This GTX 645 doesn't support Nvidia's SLI dual-GPU technology, but that's a moot point because the Envy 700's motherboard has just one PCIe x16 slot anyway. The Envy 700's dinky 460-watt power supply unit might also get in the way of a future video card upgrade (you can order your system with an optional 600-watt PSU; that will add $70 to the system's price tag but will improve your future upgrade options).
With the resolution in Dirt Showdown set to 1920 by 1080 and visual quality at Ultra, the Envy delivered an unplayable 21 frames per second. Digital Storm's Virtue, which is outfitted with a top-of-the-line Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 card, churned out 86 frames per second with that game at the same settings. (Our reference system, by the way, couldn't play the game at all at that resolution because it lacks a discrete video card.)
When we dialed the resolution down to 1024 by 768 and reduced visual quality to low, the HP delivered the game at 134.5 frames per second, more than twice the minimum we considerable to be playable. The system is pleasantly quiet, too.
If your entertainment preferences run more to movies, HP has you covered with not just a Blu-ray drive, but an increasingly rare (with retail computers, anyway) Blu-ray burner. The Envy 700 also has an onboard 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter, so you won't need to hardwire the computer to your router (or buy an adapter to take advantage of that super-fast 802.11ac router you just bought). The back has two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports, and two more of each in the front (along with a media-card reader and headphone and mic jacks).
The bundled USB mouse and keyboard (wireless options are available for an additional $40) are about what you'd expect: The mouse has a nice curve to fit the hand, and the keyboard is a basic black unit with no backlighting. The keyboard does have dedicated buttons for controlling media-player software.
The HP Envy 700-030qe is an above-average computer that's reasonably priced at $1450. When we built out a comparable system based on Digital Storm's Virtue (with an unlocked Core i7-4770K, 16GB of DDR/3 memory, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost video card, and a 256GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD), that system's price tag came out to $1713. That's a not-insignificant bump of $263, even if it does buy you better components and a prettier, more easily upgradable machine.
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