If you're looking for a new Windows Vista–compatible standard for your business desktops, the HP Compaq dc5750 Small Form Factor PC should be on your shortlist of candidates. The dc5750 is designed for typical business workloads such as running Microsoft Office, Visual Studio, and other end-user or developer applications. It’s not intended for high-end tasks such as graphical rendering.

The unit I reviewed was equipped with an AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core CPU running at 2.0GHz; 896MB of RAM; an 80GB, 7200rpm Serial ATA (SATA) hard disk; an ATI Radeon X300 integrated graphics controller with 256MB of allocated video memory; and a CD-RW/DVD combo drive. There was no diskette drive. For ease of access, the dc5750 provides two USB 2.0 ports as well as headphone and microphone jacks on the front of the unit. The back of the box sports a Gigabit Ethernet adapter, six USB 2.0 ports, a serial port, a parallel port, audio line-in and line-out ports, a VGA port, a Digital Visual Interface (DVI) port, and keyboard and mouse ports.

The nicely designed case opens with a push button located on top of the unit—no tools required. Inside is a 240-watt power supply and two low-profile PCI slots: a PCI Express X1 slot and a PCI Express graphics slot. The dc5750 supports as much as 4GB of Double Data Rate 2 (DDR2) SDRAM in four DIMM slots. Although the motherboard supports up to four SATA drives, there's room for only two in the box; additional drives need to be external.

The test system came preloaded with Windows Vista Business; there are several other OS options. The system booted up to Vista’s logon screen from complete power off in about 30 seconds. Unlike some of the higher-powered systems we've reviewed lately that produce a lot of fan noise, the dc5750 is completely quiet. One pleasant surprise, considering the unit has an integrated video adapter, is that the dc5750 provides full support for Vista's Aero UI. Vista is known for its demanding video requirements, typically needing a dedicated video card. This is the first unit we’ve tested that can display the Aero Glass effect using a lower-cost integrated video adapter. The integrated video provided 1280 _ 1024 resolution. The system can support multiple monitors by using both the integrated video adapter and an add-on PCI Express video card. For enhanced security, the system also provides Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2 support. In addition, the system came with a copy of Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition 10.2, HP’s backup and recovery software, and the HP Compaq Business PC Documentation and Diagnostics CD-ROM.

Running the average Office and Microsoft .NET development tasks, the system performed well—it wasn't as fast as some high-performance workstations we’ve reviewed, but it was completely satisfactory for general-purpose business tasks. Vista’s overall system performance score was 3.0. The Vista performance score is governed by the component with the lowest measurement, which on this unit was the integrated video adapter. Nevertheless, the adapter did provide full Aero support, which is the important factor. (To learn about the Vista performance score, see the Web-exclusive article "How do I update my Windows Vista performance score?" January 2007, InstantDoc ID 94805.)

If you're looking for a new business desktop with a good balance of value, performance, and quality, the dc5750 is a great choice. Its low price and full support for the Aero UI makes it a cost-effective way for organizations to upgrade to the next generation of Vista-compatible business systems.