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HP Pavilion Slimline s3710t review: HP Pavilion Slimline s3710t

HP Pavilion Slimline s3710t

Rich Brown Former Senior Editorial Director - Home and Wellness
Rich was the editorial lead for CNET's Home and Wellness sections, based in Louisville, Kentucky. Before moving to Louisville in 2013, Rich ran CNET's desktop computer review section for 10 years in New York City. He has worked as a tech journalist since 1994, covering everything from 3D printing to Z-Wave smart locks.
Expertise Smart home | Windows PCs | Cooking (sometimes) | Woodworking tools (getting there...)
Rich Brown
5 min read

We've been fans of HP's Pavilion Slimline desktops for a few years now. With the right combination of components, they can tackle both general productivity and home entertainment chores with aplomb. The $869 Pavilion Slimline S7310t is no different from its predecessors, offering a Blu-ray drive, wireless networking, and speedy performance in a tidy package. You might find a self-contained all-in-one PC like the Sony Vaio JS250J more appealing for home entertainment duty if you're space-constrained. However, if you already own a display that can do justice to HD video content, the Pavilion Slimline S3710t will complement it nicely.


HP Pavilion Slimline s3710t

The Good

Flexible slimtower design fits in the office or the living room; full complement of home entertainment features, including Blu-ray, for less than $1,000; fast basic productivity performance.

The Bad

All-in-ones make better secondary PCs in smaller spaces.

The Bottom Line

HP's Pavilion Slimline S7310t is a great example of the strengths of the slimtower PC. Fast, loaded with features, and attractive enough to put almost anywhere, this SlimLine is a competent, economical alternative to the new crop of affordable all-in-one computers--especially if you already have a display in need of a PC to put it to work.

If you've browsed the desktop aisle at a Best Buy in recent years, the SlimLine chassis should look familiar. Its compact, glossy black design will fit both physically and aesthetically almost anywhere, from an office or next to a stack of home entertainment components. An HDMI video output on the graphics card lets you connect it directly to an HDTV, and its wireless networking capability helps keep cable clutter to a minimum.

  HP Pavilion Slimline S7310t Sony Vaio JS250J
Price $869 $1,099
CPU 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E7300 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E5200
Memory 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Graphics 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9500 GS graphics card 256MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 9300M GS integrated graphics chip
Hard drives 500GB, 7,200rpm 500GB, 7,200rpm
Optical drive Blu-ray/dual-layer DVD burner Blu-ray/dual-layer DVD burner
Networking Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n wireless Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n wireless
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit)

Keep in mind the Pavilion SlimLine S7310t is a custom PC. Its starting configuration sells for as low as $380, but you can add an even larger hard drive than our review unit, as well as a quad-core CPU, bumping the price tag more than $1,000. We find Sony's Vaio JS250J makes a strong comparison against our $869 SlimLine review unit.

Unlike our HP, the Sony is an all-in-one. It also costs about $250 more than our review system, coincidentally about the same price as a reasonably decent 22-inch monitor (larger than the Sony's 20-inch LCD). Factor in the cost of the extra display, and the comparison playing field becomes a bit more level.

Because of its self-contained design, we'd pick the Sony with no hesitation for a secondary entertainment center in a kitchen or other space-constrained area. However, aside from the different form factors, the HP and Sony systems are actually quite similar. HP has the advantage in its discrete graphics card and a faster CPU, but both have a Blu-ray drive, wireless networking capability, and a 500GB hard drive. Given its lower price than the Sony, the HP comes away from this comparison looking like quite a good deal, especially if you already own a display in need of a PC to match.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion Slimline S3710t

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion Slimline S3710t

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

HP Pavilion Slimline S3710t

Cinebench test
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multiple CPUs  
Rendering single CPU  
ZT Affinity 7308Ma
HP Pavilion Slimline S3710t
Sony Vaio JS250J
Apple Mac Mini

ZT Group's impressive $699 Affinity 7308Ma desktop outperforms our Pavilion SlimLine review unit almost across the board. That system also has a Blu-ray drive, giving the 7308Ma certain credibility as a PC for work and home entertainment. If you put performance first, we'd recommend that PC over the SlimLine.

The HP's slimtower design puts it in more specialized company, however. Given that you might conceivably put it in your living room, we're willing to forgive the HP's slower multitasking performance. We don't imagine many people swapping between intensive programs from the couch. However, we still appreciate the SlimLine's fast iTunes encoding performance. You might very likely engage in similar single-minded tasks in a PC you've dedicated to digital media consumption.

Rounding out the HP, you get a TV tuner, a handful of USB 2.0 ports on the front and back of the system, as well as a single FireWire port. Digital audio outputs and eSATA are absent, and because our review unit came with both the TV tuner and the GeForce graphics card, this configuration has no room for internal card upgrades. Indeed, the only upgrade you can make without replacing the current hardware is via the HP Pocket Media Drive slot on the front of the case, but as that's only really a USB interface for a proprietary removable HP hard drive, you can make the same "upgrade" by tacking on any old external USB drive.

Even though we have yet to review one, we should also draw your attention to Dell's new Inspiron 537s. Announced just last week, Dell's new slimtower offers a near-identical configuration to the SlimLine (faster CPU, but no TV tuner like the HP), for $830. We don't want to crown any system a winner before we put our hands on it, but Dell finally seems ready to give HP some competition in this category. We hope to get a review unit in soon.

Like Dell, HP also suffers from an apparent case of Apple envy with its superfluous OS X-style icon dock transplanted onto the Windows desktop. Yes, this feature exposes HP's TotalCare system self-diagnosis and support software, and in general it's harmless, but both HP's and Dell's icon docks feels like such shameless examples of me-too-ism that it's hard not to snicker.

Hewlett-Packard, like most mainstream vendors, offers one year of parts and labor coverage for this system. You also get 24-7 toll-free phone coverage and onsite service at HP's discretion. The HP Web site also has a useful selection of help tools, including driver downloads, FAQs, and customer support chat.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:
Apple iMac (20-inch)
Apple OS X 10.5.6; 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; 2GB 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 9400m integrated graphics chip; 320GB 7,200rpm hard drive.

Apple Mac Mini
Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard; 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; 2GB 1,067MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 9400 integrated graphics chip; 320GB 5,400rpm hard drive.

HP Pavilion SlimLine S7310t
64-bit Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E7300; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9500 GS graphics card; 500GB, 7,200rpm hard drive.

Sony Vaio JS250J
64-bit Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E5200; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 9300M GS integrated graphics chip; 500GB, 7,200rpm hard drive.

ZT Affinity 7308Ma
64-bit Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.8GHz AMD Phenom II X4 920; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics chip; 750GB, 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive.


HP Pavilion Slimline s3710t

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Performance 6Support 8