HP proves you can make a desktop worse

Pavilion PC hobbled by stupidity

JUST WHEN YOU thought PC OEMs couldn’t get any dumber, HP reaffirms that the bottom has yet to be reached with their new Pavilion PC. How any OEM could be this abjectly stupid is beyond me, but they managed to take a PC that aspires to mediocrity and make it worse.

The PC in question is so bad that HP doesn’t seem to want to put a model on it, it is simply called the Pavilion PC a6807c-b, and appears to be sold exclusively at Costco. The specs are an Intel Core Number Numeral E2220 with a 500GB HD, DVD-R, the Broken OS 64-Bit, and 5G of ram. For $699 with a 20″ monitor, it is a pretty bad deal, you can get a slightly better equipped variant from HP with XP for well under $400. 20″ monitors start at $129 online for decent brand names.

Pavillion box

The box, note how they downplay model names

I know what you are thinking, why would any sane person go to Costco? No comment there, but I now do have more pickles than I could eat in a year, purchased for less than $20, and a 5 gallon drum of butterscotch pudding. Both will be used in a future review, you can see where this is going, right?

So, what is the problem with this PC? The memory, note the 5G of ram part. Anyone want to guess how they got to the number 5 while staying evenly divisible by two? Not many options there, and even less if you consider machine has dual channel memory. I was confused, so I cracked it open, and here is what I saw.

Pavilion mobo

Guts of the (non-)beast

Pretty standard low cost machine nothing out of place really. 4 DIMMs and 5G of memory is not divisible by either two or four cleanly. If you look really closely, the last DIMM is different, you can see that resistors and solder pads that are the same on the first three are different on the farthest DIMM.


The best pic from a bad camera phone (G1)

Yup, the braintrust at HP put in 3 1G DIMMs and 1 2G DIMM, something they are smart enough to not allow you to do on their online configurator when you buy this machine direct. Anyone with half a brain will tell you that when you do this, it blows out all the optimizations that a memory controller normally does, dropping memory performance into the toilet.

By adding the 5th GB of memory for marketing reasons, HP destroyed the performance of the PC. While a crippled Core Number Numeral in the low 2GHz range isn’t exactly a dog, losing double digit performance from your memory subsystem will make it into one.

The Broken OS needs all the memory performance it can get to be almost usable, and this doesn’t help. All this so they could say “Dell may have 4, but we give you 5GB”. Hint, buy the Dell sitting literally next to it, it will be faster and cheaper.

Pavilion price tag

So this is what Mojave looks like!

To add insult to injury, HP saddled this pig with The Broken OS, something they are so ashamed of they only put “64Bit OS w/Service Pack 1” on the label. The word ‘Vista’ wasn’t on the box either. Talk about an epic fail, the tamest large MS partner won’t put the OS name on it’s literature.

In all my years playing with computers, I have never seen a PC that was assembled by a company that should have know better which would improve performance notably by removing 60% of it’s memory. HP should be ashamed of itself, using cheap marketing ploys that take advantage of the uneducated should be illegal, who do they think they are, Nvidia?

So in the end, avoid the HP Pavilion PC a6807c-b. It is an ill conceived, ill configured, expensive pig made to prey on the unaware. I honestly thought HP was better than this, but given their penchant for squeezing pennies lately, it is hardly surprising.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate