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SSD for faster boot and file transfer
Comes with Windows 10 Pro
Unit came dirty with minor dings, scuffs
Hard drive wasn’t as advertised (480GB total versus 512GB listed)
DVD ROM is read-only, will not burn CD's or DVD's
Case fans are a bit noisy
No HDMI connection
Although the HP Flagship Pro refurbished desktop computer from Amazon came a bit dirty out of the box, it performed smoothly without any technical issues making it a good ultra-budget option for a home office PC.
The HP Flagship Pro is a refurbished desktop computer from Amazon that prioritizes value for money. The PC is selling for under $200 and includes a 3rd generation Intel i5 processor, a solid-state drive, decent memory, and Windows 10 Professional. The Flagship Pro has a competitive price tag, but a true picture of its performance and reliability requires an evaluation of its components.
We put the HP Flagship through a series of benchmark tests to see how it fared. Read on to see if a renewed computer from Amazon is a deal worth taking advantage of.
The Flagship Pro is a space-conscious desktop PC that is ideal for a small desk or home office. It can be oriented horizontally on top of a desk and includes four rubber feet on one of its larger panels to accommodate this setup. The chassis feels sturdy, but it’s a bit heavy for its size at almost 19 pounds. Dimensions are about 14 inches wide (or tall if oriented vertical), 20 inches deep, and 7 inches thick.
The DVD ROM is oriented horizontally on its front panel, featuring a traditional disk tray where the spindle is internal to the drive, meaning it’s not advisable to operate the optical drive if the PC is stacked vertically.
The HP Flagship Pro is essentially the rebranding a 2012 era machine which was originally part of the HP Compaq series.
On its front panel, HP has 4 USB 2.0 ports, one headphone jack, one microphone input, and a power button. On its rear panel, the Flagship Pro has two USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, one serial port, one VGA connection, one DisplayPort, one RJ-45 Ethernet connection, plus additional audio line-in and audio line out. The rear panel also features two PS/2 ports or 6-pin mini-DIN connection. These are old-school ports for keyboard and mouse connection—you don't typically see these types of connections on new PC's these days.
Waking the PC up from sleep or shutting down generates a lot of noise from the DVD drive, and once the HP is running there is a steady vibration from the fan. It's not overly distracting, but it’s noticeable and made us question if the case fan was optimized for airflow and cooling of the Flagship Pro's components.
The setup process of the Flagship Pro was quick and simple. After connecting the included keyboard and mouse we booted up the machine and followed the on-screen instructions to activate the pre-installed version of Windows 10 Professional. Most budget PC's come with Windows 10 Home version, so the inclusion of Pro is a plus on the Flagship because it gives business users the ability to set user account accessibility preferences with Assigned Access 8.1 and disk-encryption data protection with BitLocker. You will still need to purchase Microsoft Office separately to get Word, Excel, etc.
Once up and running, we checked in the system settings of the HP and confirmed that the version of Windows 10 Pro had been installed on the unit the same day as ordering, which is a good sign when it comes to a direct-from-factory renewed machine. It's good to know the PC had been managed and updated as it was sent out.
A closer look at the Flagship's hardware will tell us what kind of performance we can expect. The HP Flagship Pro is essentially the rebranding of a 2012 era machine which was originally part of the HP Compaq series. The Compaq line is now discontinued but it was initially designed and marketed by HP as lower-end business-grade desktops.
The Flagship Pro is more specifically the Compaq 6300 model, which offered some decent processing power for its time with 3rd generation Intel hardware. The Compaq 6300 also featured DDR3 RAM, which is an older version of computer memory that has mostly been phased out, but is still considered to be sufficiently fast. If you're new to the whole generation vernacular of PC hardware, the biggest takeaway is to evaluate what potential hardware upgrades and or software you need and judge if it’ll be supported.
The renewed version of this HP, the Flagship Pro, features 8GB of DDR3 1600 MT/s RAM, an Intel Core i5-3470 processor, and Intel Q75 Express chipset. The i5-3470 supports Intel's integrated graphics processing called Intel HD Graphics 2500. These are the original generation of parts for the HP Compaq 6300 so we can expect some reasonably efficient performance and workload management bar any technical issues. However, you should lower our expectations from the graphics—more on that in a bit.
The Intel Core i5-3470 processor is a quad-core processor that was released in 2012 as a solid, but cheaper processor compared to its hyper-threaded cousin, the Core i7. The i5-3470 has a base clock speed of 3.2GHz and a maximum turbo speed up to 3.6GHz, which provides a pretty good amount of horsepower for its generation and release period. It's not as powerful as newer processors, but it should suffice for general use. For a brief comparison, Intel is now working beyond its 9th generation of processors, so the 3rd generation processor in the Flagship is relatively old in terms of hardware development.
Bottom line, the Flagship Pro will be able to handle Skype calls and word processing, but don't expect much more.
The specs of Intel's Core i5-3470 processor are capable of handling general business applications, word processing, and web browsing without any problems. We ran a series of benchmark performance tests using PCMark 10 to evaluate the Pro’s capability in more detail. PCMark10 is a program that runs a series of simulated workloads to determine how well a PC handles tasks ranging from large Excel spreadsheets to long Word documents, web browsing, and video conferencing to basic graphics rendering.
The Flagship Pro turned out a total score of 2,477, which is classified by PCMark10 as performing 10 percent better than the average pre-2016 business PC. This is a positive sign from a refurbished 2012 desktop computer. For comparison, this score is about 400 points below the PCMark 10 results we have seen on a 2017 Intel 7th generation Core i5-7400 processor.
All things considered, these aren’t bad scores for the Flagship Pro and they conform to our experience using the PC for some daily tasks over the course of a week. The downside comes with the Intel HD 2500 graphics. We used the GFXBench 5.0 to evaluate how integrated graphics performed. The Intel HD 2500 failed our first graphics benchmark test using the standard OpenGL 4.0 application programming interface (API). After some quick research, we worked out that the Intel HD 2500 doesn't support the newest versions of OpenGL. On a second try, we were able to successfully run the GFX Bench tests using the DirectX API, which the i5-3470 is deferring to when rendering multimedia in certain applications.
The HD 2500 graphics were only able to render about 30 frames per second (fps) on GFXBench. For comparison, newer generation low-end integrated graphics from Intel, such as the UHD 630, is capable of processing around 75fps, or 150 percent more frames per second on the T-Rex chase simulation. Of course, the UHD 630 still pales in comparison to gaming PC's, but you get the picture. Bottom line, the Flagship Pro will be able to handle Skype calls and word processing, but don't expect much more.
The Wi-Fi card on the Flagship Pro supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz connection, and it was fast and has good signal range. The Flagship's Wi-FI was ready to connect right when we turned it on for the first time. Wi-Fi never presented any issues during our testing process. We ran an internet speed test on the Flagship Pro at Speedtest.net. The HP performed comparably to a Macbook Air, which tells us the Wi-Fi card of the Flagship should be more than sufficient for reliable home and business use.
The Amazon Renewed program reassures customers on Amazon that all products are inspected and tested by “Amazon-qualified” suppliers. In addition, Amazon Renewed boasts that all products go through a “thorough cleaning process carried out by the supplier, or by Amazon.”
A refurbished computer can be ideal for a low budget and the Amazon Renewed program seems trustworthy with its 90-day guarantee and free returns.
After testing, we have faith that Amazon Renewed is delivering on its mission to provide like-new working products, but the cleanliness of the Flagship Pro was less than desirable. Our desktop arrived with dusty smudges out of the box and did not seem to be cleaned before resale. What made matters seem worse was finding lint in the rear panel grates, plus a scrap of styrofoam inside the DVD tray when we ejected the DVD drive for the first time. That said, we received a working machine with just minor dings and scuffs which is expectable for a pre-owned product.
The HP Flagship Pro is around half the price of other budget business PC's. The Flagship Pro retails on Amazon.com for $186. For this price, it’s a capable machine that ran reasonably fast and efficient for our daily use. This is largely thanks to the Flagship Pro's solid-state drive (SSD), which are known to consistently perform faster than traditional hard disk drive (HDD) for reading, writing data, and loading applications. The combination of 8GB's of RAM and an Intel i5 processor gives you the ability to multitask effectively.
However, it is worth stressing that refurbished computers always come with a certain amount of concern for the hardware's integrity. In the case of this HP, we are unsure of the reliability of its hard drive. The system properties of the Flagship Pro list the hard drive as a Hajaan 480GB SSD. We have never heard of Hajaan before and could not find any information about the company or manufacturer online. We also found a discrepancy between the hard drive's listed capacity on Amazon, which says it is 512GB, and its actual size of 480GB. That's not exactly a good sign and doesn't reassure us of its performance down the road.
The HP ProDesk 600 G1 retails on Amazon for $159 and has similar specs to the Flagship Pro, including the same 8GB of RAM, the same core i5 family of Intel processor, and a similar slim size and horizontal orientation. One of the main differences between these two computers is that the ProDesk has a 500GB traditional HDD compared to the Flagship Pro's 480GB SSD. That means the Pro is faster, while the G1 is a bit cheaper. What may be important to consider here is that traditional hard disk drives typically have higher success of data recovery in the unfortunate situation that a drive fails. The data on an SSD can be harder to locate if the device fails.
An ultra-budget home and business workstation, with some caveats.
A refurbished computer can be ideal for a low budget and the Amazon Renewed program seems trustworthy with its 90-day guarantee and free returns. After our testing, the decent performance scores of the HP Flagship Pro desktop computer makes it hard to argue against its low price tag. We have confidence in the machine's performance—with a bit of reasonable caution about the SSD's reliability.