MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.
HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Desktop Mini Business PC
Downsizing to this tiny desktop will save you plenty of space
- Small size
- Efficient performer
- 2.5in drive bay, plus mSATA slot
- Has only 100Mbps Ethernet
- DisplayPort the only option for digital video out
HP's tiny desktop is perfect if you want something power efficient and space saving for your business. It's built from a mixture of desktop and laptop parts, which has allowed the miniaturisation to occur without really affecting the processing power.
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The EliteDesk 800 G1 desktop PC is one of the smallest business computers on the market, yet it contains a configuration that can produce a high level of performance that’s more than capable of running everyday office tasks. This isn’t surprising considering it uses a mixture of notebook and desktop parts. It can be placed flat or vertical (with an optional base) on a desk, and even mounted on a stand or behind a monitor.
Its size is actually tiny, measuring only 77mm wide, 75mm deep, and 39mm high, and the box contains only the processing power and the storage. Much like a laptop, the power supply can’t fit into the body, and instead is an external adapter with a rating of 65W.
The CPU is an Intel Core i5-4570T, which is a desktop model that has two cores, Hyper-Threading, and a standard clock speed of 2.9GHz. It’s surrounded by 4GB of notebook-style DDR3 SDRAM, and there is a 2.5in, 500GB Seagate SSHD (solid state hybrid drive) for storage. All of this combines to make the EliteDesk 800 G1 run efficiently. Under a light load of basic Web browsing and word processing during our tests, the system consumed up to 14W, while it consumed approximately 35W when under a full processing load.
We saw a similar configuration in one of HP’s all-in-one desktop PCs, the ProOne 400, and the performance results we recorded for the EliteDesk are mostly on par with that system. In Blender 3D, a rendering time of 35sec was achieved, which is exactly the same as the all-in-one PC, while in 3DMark, the results from all the tests were slightly slower than what the all-in-one recorded (4550 in Cloud Gate and 2540 in Sky Diver, whereas the all-in-one got 4666 in Cloud Gate and 2553 in Sky Diver).
What these results mean is that you can use the EliteDesk 800 G1 without any problems for typical office tasks, be they producing spreadsheets and documents, running accounting software, or putting together presentations with lots of graphics. The system felt zippy overall while we used it, and its SSHD contributed to this, with regularly used programs such as Web browsers loading almost instantly. In CrystalDiskMark, the SSHD recorded a sequential read rate of 111.6 megabytes per second (MBps), and a sequential write rate of 104.7MBps. These results aren’t as quick as the hard drive in the ProOne 400 all-in-one, which was a non-hybrid, 7200rpm hard drive.
For a display, we used a Full HD AOC monitor, which we connected to the HP using a DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter. It’s important to consider what adapters you’ll need for your monitors, in case they don’t have DisplayPort, which is the only digital output option on the EliteDesk. Since there are two DisplayPorts, you can easily use this PC with a dual monitor setup. There is also a VGA port in case you need to plug in an older display or to hook up to a projector. We also used the EliteDesk with a 4K LG TV, and expanded our desktop onto it at the native 4K resolution of that TV. While it was good for displaying 4K content that we shot with a digital camera, using a 4K TV screen as a computer display isn’t recommended due to its size. Get a proper 4K monitor instead, such as this Sharp.
The EliteDesk feels solidly built overall, despite having an access panel that’s easy to remove (just take off the thumbscrew and then slide the top panel and the face off towards the front). Once the panel is removed, it provides access to the 2.5in drive bay. The hard drive needs to be removed so that you can access the memory slots. You need to unplug the SATA cable and release the drive as you slide it out of its bay. Two SO-DIMM slots are located under it.
Tools will be needed if you plan to undertake deeper upgrades. To install a new hard drive, you’ll have to remove the Torx-based screws from the old hard drive and install them on the new. You’ll have to use the same Torx screwdriver to remove the 2.5in drive bay completely, if you want access to one of the Mini PCIe slots in order to install a solid state drive, and there is another slot located under the cooling fan that’s for an optional wireless networking module. That one requires pretty much all components to be removed in order to gain access to it, including not only the drive bay, but also the heat sink assembly, and the cooling fan.
Like all HP business machines, the EliteDesk 800 G1 comes with pre-installed security software (HP Client Security), which, among other things, can put limitations on how the computer is used. For example, the USB ports can be locked down so that only those with a password can access plugged in USB sticks and external hard drives. Our system came with the 64-bit version of Windows 7, but Windows 8.1 is also available.
Consider this tiny desktop PC if you want a space-saving and power efficient system that can still supply good overall office application performance. It comes with six USB 3.0 ports (two at the front), as well as 100Mbps Ethernet, and TPM 1.2. Pricing starts from $1199, but HP could not supply pricing for our particular review unit.
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