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HP Compaq Presario SR5610f review: HP Compaq Presario SR5610f

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MSRP: $528.00

The Good Inexpensive; Ethernet LAN included; aggressive CPU; impressive warranty program.

The Bad Lacks media card reader; no available SATA or memory slots; the competition offers a better bargain.

The Bottom Line The HP Compaq Presario SR5610f stirs together a mix of mediocre parts in a cookie-cutter chassis, brewing up an altogether yawn-worthy computer. The price tag falls in line with other budget systems that feature similar components, but we recommend spending $50 more on the Acer x3200, a well designed compact PC that can carry more weight across a wider variety of applications.

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5.6 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 5
  • Performance 5
  • Support 7

The low cost Presario SR5610f is in Compaq's budget "SR" line of prebuilt PCs. The no frills chassis echoes our excitement about the internal components; the system features a 2.5GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800 CPU, 3GB of RAM, an integrated Nvidia graphics chip, a single 320GB hard drive, and 32-bit Windows Vista Home Premium. The parts actually match up almost perfectly with the eMachines ET1161-03, another low-cost desktop PC. Although the Presario's CPU is slightly beefier than the eMachines, the rest of the components aren't blowing minds and the stock configuration leaves scant room for upgrades. To its credit, the Presario SR5610f is simple and affordable, but we actually recommend saving up an extra $50 for the Aspire AX3200-U3600A, a sexier, slim-line, desktop computer that will give you far better components at a very reasonable price.

The SR5610f tower is simple, with very light design touches, including a silver-sparkle finish wrapped around the front panel. The dual layer DVD lives on top of the faceplate and a space is available directly below it for another IDE-loading hard drive. Toward the bottom of the tower, you'll find two USB 2.0 ports and a couple of audio jacks for a stereo mic and a set of headphones. Unfortunately, the Presario misses a step by omitting a front-mounted media-card reader, like the one on the eMachines ET1161-03. This oversight will force amateur photographers to plug their digital cameras directly into one of the USB 2.0 ports--annoying, not crippling. For a run down of the internal hardware, we put the Presario up against the Aspire AX3200-U3600A, a high-rated budget system with an impressive list of features.

Compaq Presario SR5610f Acer Aspire X3200
Price $399 $459
CPU 2.5GHz AMD Athlon 64, X2 Dual Core 4800 2.1GHz AMD Phenom X3 8450
Memory 3GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Graphics 128MB (shared) NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE integrated graphics chip 256MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 8200 integrated graphics chip
Hard drives 320GB, 7,200 rpm 320GB, 7,200 rpm
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner
Networking 10/100Mbps Ethernet LAN Gigabit Ethernet
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit) Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit)

The Presario's components will limit you to the most basic applications, word processing, and Web browsing, but you can spend an extra $50 for the Acer Aspire and enjoy an extra CPU core, more memory, a Gigabit Ethernet connection, and even a HDMI port to play high definition video. You do get two PCI slots as well as an open PCIe slot for an aftermarket video card in the Compaq, but it lacks additional SATA ports and both DIMM slots are already filled with two memory sticks. If you want to add more memory in the future, plan on sacrificing at least one gigabyte stick of RAM. Given the low-end parts, you'd likely be better off saving for a faster PC than spending the money on upgrading this system.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Compaq Presario SR610F

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Compaq Presario SR610F

(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Multimedia multitasking
Compaq Presario SR610F

(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering Multiple CPUs
Rendering Single CPU
Dell Inspiron 530
Acer Aspire X3200
Dell Inspiron 530s
Compaq Presario SR610F

The Presario can't keep up with the other systems in the lineup, especially in the Photoshop and multitasking tests that benefit from more memory and faster processors. As expected, the Acer Aspire x3200 puts the Presario to shame in three out the four tests, but the Compaq manages to squeeze out a victory in the iTunes tests, where the encoder takes full advantage of the Compaq CPU's faster clock speed.

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