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HP Pavilion P6230y review: HP Pavilion P6230y

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The Good Ample room for expansion; decent performance results.

The Bad Other, faster PCs cost less.

The Bottom Line The HP Pavilion P6230y yields decent scores, but we have a hard time recommending a system that comes at a higher cost and with a slower performance rating than competing systems. This system has a few uncommon features for its price, but nothing that makes up for its overall poor bang for the buck.

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5.5 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 5
  • Performance 6
  • 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 $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
Price $680 $650
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.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion P6230y

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion P6230y

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion P6230y

Cinebench test
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Multiple CPUs  
Single CPU  
ZT Affinity 7334Ma
HP Pavilion P6230y
Asus Essentio CG5270-BP004
Gateway DX4300-11
Gateway SX2800-01

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.

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