capsule review

HP Compaq 8200 Elite All-in-One Review: A Superfast PC That Fizzles

At a Glance
  • HP Compaq 8200 Elite

    PCWorld Rating

    If speed is the name of your game, you won’t be disappointed by this business-class, all-in-one system. But that’s all it really brings to the table.

Trying to dig up a low-cost, all-in-one, business-class desktop system that doesn’t stink is a bit like trying to find a magic lamp in a cave: It's a daunting proposition, to say the least. And the HP Compaq 8200 Elite all-in-one desktop doesn’t make the task seem any easier. The PC is fast--one of the fastest all-in-one desktops we’ve tested, in fact. But it doesn’t offer much else for its $999 (as of December 19, 2011) price tag. If you don’t mind a slight drop in speed, other business-class AIOs give a bit more bang for the buck.

HP Compaq 8200 Elite all-in-one desktop PC
The main source of the Compaq 8200 Elite’s speed is its Intel Core i7-2600S processor, which doesn’t appear to be all that mighty at first glance. That’s because it trades a lower power profile for a reduced operating clock speed as compared to the more mainstream i7-2600, which runs at a standard 3.4GHz. But here’s the secret: Both chips can Turbo Boost, automatically overclocking themselves when needed up to an impressive 3.8GHz. And that’s part of the reason why we weren't surprised to see the Compaq 8200 Elite deliver a killer score of 143 on our WorldBench 6 suite of benchmarks.

But that’s really the sole bright spot on this all-in-one. The system lacks a touchscreen, which takes part of the point of owning an all-in-one PC (even for business environments) right out of the equation. And we’re less than impressed by the system’s total storage capacity, a mere 500GB.

Its integrated graphics setup was unable to provide playable frame rates at the desktop’s native 1920-by-1080-pixel resolution on our Unreal Tournament 3 benchmark. When we dialed the resolution down to 1680 by 1050, it generated 19 frames per second; at 1024 by 768 pixels (high settings), it produced a playable rate of 39 fps. Gaming isn’t likely to be an important consideration for most users shopping for a business machine, and those results are in line with what we’ve come to expect from Intel’s integrated graphics. But versatility is important: More-complex 3D and imaging tasks will suffer from the lack of a discrete graphics card.

Although the Compaq 8200 Elite’s integrated speakers sound a tad center-weighted, we have no criticisms. But we can't say the same for the quality of the picture displayed on this all-in-one’s 23-inch screen, which doesn’t seem quite as bright or as saturated as the displays of other AIOs we’ve tested. It lacked a certain vibrancy to really make movies and images “pop.” We also thought that the overall picture, but especially text, was the slightest bit fuzzy--just enough for us to notice, but not enough to interfere with common desktop functions.

What could interfere with your business functions is the Compaq 8200 Elite’s lack of connectivity options. In short, it’s all USB: two ports on the system’s side next to a multiformat card reader, and four ports on the system’s rear. A gigabit ethernet port is the only other connection option you get; as far as networking goes, however, the all-in-one does allow for Wireless-N connectivity right out of the box.

So how does the Compaq 8200 Elite stack up? Though slightly slower and slightly smaller (at a screen size of 21.5 inches), the Lenovo ThinkCentre Edge M91z trades a performance difference of 8 percent for a full touchscreen, identical storage capacity, and support for HDMI (out) and a VGA connection--which allows that system to serve as a second monitor, if you so desire. And you might also consider the Toshiba DX1215: With that PC you get a 20 percent performance drop and a 21.5-inch screen, but in return it offers 1TB of storage, a beautiful multitouch display, and support for both USB 3.0 and HDMI.

In other words, you can slice the all-in-one desktop pie a variety of ways, but “speed” is the only flavor you’ll find in HP’s Compaq 8200 Elite all-in-one. We can’t fault this AIO for its killer general performance, but it needs a more balanced (and awesome) set of features--a touchscreen, at bare minimum.

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    If speed is the name of your game, you won’t be disappointed by this business-class, all-in-one system. But that’s all it really brings to the table.

    Pros

    • Superfast general performance
    • Integrated 802.11n connectivity

    Cons

    • Below-average storage capacity
    • Limited connection options
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.