Is smaller more energy efficient?

When it comes to this HP desktop, yes, but not by a lot

GCN Lab Review

Performance: C

Features: C+

Value: B-

Power efficiency: A

Price: $947

Reviewer's comments: Definitely an energy-efficient system, but not so energy-efficient that we can overlook its performance issues.

Contact: Hewlett-Packard Co., Palo Alto, Calif.,(800) 888-0261,

Hewlett-Packard Compaq dc7600 Ultraslim

In the last issue of GCN, we in the lab introduced power efficiency testing to our desktop workstation reviews [GCN, June 26]. Of the systems we collected for our inaugural tests, the Hewlett-Packard Compaq dc7600 Ultraslim was the odd man out. While this particular model was designed specifically to save space and consume less power, it wasn't in the same performance class as products such as the Dell OptiPlex GX620 and the Lenovo ThinkCentre A52.

The dc7600 Ultraslim scored only 5,132 on our benchmark tests, despite its 3-GHz Pentium 4 630 processor with an 800-MHz front-size bus. Even the 1GB of PC2-4000 DDR2 SDRAM could not save it from what's the lowest mark we've seen with our upgraded GCN/Alterion tests (the OptiPlex GX620 was more than twice as fast). In fact, the dc7600 was slower than some dual-core notebooks we recently tested using the same application-based tests.

The dc7600 Ultraslim resembles a laptop in other ways'and not just because of its form factor. To be sure, the dc7600 takes up almost no desktop space when lying flat. And it comes with a stand so it can be mounted vertically. It also has an integrated Trusted Platform Module 1.2 for securing this highly mobile desktop in the event someone walks off with it under their arm.

To further reduce clutter, it has an internal speaker that sounds fairly good when combined with the Realtek High Definition Audio drivers. This eliminates the need for speakers for most applications and further reduces the dc7600's standard footprint. Moreover, our test system came with an 80GB SATA hard drive and a 48X/32X CDRW/DVD-ROM combo drive, which is a notebook-class optical unit.

So it was no surprise to us that the dc7600 consumed the least amount of power when idle (though not by a lot) of any desktop we've tested, using only 83 watts. And when we measured its power consumption opening applications, the dc7600 needed an impressively low 312 watts (the Dell, by comparison, consumed 380 watts).

So what we have here, with the low government price of $947, is the desktop equivalent of a Toyota Tercel. It doesn't cost much upfront and is energy-efficient. If your primary concern is power efficiency or space savings, the dc7600 Ultraslim is a good choice.

But we can't get past the fact that our test system was a performance laggard. We'd rather pay a little more for superior application-crunching and similar, if not the same, efficiency. In fact, we'd rather a whole different Compaq dc7600 model. Last fall we reviewed a standard dc7600 workstation with a dual-core processor. That system earned a GCN Reviewer's Choice award [,].

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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