The Bottom Line: The HP Compaq dc5000 (Micro Tower) Business Desktop is powerful business class work station that is more then adequate for our secondary computing needs.
We have a group of employees who need two desktops in order to communicate with entities outside of our company on joint projects. One of the computers is used to take care of regular company related business, and the second PC is used to carry out assignments from the joint venture with the other company via VPN. The secondary computer needed to be a computer capable of running Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2. Since we already had experience with HP Business Desktops we decided to order a smaller version of the desktops we already had installed, namely the HP Compaq dc5000 (Micro Tower) Business Desktop.
As a base unit the HP Compaq dc5000 / Micro-tower with Pentium 4 Hyper threading technology is relatively expensive (when compared to similar offering by MPC, Gateway etc.) checking in at some $889.00, sans monitor. But we modified the build and ended up with a workstation with a 3.0 GHz Pentium Processor, w/ 800 MHz FSB; 80GB hard drive (HHD); 512MB Ram; Combo DVD-ROM/RW drive; 3.5 floppy drive; 2 front USB 2.0 ports; 4 rear USB 2.0 ports; front audio & microphone jacks and Windows XP Professional SP2. these modification increase the price somewhere a little North of $1000.00.
In contrast our installed base of HP Compaq d530 Business Desktops, shipped with an additional CD-ROM drive, a 3.5 250MB ZIP Drive, and a 3.0 GHz Pentium Processor, dual memory configuration, and SATA drive functionality for slightly more money.
The small size is something to get used to; I have never worked with a tower computer as small as the HP Compaq dc5000, but the small size in no way impacts performance. And while to two external 5.25 drive bays might impact your future upgrade options, I do not anticipate the need to ever add to these small machines.
So far the HP Compaq dc5000 are working as advertised and are very similar in functionality to the large d530. The boxes are working well; even surprise, surprise the Roxio East CD Creator 6, which ships with the unit. Windows XP Professional came pre-installed and it took mere minutes to complete the installation/setup process, although we subsequently replace the factor image with a Ghost image that worked better in our environment.
Since this is a business desktop, there is no opportunity to test gaming or other related software on the computer; in fact as part of our build we remove all the games from the OS. I can report however, that business apps; i.e. Microsoft Office 2003, Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.0, Outlook 2003, McAfee Anti-Virus, etc., all load and run extremely fast, while Internet Explorers performance does not seem at all changed from previous desktops that I have used.
Be forewarned, the units shipped from the factory with Hyper-threading disabled, so a trip to the BIOS (F10), should might in order to enable this technology.
The built-in 10/100/1000 network card works as advertised, but I would have preferred a standalone card which could be swapped out, or a card that could be upgrade in the future via firmware. The card can be disabled via the BIOS.
The built-in sound card works remarkable well and produces sound comparable to many high end offerings. Space on the front panel containing headphone and microphone jacks is a welcome convenience, an innovation it has taken PC manufactures over a decade to incorporate into their designs.
The video card is an integrated Intel Extreme Graphics 2, which is the only card available for this machine. A more powerful card with an S-Video output would have been nice given the DVD-ROM drive, but The performance of the card is good enough for the business environment; we each HP Compaq dc5000 mated with a 19 flat panel display. Colors are sharp, crisp, and brightly rendered. By-the-way, the integrated video card is still included.
The six USB version 2.0 ports (four in the back, two in the front) are a welcome addition especially the two in the front, though I would like to have seen the number reversed; i.e. two in the back and four in the front. Increasing, the devices that utilize USB ports are portable in nature and having to continually move the Tower in order to access them can become a pain. Nevertheless, I do appreciate the two USB 2.0 port in the front of the tower, though they are quite close together which might hinder the use of more then one at a time.
The motherboard sports three PCI expansion slots, and four DIMM slots for memory and a standard ATA/100 controller for hard drive functionality. In contrast the large d350 Business Desktop features a standard ATA/100 controller and a Serial ATA (SATA) controller to which you can attach 2 drives.
The HP Compaq dc5000 (Micro Tower) Business Desktop (tell me again why Compaq and HP merged!?) is powerful business class work station that is more then adequate for our secondary computing needs. For the base price of $889.00 it is a little pricy, but the name must be paid for.
Operating systems included: Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2 or Microsoft Windows XP Home SP2
The HP Compaq Business Desktop dc5000 is approximately two-thirds the size of a conventional desktop, yet delivers the performance you need for a wide range of business needs. And you won't break the bank outfitting your office with the dc5000.