HP Pavilion 550-020 Review

September 28, 2015
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Desktop doesn’t always have to look boring. It can actually look pretty cool. HP Pavilion 550-020 is this kind of computer with distinctive color, cobalt blue, as the full title says. Such a design can certainly make the system look good in the eyes of a prospective buyer, but there are other, very important things you should also know… I’ll tell you more about those below!

General performance

HP Pavilion 550-020 has the performance of an ordinary computer. The processor inside is Intel Core i3-4170, a dual-core unit offering 3.7GHz clock speed without turbo boost. It’s a 4th generation chip, getting the appropriate ~5000 points in CPU Mark tests. All in all, these i3s are baseline processors, good for daily computing tasks but not so much for gamers and IT professionals. If you mostly surf the web, edit papers/spreadsheets or watch videos, this kind of i3 processor would be the right choice for you.

The desktop features one 8GB DDR3-1600 RAM stick. The motherboard houses 2 memory sockets, the other one is taken which leaves you one free slot for an upgrade. Maximum supported RAM is 16GB.

Using the HP for file storage works, you’ll get one terabyte 7200RPM SATA 3 hard drive for that. There are two 3.5″ bays in the case, so adding extra storage is possible. For example, you can put in a fast solid-state drive (with 3.5″ -> 2.5″ mount) if you wish.

Is it capable of running games?

HP Pavilion 550-020 is somewhat capable of running games on its integrated Intel HD 4400 graphics card. You can even run GTA 5, but using low settings and 720p will yield you 20-25 frames per second, enabling more eye candy would mean unplayable FPS in my opinion. Counter-Strike: Go is an easier case, you’ll end up with ~30FPS using maximum settings and 1366×768 resolution. Lower the graphics details and you’ll get to 60 frames per second with CS: Go.

Ports and connections

HP Pavilion 550-020 includes six USB ports in total. Two of those, both USB 3.0, are in the front. The rest (another two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0) are in the back. You’ll also find VGA and HDMI outputs there, the HD 4400 graphics engine supports dual displays if you want to use that setup.

A slim version of USB burner is installed in the unit. Below that, there’s also memory card reader for the following formats: SD, SDHC, SDXC, MS and MS Pro. Practical use for that would be uploading photos from digital cameras.

General use laptops often come with WiFi. This HP is no different, it features a wireless 802.11n-type adapter with Bluetooth 4.0 support. Attaching a network cable is also possible, there’s a Gigabit RJ-45 connector for that.

Other things you should know about

HP Pavilion 550-020 measurements are 14.3″ height, 6.5″ width and 14.9″ depth. In another words, it’s a so-called mini tower. Expandability is of course limited, there’s just one free 3.5″ bay and no free 5.25″ bays. One PCI-e x1 and x16 slots are available, so in theory you could add a graphics card inside, but I don’t know how well such a small case can fit a dedicated card. Also keep in mind the 180W PSU, it can’t hold a very power-hungry unit.

As usually, USB keyboard and mouse are provided. Monitor is not.


HP Pavilion 550-020 is not just a pretty face. The best things under the hood are 8GB RAM and 1024GB hard drive, both very decent components and something I’d dare to say a power user would appreciate. The processor performance is nothing to celebrate about, but for everyday tasks there’s nothing the Core i3 couldn’t do for you. You’re not going to play games a lot (no dedicated graphics), but for other uses this good-looking HP should be worth your while.

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