Cracking Open: HP Omni 27 Quad
April 12, 2012, 5:23pm PDT | Length: 00:05:35
Bill Detwiler cracks open the HP Omni 27 all-in-one PC and finds out if it has the hardware to compete with Apple's 27-inch iMac. For a detailed analysis of the teadown, check out my article and video, HP Omni 27 teardown reveals easy-to-service machine with respectable hardware.
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>> Bill Detwiler: Apple was first to launch a really big screen all-in-one with its 27-inch iMac, but in 2012, Windows PC makers are fighting back with 27-inch machines of their own. I'm Bill Detwilers, Head Technology Editor at CNET sister site, Tech Republic, and I'm going to crack open HP's first 27-inch all-in-one, the Omni 27. Music
>> Bill Detwiler: Opening the Omni 27's case is straight forward and doesn't require any special tools, just a Phillip's screwdriver. First, I removed the wireless keyboard and mouse receiver from its hidden compartment. I removed a square cover that hides the unit's VESA mount screw holes and a hidden case screw. After removing all the external case screws, I popped loose the back cover and removed it. Now once inside the machine, I removed the remaining case components, the hard drive, the optical drive, and the speakers. Next, I removed the metal shields that cover the LCD controller board and motherboard. With the shields off, I removed the CPU cooling assembly and fan. After removing one more metal shield, I disconnected all the motherboard cables and removed the motherboard itself. At this point, I decided not to remove any other components from the machine's chassis. Why? Well, because we can see most of them without dissecting the machine any further, and there's not really that much to be gained by removing the LCD. So after removing the RAM chips, wireless card, and processor from the motherboard, my teardown was complete. So what have I learned about the HP Omni 27 from our cracking open? Well, like the HP Compaq 6000 all-in-one that I cracked open last year, this assembly of the Omni 27 is a simple, straight forward process. The machine has standard Phillips and Torx screws, the case is a snap to remove, and the internal components are easily accessible. I also like that the Omni's back cover comes off as a single piece and that you can remove it without detaching the stand, which wasn't possible on the 6000. Leaving the stand attached let's you work on the machine while it's standing upright, which is a little easier than having to lay it down flat. Other improvements include the much larger display, the addition of Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, and the ability to upgrade from the integrated Intel HD graphics to a discrete Nvidia or AMD graphics card. As for storage and memory, the Omni is available with a SATA hard drive up to 3 terabytes, a 160 gigabyte or a 256 gigabyte solid state drive and comes with 6 gigs of RAM standard. Our test unit had 8. Also new is an HDMI input, available as an upgrade, which let's you use the Omni as a display for any video source with an HDMI output. Another interesting difference between the Omni and the 6000 is the newer machine's single fan and smaller cooling assembly. Now this change makes sense as Intel Sandy Bridge microarchitecture should run cooler than the 6000's old Core 2 Duo processors. As I noted at the beginning, Apple was first to the 27-inch all-in-one party, and no examination of a Windows-based 27-inch machine would be complete without a comparison to the iMac. So let's look at hardware and price. As of this taping, a 27-inch iMac with a 2.7 gigahertz core i5 CPU, 4 gigs of RAM, a 1 terabyte hard drive, and a 512 megabyte Radeon 6770M graphics card costs $1,699. An Omni 27 with a 2.7 gigahertz processor, 8 gigs of RAM, thanks to a free upgrade from the standard 6 gigs, a 1 terabyte hard drive, and a 1 gigabyte Radeon HD 7450A graphics card costs $1,470.99 or $1,320.99 with $150 instant rebate from HP. So even without the HP discount, the Omni is more than $200 cheaper than the iMac and clearly wins on price. But the iMac has a significantly higher resolution display, 2560 by 1440 compared to the Omni's 1920 by 1080, and it has a Thunderbolt port if you need one. On the other hand, the Omni has an HDMI input, and you can get it with a Blue Ray DVD combo drive. Basically, with the exception of the screen, the Omni 27 and the 27-inch iMac can be configured with comparable hardware, unless, of course, you max out the iMac's hardware options, which also maxes out its price. Know the decision about which is really right for you comes down to whether you want a machine from Apple or HP, whether you want Windows or OS X, and whether you're willing to pay Apple's higher price. Now for more information on the Omni 27, including performance tests, check out Rich Brown's full CNET editor's review. And to see more Omni 27 teardown photos, check out my full cracking open gallery at techrepublic.com/crackingopen. For CNET and Tech Republic, I'm Bill Detwiler, and this has been a cracking open of the HP Omni 27. Music b