When HP asked me if I was interested in reviewing one of their work stations, I said sure. When they told me it was on its way I expected a huge box, but what arrived was a small one. I immediately thought it was something else, maybe some accessories to go along with it. I was quite surprised when I opened the box though. It was indeed the HP Ultra Slim dc7800, a workstation that measures 9.90 x 10.00 x 2.60 inches and weighs only 7 pounds.
I was immediately impressed by its size, or lack of. While the size surprised me I was a bit concerned that a machine this small could not handle the same day to day workings as a traditional work station. (But) I was always told great things come in small packages so the fact that it was being powered by Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 2.33 Ghz CPU and 2 Gigs of ram reassured me. The dc7800 could probably deliver the same results as a traditional work station.
Seeing how small the system was, I began to think of all the benefits a system of this size would have for a small business, for example it doesn’t take up much space. If your business is growing, a system like this is a lot easier to pack up and move than a larger workstation and it’s so small you literally take it home with you after work if you felt the need.
The first thing I did when I unboxed this monster of a machine was find a wall and a monitor to plug it into and when I found both I fired up the machine. The initial boot took about 15 minutes including the time it took to agree to the Vista Business License agreement and the Windows Vista license agreement (I have no idea why you have to agree twice at least it is on the same page) and also filling out the registration info for HP. After all that the system loaded quickly and I am happy to report the only software pre-installed was a HP Recovery Software and other HP Tools to help you manage your system, a trial version of Microsoft Office 2007 and WinDVD, both useful. There was no sign of crapware, with the exception of an eBay link in the Windows Welcome Screen but that really isn’t a big deal and the AOL toolbar for IE which is easily removed, but no clutter on the desktop itself.
A note to HP, there is a HP Security Solutions Center link after the eBay link, the link does not work at least for me anyway.
I did test Office 2007 on the machine and all the applications fired up quickly and WinDVD also fired up quickly, I have to admit after I tried out how well the Machine Handled Office I did watch a DVD, I watched Finding Nemo for those of you who are curious.
It handled the DVD and Video Playback quite well, a lot of systems especially systems of this form factor have trouble with video playback but the dc7800 handled it well. I wanted to test some video games on it but I decided against it as the WEI is only 2.0. I am pretty sure it could handle WoW or Operation Mania but no Crysis on this baby.
After I fiddled around with Office and WinDVD and contemplated installing a Video Game, I stumbled upon a piece of software called HP ProtectTools Security Manager, from here you are able to restore your system, edit your BIOS, yes edit your bios from with-in the OS, encrypt your hard drive, and it will also handle any bio-metric security devices you may have attached to the system such as a finger print reader or retina scanner.
It’s pretty cool software, and nice to have everything centralized. The UI is also nice looking and easy to use. It wasn’t difficult to use at all. I was able to configure the system to boot up daily and shut down automatically all by my lonesome in less than 5 minutes with bios configuration in the HP Protect tools.
Everything is straight forward so even if you can’t afford an IT staff at your place of business you can probably figure it out yourself without even using the manual.
I know my way around a systems BIOS but am always worried about messing something up, and I think the HP ProtectTools Security Manager will make even the novice of IT people comfortable.
There is also software available to you free form HP called HP Client Manager, this piece of software will allow you to trouble shoot and maintain all of your systems from one system, with the software you can basically do everything you can do with the HP ProtectTools on the system itself.
Basically with this free download you can, inventory your systems, check the health of your PCs, diagnose and remove trouble systems, change the Bios settings, install updates and more.
Something really nice that I have noticed about this system is how silent it is, over the past few days that I have been using the system nonstop it is very quiet, which I am surprised for such a cool running system you’d expect a noisy fan or two inside but not the case. But not only does it runs cool, and is very silent it is also Energy Efficient meeting Energy Star Gold Ratings in fact the system is both Energy Star compliant, as well as EPEAT Gold certified.
In fact I have taken the system apart to show you guys what is inside.
As you can see from the pictures above there is not much space left in the system and you can also see how small the system is. But it’s amazing in my opinion at how much power HP has jammed into this tiny machine.
Something else to note, this system is loaded with USB ports, it has a total of 8 USB ports. So imagine how many peripherals you can connect to this system. Speaking of attaching things to it, you can get an accesory that will allow you to connect a monitor to the dc7800 itself, saving you even more space.
It also supports monitors with DVI or VGA plugs.
Overall the system is great, and we award it our 5 Star Must have award, and recommend it for any small business, medium business and large corporate. In fact I think a system like this would be great to use in ton of those TV trucks at sporting events, or sound trucks at concerts. The system takes up so little space, runs cool you simply can’t go wrong.
The HP Ultraslim has a starting price of $708 USD, for more information on the system visit HP Business Website.