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HP Pavilion p6210y review: HP Pavilion p6210y

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MSRP: $579.99

The Good Reasonable performance for its price; glossy case design adds flare; organized interior with space for upgrades.

The Bad Gateway offers a faster, more flexible PC for less.

The Bottom Line The HP Pavilion P6210y gets by as a decent performer in entry-level applications, but we're disappointed by its lack of features. It can definitely serve as a family PC, but the Gateway SX2800-01 is a faster computer with more flexibility in its connection offerings.

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6.8 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 6
  • Performance 8
  • Support 7

Editors' note: This review is part of our 2009 Retail Laptop and Desktop Holiday Roundup, which covers specific fixed configurations of popular systems found in retail stores.

The Gateway SX2800-01 has become the gold standard for budget desktops ever since it rolled through our lab a few months ago. Most recently, the $579 Dell Inspiron 545s-3055NBK narrowed the gap, at least in terms of price and performance, and the HP Pavilion P5210y now offers a similar system for the same price. Unfortunately, this HP still lags behind the Gateway and looks outdated next to its impressive list of motherboard connections and aggressive CPU. The Gateway SX2800-01 remains our top budget PC for anyone hunting for a solid, affordable computer.

Although the design hasn't changed since the P6230y, we're still digging the clean, glossy black finish and the muted blue LED-lit power button. The bottom panel drops down to reveal a set of headphone and microphone jacks, and the optical drive and expansion bay both sit flush behind two covers as well. A media card reader on top rounds out the hardware on the front.

  HP Pavilion P6210y Dell Inspiron 545s-3055NBK
Price $579 $579
CPU 2.6GHz AMD Athlon II X4 620 2.93GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E7500
Memory 6GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM 6GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Graphics 256MB (shared) NVIDIA GeForce 9100 integrated graphics chip 256MB (shared) Intel GMA 3100 integrated graphics chip
Hard drives 640GB, 7,200rpm 750GB, 7,200rpm
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner
Networking 10/100 Ethernet LAN 10/100 Ethernet LAN, 802.11n wireless
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

The HP Pavilion P6210y and the Dell Inspiron 545s-3055NBK are priced the same and look similar on paper, but the HP distinguishes itself with a quad-core AMD CPU that gives it a slight advantage in the multitasking test.

Even still, the Gateway SX2800-01's remains the system to beat, both in terms of performance as well as cost. For $70 less than the HP and the Dell, we're still impressed by Gateway's ability to register almost the exact same scores, despite a negligible difference in the multitasking test.

HP manages to get a short leg up on Gateway in terms of internal expansion. While the SX2800-01's svelte chassis forces you to upgrade it with half-height cards, the Pavilion P6210 has room for a full-size16x PCI Express slot for a 3D graphics card and two spare 1x PCI Express lot. You can also add another hard drive and an extra memory stick.

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 multiple CPUs  
Rendering single CPU  
Asus Essentio CG5270-BP004
Gateway DX4300-11
Gateway SX2800-01
HP Pavilion P6210y
Dell Inspiron 545s-3055NBK

The Gateway SX2800-01 outperforms the HP by a wide margin in three out of the four tests, with the exception of the multitasking test, where the two systems register almost the same scores. Factor in the $70 you save by going with the Gateway, and the Pavilion P6290 looks expensive and outclassed by comparison.

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