Review: HP ProDesk 405 G2

Introduction and performance

Desktop computers remain pretty much the norm in the business segment where a permanent PC is often preferred to a laptop for practical and financial reasons. Sure, laptops can be seen as being more versatile but they are also more expensive, have fewer expansion capabilities and are usually more difficult to repair. The market is currently dominated by HP and Lenovo with ultra-small form factors (the Intel NUC and the Compute Stick being two of the more well-known ones) becoming more popular.

HP’s ProDesk range is part of the company’s ambitious plan to reinvent itself meaningfully. The firm did well with the HP 260 G1, a great looking, keenly priced device that impressed us when we reviewed it earlier this month.

We’re looking at another model from that family today, the ProDesk 405 G2, a micro-tower computer that costs £199.98 at Ebuyer, which provided us with the review sample, but can be had for just £99.98 once you trade in a computer that comes with Windows XP (you can find out more about the trade in terms and conditions on HP’s website).

Both Nigel O’Hara and Laptopsdirect sell it for cheaper. The promotion ends on July 31, 2015, but it is likely that it will be prolonged seeing as how Windows 10 has just been launched. Note that you can trade in up to 50 computers.

HP ProDesk 405 G2 rear


The ProDesk 405 G2 reminds us of the Lenovo ThinkCentre E50, its main competitor in this price range. Like the latter, it is a bog standard base unit with one 5.25-inch accessible bay that contains an optical drive. We like the shingled-slate design of the front, and this is a smart distinctive touch.

Other than the HP logo, there’s two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports in the front plus two audio ports. At the back are two extra USB 2.0 ports, four legacy ports (including VGA, PS2 and Serial), four audio ports, a DisplayPort and an Ethernet connection.

HP ProDesk 405 G2 open

Opening the case couldn’t be easier, and is simply a matter of undoing one screw by hand – the tool-less chassis is great for whoever wants to peep inside the computer, but more of a worry for the system administrator who might be concerned about insider threats or missing components.

At 16.5 x 33.9 x 35.5cm and measuring well under 6Kg, this desktop PC can be easily moved around and is a good compromise for anyone looking for a relatively small, portable device that can still be updated.

Speaking of upgradability, the ProDesk 405 G2 can accommodate three full height PCIe (x1) and one full height PCIe (x16) cards. There’s also one available 3.5-inch hard disk drive bay.

HP ProDesk 405 G2 back close

Tech spec

Insider the base unit is an MSI MS-7938 motherboard with an AMD A8-6510 APU at its heart. That processor is usually found in laptops and should perform on par with Intel’s Core i3 or Pentium CPUs (Haswell and prior architectures). It has four cores clocked at 2.4GHz, 2MB cache and an integrated Radeon HD8400 GPU. The latter is powerful enough to drive two displays and for the occasional spot of light gaming.

HP ProDesk 405 G2 front

The fact that it dissipates only 15W explains why the heat sink fan covering it is so small compared to what we’re accustomed to seeing on other models.

There’s also a 4GB DDR3 SDRAM memory module in one memory bank, allowing the user to upgrade to 8GB if needed. The rest of the specification list includes a 500GB HDD (a 7200RPM model, a rarity at this price and a welcome improvement on the 5400RPM drives usually found in entry level PCs), DTS Sound+ audio management technology, HD audio with Realtek ALC221, GbE connectivity and a DVD writer along with a 180W PSU. The low PSU wattage means that you won’t be able to add a powerful graphics card to this machine should you want to do that.

A standard keyboard and mouse complete the package.

HP ProDesk 405 G2 keyboard

A clear indication of this PC’s target audience comes from the fact that it is bundled with both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 allowing businesses to choose which one to embrace. And of course you will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free.

Surprisingly perhaps, HP has bundled a number of applications that some could label as bloatware: CyberLink Power2Go, PowerDVD BD Edition and Foxit Phantom PDF Express. As expected, HP also throws in some of its own apps, namely Recovery Disc Creator, Recovery Manager, PageLift, File Sanitizer and so forth.

HP ProDesk 405 G2 inside


As for benchmarks, we were pleasantly surprised by what we saw considering that upgrading to this computer could cost less than £100. We recorded the following benchmarks, and the scores were slightly higher than the HP 260 G1 in most cases as a comparison:

  • GeekBench: 1261 and 2963 (single and multi-core)
  • PCMark 8: 1685 (Home); 1912 (Work); 1417 (Creative)
  • 3DMark: 21716 (Home); 2597 (Cloud Gate); 403 (Fire Strike)
  • Cinebench 15: 141 (CPU); 14.83 (GPU)


The HP ProDesk 405 G2 hit all the right spots – it is hard to dislike this machine, especially if you plan to upgrade from Windows XP. It is a well-designed personal computer, and one that shows the wealth of design experience that HP carries.

We liked

There’s plenty to love about the ProDesk. It is small enough to be moved around easily, it has plenty of expansion options, more than enough legacy ports, a fast hard disk drive, and both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, all at a price that should get heads turning.

We disliked

HP should refrain from bundling any sort of non-business, entertainment-focused applications on this computer. That said, they are fairly easy to get rid of, but add to the frustration of not having a “clean” PC from the outset.

Final verdict

Get this bargain basement desktop while you can, especially as the HP offer is about to end in a couple of days. It is a fantastic piece of kit with a great price, and it’s a no-brainer purchase, especially if, as an individual or company, you’re looking to move away from Windows XP. The bottom line is that it would probably cost a fair wad of cash to get rid of old hardware anyway, so getting it done through HP and getting discounted new hardware into the bargain is probably the best way forward.