At an event in California today, HP unveiled a new “Pro” line of business desktops. The new Pro 3000s are surprisingly flexible, offering configurations that range from Intel Celeron and AMD Athlon 2 CPUs up to Core 2 Quad and Phenom II X4s.
There are three main configurations of the new Pros: two “microtower” desktops which are slightly smaller than traditional minitowers, and a small form factor PC that follows along the lines of HP’s Slimline consumer models. The new HP Pro line is geared toward small business networks in companies that may not have specific IT staff – as such, HP includes a line of branded software known as HP Connect Solutions, which helps owners take care of networking and security issues without the need for running a centralized server.
Among the tools included with the new systems are a password manager that covers website, network and application logins, Power Manager, which helps schedule power settings as well as offer real-time reports on energy usage, and security software from McAfee. HP’s new Connect Solutions is also pre-installed, which are cloud services provided by HP that provide teleconferencing and online meeting rooms – in all, it feels like a competitor to the established GoToMeeting setup produced by Citrix.
In terms of hardware, the new setups are pretty flexible, as we mentioned earlier. What is interesting, however, is that HP is focusing on the expandability and upgradability of these units to cover future needs. It’s a bit of a surprise, considering that most manufacturers would just rather sell an entirely new PC than help businesses upgrade their current hardware. Considering their recent push into cloud and service-based solutions, however, I suspect HP is pushing users into buying affordable hardware that can be upgraded at a later date, then selling them services that work on what they’ve already bought.
The new systems span the spectrum in terms of performance, with the possibility of most processors offered by Intel or AMD, save for the former’s Core i5/i7 chips. Combine that with up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM, 500GB hard drives and the possibility of a Blu-ray writer, the Pro line looks to sit just below the new Elite business desktops in terms of performance – not a workstation, but stronger specs than your average SMB unit. High-efficiency (85+) power supplies are incorporated into the desktops, and users will be able to choose just about any recent OS they want, save for OS X – SUSE 11, FreeDOS, and Windowx XP all through Windows 7 in 32- and 64-bit flavors.
HP hasn’t said how much the new line will cost, but chances are that like the specifications, it too will run the gamut. It’s safe to say we’ll probably be seeing units start in the 400s and rise up to 900 or 1000, depending on the configuration and form factor. All systems will come with one year of warranty as standard, which includes onside and next business day support, as well as parts and labor. Printers were also a star at the day’s events, with HP unveiling a <a href=http://www.printercomparison.com/default.asp?newsID=621>new line of eco-friendly devices</a> in attempt to capitalize on the upsurge in green spending.