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REFURB HP ProDesk 400 G1 SFF i5-4570 3.2GHz 8GB RAM 500GB HDD Windows 10 Home $109.50 @ Newegg (TheGoodComputerGuy)

VirtualLarry

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Aug 25, 2001
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HP ProDesk 400 G1 SFF i5-4570 3.2GHz 8GB RAM 500GB HDD Windows 10 Home $109.50
REFURBISHED


I think that I've bought refurbs off of Newegg from this seller before, and I was very happy with them. These are pretty well-priced, and if you drop in a 240-480GB SSD (480GB SSDs have dropped recently below $40, for budget models), and re-install Win10 using MS Media Creation Tool, you will have a very fresh and snappy system. These are 4th-Gen Haswell quad-cores, which are enough even for gaming for 95% of games out there, if you drop in a low-profile GTX 1650 or GTX 1050ti card for another $150. So for $300 total, you will have a workable gaming PC, albeit a bit non-upgradeable.

Edit: Also, unlike some of the Dell and HP SFF units that I've dealt with, that have dual DisplayPort connectors on the back, this one has a mobo DVI and VGA port. Which you can adapt the DVI to an HDMI cable / monitor with a simple $3 adapter dongle, for up to 1920x1200 generally speaking.
 
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Ranulf

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Is it easier to reinstall windows10 or just clone over the install from the hd and then wipe the hd to make it a storage drive?
 

bbhaag

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Is it easier to reinstall windows10 or just clone over the install from the hd and then wipe the hd to make it a storage drive?
Since this unit already comes with Win10 what I would do is power it on and connect it to the internet for a couple of hours and let it connect to MS's servers so they see the copy of Win10 is valid. From there the key should have digital rights and you can then power it down and replace the HDD with an SSD then use the media creation tool like VL mentioned to install a fresh copy of Win10. Once installed and connected to the internet MS's servers should see the machine as having a valid key and automatically activate the new install.

Then you should be able to reconnect the old HDD and wipe it clean and repurpose it as a second data drive.
 
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SamirD

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Since this unit already comes with Win10 what I would do is power it on and connect it to the internet for a couple of hours and let it connect to MS's servers so they see the copy of Win10 is valid. From there the key should have digital rights and you can then power it down and replace the HDD with an SSD then use the media creation tool like VL mentioned to install a fresh copy of Win10. Once installed and connected to the internet MS's servers should see the machine as having a valid key and automatically activate the new install.

Then you should be able to reconnect the old HDD and wipe it clean and repurpose it as a second data drive.
I would actually clone it first and then let it connect, etc. Then you're good to go. Unless you suspect they could be packed with bloatware or malware.
 
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Ranulf

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Picked one up on a goof. I have some friends looking for a new system for basic email/web stuff and this might do. I'll make an image of the drive first before connecting to the internet etc. then see how it goes. If they have a sticker on the box with the win10 key then I doubt I would have to worry about activation.
 
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SamirD

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They should be perfect for that with enough ram and an ssd. These might have a coa on the box, but otherwise it's usually an oem build that doesn't need activation if it's the HP version.
 
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jiffer

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Sep 14, 2007
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If they have a sticker on the box with the win10 key then I doubt I would have to worry about activation.
I doubt it will work that way. In my experience with the HP ProDesk Haswell line, you'll either have a COA license sticker on the case for Windows 7 or an embedded DLK for Windows 8. Those are the only two operating systems they sold with those machines. Windows 10 was not originally supported, and I think the last version of Windows 10 that is officially supported by HP is Build 1809. (Build 2004 works fine anyway as far as I know.) If you install Windows 8, the license key will be detected automatically and it will be activated as soon as you get online. I've never seen a Haswell ProDesk with an embedded Windows 10 DLK, and I've never seen a COA sticker for Windows 10 on any retail box computer. Most likely, the refurbishers used a Windows 10 product key they acquired on their own. If you attempt to reinstall Windows 10, you either need to use that key or settle for the generic license key Microsoft assigns to the thousands of computers which are activated without a legitimately purchased license. I'm not saying you won't get away it; Microsoft has been very lenient about it so far.

The MS Media Creation Tool workaround is very simple. You install Windows 8 with the genuine embedded DLK, then upgrade to Windows 10 without a key. You'll be given a generic DLK that will probably work indefinitely, at least until if or when Microsoft decides to close the loophole.

I suggest using a utility to retrieve the DLK the refurbishers used to activate Windows 10 before you go changing anything. Maybe it's a genuine key, or maybe it's a generic key. Either way, it might work if you reinstall Windows 10 on the same machine with regular Windows 10 installation media (as opposed to the MS Media Creation Tool). I'm guessing you'll have a better chance if you register your computer with a Microsoft account that will give your computer a unique identifier in their database. In theory, the key is only supposed to work with one machine, but as I said, Microsoft has been very lenient so far. Market share is probably more important to them than stamping out free riders.

Edit: While I'm at it, I recommend getting an HP minitower rather an SFF if you want versatility and upgradeability. The minitower case and motherboard can accommodate a standard ATX power supply, or you could even replace the motherboard with a standard MicroATX motherboard and rear I/O shield and use the original power supply. You'd have to change the pin outs for the front panel connector but that's easy to do with a paperclip or pen knife. I suggest sticking with a shorter video card rather than a very long one,. Keep in mind the original power supply is only 300W (not 80 PLUS) and doesn't have a PCIe power connector, but as I said you could upgrade to a better standard ATX power supply if you want. I'm not certain whether the original HP 92mm PWM case fan will work properly with a standard motherboard (it has a proprietary 4-pin connector) but it's a good fan and I'd give it a try. If you replaced it, you'd have to do some minor retrofitting on a new one (enlarge two of the mounting holes on the new fan, say with a power drill). This is supposed to be fun, right? :)
 
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SamirD

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Interesting. I have gotten some systems that had a win 10 coa, but they were a certified refurbisher and the original win 7 coa had a print X through it even though it was still attached to the box. I know the oems used to have volume licensing that allowed them just one key for a whole bunch of machines, and maybe that's what they're still doing to a certain extent. Luckily, I don't have to deal with the mess that's win10 but it's interesting to know what's up.

Yeah, the minitowers of these are always better (even for comparable Dells). You can do some minor upgrades like power supply and gpu very easily so they have a lot of bang for buck if you get them cheap.
 

MisterE

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Mar 7, 2000
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HP ProDesk 400 G1 SFF i5-4570 3.2GHz 8GB RAM 500GB HDD Windows 10 Home $109.50
REFURBISHED
Edit: Also, unlike some of the Dell and HP SFF units that I've dealt with, that have dual DisplayPort connectors on the back, this one has a mobo DVI and VGA port. Which you can adapt the DVI to an HDMI cable / monitor with a simple $3 adapter dongle, for up to 1920x1200 generally speaking.
You won't get audio with a $3 DVI-to-HDMI dongle but you would with a DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter ($9 at Amazon, around $8 for DisplayPort-to-VGA). Note that it is a DVI-D port and not DVI-I, so you can't plug on a DVI-to-VGA adapter and give yourself a 2nd VGA port. They do make active DVI-to-HDMI adapters that allow you to plug in DVI video and an analog or digital audio source, but those cost more.
 
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VirtualLarry

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You won't get audio with a $3 DVI-to-HDMI dongle
Actually, sometimes you do. Look at the Newegg reviews for the dongles, some of them do pass audio. I've mostly used the ATI DVI-D to HDMI dongles from ebay, that are actually branded "ATI" in the plastic. They were originally intended for the dual DVI-I DL ports of the HD4850 cards, which DO pass audio over their DVI ports. Intel's recent drivers on a new-enough platform do too, sometimes.
 
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Ranulf

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I doubt it will work that way. In my experience with the HP ProDesk Haswell line, you'll either have a COA license sticker on the case for Windows 7 or an embedded DLK for Windows 8. Those are the only two operating systems they sold with those machines. Windows 10 was not originally supported, and I think the last version of Windows 10 that is officially supported by HP is Build 1809. (Build 2004 works fine anyway as far as I know.) If you install Windows 8, the license key will be detected automatically and it will be activated as soon as you get online. I've never seen a Haswell ProDesk with an embedded Windows 10 DLK, and I've never seen a COA sticker for Windows 10 on any retail box computer. Most likely, the refurbishers used a Windows 10 product key they acquired on their own. If you attempt to reinstall Windows 10, you either need to use that key or settle for the generic license key Microsoft assigns to the thousands of computers which are activated without a legitimately purchased license. I'm not saying you won't get away it; Microsoft has been very lenient about it so far.

The MS Media Creation Tool workaround is very simple. You install Windows 8 with the genuine embedded DLK, then upgrade to Windows 10 without a key. You'll be given a generic DLK that will probably work indefinitely, at least until if or when Microsoft decides to close the loophole.

I suggest using a utility to retrieve the DLK the refurbishers used to activate Windows 10 before you go changing anything. Maybe it's a genuine key, or maybe it's a generic key. Either way, it might work if you reinstall Windows 10 on the same machine with regular Windows 10 installation media (as opposed to the MS Media Creation Tool). I'm guessing you'll have a better chance if you register your computer with a Microsoft account that will give your computer a unique identifier in their database. In theory, the key is only supposed to work with one machine, but as I said, Microsoft has been very lenient so far. Market share is probably more important to them than stamping out free riders.

Edit: While I'm at it, I recommend getting an HP minitower rather an SFF if you want versatility and upgradeability. The minitower case and motherboard can accommodate a standard ATX power supply, or you could even replace the motherboard with a standard MicroATX motherboard and rear I/O shield and use the original power supply. You'd have to change the pin outs for the front panel connector but that's easy to do with a paperclip or pen knife. I suggest sticking with a shorter video card rather than a very long one,. Keep in mind the original power supply is only 300W (not 80 PLUS) and doesn't have a PCIe power connector, but as I said you could upgrade to a better standard ATX power supply if you want. I'm not certain whether the original HP 92mm PWM case fan will work properly with a standard motherboard (it has a proprietary 4-pin connector) but it's a good fan and I'd give it a try. If you replaced it, you'd have to do some minor retrofitting on a new one (enlarge two of the mounting holes on the new fan, say with a power drill). This is supposed to be fun, right? :)
Interesting info, thanks. Any suggestions on a program to get the DLK for win10? I have a refurb HP haswell laptop that was originally win8 (given the sticker on the bottom) but it had no COA on the machine and came with win10 installed (win10 says its an oem license, edit: and it does have a win10 coa on it). I've not had to reinstall win10 on it but cloned it over to a new larger drive just fine.
 
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Staples

Diamond Member
Oct 28, 2001
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I've had similar old micro system and you quickly realize how much a video card is used. The CPU is just fine on these but they really lag behind for video tasks.
 

JWMiddleton

Diamond Member
Aug 10, 2000
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I doubt it will work that way. In my experience with the HP ProDesk Haswell line, you'll either have a COA license sticker on the case for Windows 7 or an embedded DLK for Windows 8.
I worked with 2 Dell OptiPlex systems this Summer. One was a 7020 MT, the other a 7010 DT (SFF). On the 7020 I installed Win 10 2004 on a new SDD and it immediately authenticated. It works like a charm with an i5-4590. Got it from walmart dot Com for $133, shipped + tax. It had no license sticker.

The 7010 had a sticker. So, I started the install and put in the code and it threw up. I checked the sticker more carefully and found that it was, as you said, for Win 7 Pro. I download that software from Dell support and it worked fine. (The Dell service ID is in the BIOS.) Then I updated the system to Win 10 2004 and it worked like a charm. That one has an i5-3570. My brother-in-law bought it and gave it to me after he forgot the password.

So, don't assume that it can't be updated to Win 10 as Microsoft seems to be very lax about it. Or, that box would make a great Linux system.

John
 
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SamirD

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I've had similar old micro system and you quickly realize how much a video card is used. The CPU is just fine on these but they really lag behind for video tasks.
I've noticed that a nicely powered gpu makes a difference in something as mundane as viewing high-res pdfs, which I do all day. I can quickly tell which of my systems have a gpu and which don't.
 
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jiffer

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I realize that processors have improved a lot in the last few years, but if you use a quad core Intel Core processor from Sandy Bridge on up, you're always going to get pretty decent performance when you pair it with a nicely powered GPU. For office applications and web surfing, you probably won't notice much difference between a Core i5-3470 and a Core i3-9100F (I have both). I'm still using a few quad core Ivy Bridge processors with GeForce GTX 1050s or 1650s, and the main thing that made a difference in modern apps is upgrading to 16GB of RAM since most programs these days (e.g.Firefox) are memory hogs. I don't play many games so I'm not talking about gaming. If you spend hours a day playing the latest games and want the highest frame rates, I don't know why you'd buy an old small form factor HP ProDesk anyway.
 
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UsandThem

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Does anyone know what size motherboard these pc's use? I'd like to move it to a more spacious case.
Just remember that in a lot of these pre-built PCs from companies like HP use power supplies with very short cables (usually only long enough to reach their location in the OEM case). Going into a bigger case, you might need to buy extensions for everything.
 
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MisterE

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Mar 7, 2000
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Does anyone know what size motherboard these pc's use? I'd like to move it to a more spacious case.
It looks like the motherboard is standard Micro ATX. The I/O shield is built into the case so you won't have one of those if you move it to a different case.
 

jiffer

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Sep 14, 2007
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It depends on what you mean by "standard Micro ATX". You can mount the motherboard in a standard ATX or MicroATX case, but there's no rear I/O shield you can re-use. Also, the main power supply connector is not a standard 24-pin connector. Furthermore, if that motherboard is like the other Haswell and Skylake motherboards I've seen, you'll have to use an HP CPU cooler. The four mounting holes are extra large, and the backplate for the CPU cooler is integrated with the CPU mounting plate. It would be difficult to retrofit an aftermarket cooler or a standard Intel CPU cooler even if you could replace the CPU mouting plate since the holes are so big. And finally, there doesn't seem to be a header for a rear case fan. The header for the front case fan appears to be proprietary. The original case fan might have a very short cable if you plan to re-use it.

As I said before, if you want versatility, I'd look for an HP minitower. I don't know if you'd need any more space than that. You could replace the power supply with a standard ATX power supply with no trouble at all. You'd have a standard ATX power connector, a rear I/O shield, a useable CPU cooler and a 92mm rear case fan.
 
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VirtualLarry

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As I said before, if you want versatility, I'd look for an HP minitower. I don't know if you'd need any more space than that. You could replace the power supply with a standard ATX power supply with no trouble at all. You'd have a standard ATX power connector, a rear I/O shield, a useable CPU cooler and a 92mm rear case fan.
I can vouch for this; I did a "total conversion" of an HP i5-6500 ProDesk 400 G3 mini-tower into an ATX triple-rgb-fan case, with an aftermarket PSU.
 
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Ranulf

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Nice little machine for the money. 7200rpm 500GB seagate hdd. Win10 actually boots in about 2 mins. Win10 code is on the side, instructions say to change key but Win10 boots and starts setup automatically (and only lets you create a local account if network is unplugged). 2 sticks of 4gb ram installed. Front usb 3.0 ports work well. No major hassle to boot off of usb so far.

Now to restore the backup image to an ssd and go from there.
 
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mikeford

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The only pesky side I see with these older i5 systems is that legacy ram in larger sized sticks can be both hard to find and expensive. For my Dell SFF 7010 I bought the bracket that allows two 2.5" drives, 500GB HD and I think a 240 or 480GB SSD in the factory location, added a $10 video card, and its a nice little system. Dell has the advantage of a range of OS options that detect the Dellness of the MB and don't need a key to authenticate. A slight limit to that is that the Dell tool works from the service code to automatically select Win version, but there are sites a search easily turns up with lists of service codes associated with each Win version, just enter one of those manually to get the one you prefer.

CPU upgrades when I could find them were more expensive than I was willing to pay, and don't seem like a big issue. OTOH the vendor I bought mine from had a truck load at the swap meet and for another $25 to $50 from the $75 I paid I could have stepped up to a newer model, i7, larger ram, wifi card, etc etc. or I think same basic innards, but i3 or bare bones were selling for as little as $20.
 

SamirD

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Nice little machine for the money. 7200rpm 500GB seagate hdd. Win10 actually boots in about 2 mins. Win10 code is on the side, instructions say to change key but Win10 boots and starts setup automatically (and only lets you create a local account if network is unplugged). 2 sticks of 4gb ram installed. Front usb 3.0 ports work well. No major hassle to boot off of usb so far.

Now to restore the backup image to an ssd and go from there.
Awesome system for $100! :)
 

SamirD

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The only pesky side I see with these older i5 systems is that legacy ram in larger sized sticks can be both hard to find and expensive. For my Dell SFF 7010 I bought the bracket that allows two 2.5" drives, 500GB HD and I think a 240 or 480GB SSD in the factory location, added a $10 video card, and its a nice little system. Dell has the advantage of a range of OS options that detect the Dellness of the MB and don't need a key to authenticate. A slight limit to that is that the Dell tool works from the service code to automatically select Win version, but there are sites a search easily turns up with lists of service codes associated with each Win version, just enter one of those manually to get the one you prefer.

CPU upgrades when I could find them were more expensive than I was willing to pay, and don't seem like a big issue. OTOH the vendor I bought mine from had a truck load at the swap meet and for another $25 to $50 from the $75 I paid I could have stepped up to a newer model, i7, larger ram, wifi card, etc etc. or I think same basic innards, but i3 or bare bones were selling for as little as $20.
I find that the only sizes of ddr3 that have any value left are the large 8gb modules, and even they're still pretty cheap. If you have enough memory slots, loading up with 4x4gb is usually very cheap (sometimes even free).

I believe the HPs like this machine can also have the same license registration off the motherboard.
 

jiffer

Senior member
Sep 14, 2007
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I think the HP model in question only has two memory slots available (I know this is the case for the HP ProDesk 400 G1 Minitower). So if you want 16GB of RAM, you have to use 2x8GB DDR3 modules.

Most HP machines I've seen have embedded license keys for windows, but this is not always the case. For example, the HP ProDesk 400 G3 minitower (Skylake/DDR4) was equipped with three different versions of the same motherboard, the only difference being the embedded license keys: none, Windows 8, or Windows 10. As far as I know, you can't activate Windows on an HP PC just because it's made by HP; you either need a genuine license key or an embedded DLK, or you might get away with a generic key provided by Microsoft if the automated activation system decides to let you. I don't know if Dell has a special arrangement with Microsoft to activate every version of Windows automatically just because you have a Dell PC, but I know it didn't work with my Dell Latitude laptop. I had to try to upgrade Windows 8 to Windows 10 a couple of times with a genuine Windows 8 license key, and the system finally gave me a generic digital license key for Windows 10. For the record, I have never said you can't get away with it, but it's clear that you won't actually own a fully licensed operating system with a license key unique to you if you don't actually have one.
 

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