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HP’s Stream Mini and Pavilion Mini desktops are for everyone who was excited about Intel’s NUC until they saw the price.

While we definitely like the NUC and think it’s a good value for what you get, the fact of the matter is a lot of people don’t need all the stuff it’s offering: fast-but-expensive PCI Express storage, a brand new Ultrabook-class CPU with a premium integrated GPU, and a build-it-yourself philosophy that your average computer buyer won’t want to deal with.

By contrast, the Stream and Pavilion Mini are inexpensive fully-equipped systems that are ready to work out of the box. They use lower-end processors and have lower specs all around, but they include a Windows license and even a keyboard and a mouse. If you or someone you know has a years-old mini-tower on or under their desk, these systems are attractive, inexpensive drop-in replacements.

If that was all they were, they’d be worth a passing look but not a whole lot more. They are rather low-specced, as you’d expect from $300-and-under desktops, and they use last-generation Haswell processors. The NUC is a showcase for this year’s high-end Ultrabook chips, and these HP desktops are showcases for last generation’s budget models. However, the fun thing about these mini desktops for enthusiasts is that they’re dead simple to open and upgrade, and if you’re willing to spend just a bit more money it’s easy to tweak them to better suit your needs.

Design

PC companies like HP and Dell are paying more attention to design and consistency lately. HP’s EliteBook 1020 looks and feels a lot like a premium version of its Stream 11 and 13 notebooks, and the Stream and Pavilion Mini share some elements in common too. HP still has a huge lineup of different, sometimes poorly-differentiated systems with a bunch of different designs, but here there are signs that the company has created some design conventions being adopted across multiple product lines.

HP 110-243wb Desktop PC:k2-_cf41f482-082f-4bef-8b6d-59e92c39418c.v1

AMD A4-5000 Quad-Core processor
1.50GHz, 2MB L2 Cache
8GB DDR3 SDRAM system memory (expandable to 16GB)
Gives you the power to handle most power-hungry applications and tons of multimedia work
1TB SATA hard drive
Store 666,000 photos, 285,000 songs or 526 hours of HD video and more
SuperMulti DVD Burner
Watch movies and read and write CDs and DVDs in multiple formats
10/100Base-T Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN
Connect to a broadband modem with wired Ethernet or wirelessly connect to a WiFi signal or hotspot with the 802.11b/g/n connection built into your quad core desktop Windows 8.1
21.5″ LCD backlit monitor
AMD Radeon HD 8330 Graphics with up to 4096MB total graphics memory, dual-link DVI and VGA capabilities
Additional Features:

7-in-1 memory card reader
4 x USB 2.0 ports, 2 x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x DVI-D port, 1 x VGA port, 1 x headphone jack, 1 x microphone jack, 1 x RJ-45 Ethernet port
1 x PCI Express (x0.5) mini slot, 1 x external 5.25″ bay, 1 x internal 3.5″ bay
The HP 110 Desktop with 8GB Memory, 21.5″ Monitor and 1TB Hard Drive is 15.14″ x 6.5″ x 14.33″; Monitor: 20.36″ x 7.26″ x 14.85″

HP Desktop PC, 110-243wb Software:

Genuine Microsoft Windows 8.1
McAfee LiveSafe (30 days complimentary updates)
Backup and Restore options built into Windows allow you to create safety copies of your most important personal files, so you’re always prepared for the worst when using the quad core desktop Windows 8.1
Support and Warranty:

1-year limited hardware warranty; 24/7 technical assistance available online or toll-free by phone
Restore discs are not included. We recommend you use the installed software to create your own restore and backup DVD the first week you use the computer.
ENERGY STAR®
Products that are ENERGY STAR-qualified prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. The ENERGY STAR name and marks are registered marks owned by the U.S. government, as part of their energy efficiency and environmental activities.
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