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HP Pavilion Elite d5000t Power Desktop PC

At US$1830, the Pavilion Elite d5000t is one of the least-expensive power desktops we've tested of late. Even so, it turned in a more-than-competent score of 120 in our WorldBench 6 benchmark. Unfortunately, the system's nVidia GeForce 9500 GS graphics board managed gaming frame rates of only 50 to 80 frames per second; that's a mere third of what a more-affordable system, such as the $1599 Micro Express 450B, is capable of. Still, buying from a large vendor such as Hewlett-Packard has its advantages.

The d5000t, done up in shiny black with a matching 22-inch HP w2207 wide-screen display, is definitely one of the nicer looking systems on the chart. It includes some big-league touches, such as boot-level diagnostics and system restore, plus outstanding help files. The sturdy midtower case has plenty of open drive bays with quick-change caddies that make adding more storage a snap.

My tour inside the d5000t's case was marred by the plain-Jane looks of the Pegatron P35 motherboard, which gives the interior a cheap feel (think Packard-Bell) that it didn't deserve. Combining two 1GB and two 512MB DDR modules for a total of 3GB of memory was also a bit odd. Truth be known, you lose the top 1GB of memory in a 4GB setup to BIOS-addressing with a 32-bit OS, but you never know when someone might go 64-bit.

I was initially unimpressed with the keyboard. It lacks heft, which makes it a bit easy to knock around on your desk. But after a few minutes of typing, its feel began to grow on me. An IBM Model M it ain't, but it's better than most, and it's a nice match for the optical mouse (which I took to immediately).

The Pavilion Elite d5000t is a good power system for those who want large-vendor flourishes and style. You might consider paying a bit more to upgrade the graphics card if you feel like playing games at the high resolutions the monitor supports.