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HP Pavilion p6130y review: HP Pavilion p6130y

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The Good Decent amount of upgradability; strong customer support.

The Bad Dog-slow; poor power efficiency; questionable features for the price.

The Bottom Line With more aggressive competition on retail shelves, the HP Pavilion p6130y isn't a particularly compelling desktop computer thanks to underwhelming features and poor performance. We only recommend this system if you truly need the hand-holding that comes with the support of a major U.S. PC vendor.

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5.7 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 5
  • Performance 4
  • Support 7

Review Sections

Editors' note: This review is part of our 2009 Retail Laptop and Desktop Back-to-School roundup, covering specific fixed configurations of popular systems that can be found in retail stores.

HP's $630 Pavilion p6130y is a relatively competent, attractive PC, but scrappier competition with better features make this Pavilion look slow and overpriced. HP stands on more solid customer service footing than some other vendors thanks to its established online support, but that's really the only saving grace for this desktop.

The Pavilion p6130y looks almost identical to the less expensive p6110y. The glossy black case is essentially universal among retail systems these days, so we can't say the Pavilion stands out visually, but it also has some inviting accents, such as a soft-blue LED-lit power button and a sliding panel on the face of the system that conceals the media card reader and front USB 2.0 and audio ports. You could put this system anywhere without feeling ashamed by its appearance.

  HP Pavilion p6130y Asus Essentio CM5570-AP006
Price $630 $630
CPU 2.4GHz AMD Phenom X4 9750 2.3GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200
Memory 8GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM 6GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Graphics 256MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 9100 integrated graphics 512MB Nvidia GeForce G100
Hard drives 750GB 7,200rpm 750GB 7,200rpm
Networking 10/100 Ethernet; 802.11b/g wireless Gigabit Ethernet; 802.11b/g/n wireless
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit)

Even if we pretend that the quad-core AMD chip in this HP is equal to the quad-core Intel CPU in the Asus system (a big leap, based on our performance and power efficiency tests), the HP can only counteract the discrete graphics card in the Asus with an extra 2GB of system RAM. Extra memory can be useful, but even a low-end 3D card will open up improved gaming experiences, and also enables an upgrade to a Blu-ray drive.

Because it costs the same price as the Asus, the Pavilion p6130 effectively offers less computer for more money than its competition. Thankfully its port offerings aren't as dire as HP's lower-end PCs. You get a smattering of USB 2.0 ports, 7.1 analog audio, coaxial digital audio, full-size FireWire, VGA, DVI, and Ethernet ports on the back of the HP. Asus has no FireWire, and optical digital audio instead of coax. We're disappointed the neither system has an eSATA port, because you can find it on other PCs in this price range, but that's also not exactly the first feature we expect most of you will ask for.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Multimedia multitasking
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multi-CPU  
Rendering single CPU  
Gateway SX2800-01
Asus Essentio CM5570-AP006
Dell Inspiron 545
HP Pavilion p6130y
Dell Inspiron 545s

Even if you're not interested in the benefits conferred by the Asus' discrete 3D card, there's no denying that the HP Pavilion p6130y comes up short on every benchmark test. Keep in mind that the Gateway SX2800-01 that does so well on these tests is a $510 slim-tower PC, and it becomes painfully clear that the HP is a laggard. We can't say that this Pavilion is nettop-slow, and it will handle most common computing tasks reasonably well, but with so many faster PCs out there in the same price range, and so little else to recommend this HP, we can't see any reason why you should settle for its poor performance.

Upgraders still drawn to this PC for some reason will find pretty much what you'd expect in a budget-priced system. The 300-watt power supply prevents any serious 3D card installations, but you do at least get a free 16x PCI Express graphics slot. You won't find any standard PCI slots on the motherboard; instead HP went with three 1x PCI Express slot, one of which occupied by the Wi-Fi antenna mounts. You should be able to find most common card upgrades in 1X PCI Express format, although the lack of standard PCI will prevent any legacy upgrades. The hard-drive cage is also irritatingly jammed against the back wall of the interior, and as it seats the drives vertically you'll need to remove the entire cage if you want to add a second hard drive. The cage removal process is also tricky, requiring you to take out two screws, press a lever, and maneuver the cage up off its metal bracket.

Juice box
HP Pavilion p6130y Average watts per hour
Off (60 percent) 1.71
Sleep (10 percent) 3.46
Idle (15 percent) 116.01
Load (15 percent) 140.13
Raw kWh 426.81786
Annual energy cost $48.44

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