Build or pre-built?
Before we start, here is a part list that shows how much it would cost if you were to build a system yourself with similar specifications. I paid $1337.08 for my 750se. It is very hard to beat HP’s price, if possible at all. People who claim they can get the same stuff for cheaper probably have not actually written out a part list and done the math. What can be argued is how one might allocate the budget differently. Can I get a computer with GTX 980 Ti for less than $1337.08? Yes. But I’d have to give up something else.
HP ENVY 750se Desktop PC.
Product number: N3G97AV#ABA
HP also refers to this model as HP ENVY DESKTOP – 750-170SE CTO
The following options are chosen:
- HP Wireless Keyboard and Mouse
- 500W Power supply
- HP Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 1×1 with Bluetooth M.2 NIC (Stone Peak 1)
- 6th Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6700K processor quad-core [4.0GHz, 8MB Shared Cache]
- 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 980Ti [DL DVI-I, HDMI, DP, DP, DP]
- 256GB 3D SSD
Also refer to the HP support page for 750-170se.
While we are on the subject, I want to note that it is a lot more difficult to find HP product specifications than Lenovo products. Lenovo has a great “Product Specification Reference” website that allows you to search for and filter products, and look up their specifications presented in a nice PDF format. The best part though is that I can easily find these information BEFORE I purchase a Lenovo product. With a simple model number e.g. “T450s” as the search term, I can find all information I need. With HP, however, very limited information can be found on “750” or “750se”. Only searching for “750-170se” will return useful details about on this system. The problem, however, was that I did not know about “-170se” suffix until I have actually placed the order.
The case appear slanted, but only because the front case feet are thicker than the rear ones. The frames are still rectangular. BTW can we have a proper case feet as opposed to just two bumps? These can easily scratch your tabletop surface.
The case uses an inverted-ATX design, which I am fine with. I find the best way to work on this computer is by putting it upside down, as you will see in my later pictures. That would make it a traditional microATX tower. The top panel is pretty sturdy so the computer has no problem resting on it.
The 256 GB SSD is a SAMSUNG PM871. PM871 also has a 512 GB model. I wonder if that is what the 512 GB option is.
Samsung website. The specs of 256 GB PM871 are not particularly strong.
M.2 and NVMe support:
I don’t have a NVMe or M.2 drive myself. Based on this thread in HP Support Forum it appears that NVMe is indeed supported as a boot drive.
4/4/16 Update: Adding the second and third hard disk drive
The 256GB SSD is a fair $65 option, but what HP charges for a 512GB SSD is outrageous. The price for a second or third HDD is $74/$75, higher than what I am willing to pay but not terrible. The bigger issue is that you only have the option of 1 TB capacity drives. Naturally a question arises: Can I install an SSD or HDD myself?
The answer is yes. You need the following items:
- Proper screws, 4 per drive
- SATA data cable
- For 2.5″ drives, a proper adapter
The 750se case is designed to house three 3.5″ drives. SATA power connectors are readily available for all three drives, but you need your own SATA data cable if you didn’t order more than one drive. The drive cage is designed to be tool-less. Install four screws on the hard drive, and then slide it into the rails. Very simple. The trick is to get the right screws. HP did not provide me with any extra. After trying some screws I have in my own inventory that did not work, I went on eBay and found a $5 pack of HP screws. It was marked for ENVY 700 series but turned out to be exactly what I was looking for.
Not saying you have to buy HP screws. I am sure someone has found non-HP screws that work just fine. But they need to be sufficiently similar in terms of both shape and size, since the HP screws are very different from the typical computer screws I have seen. The advantage of using HP screws is that there will be no wiggle room between the hard drive and the cage.
I tried both a 2.5″ SSD and a 3.5″ HDD to test compatibility. No issues with either drive. The Intel 2.5″->3.5″ adapter worked flawlessly. But note that some adapters, such as the red plastic one (an eBay best-seller) in my picture, will not work. The adapter must strictly adhere to 3.5″ specification.
4/6/16 Update: The fourth hard disk drive
I was looking at the computer when I noticed this SATA power connector. Then I suddenly realized that I had forgotten about the remaining HDD bay.
The 4th HDD bay sits underneath the slim optical disk drive. To access it you need to remove the front panel. It uses the same tool-less design as the main drive cage. Ideally you should use those proprietary HP screws I showed above.
The drive bay has a little cover that is easily removed and can be put back after you have installed a drive.
The 4th SATA power connector is just long enough to reach the 4th HDD bay. Cable routing is automatically taken care of. I custom build desktops too and I love the freedom. But I certainly appreciate pre-built OEM machines and this is one of the reasons why. When you can customize most parts of a computer like large system integrators such as Dell and HP, you will be able to build more integrated, compact and compatible systems.
The video card bracket/holder is just wide enough to house a reference GTX 980 Ti, which means that adding a backplate is not an option. Not that you need one.
CPU and Motherboard:
The motherboard is the HP Thimphu made by Pegatron. Main features:
- 1* PCIe 3.0 x16
- 1* PCIe 3.0 x1
- 1* M.2. 2280.
CPU cooler uses 70 mm fan. Could not tell which OEM. Guessing Foxconn. Idling @ less than 30C with room temperature 20C. There is a pump fan header on the motherboard. But my machine is air-cooled apparently.
Keyboard and mouse:
This is one of the worst keyboard and mouse combo I have ever used. The set is actually the HP C6020 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo for those of you wondering. I hate it that HP does not make clear the model number on the configuration page, because this combo sucks. Just read the earliest review on that product page, which sums it up the best.
The keyboard and mouse share the same receiver. The keyboard is compact and light, but really is only good for casual typing. There is no zoning on this keyboard. Everything is cramped together and the layout is very different from the standard 104 keys. Blind locating the arrow keys and HOME, END, PG UP, PG DN is extremely difficult. Not a good productivity keyboard. Granted, if you spend a couple of months on it you can probably blind type just fine. I forced myself to use it for a week or so, but the learning is just not happening. Feature-wise the mouse is modern, but still the least comfortable mouse I have ever used from a major OEM. Don’t buy this set even though it’s only a $15 option.
The PSU is well-known at this point. Model DPS-500AB-20 A, HP P/N 746177-002. +12V max output is 470W combined. But a four-rail design on the 12V? Somebody help me make sense of this one.
In terms of cable management, this is certainly not the prettiest cable routing. But if you look closely, almost every cable is attached to some anchor point, from the thick 24pin connector to the thinnest Wi-Fi antenna wires. Even SATA data cables. There are cable management loops throughout the case and the use of cable ties is extensive. The video card support bracket is ugly but rock solid. There is nothing flashy in this case, but everything is reliable and practical. And that is I think what pre-built OEM systems are about.
This post is not be an exhaustive specification of the 750se, as mine is just one of the many possible configurations of this system. What I showed here might not apply to your system if yours is configured differently, although I do think that my component selections are popular enough that this post will help some potential buyers.
The 750se has been quite popular late 2015 and early 2016 thanks to HP’s aggressive promotions. Many customers looking to buy/upgrade their 750se want more details than what HP provides on their 750se product page. How many hard drives are supported and in what form factor? What is the 12V rail(s) configuration on the power supply? Who makes SSD? Maximum length of video card supported? What is the size of the case fan? What is the stock CPU cooler? etc. Some buyers have kindly supplied relevant information through various channels, but those information is sparse and hard to search for. Some of the pictures taken are not of the best quality. Some buyers do not make clear their system configuration when posting the information. Because the configuration of one component may depend on the selection of other components, different users sometimes provided seemingly conflicting information. Hopefully this post is useful for some.
Four Japanese websites provided some useful information for me before I placed my order. I have included them here. #1 #2 #3 #4
If I wish to install an SSDs on my own in this case will I need 3.5” to 2.5” adapter?
Yes you will.
any idea what the shipping dimensions and weight were?
22x20x16 and 26 lbs.
Does it have TPM or a TPM header?
Doesn’t look like it.
Any idea of what generation of PCI-E the M.2 slot provides? I’m hoping for Gen 3.
I have to assume it’s Gen 3. Skylake and Z170 chipset both support PCIe 3.0. It is unlikely that HP is branching out the M.2. from a separate chip that only support PCIe 2.0.
Nice pics you took! Would it be possible to add a non-ref (GTX 970 SSC no backplate) into the build and remove the reference 980 Ti and if so how difficult? I’ve built two computers from scratch already but this looks daunting… And a previous build I have a case with removable little rubber holders that allow you to add an SSD to the case, will that be enough?
Yes, it is possible to use a GTX 970. The video card bracket looks complicated but really is not. All you need to do is removing two screws. The bracket might not work with non-Titan coolers, but that only means you won’t have extra support for the video card. You can still use the card no problem. Most aftermarket computer cases don’t have this kind of video card support bracket anyways.
I am not familiar with the rubber holder you are talking about. I still suggest for best results get some HP screws from eBay. Or, just use some 3M double sided tapes to fix the SSD somewhere in the case. SSDs are light weight.
Thanks for the reply, I finally got the machine and added a 1TB SSD into it, took a while to get it to be used as the boot drive but it’s done and it’s a LOT faster as expected. Had to move the wiring out of the way but you’re right as it is very simple to remove the mounting bracket. SSD is just held on by the SATA cable as it seems tight enough.
Going to swap the 980 Ti for the 970 tomorrow, hope it’s as easy as when I removed my R9 390 from a custom build.
I just ordered a 750se with 16GB of RAM [16GB DDR4-2133 DIMM (2x8GB) RAM]. I am looking at possible adding 16GB more (2×8 to max out the slots). Do you have any idea what type of RAM comes with the computer? I am trying to use the same type to avoid any problems.
The (HP) cpu cooler screws into 4 holes into the motherboard (I think they are 75mm square) and on the other side I think the back-plate is fixed. Do you know of any 3rd party CPU coolers that can be used with this arrangement, where you don’t use the backplate that comes with the cpu cooler, and instead mount the cooler the same way as the HP cooler is mounted?
I have this desktop and an nvme 950 pro (Samsung). Here is the current status – it is not solved as per the link (that is on an 860ST). The good news is, it will boot up and supports the full speeds advertised for the drive. It is fast as hell. Bad news is, it takes about 3 minutes for the desktop to recognize it, so you don’t get the 7 second boots you normally enjoy with SSD. The other bad news is, that while this machine is an incredible buy (if you got the right price) – Me 1105.00 with 980ti and 6700K, windows 10…. HP Support doesn’t really care about their customers regarding this important issue. if anyone has it working properly please post.
Thanks for your input.
Two quick questions, I bought one of these just other day 6/1/2016 and it is the same model as yours, and I am wondering if you would be willing to tell me if this ram would work in this PC? https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TY6A1LY/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Also from reading your review, it appears that I can put a total of 4 hard drives in this, the one I purchased currently has one 256 SSD drive and the 1 TB drive.
Yes, these are compatible.
Yes, 4 hard drives. You’ll need SATA data cables.
One more quick question, but first let me say thanks for your response!. The computer I purchased came with the same power supply that you have but has the GTX 970 video card, so maybe uses a little less power then the video card mentioned here, GTX 980ti. My question is could that power supply we both have be able to power a gtx970 card and four solid state harddrives? I know that seems like a crazy overkill on the number of haddrives, but it is for a special setup for photoshop.
You are very welcome. Yes that PSU will have no problem handling a 970 and 4 SSDs. The 970 draws a good 100W less than a 980 Ti.
Thank you for the article. Quick question, I have a thermaltake blackx usb 2 / esata docking station. What is the best way to connect to this pc? Buy a esata faceplate to connect to the sata on the MB or buy a pcie x1 esata card?
Neither. I suggest get a USB 3.0 docking station as opposed to another eSATA accessory. eSATA is going away.
Hi, I see there are 4 slots but only 3 PCI options. I assume the top one is the empty one. Can the slot cover be removed?
Yes, using a little brute force
Don’t get me wrong. The cover is designed to be removable. It’s just you can’t put it back once removed.
Thanks for the article! I just received that same model and am looking to take a laptop disk (not SSD) and add it. It works, but now I need to decide on an adapter. Any suggestions? I’ve looked at reviews and there seems to be size issues with most supplier adapters. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.
The adapter needs to have the same 3 screw position on the side, same as on an 3.5″ drive.
Do you think the 500 watt psu is enough to power everything including extra storage drivesand ssd, and the beefy 980ti? So now you had for a while, any issues with it? Does it run hot even with a stock heats ink fan?
Yes, 500 Watts is enough for CPU + GPU + 4 storage devices.
I actually sold it long time ago since that machine was an overkill for me. During my time with it, it can get warm but nothing alarming.
I enjoyed reading this article, trying to decide which desktop to buy. Thank you!
That is one 80mm chassis fan, correct? How noticeable is the noise in your opinion?
Glad you find it useful.
Yes I think the case fan is a 80mm. I sold the computer not long after writing this article so I could be wrong though.
Noise depends on where you put the case. As long as the case is under the desk, I don’t find it annoying at all.
I bought one of these in December 2015 with the 512GB SSD option and the included drive is a Sandisk SD7SB2Q-512-1006 model.
I just purchased a refurbished 750 and upgraded the power supply, added an SSD and a 2nd hard drive. I wonder if you know what the two small wires are for that connect to the metal plates under the top of the case. They are shown in the “other” images that you have. When I swapped the power supply these two wires got loose and I have no idea what to do with them.
I hope you’re still monitoring this site and have a minute to write.
I think you are referring to the Wi-Fi antenna wires so you want to connect them to the Wi-Fi NIC cards on the motherboard. It’s a 2242 card, located near the PCIe slots I believe.
Thank you for such a quick reply! Not sure if I’ll search it out since I use Ethernet for my networking. But it’s great to know what they’re for!
Hey no problem man. Should you decide to reconnect the wires later, one of the photos in the CPU and Motherboard section gives a good view of the NIC (the images is full resolution too I believe) for your reference.
Found it in your images. Thanks!
I know this thread is old but well written article! I installed an M.2 (512gb) NVMe and use it as additional storage. If I find the time I may experiment and see if I can get it to boot Windows under EUFI/RAID, or something to that effect.
Glad to know. Thanks!
Very well written.
I know it’s late but I just came across the article while looking into whether a Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 TI would fit in the 750se case.
FE is the same old 10.5″ blower design so it should have no problem fit in this case.
Hello! great review. I’m planning to upgrade the GTX 970 to 1070… I have trouble removing the metal case around the 970… how did you do it? Thank you!
Sorry. Probably too late now lol. But in case anyone else is wondering, it should only take a couple screws and some slight wiggling maybe. If you find yourself using a lot of force then you are doing it wrong. Check if anything is stuck, some cable is in the way, etc.
Do you have this pc for sale? It’s posted for sale by a “friend” they said you moved or something. Just want to verify to make sure I’m not gonna get scammed or something LOL
That’s interesting. I sold the computer long ago. Is there a CL ad or something? I’d love to check it out lol.