The HP Pavilion Elite HPE-140f, which was shown off at CES 2010, is HP's latest consumer elite desktop PC. It's aimed at high-end multimedia users and comes loaded with 8GB of RAM, a TV tuner, and more. With a retail price of just over $1000, it is a great value for the money.
The design of the chassis the Elite HPE-140f comes in is quite sharp and stylish. The sleek black case features a backlit HP logo on the front and really makes it stand out on your desk. The front panel also features a connectivity area hidden behind a door which hides two USB 2.0 ports and S-Video/Composite/Stereo Audio inputs. These analog inputs come in handy for video enthusiasts who want to archive old VHS tapes by connecting a VCR directly to the computer. Along the top on the front side of the HPE-140f is where the 15-in-1 media card area is, which allows you to directly insert media memory cards into the PC.
On the back of the system, there's six more USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port, and HDMI/VGA/DVI video outputs thanks to the Nvidia GeForce GT230 graphics card included in this computer. On such a high-end computer, however, the lack of an eSATA port is noticeable. You also get 8GB of PC3-8500 DDR3 RAM (expandable to 16GB) and an Intel Core i5-650 CPU clocked at 3.2 GHz. A TV tuner card is already installed as well as built-in 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi. This system is expandable on the inside as well with the ability to add another optical drive (besides the SuperMulti DVD burner w/ LightScribe already installed) and two more internal drives (a 1TB SerialATA drive is included). There's also an open PCIe x1 expansion slot for future use. One other thing that is missing and might be important to some media enthusiasts is the lack of a Blu-ray disc player, which means you won't be able to watch HD movies on Blu-ray discs, which are becoming increasingly popular. However, it is possible to purchase a Blu-ray internal drive separately and install it later.
The TV tuner card is a great thing to have, especially if you intend on using the HP Pavilion Elite HPE-140f as a media center computer. It comes ready to pick up over-the-air ATSC/HDTV signals, but it can also be connected to conventional cable and a digital cable box as well. The included TV tuner will allow you to view ClearQAM broadcasts from local TV channels through cable. The included HDTV is decent if the computer is placed near a wall, but if you want to put it under a desk or in a room without a clear view outside, you'll want to connect a larger antenna. This system also comes with a USB-based IR remote system, which is designed to work with Windows Media Center. There's also an IR blaster to use in conjunction with a cable box used by cable TV and satellite TV providers. The 1TB drive allows you to store around 700 hours of standard definition programming and 100 hours of HD programming.
Because of the higher-end specifications of the HP Pavilion Elite HPE-140f along with Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit), this system is an extremely fast performer in all possible aspects of computing. Everything from common tasks, like Web browsing to word processing is a breeze and 3D high-end gaming works flawless. The fast CPU and 8GB of system memory means media buffs can quickly transcode video files while multitasking at the same time. The Nvidia GeForce GT230 graphics card features 1.5GB of DDR2 memory and support for Microsoft DirectX 10, which means you'll get blazing fast graphics performance from any game possible.
One negative worth mentioning is HP's inclusion of "bloatware", which are trial and free software that HP is paid to install on their new computers. On this system, you'll get a 60-day trial for Microsoft Office, a 60-day trial of Norton Internet Security 2010, WildTangent games, and links to eBay and other services littered all over the desktop. The first and best thing to do when you turn on this system is to remove all of these extraneous programs and links from the computer because it will free up a lot of disk space and system memory.