Review Roundup: Hot PCs, Cool Cloud Software10:15 AM EST Tue. Mar. 15, 2011
The CRN Test Center recently put several new desktop PCs and some cloud-based productivity software through their paces. Here's what we found.
HP's Business AiO Ready For The Future
The CRN Test Center took a look at the HP Compaq 6000 Pro all-in-one PC to see if it offered value, differentiation and, importantly, could provide value for the next several years in a rapidly changing IT landscape. First, here are the speeds and feeds:
The HP Compaq 6000 Pro AiO came to the CRN Test Center lab built with an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 processor at 3GHz, 4 GB of RAM and a 500-GB HDD. The display measured 21.5 inches and was exceptionally bright and clear -- supporting high definition.
HP preloaded the PC with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, which, for Windows, is the most forward-looking choice. Using Primate Labs Geekbench 2.1.3 benchmarking software, the 6000 Pro scored 3,428. This puts it in the middle of the pack of Windows 7 desktops we’ve seen in terms of performance, but toward the top of the pack for Core 2 Duo-based PCs in its price class. (Street pricing on the 6000 Pro can be found for between $650 and $750 in the configuration we reviewed.)
The unit we received arrived with a wireless keyboard and mouse, and an on-board Webcam with HP MediaSmart Webcam software. This is an important part of what we saw in the 6000 Pro AiO: With client-based videoconferencing at the early stage of what appears to be an explosion, HP is poised to provide steady and continuing support for video calling and conferencing. –Edward F. Moltzen
Dell T1500 Desktop PC Is A Powerhouse
Among Dell’s broad range of desktop PCs for the corporate executive is the T1500 Precision line, which encompasses purpose-built workstations with Intel’s Core i3, i5 and i7 processors, highend graphics processors and multidrive RAID arrays, with all options built around its micro- ATX motherboard. At its introduction in 2009, Precision pricing started at $840; now the machines can be had for about $600.
The silver and black minitower (about 17 x 14.5 x 6.5 inches) the CRN Test Center received was equipped with an Intel Core i7 870 quad-core processor running at 2.93GHz. The system came with 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate preinstalled and was running on 4 GB of DDR3 1333MHz SDRAM. As for graphics, Dell populated our test Precision with an ATI FirePro v4800 display adapter, which includes 1 GB of dedicated video memory, a dual-link DVI port and two DisplayPorts.
The machine was impressive even before performance tests were run. Just 35 seconds from power-on, the unit was ready to accept keyboard and mouse input. Geekbench performance was outstanding. After adjusting Windows for the best performance (under advanced properties), we ran the 64-bit version of Geekbench 2.1.11, under which the Precision delivered a top score of 9,286, faster than any other production desktop PC we’ve tested.
Helping propel this performance was the ATI FirePro, which also earns it AutoCAD certification. With 400 streaming cores, this card has enough processors to run a small city. And despite its small stature, the T1500 is expandable where it counts.
The CRN Test Center recommends the T1500 Precision for its excellent performance, numerous customization options and small footprint. –Edward J. Correia
HyperOffice Cloud-Based Suite A True Team Player
The CRN Test Center examined the cloud-based HyperOffice Collaboration Suite at the invitation of company executives -- examining the solution through a free, online trial. We found it provides many basic productivity and communication tools: e-mail, calendaring, task creation and tracking, and contact management. But HyperOffice doesn’t stop there. It delivers value in how it turns personal productivity into team productivity.
HyperOffice provides ultra-easy sharing and collaboration functions for each aspect of its suite, turning its browser-based console into a collaboration command center. Here are some examples of what we liked:
• The suite provides an administrator with an intuitive, easy-touse console for adding or deleting members, and managing their access to content and data.
• Tools, including wiki and intranet page creation and management, are dead-on simple but effective.
• HyperOffice did the heavy lifting with intranet-page creation tools for each member in a group. For example, it allows for objects to be dragged and dropped onto an individual member page for quick construction of an internal site for sharing with the team.
HyperOffice must compete with Microsoft’s SharePoint (both on-premise and hosted), LotusLive, Google Apps and the free-andpay service Zoho. To measure its effectiveness in comparison to the competition, we needed to examine the cost and complexity it creates compared with the others. HyperOffice pricing begins at a five-user plan at $44.95 per month -- meaning the $8.99 monthly user cost is competitive. As user numbers scale up, pricing per user scales down; for 250 users, the user monthly cost is $6.25 -- even more competitive.
For VARs, HyperOffice provides up to 50 percent margins on seat sales, and notes that services like portal customization can carry 100 percent margin. HyperOffice also provides training, secondlevel tech support and marketing support. –Edward F. Moltzen