Today we’re looking at a refurbished HP8300 Elite, a small form factor desktop computer which is currently being offered as a certified refurbished option from Amazon and also Newegg.
The exact package that we’re reviewing today is the HP 8300 Elite Small Form Factor Desktop Computer (Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core, 8GB RAM, 500GB SATA, Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit) (Certified Refurbished), and this hardware configuration is what we’ll be reviewing in further detail in this post.
In this review, we’ll take a closer look at the hardware components that make up this particular HP 8300 Elite and also give you some pointers about things to look out for if you are considering buying a refurbished PC.
Overview: HP 8300 Elite Small Form Factor Desktop PC, i5-3470
HP has been producing the 8300 Elite series desktop computers for years and they are a common use-case for offices, schools, businesses and home use. HP update their offerings from time to time with new hardware though; but the old models often get refurbished and resold – and that’s what’s on offer here.
First and foremost, the i5-3470 HP 8300 Elite desktop is for those who want an affordable yet decent general purpose computer. At the time of writing you can get this PC for under $200, which is pretty good considering it includes a fully installed operating system as well.
This particular offering thorough Amazon comes complete with a keyboard and mouse, a 90 day warranty, and Windows 10 Professional edition fully installed – so it’s essentially a plug-and-play solution which is ready to go out of the box.
Let’s be clear up front though: this is a ‘certified refurbished’ computer, which means it is not new, although it has been certified that it will function as if it were. If you’re not sure what exactly this means, you might want to check out our post on refurbished computers.
The hardware on this computer is fairly decent and should suit most users. It uses a medium-high level processor that’s around 5 years old, but in reality is more than capable of handling everyday computing tasks even in 2017.
- Affordable: plug-and-play system at a low price point
- Windows 10 Professional already installed
- 500GB of storage space
- Processor supports dual monitors
- 90 day warranty
- No wireless adapter included
- Refurbished build, so there’s no certainty on the exact hardware (e.g. brands/model/age) you’ll get
- Not directly from the manufacturer so there is potential for quality control issues
First things first, let’s talk about what you get with this PC. Being a certified refurbished computer, it is supposed to be tested and any faulty components replaced to meet a minimum specification, which is advertised as:
- CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad Core Processor
- Memory: 8GB RAM
- Storage: 500GB SATA hard drive
In terms of the exact hardware that you get, this is up in the air given that the computer is a refurbished one.
In our recent post Should I Buy a Refurbished Computer? we recommended sticking to computer manufacturers when buying refurbished, because it gives some level of certainty over the exact hardware that you’re getting. In this case though, Amazon have their own sellers who complete the refurbishment process.
The processor in this computer is an Intel Core i5-3470, which was first released in mid 2012 as a mid-high level processor. Being an i5 Quad Core, it is suited to multitasking and medium-heavy workloads quite well. It is an older model now but still offers decent performance for general purpose use and entry level gaming. If you aren’t doing anything too demanding, it should stay relevant for some years to come.
Similar to many general purpose computers, this one does not come with a dedicated graphics card and relies purely on the integrated graphics of the processor. The Intel HD Graphics 2500 of the processor is suitable for general purpose tasks such as watching videos, webcam chatting and playing low-end/entry level computer games, though you’ll probably have to keep your gamplay settings low, and it wouldn’t be able to handle any demanding games without a dedicated graphics card.
This computer comes with 8GB of memory, which is more than enough for the rest of the computer’s hardware. You won’t have to worry about lacking in this department.
A 500GB hard drive is provided. The 500GB refers to the amount of storage space and is a generous amount which will suit most people.
We do notice that there’s no minimum specification on the speed of the drive; this is usually quoted in RPM (revolutions per minute) and we wouldn’t recommend anything less than say 5200RPM. For the average user on this computer, it would typically be the speed of the drive that in most cases determines how ‘fast’ or ‘slow’ the computer appears to run. Since there’s no minimum quoted here, you pretty much have to play the ‘try and see’ game here. We do note that a stock HP 8300 Elite has a 7200RPM drive, so you would expect that the refurbished option would at least match this.
There’s no wireless adapter provided with the 8300 Elite, so you’ll need to either plug in a ethernet cable for internet, or go and purchase a separate wireless USB dongle like the following.
Motherboard, Power Supply and Hardware Components In General
Being a refurbished computer, other hardware components are not specified and its entirely up to the seller what the computer may ship with. It should technically however have been tested and certified to function as well as a new-build with the same specifications.
Since the motherboard, power supply and other components are generally unknown, this computer may not be all that suitable for people who are planning to upgrade it in the future by changing out parts such as RAM, graphics cards, and the like. For one, the smaller case may physically restrict you from adding extra cards, but there’s also the unknown of the motherboard specifications and how many free slots it may have, as well as the capacity/size of the power supply. A non-refurbished computer may be better suited, as you should be able to know exactly what parts you’re getting.
The computer also comes with a LightScribe DVD read/write drive for reading DVDs and CDs.
The HP 8300 Elite is really a general-purpose computer intended for the everyday user who does not have any overly specialized computing needs. The i5 processor which includes integrated graphics is a 2012 release by Intel and was a medium-high end offering at the time, which means it easily offers enough computing power to handle common tasks such as:
- running office applications for word processing and spreadsheeting
- viewing/accessing multimedia such as videos and photos
- browsing the internet
- webcam or voice chatting
- general multitasking
- low-end computer gaming (provided there’s not too much graphics processing involved)
For work or personal use, this computer will perform well and suit your needs, however, if you do intend on doing any amount of more specialist tasks like video editing, running programs like Adobe Photoshop or AutoCAD or running more demanding computer games, you may be better off with a computer that has a dedicated graphics card.
The case itself is a small form factor which means it takes up less space than your typical computer tower, and it can be sat either vertically (standing up) or horizontally (lying down).
This computer does not have a dedicated graphics card, so it won’t be able to handle demanding games very well. However, for casual gaming use on titles which aren’t as demanding (for example, Minecraft), it should function fine using the on-board graphics processor.
You should find two display outputs on the rear of the case – one VGA port and one Display Port. Since the onboard graphics of the Intel processor supports multiple displays, you should be able to run dual screens as long as you have the correct cables (or plug adaptors to suit VGA/Display Port).
Are There Any Issues With it Being Refurbished?
We wrote about what you need to know about refurbished computers in this post, so be sure to check that out for more detail.
The take-home message is that when buying refurbished, you are buying something that’s been used before; so the more reputable the person/company who is doing the refurbishment, the better. That’s why we mostly recommend refurbished offerings by the original manufacturer, but that’s not to say refurbishments done by other parties can’t be just as good.
In this case, this offering through Amazon may be from a range of sellers, but all of them are supposed to conform to Amazon’s renewed products policies. Typically this means that the product you receive should perform equally to the new equivalent of the product; but be warned – sometimes the refurbishments may use alternative parts to what was present in the original new offering.
In most cases, as long as the company has a good returns policy, you can order the product, check it out, and if you’re really not happy with it – then return it for your money back. Checking that return policies like this exist are the main thing you should verify when buying refurbished as this protects against the risk of getting something different to what you signed up for.
Upgrading the HP 8300 Elite
Although we did say earlier that this HP 8300 Elite may not be the best option for those who are planning to change/upgrade the PC in the future, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
If you put a graphics card in this machine, it will turn it from an everyday general-use computer to one that’s capable of playing some modern titles.
You may be able to fit in a half-height graphics card in this computer, depending on the motherboard – provided it has a PCIe x16 port for the graphics card to plug into. Nearly all motherboards should have this, but check before ordering parts, just to be sure.
We would recommend the GTX 1050 half-width graphics card which should fit into the small-form-factor case of the HP 8300 Elite.
One thing to be aware of is that adding a graphics card will use some extra power, so you’ll need to ensure that the power supply in your computer has sufficient head-room to supply the graphics card. The GTX 1050 uses around 75W and the recommended minimum power supply size from nVIDIA is 300 Watts.
If you’re planning to install a dedicated graphics card in the HP 8300 Elite, then just make sure the stock power supply in the computer is a minimum of 300 Watts. The stock power supply from the small form factor Elite 8300 is only about 240W though, so it’s likely you’ll need to look into a power supply upgrade as well.
Don’t forget to consider heat as well, especially if you live in a hotter climate. While this particular graphics card is a low-power card and designed not to put out too much extra heat; if there is the possibility of adding or upgrading any existing fans in the case, it may be worth considering. Remember that making sure your computer components run cooler can extend their usable lifespan.
HP 8300 Elite Small Form Factor (Certified Refurbished) Specifications
Note: these specifications relate to this specific Amazon listing for a certified refurbished HP 8300 Elite.
Some of the information below is as per the specifications for a stock Small Form Factor HP Compaq 8300 Elite here and here, but keep in mind that a refurbished option may not necessarily include the exact same hardware (as they only need to be equal in performance), depending on who is doing the refurbishment.
Windows 10 Professional
On-board graphics adapter model: Intel HD Graphics 2500
Chipset: Intel Q77 Express
Back I/O ports:
4 x USB 3.0
2 x USB 2.0
1 x VGA
1 x Display Port 1.1a2
1 x RJ45 LAN
1 x Serial RS-232
2 x PS/2 (keyboard and mouse)
1 x Line in
1 x Line out
Front I/O Ports:
4 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x Headphone
1 x Microphone
Internal memory: 8GB
Maximum internal memory: DDR3 non-ECC, Maximum 32GB, 4 DIMM (According to the HP Compaq 8300 Elite specifications)
500 GB, 7200 rpm, SATA 6.0 Gb/s, SMART IV, 3.5” (According to the HP Compaq 8300 Elite specifications)
240W Active PFC (According to the HP Compaq 8300 Elite specifications)
LightScribe DVD read/write optical drive
4.0 x 13.3 x 14.9 inches (10.0 x 33.8 x 37.9 cm)
16.7 pounds (7.6 kg)
The official Illustrated Parts & Service Map for the Small Form Factor 8300 Elite can be found here.
The HP 8300 Elite Small Form Factor with i5-3470 processor is a decent offering for the everyday user, and may even be a cheap option for the occasional gamer if they are willing to put a dedicated graphics card into it and maybe throw in a power supply upgrade as well. Its processor is a medium-high level quad core from 2012.
If you are going to buy this refurbished offering, be sure to check through our post on buying refurbished computers so that you’re aware of what this involves; but if you’re happy to accept the coverage that the 90 day warranty gives you, then we have no issues in recommending this HP 8300 Elite as a good PC option for general use.