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(HP) Sempron LE-1250

This is the second Refurbished Computer we have looked at recently here at Monster-Hardware. The first one, a refurbished Dell OptiPlex GX280, was serviceable, well priced, and came with a copy of Windows XP Professional, but its lack of a DVD drive, and reliance on LP add in cards somewhat limited its mass market appeal. You may be wondering why an enthusiast site like this would even be reviewing a PC like this anyway. The answer is this: Somewhere along the way PCs became a commodity and most of the things that people use computers for now days (with the exception of gaming and video editing) will run just fine on just about any modern business class machine. These refurbished PCs offer basic PC functionality that is "good enough" for most people to use as their primary machine, and even make a great second PC for enthusiasts and they do so at a relatively low price point. So that's why today we will be looking at what exactly this De-Branded HP Sempron LE-1250 2.2 GHz Desktop PC provided us by Geeks our main site sponsor, brings to the table.

The De-Branded HP Sempron box was well-protected and arrived undamaged after its long journey in typical OEM style packaging. Inside the main box were two smaller long rectangular boxes. One contained a black PS/2 keyboard, and one contained a black PS/2 mouse and system power cord. Noticeable by its absence but prominently noted in Geeks advertising was a lack of documentation, system drivers, and OS (more on this below). Although sold as refurbished, cosmetically the De-Branded HP Sempron appeared to be new and came encased in plastic; the front face of the PC was also covered with a thin protective plastic film to protect from scratching. I removed the plastic and the film before taking any pictures as it photographs quite poorly, which, alas, I had to learn earlier the hard way (see here if you are interested in an example)

HPDB Open Box 1     HPDB Open Box 2


HP De-Branded Sempron LE-1250 2.2 GHz Desktop PC

General Features:

No Operating System
AMD Sempron LE-1250 2.2 GHz processor
320 GB SATA hard drive
DVD±RW drive
Integrated video
Integrated audio
Integrated Ethernet
56K PCI modem

Motherboard Features:

One (1) PCI Express x16 slot
One (1) PCI Express x1 slots
Two (2) PCI slots
Two (2) 240-pin DIMM sockets

Front I/O Ports:

Headphone jack
Microphone jack
Two (2) USB 2.0 ports

Rear I/O Ports:

Two (2) PS/2 ports
One (1) 15-pin VGA port
Four (4) USB 2.0 ports
One (1) RJ-45 Ethernet jack
One (1) RJ-11 modem jack
Line-in, line-out and microphone audio jacks

Case Features:

Two (2) 5.25-inch external drive bays
One (1) 3.5-inch internal drive bay
100 - 240V, 50/60Hz power supply

Case Dimensions:

14.75 x 6.5 x 16-inches (H x W x D, approximate)

Package Includes:

HP De-Branded Sempron LE-1250 2.2 GHz Desktop PC
Power cord

As stated above the De-Branded HP Sempron ships with no documentation, system drivers, and OS. Of these three the most grievous IMO is the lack of system drivers, without which the system might be partially or totally unworkable. Confident that I could remedy this problem since I was an old school driver detective from way back I began my Easter egg hunt like Gregory House seeking to solve the medical mystery of the week. I started my search for the missing drivers at the HP customer care site and learned as expected: I needed to locate the HP model number to download the proper driver. To do this I removed all the de-branded HP stickers which seemed to reveal that this machine had started life as a HP Compaq Presario, but no mention was made on any of the stickers of a model number. On a whim I decided to open the case to see what I could find and got my first real clue when I was able to identify the De-Branded HP Sempron contained a ASUS M2N68-LA motherboard. With this information I probably could have gotten the drivers from ASUS but I was feeling lucky, so I went to Google and did a search using what I had discovered, and it seems that this probably was/is a Compaq Presario SR5703WM Desktop PC. Now armed with the model number I learned that HP has drivers available for both Windows Vista and Windows 7 but no Windows XP, or Linux. It also seems according to HP that the M2N68-LA uses a GeForce 6150SE nForce 430 chipset so if you have your heart set on using XP with this machine you might be able to use the generic Nvidia Windows XP chipset drivers.

The De-Branded HP Sempron comes with two PS/2 ports to attach the included keyboard and mouse. I personally prefer PS/2 ports over USB ports for those two peripherals as it always seems that no matter how many there are I usually find myself running short on USB ports. Speaking of USB ports, the De-Branded HP Sempron has six—two of them in the front, the rest of them in the back. There is also a front headphone and microphone jack. Connectivity is handled by Integrated Ethernet, and for those few of you still on dial-up there is also a 56K PCI modem installed. I haven't seen a PC come equipped with a modem in quite a while. Integrated Video is handled through a 15-pin VGA port, no on-board DVI port, or HDMI port is present. Back to the peripherals the PS/2 keyboard has a couple of extra keys you don't normally see on a generic keyboard, on the right top corner are two keys which control the sound volume on the task bar one plus and one minus, on the left top corner of the keyboard is a key which puts the De-Branded HP Sempron in standby mode, press it again and the PC wakes up. The PS/2 mouse is corded and more generic than the keyboard it is also much too small for someone with large hands IMO and didn't score much mouse pad time from me.

HPDB Front     HPDB Rear

The De-Branded HP Sempron comes with 2 GB DDR2 RAM, a DVD±RW drive, a 320 GB SATA hard drive, and a full height PCI-E x16 slot (which I plan on trying out later in this review). There are only two DIMM sockets on this ASUS motherboard, not four, so that means if you plan on using more than the included 2 GB of RAM that you will have to remove the two existing 1 GB DDR2 memory modules and replace them with 2 GB DDR2 memory modules, which should work but I didn't actually test. Realistically speaking I think 2 GB of memory is probably sufficient even when paired with the memory hungry Windows Vista or Windows 7 for the users that this PC is aimed at. For the purpose of this review I ended up using Windows Vista, which isn't my favorite OS, but my father in-law happened to have a full unused copy laying around that he got for attending some Microsoft event a few years back that he graciously passed on. Thanks, Ron. After loading and using it for a while I must say Windows Vista isn't quite the dog I remember. Maybe it is the newer hardware that the last few years has brought, the extra service packs, or some combination of both . Things actually run pretty well even with only 2 GB of memory. This was even when using the integrated video. Of course the Vista UAC is still just as annoying as I remember and makes me want to pull out what little of my hair I still have left. If you decide to try your luck with the less memory hungry Windows XP or Linux then 2 GB of memory is definitely plenty for this class of PC.

Moving inside the case we find some interesting features. Only one of the side panels is removable (the other is riveted in place), while the CPU socket is located at the bottom of the motherboard. There is no front case fan; case cooling is handled by a single rear bottom case fan in conjunction with a side panel having an ~120mm area above the CPU that is punched full of holes so that it resembles the old wire mesh fan grill covers. Although this is a somewhat unusual arrangement its lack of extra case fans means it is quiet enough to be used as a HTPC IMO and works plenty well enough to cool the 45W Sempron CPU that resides on the ASUS board. The power supply leads on what I believe to be a 250W unit (HP Customer Card model number spec sheet) could be a little longer as things are a little snug but manageable. There are also a few other misc air intake holes spread around seemingly randomly on the De-Branded HP Sempron case.

HPDB Side Panel     HPDB Side Open

As promised earlier in the review I dropped in a dedicated video card to briefly try out some light gaming. I only tested one game to keep this section from taking over the whole review. The card I chose was a XFX GeForce 6800 GS mainly because it was the only card I have available that I thought might work with the De-Branded HP Sempron's 250W power supply. After I shoehorned the somewhat large GeForce 6800 GS (it is longer than my GeForce 7950) into the modest sized De-Branded HP Sempron case, and attached a four-pin molex to six-pin PCIe adapter using some creative cable management, I was pleased to see that the system booted without a hitch and everything worked fine. The Vista Windows Experience Index Gaming Graphics score increased from 3.0 to 5.5. I also loaded up the old standby Doom 3, patched to version 1.3.1, set the screen resolution to 1024x768, detail level to medium and ran a time demo which netted me 50 FPS. Afterward I couldn't resist starting a new game and playing for a few minutes with the same settings; while playing I didn't encounter any real stuttering or major slowdowns. For long term use I would probably switch out the GeForce 6800 GS for something more modern, with a lower power consumption say a Radeon 4350.


Without any documentation, system drivers, or OS, the De-Branded HP Sempron is certainly not a 100% turnkey solution for someone who is not computer savvy. That being said, I imagine the great majority of people reading this are up to the task of finding the drivers and loading the OS of their choice. What you get for this little bit of hassle is a surprisingly modern full featured PC. With the exception of the missing OS there are no major shortcomings to be found here that I can see. Certainly this system would more than meet the basic computer needs of most people. The De-Branded HP Sempron is also so quiet it could easily be used as a HTPC. Throw in a low power video card (remember you have a 250W power supply here) and you can even manage some light gaming. All of this for well under 200 usd means the De-Branded HP Sempron comes highly recommended.


  • DVD±RW drive
  • 2 GB DDR2 RAM
  • 320 GB SATA hard drive
  • Full height PCI-E x16 slot
  • Decent performance
  • Nearly silent 


  • No OS, docs, or drivers

I would like to thank Geeks for providing us with the refurbished HP De-Branded Sempron PC for review. This item can be purchased at Geeks for 169 usd.


Added: November 10th 2009
Reviewer: JimAdkins
Score: 9  
Hits: 5858
Language: english


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