HP EliteDesk 800 G2

HP EliteDesk 800 G2 Mini Desktop PC running Linux – Week 1

This is a weekly blog looking at a refurbished HP EliteDesk 800 G2 Mini Desktop PC running Linux. Refurbished PCs offer a great solution to your computing requirements.

This machine was made available by Bargain Hardware. Bargain Hardware retails refurbished servers, workstations, PCs, and laptops to consumers and businesses worldwide. All systems are completely customisable on their website along with a vast offering of clean-pulled, tested components and enterprise replacement parts. They supply machines with a choice of Linux distros: Ubuntu, Debian, and Fedora. They even install FreeBSD.

The HP EliteDesk 800 G2 Mini is available in a variety of configurations. Our machine unit came with a quad-core Intel i5-6500T (2.5 GHz that can turbo boost to 3.1 GHz) with Intel HD Graphics 530. It’s paired with a 256GB M2. NVMe SSD and 16GB of DDR4 RAM. There’s two memory slots with both populated in our configuration. The machine can take a maximum of 32GB of RAM.

Along the way, we’ll compare the HP to the Lenovo M93 and other ultra small form factor PCs such as the AWOW AK41. The HP EliteDesk we chose costs £330 which is about £80 more than either the Lenovo and the AWOW. We’ll see if the additional cost represents good value for money.

There are lots of differences between the HP EliteDesk and the Lenovo M93. For example, our EliteDesk can drive two digital monitors, offers newer DDR4 RAM, and house multiple internal disks including an M.2 NVMe SSD.

Design

HP EliteDesk G2

Let’s examine the the EliteDesk’s design. As the 800 G2 is a business PC, the machine is housed in a plain black casing. Like the Lenovo M93, it’s constructed from thick metal and feels very robust. At the same time, there’s very easy access with a single thumbnail screw to remove the top plate.

On the front of the machine (from left to right) is an obligatory headphone/microphone combo, USB Type-C and 2 USB 3.0 ports, and a power button. The rear of our machine has two DisplayPort connectors, a VGA connector, a further 4 USB 3.0 ports, an RJ-45 ethernet port, and power connector. Our machine didn’t come with any wireless/Bluetooth support although it’s possible to fit a mini M.2 card to provide this functionality.

When buying a refurbished machine it’s important to make sure you get the specifications you want. For example, the EliteDesk can come with a serial port or HDMI instead of the second DisplayPort.

There’s easy access to the inside of the machine with only a thumbnail to open the case. The image below shows the inside of the machine with the SSD drive cage removed.

HP EliteDesk G2
Click image for full size

As you can see, there’s a fan on the processor. Is the EliteDesk quiet? With the machine idle, the machine doesn’t offer the whisper quietness of the Lenovo. The fan is audible in a quiet room from 1 metre away, but it’s still very quiet. And we’re a real stickler when it comes to fan noise. With the machine under full load, the machine runs quieter than the Lenovo. The noise profile of the EliteDesk is excellent.

We like the design of the EliteDesk. There’s a good airflow system, very easy disassembly, and the machine offers upgrade options. For example, we can upgrade the RAM to 32GB, we can fit a larger M.2 SSD, and add a second internal disk (regular SSD).

Our refurbished EliteDesk came with a laptop power supply.

Why purchase a small form PC? Both the EliteDesk and Lenovo are inexpensive computers. And they have low power consumption which offers a significant cost savings in the long run. The chart below shows the power consumption of the EliteDesk, Lenovo M93, and AWOW AK41. They are inexpensive to run all day. And with each sporting small footprints, they are ideal for a lounge or a small room where space is at a premium.

HP EliteDesk 800 Power Consumption

As the above chart below illustrates, the HP machine consumes 14w when idle. That’s the same power consumption as the AK41 and significantly lower than the Lenovo M93.

Assume a kw/h costs 18p and each machine is left permanently on and not under heavy load (for example, running as a home server). The HP and AWOW machines cost about £22 a year in electricity whereas the Lenovo costs about £34 a year. That’s significantly lower than many current generation desktop machines.

We’re impressed that the HP machine is so frugal in power consumption when idling. It’s low power consumption bodes well for the machine running as a home server as well as a desktop machine.

Both the HP and Lenovo PCs consume around 40w when under full load, about double that of the  AWOW. But the AWOW has a very low spec processor.

Let’s look at the specifications in more detail.

Next page: Page 2 – Specifications

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction
Page 2 – Specifications
Page 3 – Installing Manjaro


Complete list of articles in this series:

HP EliteDesk 800 G2 Mini Desktop PC
Week 6Lightweight gaming on the HP EliteDesk
Week 5Multiple operating systems running on the HP EliteDesk
Week 4Hardware graphics acceleration when watching videos in Firefox
Week 3Multimedia on the HP EliteDesk 800 G2 USFF PC
Week 2Benchmarking the HP EliteDesk 800 G2 USFF PC with other machines
Week 1Introduction to the series including wiping Windows and installing Manjaro

This blog is written on the HP EliteDesk 800 G2 Mini Desktop PC.


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3 comments

  1. The HP looks like a good machine for a newbie to Linux. If they find Linux isn’t suitable for them, they have the fallback of a Windows 10 Pro license.

  2. I run a home lab/dev setup on 4 of these machines and a couple of M73’s and I’ve got to say they’re great. The only problem I found with the HP’s were regular power supply failures but found some reliable unbranded supplies that work better than the official ones.

    My main ‘workstation’ is an M73 with an i5-4590T and I’ve not come across anything that encourages an upgrade. The only frustration with both Lenovo and HP being the cooling fan creating a noticeable ‘throbbing’ effect. This was curable on the Lenovo by ramping the fan speed up in BIOS but wasn’t something adjustable in the HP.

    It doesn’t seem to matter which distros I throw at these things, everything just works straight away. Unfortunately, in the UK at least, the USFF units are going up in price on eBay rather than coming down.

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