We’ve reviewed some HP desktops on this site in the past. Some of those have been selling extremely well, so they must’ve done something right in Palo Alto to satisfy their demanding customers. But how’s the company doing now? They’ve recently released HP Pavilion 500-590, a mid-range desktop with Core i3 processor and Windows 7 Pro. Let’s find out if also their later models are worthy of buying.
HP Pavilion 500-590 features Intel Core i3-4130, a dual core CPU with 3.4GHz clock speed. The professional CPU Mark tests grade it at ~4800 points – which is pretty good for an i3. It’s many times faster than budget Celerons, so all the home and office work is piece of cake for the i3-4130. Some heavier, specialized applications will also work, although for a full-blown power desktop I’d get a bit beefier processor, like i5 or even i7.
The computer has 4GB dual-channel DDR3 memory. It should be installed on one chip, leaving the other RAM slot on the mainboard unoccupied. So upping the memory to 8GB should be easy. I recommend doing that if you’ll be multitasking or otherwise running heavy programs on the HP. However, if you won’t, there’s no need to go above the default four gigabytes.
Storage is a terabyte 7200RPM hard drive, a common pick for modern desktops. You can store data equivalent to around two hundred DVDs so space is indeed plenty. As the speed is 7200RPM the drive shouldn’t feel as sluggish to use as paltry 5400RPM ones. Of course, if it’s real performance you require a solid-state drive is your choice. But from what I can see, there’s no free space inside the case unless you remove the hard drive or DVD drive first.
Gaming in a nutshell
HP Pavilion 500-590 does not have dedicated graphics. Instead, it relies on the integrated Intel HD 4400. You should get somewhat playable ~20FPS on heavier games like Watch Dogs, although not with settings more than low or medium. Of course, simple titles such as League of Legends and Minecraft are easy on the system and those will run smooth as a silk no matter what details you use.
HP Pavilion 500-590 has eight USB ports. Two of those are in front, although both are USB 2.0. The rest are on the back where also the two USB 3.0s reside (marked with a blue connector). The back also houses VGA and DVI-D outs, so dual monitor setup is possible on this HP.
A Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45) is offered if you want to get connected with a cable. A wireless 802.11 b/g/n is there as well, although Bluetooth seems to be missing. You may use a cheap USB dongle if you want that.
A DVD burner drive is fixed on top of the front panel. Below that, you’ll also find a memory card slot for SD and MS type cards.
Some other things to keep in mind?
HP Pavilion 500-590 runs on Windows 7 Professional. I predict that’s excellent news for many who don’t feel comfortable switching to Windows 8. On one hand that’s understandable, although Microsoft’s latest can be customized to look and feel like Windows 7. Anyway, security updates for Windows 7 will be provided until January 2020 so you can continue using that version for a long time.
The system unit comes with USB keyboard and mouse. No monitor is included, so remember to buy that separately or use your old one.
You can add a dedicated graphics card in. There’s one PCI-E x16 slot free. The PCI-E x1 slot, as far as I know, is already taken by the wireless card. The system case has one 3.5″ and one 5.25″ bay, although the installed drives already occupy them.
Summing it up
I don’t think HP Pavilion 500-590 differs from other desktops so much. It has good enough performance for everyday computing, be it at home, office or classroom. The i3-4130 processor can also work for power users, especially if you accompany it with extra RAM – eight gigabytes in total. Playing games, mainly lightweight ones, is possible with the Intel HD 4400 engine. Windows 7 Professional can also be seen as a good thing. If I was to complain about something it’d probably be the missing Bluetooth. But that’s not a biggie at all. If you want a solid desktop with no obvious blunders you might as well get this HP.