HP 100B all-in-one desktop

If you’re looking for a cheap, decently attractive all-in-one desktop that sips energy but is fairly sluggish, we have the computer for you. Although the business-focused HP 100B All-in-One comes preloaded with Windows 7 Professional, HP has unfortunately skimped on power, ports, and features.

Our review model, priced at $499 (as of April 5, 2011), carries a 1.6GHz AMD (Nasdaq: AMD) E-350 dual-core processor and a measly 2GB of RAM; it runs a 32-bit version of Windows 7 Professional. The model comes with everything you need out of the box–it is an all-in-one, after all–including a wired mouse and keyboard.

Like most all-in-one PCs, the HP 100B is housed in a thick widescreen monitor propped up by a sturdy kickstand. The HP 100B’s chassis is black, with a shiny black bezel framing the 20-inch matte-finish LCD. The 1600-by-900-pixel screen is bright and easy to look at, with good horizontal and vertical viewing angles. The colours are sometimes a bit faded, but nothing too glaring. And speaking of glare, thanks to the matte finish, the display has virtually no issue with bright light.

Located directly below the screen, the speakers offer acceptable but not excellent sound. They aren’t very loud, even when turned up to their loudest, and audio–especially music–sounds a bit muffled.

The bundled keyboard and mouse are both wired, black, and boring. The keyboard sports quiet, matte-black keys that are slightly difficult to press. The keyboard also has volume-control buttons (up, down, mute), along with a sleep button. The optical two-button mouse features a rubbery scroll button and a rounded shape. The mouse is a little large for my admittedly small hands, but is otherwise comfortable to use.

The HP 100B’s ports are mostly located on the rear of the PC, though a few are positioned on the side for easy access. On the right side is a slot-loading DVD drive. On the left side you’ll find two USB 2.0 ports and headphone and microphone jacks, as well as the power button. The back of the machine serves up four USB 2.0 ports, a gigabit Ethernet port, and a line-out jack.

As you might expect, the HP 100B isn’t exactly ripe for expansion. It does support up to 8GB of RAM, however. The machine has a single mini-PCIe slot, but it’s occupied.

On our WorldBench 6 benchmark tests, the HP 100B posted an unimpressive score of 53. The top performers on our current list of budget all-in-one PCs (under 23 inches) achieved scores of 116 (HP Compaq 6000 Pro) and 94 (HP TouchSmart 310). Judging from those results, we know that HP is capable of making a speedy budget all-in-one, but this particular model packs AMD’s new Fusion APU–a component that is excellent for reducing power consumption and playing back high-definition video but is lacking in muscle. Of course, there’s always price to consider. The aforementioned models cost $1000 and $800, respectively; when you get down to the HP 100B’s price range, you have the $500 HP Omni 100, which managed to earn a mark of 70 on WorldBench 6.As we expected for both a budget all-in-one and a business desktop, gaming is simply not an option. The HP 100B struggled to scrape out a completely unplayable frame rate of 16 frames per second at our lowest test settings (1024-by-768-pixel resolution and medium quality). Par for the course, really–the HP Omni 100 managed a better, but still unplayable, 20.5 fps at our lowest test settings.

If your business’s needs are meager, if you’re energy conscious, and if you don’t want to spend more than $500 for an entire PC ensemble, the HP 100B could fit the bill. But the competition (among HP’s own wares, even) is stiff.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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