(Credit: HP)

Rounding out its retail PC update, Hewlett-Packard will bring five new fixed-configuration Pavilion Elite desktops to market on January 9. Where HP's Pavilion Slimline and Pavilion desktops are more straightforward configurations, the new Pavilion Elite 500 series systems skew towards mainstream gamers and digital media enthusiasts, and those looking for more than just basic productivity-level performance.

The new Pavilion Elites uniformly have discrete graphics cards and wireless networking and at minimum a 1.5TB hard drive. That's impressive considering the line starts at $699. But for the baseline HPE-500f, each system also has a Blu-ray drive. For CPUs, three of the units have six-core AMD Phenom II X6 chips, but we'd far prefer either of the two models equipped with a new Intel "Sandy Bridge" Core i5 or Core i7 quad core CPU for their faster all-around performance.

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