HP Pavilion P6230y
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 $680 Pavilion P6230y is another midrange HP desktop PC that looks good on paper, but can't keep up with the competition in price and performance. It can certainly handle its own in day-to-day use, but the competing Asus Essentio CG5270-BP004 makes this Pavilion look slow and overpriced.
Not a whole lot has changed on the P6230y since we reviewed its cheaper sibling, the p6110y. Most of the desktops that take a turn through our labs have a similar black, glossy case; but HP adds flashy accents, like 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. Aesthetically speaking, we're confident that this system will fit anywhere without causing a stir.
|HP Pavilion P6230y||Asus Essentio CG5270-BP004|
|CPU||2.6GHz AMD Phenom II X4 810||2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300|
|Memory||8GB 800MHz DDR3 SDRAM||8GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM|
|Graphics||256MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics chip||32MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip|
|Hard drives||750GB, 7,200rpm||1TB, 7,200rpm|
|Optical drive||dual-layer DVD burner||dual-layer DVD burner|
|Networking||802.11 a/b/g/n wireless, 10/100/1,000 Ethernet LAN||10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
The most glaring difference in a side-by-side comparison with the Asus Essentio CG5270-BP004 is the HP's diminutive quad-core AMD chip, which is left in the dust in performance and power efficiency tests by the Asus' quad-core Intel CPU, even despite a slightly faster clock speed. For $30 less than the HP, Asus offers more storage room to offset the lack of built-in wireless, which can be easily added thanks to the Asus' ample expansion space.
Since the Asus actually costs less than the HP, the Pavilion P6230y essentially offers less computer for more money than the competition. Thankfully, HP is more generous with its port offerings than its computing power. You get two USB ports on the front of the tower, with six more ports around the back, along with 7.1 analog audio, coaxial digital audio, FireWire, VGA, DVI, Ethernet, and a built-in wireless-networking card. Neither system has an eSATA port, nor do we suspect that most people would miss it. However, you can definitely find it on other PCs in this price range.
|Multiple CPUs||Single CPU|
Before you make a buying decision in favor of HP, consider that the P2630y comes in second to the Asus in almost every test, except for the Cinebench tests that give credit to the highest clock speeds. The only system that gives the Asus a run is the ZT Affinity 7334Ma, but keep in mind that the extra processor speed will cost you $120 more than the HP and $150 more than the Asus.
Anyone still intent on buying this PC for whatever reason will find ample room inside the tower for future upgrades. You get a free 16x PCI Express graphics slot, three 1x PCI Express slots, and room for one more hard drive if you can get past the awkwardly placed cage that stands vertically against the back wall of the interior. Also, keep in mind that if you plan to upgrade memory down the line, you'll need to discard the existing RAM, since all four slots are currently occupied.
|HP Pavilion P6230y||Average watts per hour|
|Raw (annual kWh)||239.148|
|Energy Star compliant||No|
|Annual energy consumption cost||$27.14|
The HP Pavilion P6230y fares well against the competition in terms of the energy cost required to keep it running for a year. Coming in at just a few cents more than $27, HP manages to keep costs low, although the P5230y doesn't have much hardware inside to threaten your monthly energy bill in the first place. With a video chip integrated into the motherboard that handles all standard desktop applications and a newer AMD chip, we're not surprised that HP trends toward the more efficient end of the power-draw spectrum.
We used the Asus system as this HP's primary competition because their prices are identical and they have similar feature sets. We'd say Asus won the hardware match-up; however, service and support is a different story. HP's support offerings, on par with Dell's or Gateway's, give you one year of parts-and-labor warranty protection, as well as 24-7 toll-free phone support. We also appreciate its vast array of online support, including live chat. At least for now, HP has the upper hand in customer service.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Asus Essentio CG5270-BP004
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300; 8GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 1TB, 7,200rpm hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 2.5GHz AMD Phenom II X4 805; 8GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics chip; 1TB, 7,200rpm hard drive
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit; 2.3GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 640GB, 7,200rpm hard drive
HP Pavilion P6230y
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit; 2.6 GHz AMD Phenom II X4 810; 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics chip; 750GB, 7,200rpm hard drive
ZT Group Affinity 7334Ma
Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit (SP2); 3GHz AMD Phenom II X4 945 Quad Core ; 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 384MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics chip; 1TB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive