Application and Futuremark Performance

While I found the HP Phoenix fairly compelling on the first go, things are more difficult this time around. The Phoenix gets a small boost from Ivy Bridge, but our review unit is running off a single mechanical hard disk where most other review units we've received have enjoyed SSDs. That's going to cause the PCMark scores to take a hit. Naturally, you can add your own if you'd like, but that's another $200 or so for 240GB+ SSDs.

The other hit is going to be in the overclock, or lack thereof. The Phoenix has no overclock of any kind on the otherwise overclock-friendly i7-3770K, making the liquid-cooling for the CPU feel more for show than anything practical.

Futuremark PCMark 7

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

Without an SSD or an overclock, the Phoenix h9 flounders to near the bottom of the pack. Yet we know that PCMark skews heavily towards SSDs, so let's see what happens when we shift the focus to more CPU-oriented tasks.

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R11.5

Video Encoding - x264

Video Encoding - x264

Without any kind of overclock, the Phoenix h9 puts in a very weak showing compared to our other gaming desktops. Note that boutiques charge a very small fee to overclock the systems they build, but that fee results in a tangible performance improvement that was also in some cases even measurable in gaming scenarios.

Futuremark 3DMark 11

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark06

I want to be more forgiving of the Phoenix h9 in gaming scenarios where it's often competing with multi-GPU solutions, but it has a hard time breaking away from even a single last generation GeForce GTX 580. Keep in mind that the Radeon HD 7950 is as fast as any of the Phoenix models will get, too, due to the thermal constraints of the small chassis. Hopefully real world gaming benchmarks will be kinder....

Re-Introducing the HP Phoenix Gaming Performance
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  • dj christian - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    Which program did you use to test it's power consumtion under load? It's the barebone excluding the monitor i suppose?
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, June 21, 2012 - link

    They use a power-meter and measure draw off the wall. Of course it is just the PC they measure with no monitor. :-)
  • soloburrito - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    1.) Expensive unlocked processors for a product targeted at consumers who most likely won't overclock.
    2.) Offering more CPU options in their base systems than GPU systems.
    2a.) Offering high-end CPUs and low-end GPUs on gaming systems to begin with.
    3.) Clear lack of motivation to create a compelling product.
  • danjw - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    Since that is the only way to get rid of the spamware these OEMs install on these systems.
  • IlllI - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    if they actually wanted to build a good gaming system they should not have killed off voodoo like they did.
  • hapkiman - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    I have to agree with almost everything you said about the HP Phoenix, BUT with a few exceptions... I ordered the i7 3770 version, and as soon as I got it changed out the 10GB (I know weird amount) of 1333MHz RAM to 4 sticks of 4GB 1600MHz Crucial Ballistix, (which I got for only $80 @ Newegg), and it was immediately recognized and runs in XMP mode at 1600MHz for an awesome 16GB on the Z75 mobo. I caught a Memorial Day 25% off coupon and got my rig with a 160GB Intel SSD added and a 1TB HDD for $1100 w/free shipping. You can't touch that price on any vendor. With my added Crucial RAM it was close to 1200.00. And a standard two year warranty from HP say a lot for me and I'm willing to bet to a lot of others as well. That warranty adds several hundred on any vendors site, and it was free with HP.

    I got the cheapest graphics card they had at the time (a GTX 550 Ti), because I already had a overclocked XFX 2GB version of the Radeon HD 6950 which I wasn't using (and the stock Delta 600 watt can handle it easily).

    Here's the thing...My benchmarks are WAY-WAY better than your readings. Not sure what exactly is going on, but my rig is fast as all get out and was very reasonably priced. I am very satified and think I got a great deal. And it looks badass. With all settings on Ultra (1920x1080) in BF3 and everything else turned up as high as it will go (4xMSAA - Ambient Occlusion - Motion Blur - EVERYTHING MAXED) I get right at a sweet 60+ FPS running smooth as melted butter. If I turn a few things down (and I mean barely) I can easily get 80+ FPS on BF3 with spikes into triple digits.

    I know there are people who say "why would you shell out a grand on a HP pre-built when you can build yourself and save $ and get better components?" I used to be one of those guys and hated HP and Dell. But situations change, and there is a market for this rig. With a full-time job and little kids I just can't do it anymore. I shopped around a lot and think I made the right choice.

    I am not your average gamer or enthusiast. I work full time 50+ hours a week. And again, I just don't have time to build and have no desire to do so anymore (and I have built two gaming rigs from scratch). But I still have a passion for computers. I don't care about overclocking anymore, but I may want to tinker around a little inside the case from time to time, but that's about it. Adding the RAM and the 6950 card is about all I want to do.

    I use this Phoenix rig constantly and absolutely love it. The i7 3770 with 16GB of 1600MHz RAM and the Radeon HD 6950 is screaming fast - and with the closed loop cooler (which you failed to mention is made by Asetek) stays right around 30c idle +/- 5c. It hits upper 40s at load, but that's no problem at all, and is barely higher than my old Sandy Bridge rig which I just got rid of a few months ago (it had an i7 2600 paired up with this same 6950 card).

    Putting these same components together or as close as I could get on Newegg comes to almost $1600. And I have to mess with each manufacturers individual part warranty which is a pain in the butt. I only have to call HP now if I have an issue and they give me the option of sending me the part to replace myself, sending a tech to my house, or mailing it back to them to fix. I call that piece of mind.
  • hapkiman - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    Yes- I meant "Peace of Mind."
  • Curt1234 - Saturday, June 30, 2012 - link

    I was thinking the same thing, dumb down the config and use a coupon code to get a steal deal. Great job. I work with HP all the time at work and at home, I have had several z800's, now just one and its a great box, wish HP would make a G820 for Gaming, this is nice box though.

    Some of you might remember HP sold a gaming computer based on the Awesome Coolermaster Wavemaster case, it has an Asus board and side window, lights, 3.2 P4, it was a beauty, sold at compusa. I basically copied the specs and built my own, except I went with a 2.4 Norwood and overclocked, then later Asus had a socket adapter to allow the awesome Pentium M to drop in, did that with a 2.0 and overclocked it would smoke anything and the TDP was still almost half of the Prescott and AMD's.

    That cooler you have is also the one I had in a Z800 I sold on ebay, it had dual liquid cooling and is probably the same one in single configuration, HP probably uses a decent Delta in that rig?
  • kedesh83 - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    Wow, my homebuilt system with an i5 2500k, with a HIS 6950 2gb blows this out of the water in terms of gaming performance. And it's not even overclocked. What a waste of money.
  • hapkiman - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - link

    Sure you can equal me in gaming performance- of course. Multiple cores aren't utilized in gaming and hyperthreading doesn't matter for gaming either. And ..I don't know exact what model HIS 6950 card you have- but mine is OC'ed pretty nicely and beats the crap out of a reference model 6950. You can run hand in hand in gaming with me for sure, but you DO NOT blow me out of the water on anything else. Not at all. You're kidding yourself.

    Any other tasks besides gaming (and I am a very casual gamer and use my computer for mostly for other tasks) you can't hang exactly with me and my i7 3770. I will win. Unless you overclock the crap out of your 2500k of course.

    The i5 2500k is a fine GPU (perhaps the best gaming CPU there is), but stock for stock I win in anything but gaming.

    Hey- I'm not slamming your rig or for your building bro- I was right there with you about five years ago, but things change (like marriage, job, mortgage, kids, etc..and mostly free time), and I just can't build anymore. I needed a good pre-built for around a grand- with a solid warranty and I wasn't about to get Alienware.

    Enjoy your 2500k rig. I'm sure it kicks butt.

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