This thread was dedicated to the HP 3020 Slimline PC, but has been expanded to all other HP Slimline models as well. The HP Slimline in various configurations can be found for about a $300 pricepoint in refurbished condition at many retailers and auction sites. This marks a striking good deal for a small form factor PC fully capable of a silent media or HTPC role. Surprisingly, there are even some decent gaming upgrade paths for the adventurous and determined. At this point the best way to read this thread is probably to read this first post, and then start in the back of the thread and read forward. I try to keep the first post regularly updated. If you see something I've missed or would like to add something to this first post please let me know through a PM! The hotspot to to pick up these machines is ubid.com If you are lucky you can get a slimline decked out in a $1500 dollar fully loaded configuration for $300. I've purchased nearly a dozen refurbished slimlines encompassing several different models from buy.com and ubid.com There are quite a few different slimline models and they all have different specs - many have different motherboards, be careful on the slimline you select to ensure it has the upgradability you desire. The link below is a link to all the various HP slimline product pages. http://h20180.www2.hp.com/apps/Nav?..._client=S-A-R163-1&h_page=hpcom&lang=en&cc=us An example s3020n (my first slimline purchase) I purchased for about $350 from buy.com had AMD x2 3800+ 250GB Sata HD 1GB of DDR2 RAM 6150 Nvidia Graphics onboard card Wifi DVDRW/CDRW Memory card reader Windows Vista Home Premium 160 watt PSU Stats on a s3200t I purchased were the "best" $1500 configuation and I only paid $330 shipped for it on ubid. Intel e4500 500GB Sata 2GB DDR2 RAM 8500GT Graphics card WiFi HD-DVD/Blue-Ray/DVD-RW/CD/RW drive Memory card reader Windows Vista Home Premium HDTV Tuner card 180watt PSU. Stats on a s3600t I purchased at ubid for $350 shipped. Intel Q9300 500GB Sata 4GB DDR2 RAM 9500GS Graphics card DVD-RW/CD/RW drive Memory card reader Windows Vista Home Premium 180watt PSU. These PCs are nice little classy piano black glossy small form factor machines that fit right in with home theatre equipment. They come with Vista Home Premium which would cost $100 by itself. The Windows Media Center application on Vista is quite good for HTPC use. Most of these units have drivers for Windows XP and soon to be windows 7- if preferred. Through reading and collaboration online the slimline community has found multiple important upgrade notes. [*]Most AMD based slimlines supports any AMD X2 65 watt processor (meaning you can upgrade to a X2 5600+) and more preferably for HTPC use, a BE-2300, BE-2350, or BE-2400. (45 watt processors). . The 4850e (2.5Ghz) and 5050e (2.6Ghz) 45 watt processors are supported at least by the Asus A8MN-BR / Hematite-GL8E mobo after upgrading to the the May 08 bios update as verified by poster C-Numb. The AMD slimlines using the M2N61-AR (Acacia-GL6E) motherboards will even support EE phenom quadcores following a BIOS udpate. [*]The Intel based slimlines work with any of the e2, e4, and e6 based processors that end in 00's.....Some of these processor upgrades will require BIOS updates. A few of the slimlines have Intel quad 9300 processors in them - with a 2009 BIOS UPDATE 5.23 for the IRVINE motherboards you should be able to use a Q9300 in any IRVINE motherboard - but to my knowledge this is untested since the BIOS update - if this is verified please let me know and I will update this. [*]The Slimlines support any low profile half height card that works within the 160 and 180 watt PSU limitations. Known working examples include Nvidia 7300, 7350LE, 7600gt and ATI 3450, 3650, 4350, and 4550. I would advise a power supply upgrade for the following video card choices (>40 watt power GPU power requirement) 8400GS, 8500GT, 8600GT, 9500GS, 9600GT, 9800GT, or the GTS250. I strongly recommend the 4550 as a good HTPC card based on fellow thread memeber's expieriences --- it utilzes very little power (30 watts max) and is fast! * Note: over the course of time -- a few people have found their systems becoming unstable with video cards over 40 watts with the stock PSUs even if they worked at first -- especially the 160 watt PSU AMD based slimlines. Moving to a low power AMD CPU, (as discussed above) or replacing the power supply seems to remediate the issue. A 9600GT or 9800GT card absolutely requries a PSU replacement. Plan on limiting your GPU upgrade to a card that draws less than 40 watts if you want to stay within the stock PSU capabilities. I personally found a 40 watt video card (the 8400GS) proved too much power draw for my stock 160 watt PSU over the course of time. Just utilize the ATI 4550 if you just want a HTPC with the stock PSU. Jeremyshaw has some real good GPU information on page 169. I have personally owned the following cards and used each of them in a Slimline. The 8400GS is underpowered for gaming but is great in fanless configuration for home theatre use. The 8500GT is okay, fairly quiet, and is a good compromise card. The 8600GT from Galaxy has questionable build quality --- there were a couple guys who've posted that they had the plastic heatsink/fan melt on the card due to the heat generated in the slimline chasis. So if you get this card make sure your slimline has adequate ventilation. The 9300GS is underpowered for gaming, but good for home theatre use. The 9500GS is a okay gaming card(preforms about like an 8600GT), and a good home theatre card. I personally believe the image quality on the 9500GS is slightly better than the image quality on the 8500GT on my HDTV. The 9800GT is a beast for a low profile card - Silent and FAST! -- but requires a lot of power, and creates a lot of heat. Make SURE you've upgraded your PSU and have adequate cooling in your slimline before purchasing this card. The Galaxy GTS 250 is also quite fast - I've not used it yet. As mentioned above - if you decide you want a 9600GT or 9800GT you'll need a new PSU because the stock 160 watt and 180 watt PSUs are underpowered. The stock 160 watt PSU creates 12 amps on the 12 volt rail The stock 180 watt PSU creates 12.5 amps on the 12 volt rail The new stock 220 & 230 watt PSUs creates 16 amps on the 12 volt rail and are in the new slimlines. Here are a few of the options the guys in this thread have discovered The Sparkle SPI270LE 270 watt The Shuttle PC50 300 watt the In-Win IP-P300F1-0 300 watt PSU Perk Comparison Points The Sparkle (~$50) is 80%+ efficient and has an active PFC (that's a good thing), and is quiet at low to moderate loads - It has enough juice to power my s3600t, with a 9800GT + Q9300 Quad Core CPU - but at this level of power draw was no longer quiet. I actually modded the casing with a 60mm fan in a similar configuration to the In-Win and resolved the loudness issue with my Sparkle 270 (see page 135) http://www.censuspc.com/product.php?productid=5902&cat=0&page=1 The Shuttle (~$80) is expensive, but remains silent with the maximum load you could put in a Slimline (IE my s3600t w/ a Q9300 CPU, and 9800GT graphics card). The Shuttle also has an active PFC - but is only 70% efficient. NOTE: Pigskin80 and I both had the PC50, but there seems there may be reliability problems with this unit as we've both exp. trouble with it since our initial install. (I went back to the sparkle PSU) Krad has a s3200t with a 9800GT and a e4500 with no problems. Keep this in mind when selecting a PSU. The PC60 is out too, but untested in a slimline to my knowledge. The In-Win (~$30) is very cheap, but has been used by many people on this board with success - stat wise it is a less distinguished PSU than the Sparkle or Shuttle, but is quiet in operation --- with people stating it sounds like the stock HP power supply in regards to volume. As of lately there have been several reporting reliability problems with this PSU over the course of time. With this in mind I strongly recommend the Sparkle PSU first and foremost. Here is a video I made showing a generic upgrade guide for using the Sparkle 270 watt.vs. the Shuttle PC50. You can get an idea of how loud these two PSU's are in comparison. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8Y2PPMiiB0 There is a 400 watt seasonic - but all signs point to it being too loud for most peoples desire. http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story&reid=131 Jeremyshaw states this PSU will require modification of your slimline case in order to fit and recommends the Sparkle PSU instead. See around page 116 of this thread for lots of PSU discussion. If choosing to do a PSU and video card upgrade you'll likely need at least three adapters. The Slimline's ASUS motherboards require a special proprietary connector that you'll need purchase an adapter for. Forum member Jamesvill found this adapter which fits the bill. http://www.atxpowersupplies.com/20-pin-to-24-pin-hp-slimline-atx-converter.htm Sometimes these adapters can be found cheaper on ebay. You'll also need a molex to SATA adapter in most cases because both the PC50 and the Sparkle 270 watt PSU only have two SATA power adapters and being that they are on the same power lead they will not reach both CD-ROM and Hard-Drive in the Slimline's 90* seperation mounting orientation. (HD faces down, CD-Rom faces forward.) A molex to SATA adapter will allow you to use a spare molex power lead to power one of your SATA devices http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812123137&Tpk=GC8ATAL You'll also need a molex to PCI-E 6 pin supplimental power adapter, because most SFF PSUs don't include that 6 pin (including the three recommended here) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812201004&Tpk=CVT46 Example upgrades might be 2GB or 4GB of RAM - The slimline motherboards only have two RAM slots so you'll discard or replace your old memory. All slimlines to my knowledge only support max of 4GB of RAM. Upgraded video card - I recommend a minimum of a Nvidia 8400GS or ATI 4550 for Hi-Def media playback. You may need a XFX low profile/half-height bracket set; http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814998301 At this point the system will run solid as a HTPC or daily use machine, the 8400 GS or ATI 4550 are capable of 1080p media decoding, and light gaming duty. Total cost here of your slimline with extra RAM, video card, and low profile brackets is only about $400 dollars (with the bundled/included $150 dollar Vista Home Premium) One thing to keep in mind with these units is the limited power supply and small form factor. In my opinion, these PCs are best to be used for the casual PC users as a near completely silent home theatre media PC rather than a power rigg gaming station. If you want to make a power rigg you'd better be able to preform a few modifications! The people who have gotten frustrated with them in this thread are the people who have tried to push them beyond what the integrated (proprietary/difficult to replace) 160 and 180watt power supplies can muster and not taken the extra precautions and afforded the extra expense associated with preparing one of these devices to be a "power rigg" Note that the case has very little in the way of heat dissapation abilities. You can overcome heat issue like I have with my s3600t by putting a 120mm fan on the side or two 80 mm fans on the side of the case as shown in this link http://www.hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1033961407&postcount=2726 (My s3600t currently is outfitted with a 1.5TB drive, Q9300 quad core, 9800GT, 4GB RAM) Overall these are a fantastic machine for the money - if one understands and accepts the inherit heat and power limitations in such a small form factor PC. Page 148, http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1224011&page=148, has some good information on a gaming upgrade path. ChuckP even put together a pricelist total including shipping and taxes as of Mid June 2009 to get you to a gaming power rigg slimine for a shade under $250 dollars. Here is the Official HP slimline Upgrade and Servicing Guide http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c00877796.pdf Compliments of Athlon1.2 here is a short video overview of an example slimline HP internal setup. http://app5.netjdn.com/~joako/pdf/arches_inside_pc_spref07.wmv 360Spider found that this notebook cooler with the two small 60mm fans on it when dis-assembled is a good addon to disperse heat if you decide to push your slimline. The two small blue LED fans hook right up to the back of the slimline, like they were designed to be there with the notebook coolers included screws and you can power them by USB so you do not need to splice into any of the power wires. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834994002 The.Ronin shares his methods of cooling http://www.hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1032329611&postcount=438 ignis states this method did not work for his slightly different slimline case http://hardforum.com:80/showpost.php?p=1035605127&postcount=4193 Here is my cooling Saga for my S3600T with the quad core and 9800GT http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?p=1034241822#post1034241822 Here is how I modified my Sparkle PSU to avoid the 40mm fan noise http://hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1033931429&postcount=2686 Check out slimilne video reviews on c-net (they typically score ~8.5 out of a 10 scale) at a pricepoint of $600 to $1500 dollars. An example review follows. http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/hp-pavilion-slimline-s3020n/4505-3118_7-32391038.html Here is a review of the s3200t http://review.zdnet.com/desktops/hp-pavilion-slimline-s3200t/4505-3118_16-32743720.html In this review you'll note that the $1500 dollar slimline beats out the $3,800 dollar alienware in nearly everything and you can get the $1500 dollar configuration on ubid for about $330 shipped if you watch for it. http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1298300 EDIT - thanks to comp.u.newb for getting a list of all processors supported by the various motherboard slimlines on page 49 of this thread. ----------------------- Irvine (Irvine-GL6E) Socket: 775 Supports the following processors: Core 2 Duo E8xxx (65W) Core 2 Duo E6xxx (65W) Core 2 Duo E4xxx (65W) Pentium E2xxx series with Dual Core technology (65W) Celeron E4xxx series (35W) -------------------- Core 2 Duo E8400 (W) DC 3.0 GHz (65W) Core 2 Duo E4700 (C) DC 2.6 GHz (65W) Pentium E2160 (C) 1.8 GHz Pentium E2180 (C) 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo E4600 (C) DC 2.4 GHz (65W) Core 2 Duo E8200 (W) DC 2.66 GHz (65W) Pentium E2200 (C) 2.2 GHz (65W) Core 2 Duo E4500 (C) DC 2.2GHz Celeron E1200 (C) 1.6GHz (65W) Celeron 430 (C) 1.8GHz Celeron 420 (C) 1.6GHz Pentium E2140 (C) 1.6 GHz Pentium E2220 (C) 2.4 GHz (65W) Core 2 Quad Q9300 2.5GHz (65W) Core 2 Duo E4600 (C) DC 2.6 GHz (65W) -------------------- M2N61-AR (Acacia-GL6E) Socket: AM2 Supports the following processors: Athlon 64 X2 with Dual Core technology Athlon 64 Sempron Phenom Quad cores -------------------- Athlon 64 X2 (B) BE2300 1.9 GHz (45W) Athlon LE 1640 (L) 2.7GHz (45W) Sempron (M) 3800+ 2.2GHz Athlon 64 X2 (B) BE2350+ 2.1 GHz (45W) Athlon 64 X2 (B) BE2400+ 2.3GHz(45W) Athlon 64 X2 (B) 5000+ 2.6 GHz (65W) Phenom-9100e - 9350e (65W) Athlon 64 X2 (B) 4450e 2.3 GHz (45W) Athlon 64 X2 (B) 5200+ 2.7 GHz (65W) Athlon 64 X2 (B) 4050e 2.1 GHz (45W) Athlon 64 X2 (B) 5400+ 2.8 GHz (65W) Athlon 64 X2 (B) 4400+ 2.3 GHz (65W) Athlon 64 X2 (B) 4800+ 2.5 GHz (65W) Athlon LE 1620 (O) 2.4 GHz Athlon 64 X2 (W) 4200+ 2.2 GHz (65W) Sempron (M) 3600+ 2.0GHz Athlon 64 X2 (B) 4000+ 2.1GHz (65W) Athlon 64 X2 (B) 5600+ 2.9GHz(65W) Athlon 64 X2 (B) 3600+ 1.9 GHz (65W) Supports X2 4850e according to runtime -------------------- M2NC51-AR (HematiteXL-GL8E) Socket: AM2 Supports the following processors: Athlon64 X2 with Dual Core technology Athlon 64 Sempron -------------------- Athlon 64 X2 (B) 4400+ 2.3 GHz (65W) Athlon 64 X2 (W) 4200+ 2.2GHz (65W) Athlon 64 (O) 3800+ 2.4GHz Sempron (M) 3600+ 2.0GHz Athlon 64 X2 (W) 3800+ 2.0 GHz (65W) Sempron (M) 3500+ 2.0 GHz Athlon 64 X2 (W) 4600+ 2.4GHz Athlon 64 X2 (B) 4000+ 2.1 GHz (65W) Athlon 64 (O) 3500+ 2.2GHz Athlon 64 X2 (B) BE2350+ 2.1 GHz (45W) Athlon 64 X2 (B) 4800+ 2.5 GHz (65W) Athlon 64 X2 (W) 4800+ 2.5GHz Athlon 64 X2 (W) 5200+ 2.6GHz (65W) The M2NC51-AR (HematiteXL-GL8E) running bios 5.07 does NOT support the AMD athlon 64 x2 5050e (and likely not the 4850e). But it will support the BE-2350 and BE-2400. Thanks to Fabolouso for this information. Supports 4GB of RAM in 2x2GB configuration according to Novak Supports the X2 5600+ 65 watt processor according to Fabolouso and so will likely support the X2 5400+ 65 watt processor as well. -------------------- IPILP-AR (Locktite-GL8E) Socket: 775 Supports the following processors: Core 2 Duo E6x00 with Dual Core technology (Conroe core) Core 2 Duo E4x00 Dual Core technology (Conroe core) Celeron D 3xx series (Cedar Mill core) - (rev D-O only) -------------------- Pentium4 641 (C) HT 3.2GHz(65W) Core 2 Duo E4300 (C) DC 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo E6300 (C) DC 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo E6320 (C) DC 1.86GHz Celeron 360 (C) 3.4GHz Celeron 420 (C) 1.6GHz Pentium E2140 (C) 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo E4400 (C) DC 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo E6400 (C) DC 2.13GHz Core 2 Duo E6420 (C) DC 2.13GHz Core 2 Duo E6600 (C) DC 2.4GHz Pentium E2140 (C) 1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo E4500 (C) DC 2.2 GHz Supports 4GB of RAM in 2x2GB configuration according to Krad and ChuckP -------------------- MCP73M01H1 (Irvine-GL8E) Socket: 775 Supports the following processors: Core 2 Duo E8xxx (65W) Core 2 Duo E6xxx (65W) Core 2 Duo E4xxx (65W) Pentium E2xxx series with Dual Core technology (65W) Celeron E4xxx series (35W) -------------------- Core 2 Duo E4500 (C) DC 2.2 GHz -------------------- P5LP-LE (Leonite-GL8E) -------------------- Socket: 775 Supports the following processors: Core 2 Duo E6x00 Core 2 Duo E4x00 Pentium D 9x0 Dual Core Pentium D 8xx Dual Core Pentium 4 6x1 series Celeron D 3xx series --------------------- Pentium E2140 (C) 1.6 GHz A8MN-BR (Hematite) ------------------------ Socket: AM2 Supports the following processors: Athlon64 X2 4200+, 35W maximum TDP Athlon 64 Sempron X2 4850e C-NUMB X2 5050e kakawak 7720user confirms the A8MN-BR motherboard can utilize 2x2GB RAM (4GB) configuration.