Dell, HP, and iBuyPower Back-to-School PC Roundup - HotHardware

Dell, HP, and iBuyPower Back-to-School PC Roundup

7 thumbs up
The three systems in our roundup sport similar configurations and are each built around Intel's Sandy Bridge platform, but no two systems use the same graphics card or hard drive. Will these differences be enough to affect performance in a meaningful way? We begin to answer that question by loading up a handful of Futuremark benchmarks.

Futuremark PCMark Vantage
Simulated Application Performance


Dell XPS 8300 jumps ahead of the pack in our first benchmark run, edging out iBuyPower's BTS11 system by a hair. Bringing up the rear is HP's H8 1050 even though it's equipped with the fastest CPU and GPU combination. The slow spinning hard drive is the reason why HP's machine trailed behind the other two.

Futuremark PCMark 7
Simulated Application Performance


Futuremark 3DMark11

Futuremark's PCMark 7 combines more than 25 individual workloads covering storage, computation, image and video manipulation, Web browsing, and gaming. It's specifically designed to cover the full range of PC hardware, from netbooks and tablets, to notebooks and desktops, making it a great testing tool for virtually any system.

The same situation played out in Futuremark's recently launched PCMark 7 suite, and again we suspect HP's decision to utilize a 5400 RPM drive is holding the Pavilion back. Out in front, it was iBuyPower that managed to slide ahead of Dell to take pole position.

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage and 3DMark 11
Simulated Gaming Performance

The latest version of Futuremark's synthetic 3D gaming benchmark, 3DMark11, is specifically bound to Windows Vista and 7-based systems because it uses the advanced visual technologies that are only available with DirectX 11, which isn't available on previous versions of Windows. 3DMark11 isn't simply a port of 3DMark Vantage to DirectX 11, though. With this latest version of the benchmark, Futuremark has incorporated four new graphics tests, a physics tests, and a new combined test. We tested the graphics cards here with 3DMark11's Performance preset option, as well as ran the system through a 3DMark Vantage run, which focuses on DirectX 10.


Here we see HP's Pavilion H8 1050 leapfrog the other two systems by a big margin, and that's because 3DMark 11 focuses its attention on gaming performance above all else. That means much more attention is placed on the GPU, and HP's decision to go with an AMD Radeon HD 6850 proved to be the difference maker.


The disparity in gaming performance was even more pronounced in 3DMark Vantage, with HP's machine jumping several thousand points ahead of the competition. All three appear capable of handling mid-range gaming chores, HP's machine just looks like it's better suited for the task than the other two. Whether or not that's actually the case is something we'll look at in our real-world game tests.

Article Index:

1 2 Next
0
+ -

I have a simple rule to avoid bloatware: If Norton or McAfee is pre-installed, then the PC is a boat anchor and I'll look at a different brand instead. Microsoft Security Essentials does a better job for no money at all. Keep in mind I am NOT a Microsoft fan; I prefer Linux, Android, and ChromeOS, but if you have a Windows PC you should be using MSE.

0
+ -

Great write-up Paul, but I don't see this as a fair comparison. If you customize the BTS11 with a 2600k, stock 6850, 80+ psu, bluray drive, 2tb 7200 drive, also right now they have a free upgrade to 1600 ram which comes out to $1264. It would outperform the hp and still come in at a lower price tag with zero bloatware. Plus you can save money by selecting a different case. I'm assuming this is based on stock configs, maybe the paladin E860 would have been a better stock choice for the comparison.

I'm just bitter because I don't want to see hp or dell beat someone like ibuypower in a comparison. All that bloatware!!! Gross!

+1
+ -

Fair points Mr. McNasty, but we also have to review systems as we receive them, not based on what they could have been. We can't assume that, had iBuyPower altered the configuration a bit, that it would have outperformed the competition. We can give iBuyPower props for upgradeability and price (which we did), but we can't say a hypothetical system performs better or worse than one we've actually tested. It's also worth mentioning that iBuyPower is pushing this as a sub-$1,000 ($999.99 -- we rounded up) back-to-school special.

I'm sure others will take issue with HP edging out iBuyPower, so I'll explain our decision before the comments start rolling in. We ultimately felt HP's value-added extras tipped the scales, like ample storage, Wi-Fi-, Blu-ray, and a built-in TV tuner, all things iBuyPower's system lacks. And with the focus on mainstream/back-to-school, we felt a compact case was a better option than a tower chassis that's almost as tall as I am. A near sweep in gaming performance certainly helped HP's cause, too.

Had this been a mid-range enthusiast round-up, we would have swayed towards iBuyPower for its off-the-shelf parts, upgradeability, and overall price, followed by HP in second and again Dell in third.

0
+ -

I'm honestly not trying to make waves, I'm with @Optimus i enjoy reading these articles and understand you review what gets sent and advertized in a specific category. I actually agree completely that the hp's extras do put it out ahead. If you put those three infront of me and said choose, I would make the same decision. I just wanted to point out that if you add those to the ibuypower you can get them all for a lower price than the hp. But like you said it's no longer an "off the shelf system" and it's no longer the mainstream, sub-1000 pc.

PS....I haven't heard of doghouse systems either, thanks for the heads up!

0
+ -

Drake_McNasty:
PS....I haven't heard of doghouse systems either, thanks for the heads up!

http://doghousesystems.com/

(check out the "Racing Rig")

 

0
+ -

"I agree Drake, but each company sent in what they promoted as their official back to school PC. So its basically an "As Is" comparison. I agree that the HP PC has a great value to it and a neater inside,compared to the Dell.  Overall I would not buy any of them for my liking, but they have their value. HP and Dell are brands people and businesses have trusted for years, so they will sell. But all in all, if you are a smart shopper , you would be better off configuring a PC at Ibuypower and get more bang for the buck."

"BTW, I love reading Paul's articles, always, great material. Good laughs."

Edit: I see that Paul had responded with excellent points, I agree with him also. I had missed it because I now always write in Forum View instead of in the main page, so I don't lose my comments when the site refreshes.

+1
+ -

Thanks for the props, OptimusPrimeTime! And I have to give credit to Dave and Marco for the creative freedom I've been afforded.

0
+ -

One more commnet, Paul: I'd love to see you take something from Doghouse Systems and go head-to-head with Dell. HP's offerings are a dead horse, for my money, I don't want a proprietary system that's definitely going to be orphaned.

0
+ -

I've actually never heard of Doghouse Systems; will have to check them out.

0
+ -

Folks, this was a first for us. To be completely honest, there was a bit of a debate between myself, Paul and Marco on this round-up. Both Paul and Marco felt HP was the victor. However, I felt iBuyPower ultimately edged out the HP system, though it has fewer features and slightly lower performance, for some of the reasons mentioned here.

Regardless, in the purest sense of journalism, we felt it was best left up to Paul to levy his opinion and rating of the three PCs he tested here. So there you have it. Take from our analysis what you will. Ultimately, we're just here for guidance more than anything else. If you feel one of these is better than the other, from your perspective, then that's the right answer for you.

Either way you slice it, thanks for reading!

1 2 Next
Login or Register to Comment
Post a Comment
Username:   Password: