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HP Pavilion Elite HPE-180

HP Pavilion Elite HPE-180

Does it justify the premium?

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The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Another flap covers more ports and connectors: two more USB 2.0 ports - which takes the total to ten - a second Firewire port and a pair of mini jacks for a headset.

HP Pavilion Elite HPE-180

Inside the case, there's limited opportunity for expansion

We liked the way that HP has mounted the power button on top of the case where it's easy to find and – Lord help us – we were quite taken by the illuminated HP logo on the front of the case.

HP performs some hand holding when you first turn on your new PC to try and persuade you to register with HP and to update the installed suite of software. You have a choice of methods for getting on line as the Elite has Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n Wi-Fi.

The HP software bundle consists of Microsoft Works 9.0, a 60-day trial of Norton Internet Security 2009 and HP MediaSmart which is a media player for DVD, music, photos and videos. HP Recovery Manager brings together Microsoft System Restore, Computer Checkup and its Recovery Disk utility.

The list of software in the Control Panel includes CyberLink DVD Suite 6, LabelPrint, Power2Go and PowerDirector 7, yet for some reason these applications didn't appear in the Windows 7 Start menu. We were able to find the executables using Windows Explorer and could run the software using that approach, but this isn’t the sort of thing you expect from a new PC.

HP Pavilion Elite HPE-180

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

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