March 20, 2012
- Small footprint
- Affordable price
- Lots of storage configurations
- Plenty of connections/ports
- Limited interior space
- Gaming performance is so-so
The HP Phoenix h9 is a desktop PC designed with gaming in mind as well as having a small footprint and an affordable price. It does have limited interior space for future expansion and slightly below average gaming performance.
HP has always been one of the more competitive desktop PC makers, including in the gaming PC category. The Phoenix h9 offers gaming power without the high cost that typically comes with these computers.
This PC follows the same shrinking trend that most other desktops have been following. It measures 6.9 x 16.2 x 16.3-inches (wdh) and will fit into most any areas without any trouble. To keep the gaming theme going, HP includes many specialized accents that make it look like a true gaming machine. It has a transparent window on the right side that shows the red interior LED lighting. The rest of the chassis is has a shiny black finish that is broken up by a strip of red lighting on the front panel.
As a gaming PC, it should be very accessible and expandable for future upgrades. The layout that HP uses on the inside makes it very cramped and difficult to get at.
HP includes lots of connectivity with this desktop. The front of the Phoenix h9 includes two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, headphone and microphone jacks and a 16-in-1 memory card reader. The backside has two more USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, HDMI-out, two DVI-out ports, two DisplayPort-out ports and the typically audio jacks. Built-in 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity is standard, but Bluetooth is also available as an option.
Our review unit came with an Intel Core i7-2600 (3.4GHz) CPU, 10GB of RAM, a 2TB 7200RPM hard drive and AMD Radeon HD 6850 graphics cards with 1GB of dedicated video memory. It also has a Blu-ray player and SuperMulti DVD burner with an option to upgrade to a Blu-ray writer. There's also an option to upgrade to a TV tuner card with DVR capabilities.
Other options that HP makes available is a 3TB 5400RPM hard drive as well as secondary drives that include traditional and solid-state drives. RAM memory can be upgraded to as much as 16GB, which is way overkill for most users.
Performance with the HP Phoenix h9 was very good and scored 3,522 on the PCMark 7 benchmark. This is well-above most average desktop PCs and about average with other gaming-dedicated PCs. For gaming performance, it does good, but only average. We found that to play most of today's 3D games with playable results, you'll want to dial down the graphics settings slightly.