HP Pavilion Elite m9090a Desktop PC

Looking Good

Looking Good

HP has been rather consistent in its exterior design of the Pavilion branded desktops and notebooks and this approach continues with this Elite m9090a desktop. That means the chassis comes in glossy black, with touches of silver to break the monotony. Naturally, this is all very photogenic though in reality, the surface picks up every fingerprint and smudges easily. We suppose it's useful for tracking down amateur thieves trying to run off with this expensive PC but the plastic nature of the chassis's exterior shell doesn't exactly spell classy to us.

While we may disagree with the choice of chassis material, we have to say that it's a rather handsome design from the front, with most of the unsightly slots and ports concealed behind panels. HP did make some practical and commendable design decisions, like having the power button located at the top for convenience, the rubbery non-slip top surface of the chassis to rest your other external peripherals and an extremely useful and hard to miss Easy Backup button to activate the included backup utility.

An excellent and practical decision by HP (and by a few other chassis and PC vendors nowadays) is to place the power button at the top of the chassis. After all, most users place their 'desktop' on the floor and having the button at the top is convenient.

The top has a rubbery non-slip surface which is ideal for placing your USB peripherals, like a portable hard drive, card reader or even a USB mug warmer if you're so inclined. HP gives it the rather grand sounding name of "Universal technology Pad".

Most of the unsightly connector ports have been hidden, giving the front bezel of this PC a polished look. HP's Easy Backup button here is a quick one-touch feature that triggers a wizard to assist users in backing up the contents of their system to external or internal devices, USB or FireWire.

HP has included more than the usual array of front I/O ports, like the S-Video and Composite outputs.

If you have bought into the whole HP ecosystem for your computing needs, you may have the HP Personal/Pocket Media drives. Essentially, these are external hard drives that you can slot into for use in conjunction with the Easy Backup feature. The one shown here is the slot for the larget Personal Media drive. There's another slot for those who have the handier version (Pocket Media drive). For those who don't have either, these two slots would just be a waste of space.

From the rear, one would realize that this is not your usual ATX chassis but is instead based on Intel's abortive BTX design. Personally, we aren't too sure about the merits of this design (and the market too doesn't seem to have adopted it), though it does places the CPU away from the warmer PSU. However it's not the first time that this chassis orientation has appeared in a HP desktop before and it probably won't be the last.

Even from the rear, you can see that the chassis of this desktop is not your conventional ATX arrangement but BTX instead.

The included graphics card is a GeForce 8600 GT with DVI and HDMI outputs and there's also a TV tuner.