another fan resides in the power supply which also extracts air. Between these three fans the system remains fairly quiet during operation.

As well as the two USB ports and the FireWire port on the front panel, a further four USB ports are on the rear panel. There's also a second FireWire port, a Gigabit Ethernet port and a 56k modem port on the rear panel. The 7.1 channel onboard sound can be connected using either the analogue ports or a digital coaxial port. This package also comes with a standard HP keyboard and mouse but no monitor. A 19in monitor can be added to the package for an additional cost.

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