HP Omni 27 teardown reveals easy-to-service machine with respectable hardware

Bill Detwiler cracks open the HP Omni 27 all-in-one PC and examines whether it has the hardware to compete with Apple's 27-inch iMac.

Apple was first to launch a 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. During this week's Cracking Open, I take a look inside HP's first 27-inch all-in-one, the Omni 27 Quad.

You can configure the Omni 27 with a variety of hardware, but our test unit had a 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, Intel HD Integrated graphics, Blu-ray/DVD combo drive, 2 USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI-input, and a 27-inch LCD (1,920 x 1,080). As configured, its price was $1,249 (US). It measured 19.76" (H) x 8.38" (W) x 25.63" (D) and weighed just over 30 pounds.

Cracking Open: HP Omni 27 Quad

Full teardown gallery: Cracking Open the HP Omni 27 Quad

Cracking Open observations

  • Heavy: Like the 27-inch iMac, the Omni 27 doesn't take up much desk space, but it is heavy. Both machines weigh over 30 pounds.
  • Easy to disassemble and service: Like the HP Compaq 6000 All-in-One that I cracked open last year, disassembling the Omni 27 is a simple, straightforward 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. This wasn't the case on the HP Compaq 6000. Leaving the stand attached lets you work on the machine while it's standing upright, which is easier than having to lay it down flat.
  • Several hardware improvements: The Omni's hardware is also an improvement over the HP Compaq 6000. It has a much larger display, supports Intel Core-i5 and i7 processors, and you can configure it with a discrete NVIDIA or AMD graphics card. As for memory and storage, the Omni is available with a SATA hard drive up to 3TB, a 160GB or 256GB solid state drive, and it comes with 6GB of RAM standard--our test unit came with 8GB. Also new is an HDMI input. Available as an upgrade, it lets you use the Omni as a display for any video source with an HDMI output.
  • Single fan and smaller hearsink: Another interesting difference between the Omni and the HP Compaq 6000 is the newer machine's single fan and smaller cooling assembly. This change makes sense as Intel's Sandy Bridge processors should run cooler than the HP Compaq 6000's old Core 2 Duo CPUs.

Bottom Line

Apple was first to the 27-inch all-in-one party and no examination of a Windows-based 27-inch machine, would be complete with a comparison to the iMac.

As of publication, a 27-inch iMac with a 2.7GHz Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive, and a 512MB Radeon 6770M graphics card costs $1,699. An Omni 27 with a 2.7GHz processor, 8GB of RAM (thanks to a free upgrade from the standard 6GB), a 1TB hard drive, and a 1GB Radeon HD7450A graphics card costs $1,470.99. or $1,320.99 with a $150 instant rebate from HP.

Even without the HP discount, the Omni is more than $200 cheaper than the iMac and clearly wins on price. But, the iMac's screen has a significantly higher resolution (2560 x 1440 compared to the Omni's 1,920 x 1,080), and it has features like Thunderbolt and FireWire ports. On the other hand, the Omni has an HDMI-input, and you can get it with a Blu-ray/DVD combo drive.

With the exception of the screen, the Omni 27 and 27-inch iMac can be configured with comparable hardware. Unless, you max out the iMac's hardware, which also significantly increases its price.

The decision about which machine is right for you really 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.

For more information on the Omni 27, including performance tests, check out Rich Brown's full CNET Editors' Review.

Internal hardware

Our Omni 27 test unit has the following hardware:

  • 2.5GHz 2nd Generation Intel Core i5 processor (i5-2400S E63612 01 EFB)
  • BD82H61 Platform Controller Hub (Intel HD Integrated graphics)
  • 8GB Samsung DDR3 RAM (2 x 4GB M471B5273DH0-CH9)
  • 1TB Hitachi SATA 7,200 RPM hard drive
  • HP Blu-ray/DVD combo drive (DC-6E2LH)
  • HP 640823-001 Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n PCIe Half-Size Mini card (with Ralink RT5392)
  • Delta Electronics 12V, 0.75A DC brushless cooling fan (KU1012D)
  • 27-inch display (1,920 x 1,080)
  • STMicroelectronics STDP5300H WUXGA triple input LCD controller with LVDS output
  • ITE IT8519E embedded controller
  • Parade PS8615 Embedded DisplayPort to LVDS Converter
  • Realtek RTS5209 card reader
  • Texas Instruments TUSB7320 SuperSpeed USB 2-Port xHCI Host Controller
  • Realtek RTL8111E Single-Chip Gigabit Ethernet Controller
  • ON MCP3121 GAC1137G
  • IDT 92HD91B2X5 Single Chip PC Audio System: CODEC + Speaker Amplifier + Capless HP + LDO

By Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the ...