Most PC gaming enthusiasts have strong opinions about how they want their desktops to look like. And that is why most boutique builders and manufacturers make the effort to create gamer-centric themed designs. Builders like Falcon Northwest, Maingear and Origin PC are great examples of companies that do that while also offering a wide array of configuration options to go with their PCs. What we review today is none of that. The HP Pavilion 790-0010 Desktop’s design and features don’t particularly thrill as most gaming PCs do. It’s a budget PC with entry-level gaming performance so it should get you through most recent titles at decent frame rates. Moreover, it is a predecessor of the HP Pavilion 760 series and the HP Pavilion 580 series.
Under its hood, it packs a Nvidia Geforce 1050 graphics card and a few other modest components like Intel Core i3-8100 processor, 8GB memory and 1TB storage. It combines the right balance of price and performance which makes it a great contender among gaming desktops in its price range.
- Simple design/ easily upgradeable
- Affordable price
- Decent selection of ports including USB-C
- Great performance
- Lacks SSD
- Cooling fans are audible while gaming
The HP Pavilion 790-0010 is priced as an affordable option for the budget user looking to get into gaming or handle intensively graphics tasks. It doesn’t promise to draw your attention with flashy gamer features and components best you can rest assured the performance is satisfactory. As such, we recommend it for Editor’s Choice award for best budget entry-level gaming PC.
HP Pavilion 790-0010 Specs
|Processor||3.6 GHz Quad-Core i3 8100|
|Storage||1 TB HDD 7200RPM|
|Graphics Card||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 with 2GB GDDR5|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
|Dimensions||14.79 x 6.06 x 14.37 inches|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n|
|Ports||DisplayPort, HDMI, USB 3.0|
Design and Features
The HP Pavilion 790-0010 design is the same old tried and tested chassis of its predecessor HP Pavilion 690-0010 desktop. But this iteration adds some flair including more ports at the front face (USB Type-C) and a green-muscle line that cuts across the front face horizontally. On the flipside, what remains the same is the green-themed ports, polished HP logo. For the HP Pavilion 790-0010, the line now has a green accent which plays well with the theme of this PC and dividing the optical drive section from the port section.
At 14.79 x 6.06 x 14.37 inches and 18 pounds, the HP Pavilion 790 is a jazzed up version of its compact small form factor predecessor the Pavilion 690 series. It’s a slim compact system but with enough room for future expansion should you need it. Other competitors within this price range measure more or less the same as this unit. The [Ryzen & GTX 1050 Ti Edition] SkyTech ArchAngel Gaming Computer has a slightly larger footprint measuring 20.2 x 8.5 x 18.2 inches while the slightly pricier CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR GXiVR8060A5 Gaming PC measures a large 18.46 x 7.87 x 17.89 inches.
Getting under the hood requires a Phillip’s head screwdriver to slide open the side panel. Like the older models, the case is all metal enshrouding a metallic frame which isn’t as premium and feels hollow. But because it doesn’t flex we have no such qualms with it. Inside, the interior wiring is neatly done and the low-profile CPU cooler can be seen. Removing the drive panel provides access to memory slots and storage. You can easily upgrade these when the time comes.
There is a boatload of ports stacked into this gaming PC and all for a good reason. On the front face, there are a couple including 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, 2 USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, a single USB 3.1 Gen Type-C, microphone jack, and a single Media card reader. The USB Type-C being the future proof port here meant to transfer data and power simultaneously. Well, if you haven’t heard about USB-C, nobody will throw stones at you. Just know it’s a modern port with high transfer speeds compared to traditional USB ports. Essentially, you want to have and keep it in your corner. Moving on, there is also a DVD drive at the front face should you need to copy or burn DVDs and CDs or even load software.
The rear has its own selection of ports. There are 2 USB 2.0 ports, 4 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, a single HDMI port, DVI port, DisplayPort connector, and a 10/100/1000 Base-T Ethernet network port. For the most part, the HDMI and DisplayPort are there for external monitor connections. You can have a double monitor setup for your office or home use. Also, the USB ports should work great connecting to your printer, and complimentary keyboard and mouse.
Like we’ve always said, a good balance of components, pricing and performance make a good gaming PC. The HP Pavilion 790-0010 offers an interesting lineup of components which give it its performance muscle. Interestingly, there is a quad-core Intel Core i3-8100 processor, a mid-range Coffee Lake architecture CPU with four threads. The processor is a competing version of the AMD Ryzen 5 2600 for prospective buyers who can’t afford a K-series processor (unlocked). While the i3-8100 happens to be on the lower end of its series (i3-8100, i3-8300, i3-8350K), it still delivers a great balance of horsepower and efficiency (consumes only 65 watts) for everyday tasks. We loved the fact that it does that while running quietly, and using it’s designed heatsinks to cool down when ramped up.
Combined with GTX 1050 GPU, it runs fast without generating so much heat. One thing you could upgrade if you’re planning on rocking recent gaming titles is the stock fun it comes with. Pairing this CPU with a good cooler (Cooler Master Hyper T2), a good fan (Noctua NF-B9) could make a world of difference in your PC long term performance.
Memory worth upgrading
Other than the CPU, the HP Pavilion 790-0010 sports an 8GB DDR4 memory and 1TB mechanical hard drive. On most standards, 8GB is considered an entry-level offering and to be honest a fair amount. Considering it’s one of the most vital components of your PC, if you’re planning on doing some heavy multitasking, or playing demanding games, you should consider bumping it to 16GB.
Let me break it down. The biggest RAM-hogs in your computer is the operating system, web browser, some heavy applications, and games. Which means, if you planning on having more than a couple tabs open on Chrome, work on CAD or other professional software and play AAA titles, you probably need to upgrade. The general rule of thumb is that 16GB is the recommended amount for enthusiasts, hardcore gamers, and the average workstation. And upgrading to that will improve the performance of your PC substantially. Here’s a good reference point for how much RAM you need.
In terms of storage, upgrading to a solid-state drive will also guarantee better software and boot time speeds. And you will be able to retrieve your data faster meaning better efficiency.
Owing to similar on-paper specs, our unit directly compares with the Acer Aspire TC-885-ACCFLi3 desktop with exception of a dedicated graphics card. The latter is a powerful PC with the same 8th Gen., Core i3-8100 processor and 8GB of RAM, but adds a further 16GB Intel Optane Memory module for a few more dollars. If you can get your hands on a decent GPU (say Nvidia GTX 1060) and upgrade it, it should offer better performance than our unit Pavilion 790-0010 desktop.
Update: If can afford a few extra bucks, the higher configuration of this unit, the HP Pavilion 790-0020 desktop offers better components (Core i5-8400 CPU and Nvidia GTX 1060 card) and performance.
Anyways, speaking of the graphics card, our unit packs the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU; one of the most power efficient GPUs in the industry. The GPU is great at eSport performance (especially at Full HD) and can play AAA games at Medium settings. That means it handles games like Overwatch, Counterstrike: Global Offensive and Fortnite impressively.
The 1050 card compares to the AMD Radeon RX 460 and is capable of easily handling other graphics-intensive AAA titles at decent frame rates; on condition that you dial down the settings. I’m talking about games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Civilization VI. While it is only the lower end of the graphics card hierarchy, it still offers impressive performance, reliable enough to make appearances in other budget gaming desktops.
Value PC, worth every penny
One of the reasons the HP Pavilion 790-0010 Desktop is among our favorites is because of its pricing. Finding a budget desktop with the same component and performance isn’t hard. But finding one with the same price tag is what can be a challenge. It’s a tight balance of components, performance, and pricing that the HP Pavilion 790-0010 clearly excels at. Other impressive features we loved include a slew of ports and a futuristic USB Type-C port, fast processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card. Thanks to the GPU you can easily play some recent title at Full HD settings and get decent frame rates.
The biggest pitfalls that put a damper on the HP Pavilion 790-0010, however, is lack of an SSD which limits its boot time and loading of software. Fortunately, that’s easy to remedy with an aftermarket SSD upgrade. While at it, you can also upgrade to 16GB if you’re planning to load on some more software, games and handle tasks. The extra memory will bring in some multitasking power to the mix.
Bottom line, the HP Pavilion 790-0010 is a fast and powerful PC that has enough power for mainstream tasks. If you can add the solid state drive and perhaps upgrade on the memory, you should have a powerful gaming PC with better frame rates on recent titles. Otherwise, we love and recommend the HP Pavilion 790-0010 Desktop as our Editor’s Choice entry-level gaming desktop.
P/S If can afford a few extra bucks, the higher configuration of this unit, the HP Pavilion 790-0020 desktop offers better components (Core i5-8400 CPU and Nvidia GTX 1060 card) and performance.