Are you planning to buy a desktop but also want a cool looking one? Here is HP Pavilion 550-040: it has a nice silver case, in my opinion a very eye pleasing design. But perhaps more importantly, the components it includes are quite powerful: i5 processor, 8GB system memory and a spacious 1TB hard drive storage. Whether it’s a good buy or not is a different question, and I’ll try to answer to that and other relevant things below!
Performance in a nutshell
Yep, HP Pavilion 550-040 is quite a fast computer. Take a look at the processor and you’ll see it. The Intel Core i5-4460 delivers four cores and a 3.2GHz base clock speed which increases to 3.4GHz with turbo. This thing gets ca. 6600 points in CPU Mark, there’s a clear difference to lower level processors like desktop i3s enjoying a score of ~5000. I would almost call this i5 a heavy-duty unit, you can certainly run programs with high system requirements (think of types like Photoshop) and not worry about system getting annoyingly laggy.
There is a single 8GB DDR3 memory stick installed in the system. There are two DIMM sockets all in all, meaning 16GB is the most memory this desktop can take, and it’s easy to upgrade because the other socket is indeed unoccupied.
The storage drive is a regular 1TB 7200RPM one, connecting to SATA 3 interface. A free 3.5″ bay is available, you’ll be able to put an extra drive (like SSD) to that.
Would I be able to run game X?
It’s nothing but an integrated Intel HD 4600 graphics engine in HP Pavilion 550-040. It will give you some joy with games but hardcore players won’t be content with it. For example, the people’s favorite GTA 5 will end up in the mediocre 25-30FPS range using medium settings and 720p resolution. Counter-Strike: Go is however a less demanding game, you can keep settings high and resolution Full HD and get over 60 frames per seconds with that. League of Legends will be a piece of cake too, you can expect FPS closer to 60 with a lot of eye candy on.
Connections and ports
HP Pavilion 550-040 houses six USB ports in total. Two are in the front, both luckily USB 3.0. The rest, two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 are in the back. You’ll also find VGA and HDMI-out there, it supports a dual monitor setup in case you want to use two displays at the same time.
The desktop features an ultra slim DVD burner sideways in the front panel. Because of this unique design and small system case, there are no free 5.25″ slots inside.
A single band 802.11n WiFi + Bluetooth 4.0 card is installed in the system. Using wire to connect to Internet is also possible, a Gigabit RJ-45 port is available too.
Uploading stuff from memory card works, there’s a 7-in-1 card reader in the desktop accepting SD and MS (+ variants) formats.
Miscellaneous yet important things
Windows 8.1 is the operating system, but you might want to use the free upgrade to Windows 10 as soon as you get the unit.
The PSU wattage is 180W. The case is a minitower (14.3 x 6.5 x 14.88 inches), there’s a free PCI-E x16 slot inside but keep in mind the small dimensions and PSU if you’re planning to put in a graphics card.
USB keyboard and mouse are provided, but a monitor is not.
It might make sense to spend your money on this computer if you value good looks and powerful performance. If you identify yourself as a power user, you’ll be glad to know that the Core i5 CPU with 8GB memory are able to run your programs (including those from the Adobe family) smooth and nice. Latest games wouldn’t run so well thanks to the integrated graphics solution, but there’s always the option to add some kind of dedicated gaming card in. All in all, HP Pavilion 550-040 is a solid desktop for users who appreciate lag-free environment and performance-wise, a future proof set of components!