As entry-level systems go, the HP Pavillion 500-281 is a compelling choice for anyone on a budget. The included Intel Core i3 processor and 1TB hard drive will easily keep you working and browsing the Web for the next five or six years.
If you’re looking to buy an affordable entry-level desktop PC, the HP Pavilion 500-281 packs a decent Intel Core i3-4130 Processor (3.4 GHz cache) and standard 1TB hard drive into a signature (though rather traditional) HP tower. If you don’t mind the common tower design, then the Pavilion 500 is a decent find, offering day-to-day computing power that rivals top budget systems such as the HP Envy 700-410, but does so for a more affordable price.
The Pavilion 500 packs what’s euphemistically called a mid-tower design, meaning that it is relatively large, and relatively hard to hide. Its styling touches on aspects such as the glossy black front with chrome touches that do help a little. HP used some skimpy connectivity on the 500-281, with just two USB 3.0 ports and four USB 2.0 ports.
It features DVI-D only as the sole option for video output, but is you so desire you can gain HDMI by opting for an upgrade to discrete graphics. One plus: Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) and Bluetooth are built in.
For buyers on a budget, but in need of stable computing performance, the Pavilion comes in handy as a great starting point. As is, you get a 4th-generation 3.4GHz Intel Core i3 processor, four GB of memory, a TB hard drive (7,200 RPM), a DVD a DVD burner, 7:1 memory card reader, and integrated Intel HD Graphics. The HP 500-281 has open slots for RAM upgrade (maximum of 16 GB), you can expand the hard drive and the open PCIe slot and the 300-watt power supply will enable you cap what’s possible.
It is equipped with Intel HD Graphics 4400, which means it can comfortably handle light games such as Limbo and World of Warcraft, but if you’re looking to play Lost Planet 2, Crysis and the rest you’d better turn your eyes elsewhere, most probably to a gaming rig.
The HP Pavilion 500-281 comes with a bundled USB keyboard with volume control and an optical mouse. However, I have seen a user complain of the keyboard design, but by the category standard I am convinced it is pretty well designed, and easy to type on.
Most users have always complained of bloatware on hP systems, but the same isn’t reflected in the HP 500-281. It runs on Windows 7 Professional (64-bit) and migrating to Windows 8/8.1 is quite easy. The best thing with this machine is that it has enough real estate for expansion, otherwise the rest of the specs aren’t anything out of the ordinary in this category.
As entry-level systems go, the HP Pavillion 500-281 is a compelling choice for anyone on a budget. The included Intel Core i3 processor and 1TB hard drive will easily keep you working and browsing the Web for the next five or six years, and does so for a little bit less than other comparable systems. It would take top honors, except that the Core i7-equipped HP Pavilion Power 580-068 packs superior performance into the same chassis, although it costs slightly more.