All the major business desktop vendors now have a Ryzen Pro offering: Dell with its Optiplex 5055 range, Lenovo with the ThinkCentre M725/M725 models and HP with the EliteDesk 705 series. HP has been particularly aggressive in pushing AMD’s latest chip into various B2B verticals with 10 SKUs currently stocked.
The EliteDesk 705 G4 range comprises of four models ranging from the minuscule Mini to the bulkier Workstation Edition, all with varying connectivity and storage options.
We’re looking at the HP EliteDesk 705 G4 Small Form Factor PC (model 4PG34UT#ABA) with the Ryzen 5 Pro APU. It carries a suggested retail price of $774 (around £600) but can be had for as little as $667 (around £515) with a three-year warranty, an optional HP Care Pack that usually costs $30 (around £23).
The EliteDesk 705 G4 is an average-looking desktop PC and that’s a good thing. There’s certainly nothing out of the ordinary with this tried and trusted design. Measuring 95 x 270 x 296mm and with a weight of 4.53kg, it fits snugly under most monitor stands, but you can also place the PC on its side, although if you do so, expect it to look slightly awkward and unappealing.
The front has diagonal slits to facilitate airflow and these run across the door of the slim DVD drive. A gray strip bears the HP logo and the word EliteDesk, plus there are two USB 2.0 ports (one fast charging), one USB Type-C (charging) and two USB 3.1 Gen 1 connectors. There’s a headset jack and a power button as well.
At the back are more connectors: audio-in, audio-out, power, a GbE Ethernet port (powered by a Realtek chip), two DisplayPort connectors, a legacy VGA port, along with seven USB ports (four of which are USB 3.0 ports). Surprisingly, there’s no HDMI port which is a bit of a downer given that it is by far the most popular video connector with new monitors.
Opening up the PC is fairly easy thanks to the lockable toolless enclosure. Inside, all the components are well-organized and easily accessible, plus there’s plenty of space for fresh air to circulate and cool the hardware.
There’s a 180W internal PSU, a boon compared to some competitors that insist on having an external power supply. Four DIMM slots are populated by a lonely 8GB DDR4-2666 RAM module, and there’s a Toshiba-sourced 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD and plenty of expansion slots (M.2 slot for WLAN, PCI, PCIe x16 and an M.2 2230/2280 slot for storage).
The unique selling point of this product is the AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 2400G processor that powers it. This is a 4-core/8-thread CPU with integrated AMD Radeon RX Vega 11 Graphics and 4MB L3 cache. Although it has a fairly high TDP at 65W thanks to a high base clock speed (3.6GHz), we didn’t encounter any noisy fans once during our tests.
Oh, there’s also a branded HP chiclet keyboard and a mouse bundled with the desktop PC. The former has ever so slightly concave keys which will suit touch-typists. Both input peripherals are decent entry-level models with no major issues.
Here’s how the HP EliteDesk 705 G4 SFF PC performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
Passmark CPU: 8550
CPU-Z: 431 (single-thread); 2160 (multi-thread)
Geekbench: Did not run
Cinebench: OpenGL: 37.02 fps; CPU: 798
CrystalDiskMark: 1576MBps (read); 857MBps (write)
Atto: 1321MBps (read, 256mb); 1097MBps (write, 256mb)
Windows Experience Index: 5.9
Usage and performance
There are plenty of security management features included as you’d guess given the focus of the product, both in terms of hardware and software. There’s even a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) 2.0 embedded security chip shipped with the Windows 10 Pro OS (Common Criteria EAL4+ Certified, FIPS 140-2 Level 2 Certified).
We did have an initialization error when HP’s Sure Click desktop console booted up, citing an “incompatible operating system”. HP Velocity is also another component that runs at startup and is pitched by HP as a “software solution that improves the user experience by addressing common network bottlenecks such as packet loss, network latency and Wi-Fi congestion”.
Performance was acceptable for this price range especially when it comes to compute and graphics tests. Not that this is going to be a dedicated gaming platform anytime soon, but it has enough firepower to plough through any office tasks, even including heavier creative solutions work.
The Ryzen Pro CPU often powers ahead of the Intel Core i5-8250U, a popular part found in many mainstream laptops (but one with a TDP of only 15W), and it’s likely to be tied with the Core i3-8100 processor, although we’ve yet to test that.
Verdict and competition
Given the level of maturity that desktops have reached now (they’ve been around for 30 years or so), there are very few things – if any – that can be improved. The EliteDesk 705 G4 encompasses everything an IT admin would want from a serviceable workhorse PC.
It’s compact, easy to swap defective parts, plus there’s a three-year onsite warranty as standard in most cases, a plethora of ports, and excellent remote management solutions.
The AMD CPU, paired with an SSD, provides plenty of processing power and the graphics capabilities are above what we’d expect from a similarly priced PC running an Intel CPU.
But there are flaws. We just can’t understand why there’s no HDMI port, especially given that there are two DisplayPorts (at least on our SKUs). Plus why have USB 2.0 ports? Surely the cost of going USB 3.0 can’t be that prohibitive anymore. And if cost-cutting is imperative then getting rid of the optical reader should be high on the list.
As for the competition, well, the Dell Optiplex 3060 with a 6-core Intel Core i5-8500 CPU is slightly more expensive at $769 (around £595) with a comparable feature set, while the Lenovo ThinkCenter M710e retails for less at $687 (around £530), but features an older 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor.
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