HP Pavilion P6525 review

Full review: Affordable Windows 7 desktop PC for home and office

Image 1 of 2 HP Pavilion P6525 main
HP Pavilion P6525 main
Image 2 of 2 HP Pavilion P6525 power button
HP Pavilion P6525 power button

Not groundbreaking, but there's a decent set of features and hardware at a reasonable cost

In the market for a new PC? Despite the glut of all-in-ones there are still plenty of tower PCs available, like this mid-range offering from HP.

The HP P525 doesn’t exactly have a thrilling design or boast a cutting edge spec sheet, but this computer isn't aiming to compete with the likes of Alienware, Sony or Apple. What the HP Pavilion P6525 offers is a competitive value bundle which should appeal to families or anyone wanting a new computer with the minimum of hassle.

Powering the box is an Intel Core i3 540 processor. Unlike the new i5 and i7 CPUs this doesn't include the Turbo Boost feature which automatically overclocks, but with a 3.06GHz default clock speed, is still solid performer.

Running Windows 7 Home Premium, we didn't witness any major performance hiccups during testing and unless you're running quanton physics calculations or editing masses of HD video, it will easily cope with day to day work and web browsing activities.

HP Pavilion P6525: Storage and gaming prowess

4GB RAM is included, which is fast becoming the minimum for all but the cheapest systems. Storage is handled by a 750GB hard drive, though this is slightly disappointing as 1TB would have been more impressive and, going by current retail prices of new drives, would have little impact on the overall cost.

For removable storage you've got a memory card reader in one of the floppy drive bays and a DVD re-writer with LightScribe capabilities to label your discs.

The weakest part of the setup is the graphics card, an ATi HD5450 with 1GB memory. This is an entry-level model and while far superior to onboard graphics chips, it won't please anyone hoping to run the very latest games at full detail settings.

The 5450 is not useless for gaming though- demanding FPS title Crysis runs after some tweaks to the settings – it's just if gaming is your main purpose for buying a PC then you'll want something with a bit more bite like the Mesh Elite GTX 460.

HP Pavilion P6525: Upgrades and connections

Luckily, since this is a desktop tower a graphics card upgrade is definitely a possibility. The smart piano black case has enough room to accommodate a new graphics card, aside from the very large high end models, and it would also be simple to swap out the RAM.

Changing the hard disk and DVD drives will be trickier. Due to the tight fit and internal layout adding a new optical or storage drive will require some extensive surgery. It may require a return to HP or the retailer, which is worth bearing in mind if you plan on extending its life with new parts.

But the HP P6525 does include features found even on the higher end models including: HDMI output for easy connection to a TV; the 'EyeFinity' feature which supports up to six displays and ATI's own Avivo HD technology which boosts video performance and supports 3D glasses, among many other thingss

Ultimately the HP 6525 offers plenty of processing power for home and office, even if the graphics card is unexciting. One final point to mention: this is a base unit only, so factor a monitor into the overall cost if you don't have one already, although buy now and you'll get a two-year warranty.

The HP Pavilion P6525 is available now, find out more from HP

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium
Screen: n/a
Processor: Intel Core i3 540 3.06GHz
Graphics: ATi Radeon HD5450
Memory: 4GB RAM
Storage: 750GB
Connections: 8x USB, HDMI, 6x rear analog audio ports, 15-in-1 memory card reader, N Wi-Fi, Firewire. Gigabit Ethernet
Dimensions/Weight: 175x414x387mm/9.6kg