Introducing the HP Compaq 8200 Elite Ultra-Slim

If you've been following along for a while, it should be pretty clear that around here, we're fans of doing a little computing. Awkward turns of phrase notwithstanding, we thought we'd seen the smallest HP had to offer when we tackled the Z210 SFF desktop not too long ago. But we were wrong, and today we present you with the smallest desktop computer in HP's enterprise lineup. Wearing its power supply on the outside, meet the HP Compaq 8200 Elite Ultra-Slim.

Get a load of that. Admittedly consumer desktops (and nettops) can get just a bit smaller, but the HP Compaq 8200 Elite Ultra-Slim is still pretty impressively diminutive. Once you get this small it's very hard to include any kind of real graphics hardware, so even the entry level Quadro found in the Z210 is absent here, but other than that you'll see it's a surprisingly fully-featured little computer.

HP offers several pre-configured variants of the 8200 Elite Ultra-Slim, and they shipped us the top XZ788UT model. They also have custom-build options available, with a much larger selection of parts on tap. Here's what we received in our review sample.

HP Compaq 8200 Elite Ultra-Slim Specifications
Chassis HP Custom
Processor Intel Core i5-2500S
(4x2.7GHz, 32nm, 6MB L3, turbo to 3.7GHz, 65W)
Motherboard HP Proprietary Motherboard with Q67 chipset
Memory 1x4GB Samsung DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM (expandable to 16GB)
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 2000
(6 EUs, 850-1100MHz)
Hard Drive(s) Western Digital Scorpio Black 250GB 7200-RPM 2.5" SATA 3Gbps HDD
Optical Drive(s) HP DVD+/-RW Combo Drive
Networking Intel 82579LM Gigabit Ethernet
Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 802.11a/b/g/n
Audio Realtek ALC662 HD Audio
Speaker, mic/line-in jacks for stereo sound
Front Side 4x USB 2.0
Headphone and mic jacks
Optical drive
Card reader
Top -
Back Side Speaker, mic/line-in
2x PS/2
6x USB 2.0
1x Ethernet
1x DisplayPort
AC adaptor
Operating System Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1
Dimensions 9.9" x 10" x 2.6" (WxDxH), 6.8 lbs.
251 x 254 x 66 mm, 3.1 kg
Extras SD Card Reader
87% Efficient PSU with active PFC
Warranty 3-year parts, labor, and onsite service
Pricing MSRP starts at $679; review configuration at $914
Available online starting at $770

You can immediately tell from the specs that the 8200 Elite Ultra-Slim is the kind of system designed more for mass deployment than any kind of serious, high performance computing. HP includes an MXM slot and Mini-PCIe slot inside the chassis for expansion, and for those that really want some for of discrete graphics a $61 upgrade to an AMD Radeon HD 5450 is available. With 80 Stream Processors, that's not a major upgrade from Intels HD 2000; it's a little dated but it's there if you need it. There's also no USB 3.0 support, but at least HP includes DisplayPort connectivity.

Moving to the CPU, the Intel Core i5-2500S is no slouch. Rated for a TDP of 65 watts instead of 95, it still manages to boast the same impressive top turbo core speed as its non-S-series counterpart. Other options range from basic Pentium CPUs all the way up to the i7-2600S. HP backs the CPU up with two SO-DIMM slots (and no ECC support), one of which is occupied in our review unit by a 4GB DDR3-1333 DIMM.

Keeping up with the "notebook in a desktop shell" motif is the 2.5" Western Digital Scorpio Black 7200-RPM mechanical hard drive and a slimline DVD+/-RW drive. (Note that SSDs are available in the custom configurator if desired.) HP also includes integrated wireless in the form of the Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 wireless chipset, which supports 802.11a/b/g/n connectivity. The 87% efficient PSU is an external power brick rated for 135 watts, more than enough to support this configuration.

None of the specs are going to set the world on fire, but being a business class system there are a few other extras we need to discuss. The major selling point for systems such as this is the warranty and support. The HP Compaq Elite 8200 comes standard with a 3-year onsite warranty, and in our experience business class systems are built and supported better than consumer offerings. Remember also that while HP is talking about selling off their consumer PC division, they want to keep the (more lucrative) business and enterprise lines.

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  • pandemicide - Thursday, September 29, 2011 - link

    You are also forgetting a lot of businesses use Windows. Adding the cost of a windows licence to the mac mini plus the complications of setting up a OSX/Windows environment and getting techs that know both.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, September 29, 2011 - link

    Nihility, it's not a $917 configuration, unless you're going to just go straight to HP and give them whatever they ask. The exact same system configuration is available elsewhere for $770:

    So twice the processing power, more USB ports, twice the RAM, and three times the warranty (with onsite service). The best price I can find for the base Mac Mini is around $570 online. You can get an upgraded unit with 6630M graphics and a faster (but still dual-core) CPU, with 4GB RAM for $760. Still one-year warranty, though.

    And let's not forget serviceability. Anyone here ever tried opening a Mac Mini for servicing? It's not a trivial affair, and once inside the layout isn't ideal either. Long-term, I'd also be a lot more skeptical of the Mac Mini's ability to stay cool if you're running a more intense load, which leads to component failures and downtime.

    Given the choice, I'd say anyone going with Mac Mini in a large deployment instead of something like this HP 8200 Ultra-Slim is worried to much about looking cool and being "hip" than they are with reliability, service, and support.
  • bgnoz - Thursday, September 29, 2011 - link

    As a Mac mini user for years, I'd venture to say you haven't used one. The latest versions put this HP kludge to shame... they're wonderfully designed, fast, cool, low-power, and not at all difficult to service. Stupid simple for RAM, and not that bad for drives for anyone with build experience.

    I'm not hip or cool... the latest i7 mini is a great machine, and has replaced my towers (Mac, PC, and Hackintosh) for all but the heaviest video work. I'd love to see how they stack up against this HP parts bin machine.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 30, 2011 - link

    How exactly does a Mac Mini "put this to shame"? It's a bit smaller, perhaps, but what else does it do better? Sure, the 6630M is an okay GPU, but most businesses don't care one way or the other because HD 2000 or HD 3000 is more than sufficient. Heck, I worked at a large company that had thousands of PCs across dozens of locations (I supported about 200 at my particular location), and they would have been happy to stick with older IGP hardware just to reduce the potential gaming capability -- people were periodically caught playing 6+ year old games, because even GMA 900 was fast enough to run stuff like Half-Life!

    So again, what does Mac Mini do better? It doesn't support higher spec CPUs like quad-core offerings. It doesn't come with an onsite 3-year warranty. It runs slower for the same price (because of a slower CPU and less RAM). HDD performance is probably a wash. Oh, and you need to either run OS X (95% or more of businesses don't), or you have to do Bootcamp. Either way, you're generally stuck going through Apple for Windows drivers, right? None of that would be good for a business PC.
  • ciparis - Friday, September 30, 2011 - link

    Playing devil's advocate here...

    The one they call a server model is $999, and comes with a quad-core CPU, if the workload demands it. Business discounts are available.

    Also, even if you're going to discount the GPU for whatever reason (which is becoming more and more relevant in day to day use) you have to recognize there is a desirable balance between GPU and CPU performance in a SFF design; the mini isn't a gamer, either, but it's a well-balanced design even with a dual core CPU, giving you very good general desktop performance with current OS's.

    Re: Boot Camp: these are standard PC components, and while you can get a driver bundle from Apple (just like with HP) you can also source your drivers however you like (preferably from the component manufacturer).

    Anyway, you probably wouldn't have had people kvetching about it if you'd at least mentioned the mini in passing, since it's such a similar concept, except much smaller and generally extremely well-executed (look at Anand's review, for example).
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 30, 2011 - link

    For a home user, the GPU in the Mac Mini is a definite plus (assuming you get the model that includes the GPU). For a business, like I said it really doesn't matter to 99% of the business owners -- unless you want your employees playing more games? HD 2000 is already "too fast" in terms of power for a lot of businesses to be happy, so now they have to worry about locking the PCs down tighter. It's not a big issue for large companies with IT departments, but for the smaller outfits I'd be curious to see how much time gets wasted playing games. Then again, Solitaire, Minesweeper, Flash games, etc. are all sucking down productivity.

    Since you mention the $999 server version, that actually doesn't have the GPU, though it does have HD 3000 graphics. As a home user, I'd say the middle-of-the-road model is the best option, providing a decent balance. For a business, again, I don't see any (good) reason someone would go for the Mac Mini over a business class ultra-slim desktop. Okay, that's not entirely true: two things the Mac Mini has that this doesn't are native HDMI, and ThunderBolt, and the built-in power supply might also be preferable in some circles. Not sure if the Mac PSU is as energy efficient, though.
  • owan - Thursday, September 29, 2011 - link

    In what usage case that this PC targets is a mac mini going to be better? If you tried to suggest deploying mac minis in an enterprise setting you'd get laughed out of the building. "far higher build quality" isn't really true either. its got a shiny outer case, but this HP is a well designed piece of enterprise hardware.
  • LoneWolf15 - Thursday, September 29, 2011 - link

    I agree.

    It's not even the question of being laughed out of the building. It's that Apple, in the past decade, made modest inroads into enterprise markets --and then in the past 24 months, has deliberately burned every bridge they built.

    With that kind of behavior, I wouldn't touch them in the enterprise. They're fine one-off machines that are miserable in large-scale environments.
  • Pessimism - Friday, September 30, 2011 - link

    Apple Troll is trolling.

    Provide one shred of proof of your claim of "far higher build quality". They probably both came out of the same plant at Foxconn.
  • Peroxyde - Thursday, September 29, 2011 - link

    I notice that modern computers use less and less the DVD player. In business scenarios, the system admin can always arrange so that people can get around without a DVD drive.

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