HP Pavilion p7-1380t Core i7 – 2nd Generation low-key black matte-finished chassis 16.14 by 6.89 by 15.28 inches (HWD). Like the Acer Aspire AME600-UR378Best Price at Amazon, a glossy black plastic face adorns the otherwise all-metal exterior, providing a modest dash of style while also housing a six-in-1 card reader (xD/Smart Media/Compact Flash/SD/MMC/Memory Stick) and a DVD burner. Beneath the DVD burner is an expansion bay that can accommodate a second optical drive, and further down you’ll find a sliding panel that opens to reveal headphone and microphone jacks and a pair of USB 3.0 ports. Aside from a silver trim that lines the outer edges of the plastic face, the Pavilion P7-1520t has a minimalist design.
The P7-1520t does not come with a bundled with a monitor, but does bundle a wired mouse and keyboard, which bites into the limited number of available USB ports on the system. In addition to the two USB 3.0 ports on the system’s front panel, the rear only houses four USB 2.0 ports, VGA and HDMI ports, an Ethernet port, and several audio outputs to accommodate front and side speakers as well as a subwoofer. With a grand total of six USB ports, the P7-1520t’s port connectivity is on the low end of the spectrum, falling short of both the Gateway DX4870-UR11P (which has 12 ports) and Gateway DX4870-UR11 (which has eight ports). It’s not a fatal flaw by any means, but if you’re big on peripherals you may want to steer clear of this system.
There’s moderate potential for expansion beneath the P7-1520t’s hood. Inside, there’s an available internal 3.5-inch bay for a second hard drive and a vacant 5.25-inch bay for adding an additional internal optical drive. Meanwhile, the Pavilion P7-1520t’s 6GB of SDRAM is distributed in one 4GB memory module and one 2GB memory module that occupy both of the motherboard’s DIMM sockets, so users looking to upgrade to the maximum 8GB RAM will have to ditch the 2GB module in order to do so. The motherboard also features three available PCIe x1 slots, though the system’s 300W power supply limits your ability to add a second GPU to midrange graphics cards since they don’t consume as much power as their more robust counterparts.
The Pavilion P7-1520t sports a spacious 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive, though users who prefer starting from a clean slate will first have to cut through a formidable amount of preloaded software. To be fair, this isn’t much of a surprise for a system in this price range. That said, it still requires users to initially shovel through a pile of software ranging from bloatware (Windows Live Essentials, WildTangent games, desktop links to eBay, Netflix, and Skype), trialware (60-days of Norton Internet Security), and the occasional useful program (Office Starter 2010, CyberLink Media Suite). The P7-1520t comes with a one-year limited warranty.
Armed with a 1.8GHz Intel Core i5-3330 CPU and 6GB RAM, the P7-1520t churned out decent scores in our benchmark tests. Its PCMark 7 score of 3,445 easily outgunned the Dell XPS 8300 (X8300-4004NBK) (2,531 points) while coming within striking distance of the Core i7-equipped Gateway DX4870-UR11P (3,450 points) and didn’t land too far from the class-leading Acer Aspire AME600-UR378 (3,917 points). While its Cinebench R11.5 score of 4.91 points landed at the bottom of the pack, it nonetheless nipped at the heels of both the Dell XPS 8300 (4.92 points) and Acer Aspire AM3970-UR11P (4.93 points).
The P7-1520t also demonstrated a modest capacity for multimedia creation. It completed our Handbrake video-encoding test in 42 seconds, only two seconds short of the Acer AME600-UR378 (42 seconds). Similarly, it wrapped up our Photoshop CS6 test in 3 minutes 55 seconds, a little over thirty seconds short of the Acer AME600-UR378 (3:32).
While the P7-1520t failed to crack the 30 frames-per-second (fps) playability barrier on our high-end gaming tests, its discrete 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 630 GPU helped the system to lead the pack in terms of 3D rendering capabilities. Its scores in 3DMark11 (2,164 points in Entry-level settings; 397 points in Extreme-level settings) easily smoked the competitors, like the Acer AME600-UR378 (3,917 points and 1,478 points, respectively) and Gateway DX4870-UR11P (1,460 points in Entry-level settings).
The HP Pavilion P7-1520t CTO is a good choice for users on a tight budget that on the market for a Windows 8-equipped desktop with an affordable price tag. In addition to its solid performance, it also offers users a decent feature set and a discrete GPU. While it could have benefitted from a greater port selection, its shortcomings are forgivable at this price point. Users looking for a system with more robust processing power should check out the Gateway DX4870-UR11P, which offers a Core i7 processor for less than $200 extra. Overall, the HP Pavilion P7-1520t gives plenty of bang for the buck, and it’s a solid choice for the budget-conscious.