Is there anything REALLY wrong with an HP?

I built my gaming computer so this one will not be used for that-- It is the wife’s so lots of surfing, email and stuff like that-- plus I will be using it for photos, storing and printing, buring dvds from my home movies, streaming my tunes and possible as a dvr-- and for the price, i really don’t think you can beat these specs for the price:

HP Pavilion Desktop PC (A1230N)

-AMD Athlon™ 64 3700+ processor,
-1GB of DDR SDRAM
-200GB 7200RPM hard drive.
-1MB L2 cache, 2.2GHz processing speed and a 2000MHz system bus.
-Double-layer drive: Create pro-quality discs with the double-layer DVD+/-R/RW drive.
LightScribe technology: Laser-etch beautiful labels and images directly onto special LightScribe discs with the same drive that burns the data—no more messy labels!
-seven USB 2.0, two FireWire, one parallel and two PS/2 ports,
-9-in-1 media reader:
-Multimedia keyboard:
-Windows® XP Media Center Edition 2005 as well as software you can use to create home videos, manage finances, organize your music and more.

all for 679.99-- it really does seem stupid cheap for what you get…

I bought an HP Pavillion from Costco last year for my wife. It works, and works well for what she does which is book-keeping for her side business, web-surging, emailing, and uploading/downloading photos. And all for a great price, along with Costco’s generous erturn policy.

The only annoyance was an odd one-time mouse failure that got me rather pissed with HP support (posted somehwere here at QT3 recently). But the mouse mysteriously started to work again, and all is well.

I’ve got the slightly lower-end version of that (the one that has the 3500). I put in a decent video card and an Audigy and it does quite well. The only limiter is the 300w PSU.

Pre-installed crap and spyware. No recovery CD’s. (If your Hdd dies out of warranty, your bad luck.) Etc etc…

Watch out for “proprietary architecture.” If you don’t know what that is, it’s when a brand PC manufacturer uses slightly off from standard parts, meaning all upgrades have to go through them. I know HP has done it in the past.

ch out for “proprietary architecture.” If you don’t know what that is, it’s when a brand PC manufacturer uses slightly off from standard parts, meaning all upgrades have to go through them. I know HP has done it in the past.

Yes this is an issue-- but for what I want, does it make that much difference- say assuming I don’t upgrade…?

Pre-installed crap and spyware. No recovery CD’s. (If your Hdd dies out of warranty, your bad luck.) Etc etc…

true-- an old Emachine I have is like that… but I do own a clean copy of XP… so would that be a problem? And there is always lots of backing up… but say if the drive does die, do you mean that putting a new one in would be a major problem?

The HP I bought from Costco did not have a recovery CD, but instead had instructions for buring your own recovery DVD. For me, that’s good enough. As for proprietary parts, given the type of duty that Walter is calling for, it’s not a PC that will need upgrades so it’s not a primary concern, although it is a consideration in the case of something failing like the onboard video or sound. I’ve not had to upgrade my wife’s PC, nor do I have any expectation of needing to. By then, I expect it will be simply time to shop for another computer for her.

You can do much better at dell with coupons; get a comparable computer for the same price but they’ll throw in a 19" LCD.

Call up support and tell them that your HD needs to be reformateed and you would like all of the disks for the OS and all of the hardware. My experience is that HP will send it no questions asked. My experience is pre http://www.computersettlement.com/default.aspx settlement.

Good ideas-- thanks for the input ----

as for going with Dell… i like dell but finding a 650 machine with a 200+ gig HD, 1 gig of ram, DVD burner etc… is pretty tough-- esp since they only sell Pentiums and not AMD chips… so that helps ----

but def the big monitor IS an issue too…

I just haven’t found Dell to be compatible-- if I try to build the HP system I listed, I am pushing 900 bucks for all that.

Dell with a 3Ghz p4, 1GB RAM, 17" LCD, 160GB drive, DVD±RW is $729 right now without any coupons. It isn’t a particularly good deal for dell, just what’s available right now. Add $80 to get the 19" LCD instead.

not bad at all

I picked up a a Pavilion a1250n – similar specs but with an Athlon X2 3800+. The motherboard is a thinly disguised MSI MS-7093 – all very standard stuff. Picked up a $40 (shipped) replacement power supply (430W) from newegg last weekend. All in all, not a bad deal. I could have come close to matching the specs and price on parts, especially when considering the addition of the power supply. But meh… X2’s have been hard to find online at a decent price and in-stock.

I already had a spare Windows XP X64 edition lying around after getting a “free” conversion from Microsoft ($25 or some such for shipping + handling), so preinstalled crudware was the first thing to go. Very quiet machine.

I didn’t even consider an entry-level P3 when the Athlon 64s are such better gaming CPUs, and I don’t need an LCD (recently bought the nice widescreen Gateway 21").

I buy Dell servers regularly at work, though. They offer great discounts.

Pre-installed crap and spyware. No recovery CD’s. (If your Hdd dies out of warranty, your bad luck.) Etc etc…

That clean copy of XP will get you out of a lot of jams, as will enabling the recovery command prompt (a little googling will show you how).

OEM detritus and spyware is going to show up on any goddamned PC you buy from a major outlet; Dell, Gateway, hp, eMachines. The laptop I bought from BB last spring, a Toshiba, had a pile of it. “You say you want to uninstall EZ Internet Security? But…but, it has EZFirewall, and don’t you need a fourth firewall after Linksys, Windows and Norton? Sure, meanwhile, I’ll just insert my auto re-install exe in your start menu, and lie to SpySweeper that you’re clicking “Allow” for an online-assisted uninstall. PSYCHE! I’m back, now here’s a few dozen Allow/Block instances for everything on your HD, since you tried to get rid of me. Dance, monkey, dance!”

My hp had some random stuff, like WildTangent games and MarketBrowser. BROWSE THE MARKET OR YOUR SUFFERING WILL BE LEGENDARY. My eMachines had some crap too, but the cool Geek Squad duders shitcanned that stuff and put nVidia Firewall on it to boot, when they swapped out my fried mobo and put everything into that boffo silverstone TJ06.

As for that hp proprietary architecture. Whereas I cannot definitively say that they are or aren’t still doing that (I last heard about it back about 10 years ago, so I dunno), I can virtually guarantee you the Geek Squad can handle it. eMachines have some components like that, but they did some upgrades on mine, no problemo.

Yeah, the first order of business with any commercial PC is a fresh format and clean install.

Also, the biggest hurdle you’ll find with any of them, but probably HP in particular, is difficulty upgrading the hardware. I’ve personally worked on two HP machines that simply would not spit the hard drive out until you took a hacksaw to it.

Weird. The new HP on my desk doesn’t even need a screwdriver for that - just lift a little green plastic tab and slide it out (it’s on rails). Must be a recent development for them to make them easy to fiddle with (or different product lines or something).

Assuming you never upgrade it’s probably not an issue, but who’s to say? Maybe your wife will want something down the road that the rig can’t handle without a better video card or something? Then you’re limited in your options.

I’d say it’s a bigger issue if something breaks that you could fix cheap and easy if it wasn’t a non-standard part. Waiting for HP to send you the part could get annoying fast.

If they’re using standard parts (and they certainly seem to be – the only thing non-generic about HP’s current AMD offerings is a custom BIOS) then that’s really not an issue anyway.

They don’t give you a copy of WinXP even though you paid for it. Hard to boot to the recovery console without it. :lol:

Yeah, except he just said he has a copy of XP (which is why I quoted it).