CPU: Intel Core i5-10500T
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630
Storage: 256GB SSD
Ports: Headphone/headset jack, 5x SuperSpeed USB-A, 1x USB-C, 2x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x RJ-45 ethernet, 1x HDMI 2.1
Size: 17.7 x 17.5 x 3.4cm
I really wanted to love the HP EliteDesk 800 G6 Desktop Mini PC. It's an entire desktop computer wrapped inside a nice little package that measures less than 18 x 18 x 4cm and comes from the maker of some very nice computers I've enjoyed testing in recent months.
Sold as a business computer, the EliteDesk Mini PC fits neatly underneath or behind a monitor, and comes with everything you need for a general business computer (apart from the monitor), including a keyboard and mouse, but this particular model won't be finding its way into any creative agencies.
Perhaps the newer, more powerful (and more expensive) G9 version of the EliteDesk 800 Mini will be able to contend for a place on our list of the best computers for graphic design alongside compact powerhouse Mac mini among others, but this model, with its ageing specs and underpowered processor, never really stood a chance. Still, it could be an option for general office work.
HP EliteDesk 800 G6 Desktop Mini review: Design and build
Here is where the EliteDesk 800 Mini shines. It's incredibly compact at just over 17 x 17cm across and just over 3cm thick, so it fit right underneath my monitor after I plugged everything into the plentiful ports on offer.
The traditional matte black casing is nondescript and the only flash on show is the fan-bladed front 'grille' design. It's very light, too, weighing less than an average laptop at about 1.4kg, so picking it up to plug everything in, your monitor, keyboard, mouse, webcam and any other accessories I needed, was nice and easy.
HP EliteDesk 800 G6 Desktop Mini review: Features
The highlight for the EliteDesk is the number of ports available for such a compact PC. On the front is the headphone/headset jack and three SuperSpeed USB ports, two Type-A (one charging one) and a Type-C with a 20Gbps signalling rate. And there's a port party in the rear (stop giggling!) with the power connector, three SS USB-A ports with 10Gbps signalling rate, two DisplayPort 1.4 ports, an RJ-45 ethernet port, an external antenna connector and an HDMI 2.1 port.
This means you can link multiple monitors, keyboard, mouse, an external hard drive (this is especially important on the smaller 256GB SSD spec), a wired internet connection and a webcam and still have space to charge your phone or connect a camera for image upload, for example. This is an area where the EliteDesk Mini definitely has most laptops in its price range pegged, as many need an external dock for any advanced connectivity.
There is a choice of an i5 or i7 processor when speccing out your PC, with the newer G9 model offering either the Intel Core i5-12500 or the i7-12700, along with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. The model I tested, however, was the older-gen G6 with the i5-10500T processor and 8GB of RAM and 256 GB SSD storage. It also has an older graphics processor, the Intel UHD Graphics 630 instead of the 770 on the newer model.
Another thing you don't get with every mini PC is a keyboard and mouse, but these are included here, with a black standard HP keyboard and mouse included in the package.
And unfortunately, with these stunted specs, it all adds up to a rather muted experience.
HP EliteDesk 800 G6 Desktop Mini review: Performance
Now, unfortunately I can't speak for the newer G9 model, but the HP EliteDesk 800 G6 Desktop Mini struggled to distinguish itself as anything above a decent general office work computer. Its compact size, ease of use and setup and generous port allowance makes it good for all general work, but when it came to pure grunt for more demanding creative tasks, it lagged behind similarly priced mini PCs (including the Mac mini, which in its still-powerful base spec is cheaper than the EliteDesk 800 Mini).
It will run Photoshop and video-editing software, but not many of them at the same time, and would likely struggle with more serious 4K video-editing or 3D design software.
Geekbench 5 compute benchmark:
Seeing as the EliteDesk 800 G6 Desktop Mini is not the newest generation of this computer, we shouldn't expect scores matching £1,500/$1,500 laptops. Still, while the Cinebench score indicated a decent multi-core score for its ability to handle Cinema 4D (slightly below £800-ish laptops on the market today), the Geekbench score felt disappointing for a desktop computer. With six cores and 12 threads, you'd expect this machine to perform better, but even adding a second and third app running contiguously with Photoshop or a video editor, I noticed the processing speed slowing, so unfortunately, this won't be a creative pro's go-to machine, unless they go for the highest-spec version of the newer G9 model. And even then, you'll have hit a price bracket with more powerful options than that available.
And obviously, with its pedestrian native graphics and limited RAM, the EliteDesk 800 G6 Mini isn't going to break any gaming records, but obviously it's not marketed or intended as a gaming computer, so I didn't do much testing in that regard.
The keyboard and mouse, like I said before, are basic propositions. The keyboard I received was the wired 320K keyboard and a wired HP MOFYUO mouse. Both worked perfectly well, but still feel like the budget gear they are. This has been upgraded to the much nicer HP 655 wireless keyboard and mouse combo for inclusion with the G9 version.
HP EliteDesk 800 G6 Desktop Mini review: Price
As the EliteDesk 800 G6 Mini has been superseded by the more up-to-date G9, with a new 12th-gen processor and more RAM, you'll be able to find this for under £500/$500. If you need a budget desktop for office work, this is definitely an option, but do keep in mind that you need to allocate budget for a monitor on top of this, which would take you into at least the £650/$650 range, at which point you should really be looking at laptops with equal or more grunt than this particular EliteDesk model offers.
Should you buy the HP EliteDesk 800 G6 Desktop Mini?
We are a website for creative enthusiasts and pros, so our buying advice has to reflect that. HP makes good-quality computers and laptops, and there is certainly nothing wrong with the EliteDesk 800 G6 Mini for general office work, but if you need something that demands graphic grunt and capacity for several creative apps running simultaneously, you can get better equipment for those needs, for not much more.