August 16, 2011
- Expensive-looking design
- Good value for performance
- Strong multimedia feature set
- Slightly weak gaming performance
The HP Pavilion Elite h8xt is a mid-line desktop that offers some kick thanks to the quad-core Intel i7 CPU and 8GB of RAM, but it also has a sleek design that's sure to please. Thanks to its not so high price tag, this HP is a fair buy for users that want good performance without a high price.
The HP Pavilion Elite h8xt has an updated design that features angular design accents and a glossy piano black chassis. There's a red LED strip that illuminates the front to give it an almost alien feel, but it does a good job of making itself stand out from all the other plain black and gray desktop PCs on the market. In total, it measures 11.2 x 19.7 x 20.5-inches (wdh), so it's about the same size as other PCs.
The port selection available on the HP Pavilion Elite h8xt includes two USB 3.0 ports, six USB 2.0 ports, HDMI-out, DVI-out, two mini-DisplayPort outputs, analog audio jacks and 7.1 surround sound outputs, gigabit Ethernet and optical S/PDIF digital audio output. HP definitely has the display options covered with dual DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI outputs and USB 3.0 isn't left out either, which is a huge plus. There's also a built-in TV tuner for connecting to your TV service. The Windows Media Center application built-into Microsoft's Windows 7 Home Premium acts like a DVR and lets you pause, rewind and record live TV. There's also an included infrared remote control that includes the standard Media Center features.
Internal components include a quad-core Intel Core i7-2600 CPU (3.4GHz), 8GB of RAM, a 1.5TB 5400RPM hard drive and AMD Radeon HD 6850 graphics with 1GB of dedicated video memory. There is also 802.11b/g/n wireless and a tray-loading SuperMulti Blu-ray optical disc drive. We really appreciate the combination of speedy Intel Core i7 CPU, lots of memory and a strong graphics card. The Blu-ray optical drive and abundance of storage space also ensures that this PC will give you a good multimedia experience.
Performance with the HP Pavilion Elite h8xt is definitely quite solid, but it's not the best out there, though it's not too far from the top. The performance is about on par with other similar computers of similar configurations, although some overclocked Core i5's did outperform this model slightly. Most users will find no issue with the h8xt's performance, especially in the categories of multimedia and multitasking.
Gaming performance is a slightly different story, however, as the AMD Radeon HD 6850 card delivers only average performance. There is an available graphics upgrade to a Nvidia GeForce GTX 580Ti card for an added $270 (including a required power supply upgrade) on HP.com. If you intend to do lots of 3D gaming with this computer, that route will be your best bet.