The latest Pavilion p7 is hiding something under the hood: It is HP’s first desktop to rock the lasted AMD hardware, code-named, “Trinity.” What is Trinity, exactly – and what does it mean for your PC? Here’s the super-short version: Imagine a motherboard / CPU / integrated graphics solution that actually delivers a good, affordable performance kick. That is exactly what I’ve been finding as I started tinkering with the Pavilion p7 – 1235 this past weekend. Want to learn more about the machine that I’ve been tinkering with for a couple days? Keep on reading.
Before diving deeper into the Pavilion p7, a quick side note: AMD’s Phil Hughes recently swung through the blog to give a more detailed breakdown about said architecture and I highly recommend that you give it a read RIGHT HERE.
Let me start by saying that the p7 is a good mainstream desktop. And by mainstream, I mean a starting price of about $540. One of the nice things – besides the price – is that you have room to grow it out….even though it is a reasonably small tower.
The front of the p7 has two USB 3.0 ports hiding in a drop-down panel below the two optical drive bays. (All the flash media card slots line the top of the machine, giving you quick access to transfer data between, say your camera and PC.) On the back: Two USB 3.0 ports on the back, 4 USB 2.0 and the optical audio stand out to me.
All right, let’s get to the guts. The rig that I grabbed from the labs has an AMD A8-5500 APU, 8GB RAM, Radeon HD 7560D (that’s the integrated graphics), and 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm HDD. The next step up tosses in an A10-5700 APU and 10GB of RAM (for $599.99).
Other touches: The screwed-down drive cage can fit a couple 3.5-inch drives. It has 4 RAM stick slots (so my unit could, technically, get jacked up to 16GB RAM if you wanted to add horsepower).
Just to keep us all grounded here, the p7 comes armed with a 300watt power supply. That means if you want to upgrade the graphics down the road (and you can – there is plenty of room to operate inside the case), this desktop has enough power to run a moderate solution.
A pleasant surprise was in store for me when I started running a couple tests. You see, this modest little machine here –even in a basic config with the “discrete-class” integrated graphics (Radeon HD 7560D) – looked good. It ran games at a decent clip. Just bear in mind that in order to get acceptable performance, I’d recommend going no higher than 1600 by 900 resolution and keeping in-game settings at “medium.” (That’s how I got a reasonably smooth 35 frames per second playing DiRT3). That is pretty impressive compared to what I’d expect out of a baseline mainstream machine six months ago.
Let me put it this way – If you’ve got a tight-fisted budget and want some bang for your buck, this is a good start. Just bear in mind that the 300Watt power supply means that some graphics card upgrades will remain out of your reach. Y’know, like an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680. If you want to easily run something like that, you need to consider getting a Pavilion HPE Phoenix.