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.
HP's $480 Pavilion Slimline s5220y is another low-end slim tower PC that offers mediocre performance and equally unexciting performance packaged in a relatively boring case. Its small stature might tempt some of you to use it as a light-duty PC, or even a media-streaming box, but its out-of-date connectivity options and generally lackluster components suggest otherwise. As an alternative, we prefer the older Gateway SX2800-01, that offers a robust array of connections and performs significantly faster than the HP.
The s5220y is essentially an update to the s5120y, an HP retail system from last quarter that also had performance and features issues. The tower measures 12.2-inches high, 4.4-inches wide, and 15.9-inches deep--it's slightly smaller than its closest competitor, the Dell Inspiron 545s-1476N, but is significantly larger than the Gateway SX2800-01. The Slimline's compact physical dimensions make it a good candidate for a living room PC, but you also don't get extra room for a second hard drive or addition memory.
|HP Pavilion Slimline s5220y||Dell Inspiron 545s-1476N|
|CPU||2.6GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5300||2.6GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5300|
|Memory||4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM||4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM|
|Graphics||256MB (shared) Intel GMA 3100 integrated graphics chip||256MB (shared) Intel GMA 3100 integrated graphics chip|
|Hard drives||640GB, 7,200rpm||640GB, 5,400rpm|
|Optical drive||dual-layer DVD burner||dual-layer DVD burner|
|Networking||10/100 Ethernet LAN||10/100 Ethernet LAN|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Premium 64-bit||Windows 7 Premium 64-bit|
Although it doesn't happen often, the Pavilion Slimline s5220y and the Dell Inspiron 545s-1476N are almost exact replicas of each other in both price and components. Both feature Intel's budget-price 2.6GHz Pentium Dual Core chip, 4GB of memory, a standard integrated graphics chip, and 640GB of storage. Despite subtle differences between the two, they essentially produce the same benchmark scores, which leave both systems choking on the Gateway's dust.
|Rendering Multiple CPUs||Rendering Single CPU|
As expected, the Slimline s5220y registered luke-warm benchmark results, finishing in the middle or the bottom of the pack in all four of our tests. The system can certainly handle day-to-day browsing, lightweight edits, and media playback, but the Gateway SX2800-01 offers significantly faster performance for $30 less after the latest price drop.
If its poor performance isn't a surprise, we weren't expecting the HP would continue to suffer from the dated connectivity options that have plagued HP's Slimline systems all year. The front of the HP gives you a vertical-loading dual-layer DVD burner, a single media card reader, two USB ports, and a headphone jack, and the back end offers four more USB ports, 5.1 analog audio outputs, an Ethernet jack, a VGA connection, a 56k modem, and a pair of PS/2 ports for the mouse and keyboard. Sounds fairly robust on paper, but the Gateway gives you all the above in addition to mini FireWire, eSATA, HDMI video out, and eight USB ports.
With the more capable Gateway out there for less money, we don't advocate buying the HP as an upgrade platform. If you went that route, you'd find the single hard drive bay occupied by the 640GB hard drive, and both memory slots filled, but you would get a free 16x PCI graphics slot and a pair of 1x PCI Express slots to play with if you remove the 56k modem. That's roughly what we expect to find in a slim tower, although an extra pair of RAM slots, like you'll find in the Gateway, would have been welcome.
|Raw (annual kWh)||186.34|
|Energy Star compliant||Yes|
|Annual operating cost (@$0.1135/kWh)||$21.15|
Given its relatively poor performance next to other budget PCs, we'd hoped the HP would save more power. Its power efficiency isn't terrible, and it's in Energy Star-certified territory, so we can't be too disappointed. Still, we'd rather get something in exchange for the HP's lack of speed.
HP backs the Pavilion Slimline s5120y with a one-year warranty that covers parts and labor, alongside 24-7 toll-free phone support. The system itself comes with self-help software for troubleshooting and system maintenance and you'll find the usual assortment of drivers, support chat, and other resources on HP's Web site.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Asus Essentio CM5570-AP003
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 2.6GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5300; 6GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB Intel MGA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 750GB, 7,200rpm hard drive
Dell Inspiron 545s-1476N
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 2.6GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5300; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB Intel GMA 3100 integrated graphics chip; 640GB, 7,200rpm hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 2.6GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5300; 6GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB Intel GMA X4500 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 Slimline s5220y
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit; 2.6 GHz Pentium Dual-Core E5300; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB Intel GMZ 3100 integrated graphics chip; 640GB, 7,200rpm hard drive