Asus Essentio CM5671-05 review: Asus Essentio CM5671-05

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MSRP: $499.99
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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Ample storage space; HDMI and optical audio ports let you connect it seamlessly to an HDTV; updated design with easy access to USB ports and media card reader.

The Bad Slow multithreaded performance; lacks Wi-Fi; competing systems offer more horsepower for less.

The Bottom Line Its newly designed tower, HDMI port, and generous hard-drive capacity aren't enough to make the Asus Essentio CM5671-05 stand out next to the HP Pavilion p6510y, a similarly priced system with a faster quad-core processor and built-in Wi-Fi. The Asus system is no slouch, and we recommend it to shoppers who are concerned with storage capacity rather than speed, but even amateur media editors will benefit from the HP p6510y's extra speed.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.1 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 6.0
  • Service and support 4.0

Editors' note: This review is part of our 2010 retail laptop and desktop back-to-school roundup, covering specific fixed configurations of popular systems found in retail stores.

Asus finally gave the Essentio CM5671-05's chassis a makeover, but its good looks and 1TB hard drive don't change the system's unremarkable components. If you limit your common tasks to Web browsing and media playback, you'll be satisfied with the Essentio CM5671-05; however, if you edit digital media, you should spend a little more money and buy the HP Pavilion p6510y.

Asus redesigned its Essentio desktops this season, giving the line a chassis that takes a much-needed aesthetic departure from the boring, boxy shape of older models such as the Essentio CM5571-BR003. Once hidden behind a front panel on the old case, the media card reader is now prominently placed on an angled lip at the top of the chassis along with four USB ports and two audio jacks. The system's optical drive and expansion bay complete the chassis' front panel.

  Asus Essentio CM5671-05 HP Pavilion p6510y
Price $500 $530
CPU 2.8GHz Intel Dual-Core E5500 2.8GHz AMD Athlon II X4 630
Memory 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics 128MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip 256MB (shared) ATI RS880 integrated graphics chip
Hard drives 1TB, 7,200rpm 750GB, 7,200rpm
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner
Networking 10/100/1,000 Ethernet LAN 10/100/1,000 Ethernet LAN, 802.11 b/g/n wireless
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

The Asus Essentio CM5671-05 closest competitor is the HP Pavilion p6510y, a similar midtower that bundles more features in a slightly pricier configuration. Both systems' have 4GB of system memory, but the HP has a faster quad-core AMD processor that is better suited for multitasking and multithreaded programs, as you can see in the performance charts.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Asus Essentio CM5671-05

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Asus Essentio CM5671-05

Multimedia multitasking tests
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Asus Essentio CM5671-05

(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multiple CPUs  
Rendering single CPU  
HP Pavilion p6510y
Gateway DX4840
Asus Essentio CM5671-05

The HP makes a compelling argument for its purchase with a victory over the Asus Essentio CM5671-05 in three out of four of our benchmark tests. The Gateway DX4840-03e we include in the comparison costs $100 more than the Asus and has a faster CPU clock speed with its Core i3 processor, so its unmatched triumph in our tests isn't surprising. Based on the test results, the HP is the best system for running multithreaded applications--such as certain media editing programs--that can take advantage of its quad-core AMD chip. It even bested the Gateway with its Core i3 processor in our multicore Cinebench test. Not one of the systems in this price range is a true performance PC, but the HP comes across as the better basic productivity PC than the Asus does.

The Asus has plenty of space available inside for upgrades. It has a standard PCI slot for an aftermarket video card, two PCI Express slots, and a single 1x PCI Express slot for further expansion. You can also add two more sticks of memory--two slots are occupied by 2GB sticks already--and another hard drive to the open bay.

To make up for its speed deficiencies, the Asus has more connectivity options than the HP has. The Asus has an HDMI port, S/PDIF digital audio in, 10 USB ports, and the standard analog audio jacks. We connected the system to a standard desktop monitor with an HDMI cable and the Essentio ran full-screen video from YouTube, Hulu, Vimeo, and Netflix without any hiccups and it played full 1080p HD movie trailers from Apple's Web site.

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