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HP Envy Phoenix h9-1420t review: Gaming power in a subtle form

Jon L. Jacobi | March 22, 2013
This mainstream gaming machine carries a comforting two-year warranty and provides top-notch, if not best-of-breed, performance and gameplay.

You also get two DVI ports, an HDMI port, and a DisplayPort connection on the back of the GTX 680, plus two capped DVI ports off the motherboard that are supported by the integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics (should you ever ditch the discrete GPU).

Input ergonomics and software

Most gamers will already have their favorite gaming peripherals, but HP does bundle a keyboard and mouse with the Phoenix. Both input devices are relatively lightweight with a serviceable feel, but no one would ever mistake them for gaming- or even business-grade models.

HP includes Adobe's Photoshop Elements for editing photos and Premiere Elements for editing videos, but you'll need to pay extra for Blu-ray player and disc-burning software. The company's Quick Start app is provided to mimic the Start menu that Microsoft dumped from its latest OS. If you're looking for an even better Start replacement, check out Stardock's Start8 or Iobit's Start Menu 8; the former is $5, while the latter is free.

Price, configurations, and warranty

Our test configuration, with its upgraded video card, unlocked CPU, and midrange storage and memory options, costs $1840, but you can get into the h9-1420T for as little as $1150 with a slower GPU and a locked CPU. At the other end of the scale, you can configure the machine with 32GB of memory and a 4TB RAID 5 setup (three times 2TB, minus 33 percent for redundancy) and hit your bank account to the tune of $2740.

The Envy Phoenix series carries a healthy two-year parts-and-labor warranty, and HP offers extended warranties for up to four years, with on-site service, for less than $200.

Bottom line

If you're not dead set on your gaming PC looking as if it had just escaped from a sci-fi movie, and if you're sure you'll never want to upgrade to a dual-video-card setup, the HP Envy Phoenix h9-1420T will give you excellent overall performance and darn good gameplay. The warranty is comforting as well, but we're still wondering why the hardware options stop just shy of state-of-the-art.

 

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