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HP Compaq Presario SR5050NX review: HP Compaq Presario SR5050NX

HP Compaq Presario SR5050NX

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Rich Brown
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Rich Brown

Executive Editor / Reviews - Home and Wellness

Rich moved his family from Brooklyn to Louisville, Kentucky, in 2013 to start CNET's Appliances and Smart Home review team, which includes the CNET Smart Home, the CNET Smart Apartment, and the Appliances Review lab. Before moving to Louisville, Rich ran CNET's desktop computer review section for 10 years. He has worked as a tech journalist since 1994, covering everything from 3D-printed guns to Z-Wave smart locks.

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HP's reinvigorated Compaq Presario line, seen here in the $560 SR5050NX model, cuts a clean profile, thanks to a sharp new chassis design. But for all the thought that went into its visual appeal, it's hard for us to get too excited about the configuration of this particular system. The dated CPU, in particular, makes this system seem as if it was conceived to clear an inventory surplus, rather than to put a compelling product on the shelf. Some of you might forgive the lame processor for the benefits of this system's looks, its expandability, and its DVD burner. We'd certainly understand. But for our money, the best budget PC around remains HP's trimmer, faster Pavilion SlimLine, which will only cost you $20 more.

7.2

HP Compaq Presario SR5050NX

The Good

Attractive new chassis design and keyboard; LightScribe DVD burner uncommon at this price; robust support.

The Bad

Outdated CPU; no built-in Wi-Fi.

The Bottom Line

HP's new Compaq Presario SR5050NX squeaks by its direct eMachines competition, but both of those systems fall behind to HP's own SlimLine desktops in terms of features and performance. If you're looking for a basic desktop with expandability, though, we give this system the nod.

Once we got a look at the specs in the Presario SR5050NX, it felt as if we'd reviewed this exact PC before. And we practically have. At the core of this system, you'll find a 3.0Ghz Pentium D 925, 1GB of DDR2 533MHz RAM and its 250GB 7,200 rpm hard drive. That's a nearly identical config sheet to the eMachines T5226, a $550 PC that we reviewed at the end of April. The only real specs difference between the two is the hard drive. The eMachines has a Western Digital with a 16MB buffer, and the Presario has a Samsung with a smaller 8MB buffer. That difference and variations in driver versions might account for the slight variations in performance between the two systems on our benchmarks, but as you'll see, they don't vary by much.

Adobe Photoshop CS2 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Compaq Presario SR5050NX
390 

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Compaq Presario SR5050NX
234 

CineBench
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering Multiple CPUs  
Rendering Single CPU  
eMachines T5226
475 
256 
HP Compaq Presario SR5050NX
475 
258 

Because the Presario and its main eMachines competition are so similar, we can make the same point here that we did in the eMachines review. These PCs both deliver acceptable performance for mainstream applications in Windows Vista, but for the money, HP's Pavilion SlimLine s3020n is a faster PC, thanks to a more robust AMD processor. It also has a major features benefit in its built-in wireless networking adapter. That system will only cost you $20 more than the Presario SR5050NX. Especially if you already have a wireless network set up at home, the SlimLine is a better investment for pure computing power.

Like the eMachines, the Presario does have an advantage over the SlimLine in that the former gives you the option to expand its capabilities with room for two full-size PCI cards and a single 16x PCI Express graphics card. Because of its trimmed-down case, the SlimLine can only offer a half-height card, which limits your expansion options. For some of you, that expandability might be very important, but we're willing to bet that most people looking at a $500-$600 PC don't really have it in mind to crack the case open.

In the event that you are looking for that expandability, we'll give Presario the nod over the eMachines, even though the two are nearly identical (down to their 15-in-1 media card readers). The reason we like the Presario better is because its DVD burner offers LightScribe capability, which means lets you print a custom image on the surface of your optical discs. We also like the Presario's new keyboard, which is sleek and simple, with just enough media and hot keys to be useful without cluttering things up.

As the systems compare, so does the support. eMachines and HP's policies are nearly identical. Both give you one year of parts and labor coverage with a toll-free number to call for help. HP's phone lines are open 24-7. That gives HP a slight edge over eMachines, which lets its support techs take a break during the very wee hours. You'll find useful resources on each vendor's Web site, with drive downloads, frequently asked questions, and other help, and both vendors also offer a remote control option for over-the-Internet tech support. We continue to appreciate HP's Total Care software suite, which helps you diagnose problems with your PC before they happen, and we find the interface a bit more polished and intuitive than eMachines competing BigFix service. We also like that HP has cut down on the desktop icon clutter in this system, with only three shortcuts prompting you toward trial software. Still, none would be better.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:

eMachines T5226
Windows Vista Home Premium; 3.0GHz Intel Pentium D 925; 1GB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 224MB (shared) Intel GMA 950 graphics chip; 250GB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive

HP Compaq Presario SR5050NX
Windows Vista Home Premium; 3.0GHz Intel Pentium D 925; 1GB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 224MB (shared) Intel GMA 950 graphics chip; 250GB 7,200rpm Samsung hard drive

HP Pavilion SlimLine s3020n PC
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6400; 1,024MB DDR2 533MHz SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 7600GS graphics card; 320GB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive

iBuyPowerValue 640
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6400; 1,024MB DDR2 533MHz SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 7600GS graphics card; 320GB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive

7.2

HP Compaq Presario SR5050NX

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 6Support 7