Hands-On with the ENVY 700: Hitting a Power / Price Sweet Spot

Wasn’t too long ago that I was telling you about the new ENVY 700 tower. The best way to think of it, the spunky little brother to our gaming-grade machine, the ENVY Phoenix 800. So, in that spirit I went out and got my hands on one to test out and tell you about.

 

envy 700 side view.JPGAll right, so peep the side-shot of the case for a second. If you were to stack it side-by-side with the ENVY Phoenix 800, there are only a couple tells that giveaway which unit is which. The first one being that there’s none of the red interior lighting on the ENVY 700 (which isn’t too big a deal unless you’re a megafan of The Fast & The Furious). Another being that the ENVY 700 comes with a 460 watt PSU (compared to the 600-watter in the Phoenix). Otherwise, we’re talking cosmetics: The top of the case doesn’t have armored ridging, the cabling is zip-tied in the middle of the case….but really, don’t shed any tears because that just means the savings gets passed onto you (It starts at $599 as a result).

 

Otherwise, a lot of the benefits that have been created for the Phoenix get passed down to the ENVY 700 – the tool-less panel allows for easy access to the interior. So if you want to swap out the graphics card, insert an additional drive bay or just slot in another drive, you can with minimal hassle. Speaking of which, these machines can be upgraded to a 128GB SSD and 2TB 7200 rpm HDD, coupled with 10GB of RAM (expandable to a ludicrous 32GB) and a 4th-generation Core i5-class CPU – as an example.

 

Here’s what I’m currently rocking in my test unit. If you want to spec out your own unit on the HP Shopping page and play along at home….but I’m using a more tricked-out ENVY 700 qe-series model  http://www.shopping.hp.com/en_US/home-office/-/products/Desktops/HP-ENVY/D6M08AV?HP-ENVY-700-030qe-D....

 

ENVY 700

  • 4th-Generation Intel Core Processor (Core i5)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 660
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM (the current default on the page is 12GB)
  • 500GB 7200rpm HDD
  • Top I/O: 2 USB 3.0
  • Rear: 2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0
  • Front : 4 USB 2.0
  • Optical Audio Output
  • Rear I/O Panel Surround Audio Jacks (Surround L/R, Center/LFE, Surround rear L/R)
  • Integrated Bluetooth® 4.0 and Wireless LAN 802.11b/g/n featuring Single-band (2.4Ghz) 1x1 technology
  • Beats Audio

 

How does this roughly translate, performance-wise? Well, this isn’t exactly a high-end gaming PC, but games remain the best way to properly gage performance. Here’s what happened when I dialed up all the settings to 1920 by 1080 pixels and “Maximum Awesome"….. (Everything except the 3dmark11 tests are scored in frames per second.)

 

BioShock Infinite – Town Center (53-second mark) –  45.79

Tomb Raider – 28.7

Hitman Absolution – 48.58

STALKER Call of Pripyat - Sunshafts – 83.7

3dmark11 Extreme test- 2161

3dmark11 Performance test – p6338

 

Now this is actually pretty good considering the price range of computer we’re talking about here. But one question remains…..

 

“WHO IS THIS COMPUTER FOR, ANYHOW?”

 

Totally fair to ask. I was wasn’t joking when I said earlier that this is the gaming machine for your spunky little brother. Because you could drop the resolution on these test games to 720p-plus levels (1366 by 768 pixels, for example) and everything is still going to look good and run well. And, sure you can upgrade components – or spend more on parts as you need them.

 

If you want to edit photos and videos (you know, your own stuff…not some professional-grade experience), this is a good choice if you don’t want to break the budget.

 

Basically, I’d recommend this machine to anyone that wants a good multimedia experience with a tower PC that’s flexible enough to grow when you need it. And if you’re a mild gamer, it still has enough gusto to keep you playing a little bit in the off-time. In case I haven’t said it enough on the blog: Full-blown gamers should check out the ENVY Phoenix 800.

 

 To learn more....or buy....a ENVY 700 Click HERE.

 To learn more....or buy....a ENVY Phoenix 800 Click HERE.

 

Well, that’s my quick take on the matter. You have any questions you want to make me answer? Go right ahead. As always, I’m here for ya!

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