A little hardware tech advise please

Hey everyone.

I’ve never been much of a hardware fiend, so I’m looking for a tad bit of advice regarding reasonably affordable system upgrades. The wife and I have been living in Intel Core2 Duo land for some time and they’ve suited our desktop needs rather nicely but with my hp desktop eating the dirt and the systems getting long in tooth anyways, I’m looking to purchase 2 decent (probably refurbished) towers and four monitors and really want things to work ootb as much as possible.

Here’s the tower or something very equivalent I’ve been looking at…

HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Tower

And the monitors…

HP Pavilion 27-inch FHD IPS Monitor

I’d like to stick with an HP office oriented system as we both use them for that purpose, other than just being Linux friendly and multihead capable, would rather just use onboard graphics if they’re suitable as neither one of us are gamers and other than gimp and inkscape don’t run graphic intense apps. I’ve had bad luck with AMD in the past and would prefer to stick with Intel cpu’s.

Basically, just want to plug them in. Install ArchLabs along side win10 and be done with it.

Any advice would be really appreciated :grin:

Thats a decent machine (not a huge fan of HP but w/e)

Anything recent with around 8-16G RAM will do nicely, stay away from 2012-14 AMD CPUs as they werent all that great and also sucked a lot of power. The newer AMD stuff is good price / performance but I would go intel as well personally

Integrated GPU is just fine nowadays especially if you dont intend on gaming and even then they can handle older lightweight titles fine much of the time.

My personal reccomendation would be, try finding something with an SSD as the boot drive.
256-512G is the sweetspot currently but dont go below 120G as the price / return is much worse.

With this you’ll get much more noticable improvement out of the upgrade, I would go so far as to say that an SSD would be a more tangible upgrade than the CPU and instead spring for an i5 to save a buck, this really depends and i7’s are nice if you do a fair bit of multitasking

Hope this helps out a bit :smiley:



Actually, it helps quite a bit… Thank you. I have been considering an SSD but haven’t found machines competitively priced with the drive installed, yet. I suppose that’s an option that could be added later. The one drawback with this particular machine that troubles me is the 320 watt power supply which may be a limiting factor if I did choose to add an SSD or even a graphics card later.

You mentioned not being a fan of HP, what brand if any would you be focused on if in my shoes? I’d like to keep the cost reasonable as I need to purchase two systems and four monitors & the event which killed my desktop has already cost us 3k in home repairs.

Thanks again man :smiley:

I’m an old EET and from what I can see you can not go wrong with this rig. But, I would when you get a chance get a bigger power supply around 500w if you decide to later on to add another hdd or a sad. It’s better to have more than enough power than not enough. I have modified my Hp-p1076 to the point that it is not a Hp-p1076. The only OEM parts to this machine is the box, front USB station, monitor, and couple of cords. You have plenty of room up your RAM to 32GB which very good. You have 1 PCI Express (x16) for possibly putting in a decent video card from Nvidia to use more than one monitor. By the way, that’s also another reason why you would want to up your power supply. And you’re getting Windows 10 pro which is mostly if you have software that can’t run on wine. You also have 2 x PCI Express half-size slots for a wifi/bluetooth card or you can add more USB ports or other goodies. But the topper is the 2 TB had! You can have windows and Archlabs or other distros on different partitions with lots of room. I have 2 2TB hdd with Windows 10 pro, Archmerged, mac iOS, and trying to get Archlabs to work but might go straight Arch. So go for it, the price is right and plenty of room to upgrade. :grin:

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@sevenday4 Thanks man for your reply. Yeah, the power supply wattage is a concern I do have, particularly if I wanted to add an SDD. The onboard graphics seem suitable enough and have 2 display ports. So, I’ll only need to get 4 display port–>HDMI adapters to make them work for both our systems and although I won’t need the win10 installation, my Wife does as she finishes her Maters so, the large HDD will suffice for her but I’d like the extra speed of an SDD for Linux /. Just want to make the best informed decision I can before I buy and will probably wait a few days to see if anyone may have an alternative to consider.

Really appreciate your advise :smile:

Glad to help. But may I make a suggestion? Get the ssd where you put your OSs and use the hdd for your files and programs. That way your system will run smoothly and will be more agile. And you will still be able to take advantage of the storage space that you have. :grin:God bless

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While you’re waiting, shop around and see if you find something of a better deal that will let you grow, that’s modify. Too bad you don’t have the skills to build your own machine, but one step at a time, right?:grin:

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I really dont think there is something I can reccomend thats gonna beat what you have linked above as far as price / performance goes. 4th gen i7 with the rest is a solid deal, add in a few parts yourself later and you’ve got a system that should last it’s worth and not be a pain

Power supply is a bit on the low side, but this isn’t a new thing with OEM’s
what @sevenday4 said would be best, something around 500W

SSD’s dont use hardly any power and I wouldnt kid yourself, If you dont game much and are looking around this price bracket think “will I actually ever need this” more often than not
you probably wont, I’d say save a buck and be happy with it

Down the line you go to a computer shop, grab a SATA cable and a 256G SSD for around $120
and you’ll get another nice little upgrade to keep you goin

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Back in the day I assembled my 1st box with a build guide from https://mediaexperience.com/ . Whenever I have followed one of these build “recipes” some parts are either no longer available or maybe I wanted the change the specs to fit my needs. Its really not too bad. But I’ll be honest, the 1st build I did, when it was time to press the power button the 1st time…I was real nervous. Turned out all good. Just recheck all the specs of each part you want to switch. Heck just ask someone for advice if needed. The beauty of it is max punch for less $$ as rule and you get exaclty what you want/need/afford.

Since then my job has had me cannibalizing parts from some boxes to update other boxes (like to increase RAM) or keep just some running, due to lack of funding. So, I’m alot more confident lately just from exposure. Guess what I’m trying to say is that I am definately no puter wiz and have no formal training really but seem to stumble through it all ok, Updating existing boxes isnt to bad either. No fancy tools really, maybe small screwdrivers. I would recommend a larger box for 1st try, just for hand room.

My last attempt was recently with a build from:


And it went quite smoothly. The hardest pard was attaching the included wifi wires to the wifi card as it was all quite small and well … I’m older and the eyes are not what they once were :slight_smile: . I had to reset the RAM/memory at 1st as I was getting some real weird error messages when trying to install AL.

Tom’s hardware is a helpful resource and I always read the reviews when looking at parts on ebay/amazon/newegg/best buy. Just pay attention to your needs and make sure the barebones box and or motherboard has the needed ports ie # USB ports, hdmi and so on. And as mentioned earlier get the appropiate power supply.

But yeah SSD seems llike you added a turbocharger, at least with boot up and installing updates imo.

I know your not really looking to build, maybe you already know all this, but hopefully this is some useful info just the same. The box you linked looks good , noticed no hdmi or USB 3 ports(the pic of the back indicated usb 3.0 so disregard) if that matters. It appears very similar to some of the boxes at my work and I bet you will have 4 ram slots with 2 used (2x4GB prolly) hopefully leaving 2 open slots for easy upgrade. Now I am really not sure and hopefully these other folks here will know, but at work with similiar boxes we need a seperate video card to run dual monitors. Just maybe double check on that. Probably it will with one from vga and one from displayport. It appears the monitor has hdmi and vga so you might need an adapter cable like displayport>>hdmi?

good luck!.

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@nate, @sevenday4 & @FluffyUnicorn… Can’t tell you all how much I appreciate all the advice! You guys are awesome!

I had really considered doing builds at first, then sorta moved the opposite way and wanted to go all out and blow a chunk of change on two System76 towers but thankfully came back to Earth. I really think these HP towers will best suit our needs and the monitors will do just fine. I have looked the HP specs up on the towers and the onboard graphics do have two display ports and one VGA ( hopefully it’ll be what’s advertised ), so I’ll just order those display port --> HDMI adapters. The i7 cpu’s will be a huge jump for us from core2 duo’s and 8gigs of memory & large hdd will be fine for now and as @nate said, we can upgrade our power supply’s and replace the hdd’s with sdd’s later for another upgrade a little down the road.

Once again @ everyone, we truly appreciate you taking your time to lend advise. ArchLabs is awesome and so are you! :grin:

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