HP Pavilion HPE Phoenix H9 Gaming PC Review

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Shawn loves gadgets, literature, history and games. For 10yrs+ he's straddled both the comic book & video game industries, as a writer, editor, marketing officer & producer. Shawn got his start in tech & games as an editor & Hardware Director for GameRevolution.com. More notable accomplishments include Executive Producer on mobile games Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved & The Shroud.

3 Comments to HP Pavilion HPE Phoenix H9 Gaming PC Review

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  2. For the most part, I think Shawn was spot on with his review. He
    described me to a tee. I want to game now and then, and I kind of like
    higher-end components (like the i7 3770), but I don’t want to build
    anymore (I used to build my own rigs, before a wife, marriage, kids,
    dog, etc..). Now I want to buy a rig, already built and ready to go,
    and I want to be able to play BF3 at 1080p, and have decent frame rates.

    I did a lot of research and shopped around with the other boutique
    vendors (AVA Direct, Digital Storm, Velocity Micro, etc…), and a
    similar build would always come to $2500-$3500.

    With an on-line 25% off coupon from HP- I got my HPE Phoenix for $1100. And I addressed Shawn’s main complaint. I added a 160GB SSD. This baby boots in a matter of seconds from pressing the power button. And it is a FAST
    rig!!!

    My original config is the i7 3770, a 160GB boot drive, a 1TB HDD, a GTX 550 Ti graphics card, and 8GB of DDR3 RAM. It came to $1129, with free shipping. I purposely went with the lowest end and cheapest graphics card they had to offer, because I already had a 2GB version of an XFX Radeon HD 6950 setting in a box not being used. The first thing I did was switch out the 550Ti for the 6950. Then I found out the HP motherboard is a special proprietary Z75 board which runs
    DDR3 RAM at two default speeds, 1333MHZ, and/or 1600MHz. Since RAM is
    so cheap, I bought 16GB (4x4GB sticks) of Crucial Ballistix 1600MHz RAM
    from Newegg for $80. I had a $25 off coupon with them, so I got it for
    $55 with free shipping!!!!! Since the Z75 mobo has 1600MHz as a default
    speed, I didn’t have to do a single thing other than plug the sticks
    in! When I plugged them in, the system recognized them as 1600MHz RAM
    with no adjustments.

    So for $1185 bucks, I got a screaming fast rig with a i7 3770, 16GB of DDR3 1600MHZ RAM, a overclocked “XXX” version of a Radeon HD 6950 graphics card, and a fast as lightning SSD to boot from (and with still enough room to hold BF3 and a few other games as well). This is a nice and cool looking rig.

    I have never has a HP pre-built before, but I can say I am very happy overall
    with this rig. I’ve had it for two months now and have not had any
    problems. And yes the liquid cooling is great and quiet as a mouse. I
    average about 28-30C idle, and hit upper 40’s to 50C at full load. No
    problem there for Ivy Bridge. I get right at 50-60FPS on BF3 with all
    settings maxed. I mean ALL settings, everything turned to the highest
    (Ultra) and Ambient Occlusion turned on. I can turn a few things down a
    little and easily get 70+ FPS.

    I did add a Razer Deathadder mouse, but the HP keyboard doesn’t bother me. And I am using a 22″ LG 1080p monitor/HDTV that was in our kitchen (it was actually a computer monitor that has a TV tuner, and we have been using it as a TV until I took it for this rig). I bought my wife a new smaller HDTV for the
    kitchen (its what she wanted) and this LG monitor looks freaking
    amazing. It’s connected using a DVI-D connector.

    Plus I have a two-year warranty from HP. There is something to be said about that as well. There certainly are better systems out there, and I know I
    cheated a little by already having a $300 graphics card…but its not
    too bad of a gaming rig. Not too bad at all.

    • Shawn Sanders

      You are a smart man. That is exactly how I hope most users proceed when evaluating this new line from HP. It’s really great. But you need to be keen and not blow your load on the high end. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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