HP unveils new budget desktop systems

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Only one day after drawing back the curtain on its new ProBook and Mini netbook yesterday, HP has unveiled a new generation of wallet-friendly desktop PCs. Of the four systems introduced, the Pavilion p6000 and Slimline s5000 are the least expensive starting at $270 and $290. Unsurprisingly, with similar specifications, they're only geared for the most basic of tasks - but that's not to take any thunder away from the bargain.

The p6000’s base specs open with an AMD Sempron LE1300 CPU, 2GB of DDR2 800MHz RAM, a 320GB HDD, and an Nvidia GeForce 6150. Only a notch ahead, the Slimline s5000 series offers a “free” upgrade to a 500GB HDD and throws in a 6-in-1 memory card reader – not bad for an extra $20. Both models have a wide spectrum of upgrades available. I bumped the s5000 up to an AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750, 3GB of RAM and a 512MB Nvidia GeForce G210 for a total of $430, and a Blu-ray player pushes the sale to $550.

Starting at $380, the Compaq Presario CQ5000 is the most balanced system of the bunch. It ships with an AMD Athlon X2 7550, 3GB of RAM, a 128MB Nvidia GeForce 6150 SE, 320GB HDD and Vista Home Premium 64-bit. The most expensive and best equipped of HP’s new desktops is their Pavilion Elite e9000. Its pricing begins at $600 and it delivers an AMD Phenom II X2 545 CPU, 4GB of DDR3 1066MHz RAM, a 512MB Nvidia GeForce G210, 500GB HDD (“free” upgrade to 640GB), 15-in-1 card reader and Vista Home Premium 64-bit.

The current HDD and monitor upgrade promotions are scheduled to expire on Saturday the 27. So, a friendly word of advice for you: hold off on your purchases until June 26 at 12:01AM ET. Not only will you snag a free component upgrade, but you'll be eligible for HP's Windows 7 Upgrade Program as well.

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