Review: HP Compaq dx7500 punches above its weight

In an era of smartphones, netbooks, touch screen tablets and a myriad of mobile Internet devices, it’s easy to forget that a desktop computer is still the cornerstone of productivity for most knowledge workers.

Portable, sleek and flash technology has infiltrated the work place. Offices have changed archaic IT policies and pushy employees are bringing in gadgets on an ad-hoc basis to help get the job done. But the desktop tower still has its place – usually on the desk of a typical cubicle.

HP’s Compaq line of desktop PCs is one option to occupy that desk space. The dx7500 model is billed as a computer designed for SMBs. It’s an all-round work horse that will allow for multi-tasking and run the applications most workers use on a daily basis, says Phil Smith, product manager for business desktops with HP Canada.

“These customers are usually looking for a best performance to value ratio,” he says. “They’re also looking for image stability and lifecycle management they won’t get with a consumer PC.” had the chance to review a dx7500 model. We worked it into our production cycle for a few weeks to see how it would stand up to typical usage, rather than run laboratory-style tests on it.

The design of the Compaq microtower version is made for convenience. It’s outfitted with a 22-in-1 media card reader for various types of flash memory on the front, accompanied by a microphone and headphone jack, a six-pin firewire input, and three USB ports.

The back offers even more connectivity, including the option to use two monitors.

“This is like our Cadillac desktop for small business,” Smith says.

Using the desktop to accomplish daily tasks proves a smooth ride. While using a Web browser with multiple tabs open, Microsoft Word, Adobe Dreamweaver and Photoshop, TweetDeck, and Outlook (my typical work environment) there was never a bump in performance.

Applications are swapped quickly and run well. Windows open and minimize on command and in a blink of an eye. Users can think about the work at hand, rather than whether they should be closing some windows to try and improve performance.

Heavy multimedia creators and users should be cautious about counting on the dx7500 as their main PC, Smith says.

“If you’re going into the really heavy-duty stuff, you’ll need a work station for that,” he says. “I wouldn’t recommend it for someone who wanted to do nothing but video editing.”

Put to the test, video editing with Adobe Premiere CS4 proves fairly seamless on the desktop. In editing short Web videos featured on, the Compaq didn’t provide any resistance.

Juggling between clips and editing the timeline was no problem and the program didn’t hang when asked to process media. Rendering files was done in a reasonable amount of time.

Photo editing also was a breeze with the Compaq. Many large images could be opened at once and cracked open by Photoshop’s toolkit without any consternation. Editing some multimedia on this Compaq appears quite doable.

The dx7500 has been available since June and will continue to be offered until the end of the year. Buyers can buy warranties up to three years long for parts, labour and onsite service.

HP Compaq dx7500 specs sheet

Dimensions: 7.3” wide by 16.4” deep by 15.2” tall, weighs 22.5 lbs
Components: 64-bit Core 2 duo E7300 3.0 ghz with 6 MB L2 cache, 2 GB of RAM, 160 GB SATA hard drive, DVD-RW, Integrated Intel graphics Media Acclerator x4500 HD.
Cost: About $850

  • Choose to write your data to two disks simultaneously for data protection peace of mind with the Microtower model.
  • Upgrade the optical disk drive to a Blu-Ray.
  • Have Windows 7 pre-installed
  • Upgrade your graphics to an ATI Radeon 3470 with 256 MB of dedicated memory
  • Upgrade your processor to a Intel Core 2 Duo 3.0 GHz
  • Upgrade your hard drive to 320 GB

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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