Alienware Aurora R12 vs. HP ProDesk 400 G5 SFF
Comparison and Differences
Differences between Alienware Aurora R12 and HP ProDesk 400 G5 SFF
If you are looking for the smaller form factor the HP ProDesk 400 G5 SFF is the right one for you. It is smaller than the Alienware Aurora R12 and will fit more easily under your desk.
Usually the newer the generation of the CPU, the better the performance and efficiency is. If your budget allows it, you should go with the Alienware Aurora R12 as it is running a newer generation CPU. This is not to say that HP ProDesk 400 G5 SFF is bad - it can still run some powerful CPUs, albeit being an older generation.
The Alienware Aurora R12 has 4 RAM slots while the HP ProDesk 400 G5 SFF has only 2 slot(s). This is not something to worry about. Just make sure you take it into consideration when planning how much RAM you are going to use.
The Alienware Aurora R12 is using the faster 3400 MT/s RAM. The HP ProDesk 400 G5 SFF is slower by supporting RAM speeds of up to 2666 MT/s. Additionally, if you will be needing a lot of RAM, better go for the Alienware Aurora R12 as it has the ability to run 128 GB of RAM. The HP ProDesk 400 G5 SFF can do a bit less at max 32 GB. Most of the times, this should be sufficient for the majority of users.
In total the Alienware Aurora R12 has 15 USB ports. The HP ProDesk 400 G5 SFF is inferior in this regard and packs 8 USB ports. In any case, if you miss USB ports, you can always purchase a USB hub. What is nice about the Alienware Aurora R12, is that it has 3 USB 3.1 port(s) which allows transfer of up to 10Gb/s. Unfortunately, the HP ProDesk 400 G5 SFF has no such port, thus restricting your transfer speeds significantly. For people who want to use external drives on regular basis, this might be an issue.
Unfortunately, only the HP ProDesk 400 G5 SFF has a DisplayPort. The Alienware Aurora R12 does not have one? Don't worry though, nowadays video adapters are cheap and you can get almost any combination of conversion types.
None of the models has an HDMI port. If your monitor supports only the HDMI interface, you will need to buy an adapter. Such adapters are cheap so nothing to worry about.
SATA ports are placed on the system board and it is where you connect your HDD, SSD and Optical Disk Drives. More SATA slots will allow you to have more drives running at the same time. In this regard the Alienware Aurora R12 is better equipped as it comes with 4 SATA slot(s), while the HP ProDesk 400 G5 SFF has 3 slot(s).
When your goal is to have the fastest SSD transfer speeds, an M.2 interface is crucial. Thus, it is good that both models have M.2 SSD slots. Today M.2 SSDs are not much more expensive than the average SATA drives, so it really does not make sense to invest in SATA drives anymore.
Make sure that the available M.2 slot supports the PCIe (also called NVMe) interface. This is important as there are M.2 slots which support only the inferior SATA III interface. For comparison, the SATA III interface has max speeds of 6Gb/s, while the PCIe 3.0 x4 will support speeds up to 32Gb/s!
Having a Power Supply Unit with high power rating is important, if you are going to use components which require extra power. The HP ProDesk 400 G5 SFF comes with a decent 180 Watt PSU, but the Alienware Aurora R12 has a more powerful one rated at 1000 Watts. Choosing either one depends on your specific requirements and use case. Also don't forget that some models might have more than one PSU option - try to always get the most powerful one, especially if you plan to upgrade to a powerful GPU.