HP’s business-centric all-in-one lacks the bells and whistles of consumer-oriented machines, but it offers strong performance and some room to tinker.
All-in-one desktops generally have a tough time fitting into the business realm. Although they’re convenient space-savers, they’re generally pricier than similarly equipped tower models. More important, however, those svelte chassis come at the cost of internal access–often a deal breaker for IT departments that need unfettered access to their machines.
The HP Compaq 6000 Pro joins a rather brief list of business-centric all-in-ones. At $1139 (as of February 15, 2011) it’s not quite as cost-effective as some of the consumer-oriented budget towers or all-in-ones on our charts, to say nothing of the Sandy Bridge-equipped offerings on our mainstream chart–the Micro Express MicroFlex 25B dips as low as $850. That said, the Compaq 6000 Pro does have a few IT-friendly tricks up its sleeve.
Packed behind the 21.5-inch display is a 3GHz Core 2 Duo processor–a stalwart, though positively ancient, component. Coupled with 4GB of DDR3 RAM, that CPU helped the PC earn a WorldBench 6 score of 116. From a performance standpoint, the Compaq 6000 Pro lands right at the top of the budget all-in-one category.
The storage capacity is far less impressive–the Compaq 6000 Pro has a meager 500GB, whereas some of its consumer-oriented competition has edged closer to 1TB. If you’re working in a small-business environment that relies on network storage, this won’t be much of an issue, but keep this limitation in mind. As befitting a business desktop, the Compaq 6000 Pro runs the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Professional.
Graphics performance is surprising. The machine packs an Nvidia GT 230 GPU, a significant step up from the integrated Intel graphics we’re generally used to seeing. It reached 35 frames per second on our Unreal Tournament benchmark (1680 by 1050 resolution, highest settings), outpacing its competition by a fair margin: The HP All-In-One 200, MSI Wind Top AE2220, and HP TouchSmart 310 all failed to post playable frame rates.
Generally we have to rule out gaming while testing business machines (and most all-in-ones), but the Compaq 6000 Pro’s better-than-average performance bodes well for anyone looking to get a bit of graphics-intensive work done.
Display quality is just fine; nothing spectacular is at play here. Color reproduction is accurate, though not especially vibrant. The brightness controls sit on the right side of the machine, adjacent to the DVD burner. Video playback is flawless (as expected, given the graphics hardware). Alas, this particular display is not a touchscreen. If jabbing at a screen is vital to your workflow, the Lenovo ThinkCentre M90z offers a multitouch display, in a larger shell. The built-in speakers are adequate. While loud, they don’t quite fill a room, which is fine for an office environment (preferable, even). They sound rather nice, too–a bit more bass would be great, but the audio is clear and crisp.
The Compaq 6000 Pro’s connectivity options are about average for the category. On the left, you’ll find the multiformat card reader, a pair of USB ports, the headphone and microphone jacks, and a four-pin FireWire port. The rear offers five more USB ports; if you’re serious about security and you need those to be disabled from time to time, you’ll also find PS/2 serial connectors for a mouse and keyboard. Audiovisual ports consist of a DisplayPort connector and an audio output jack. The gigabit ethernet port is complemented by built in 802.11n connectivity; both are standard complements for the category.
But here’s something that isn’t standard: Lay the Compaq 6000 Pro on its face (after you’ve shut it off, of course), and you can use a flathead screwdriver to pop off the rear panel. It’s not as elegant as the ThinkCentre M90z’s tool-free access, but still an exceedingly rare feature for all-in-ones.
Internal access is a feature that’s arguably vital for breaking into the business market. If that black tower on your desk stops chugging along one day, you (or your IT specialist) can pop off the lid and tinker inside, making cost-effective upgrades or repairs without being beholden to the company you purchased the machine from. The Compaq 6000 Pro isn’t nearly as amenable to tweaks as a proper tower platform is, but it’s leagues ahead of most of the all-in-ones that pass through our labs.
Inside, you’ll be able to swap out the RAM, hard drive, and optical drive by removing panels that cover sections on the rear of the chassis. The system doesn’t have room for inserting additional components, but if you’d like to replace the DVD burner with a spare Blu-ray drive, you’ll be fine. The entire unit is also VESA-mount compliant, for strapping to an articulating arm or attaching to a wall.
The Compaq 6000 Pro doesn’t offer much in the way of extras. The bundled keyboard and mouse are wireless, connecting through a dongle (which takes up one of the available USB ports). They’re standard HP fare: The keyboard offers some media-playback controls and is fairly comfortable to type on, while the mouse is plain but functional. You’ll find little physical documentation, though a spate of generic manuals are available on the machine as PDF files. Software includes HP’s Protect Tools and a trial of HP’s Virtual Rooms software for collaborative projects.
If your office is in need of a larger hard drive, advanced connectivity options like FireWire and eSATA, or even just a touchscreen, you’ll find plenty of options on our budget and big-screen all-in-one charts. The HP Compaq 6000 succeeds as a no-nonsense workhorse, delivering strong performance and functionality in a svelte shell.