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Editors' note: This review is part of our , which covers specific fixed configurations of popular systems found in retail stores.
The HP Pavilion Slimline s5310y offers a meager system for shoppers on a strict budget. With a 3GHz dual-core processor, an integrated graphics chip, 4GB of memory, and a 640GB hard drive, you might be fooled into actually giving this system a spot on your shopping list; that is, unless you've already read our review of the Gateway SX2840-01. Compared with this Editors' Choice winner, the HP s5310y's glaring lack of features is clear. In case it's not obvious, we highly recommend leaving this system alone and picking up the Gateway SX2840-01 instead, for either productivity or living room duties.
Despite its performance and component deficiencies, HP's slimtower case has a certain flair. The design debuted a few years back, and its glossy black exterior is classy enough. By not evolving its design, however, HP has allowed itself to fall behind the Gateway SX2840-01, a significantly smaller, more versatile slim tower. We also miss the bay for an (optional) removable hard drive that HP offered on past Slimlines.
|HP Pavilion Slimline s5310y||Gateway SX2840-01|
|CPU||3GHz AMD Athlon II X2 250||2.93GHz Intel Core i3-530|
|Memory||4GB 1333 DDR3 SDRAM||6GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM|
|Graphics||256MB (shared) NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE integrated graphics chip||64MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip|
|Hard drives||640GB, 7,200rpm||1TB, 7,200rpm|
|Optical drive||dual-layer DVD burner||dual-layer DVD burner|
|Networking||10/100 Ethernet LAN||Gigabit Ethernet|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)||Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)|
The front of the HP stores most of the basic features you need close at hand, like a DVD burner, media card reader, two USB ports, and a headphone jack.
Around back, you'll find a paltry set of external ports that include a single VGA for connecting a display, four more USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port for wired Internet, and three audio jacks for line in/out and a microphone. Believe it or not, that's it--no wireless card, no eSATA, no FireWire, and worst of all, no HDMI. Such a paltry selection of ports limits the Pavilion Slimline s5310y to desktop monitor connections, ignoring the potential of this system in the living room that comes by virtue of its slim tower case. By including HDMI, among other extras, Gateway's SX2840-01 opens up a broader range of display options, giving you more flexibility in how and where you use it.
|Rendering multiple CPUs||Rendering single CPU|
The HP, with its dual-core Athlon CPU, gets outgunned by the Gateway on three of our four performance tests. This defeat is largely due to the Gateway's Intel Core i3 chip. Through some clever chip design, this CPU provides the speed benefits of a dual-core CPU, but can also emulate two extra cores as the workload demands, making it a virtual quad-core CPU. As a result, the Gateway takes HP across the board, especially in the Cinebench test that taxes all four of its cores. Neither of the systems set performance records, and for most common tasks the HP will provide adequate performance. You should just expect that the HP will slow down on more demanding workloads, which the Gateway will find less challenging.
It doesn't make sense to put this HP in the living room since it doesn't have an HDMI output, but we still wanted to find out how well it handles streaming video from the Web. Connected to a standard desktop monitor via a VGA cable, the HP ran full-screen video from sites like YouTube, Hulu, Vimeo, and Netflix without a glitch, snag, or delay. In addition, the HP smoothly played full 1080p HD movie trailers from Apple's Web site. You might conceivably chain together an adapter or two to connect this system to a TV.
If you're determined to bring the HP into your living room, you could always add a 3D card with an HDMI output. The slim tower case means you have to use half-height expansion cards in the two 1X PCI Express slots and the one open 16x PCI Express graphics card slot for a 3D graphics card. That's actually one more card expansion slot that you get in the Gateway, but the HP also has only half as many memory slots. Both of the HP's slots are filled, giving you 4GB of RAM total, but the Gateway has 6GB onboard, across four slots. In both systems, the existing hard drive sits in the only bay available, so any future hard-drive expansion has to come in the form of external USB 2.0 hard drives or networked storage.
|HP Pavilion Slimline s5310y|
|Raw (annual kWh)||235.47756|
|Annual operating cost (@$0.1135/kWh)||$26.73|
We're also unimpressed with the Slimline's power efficiency, especially given its relatively poor performance next to other budget PCs. Its greedy power consumption might be due to the CPU clock speed, a lackluster power supply, or other factors, but it's safe to say that this system couldn't get an Energy Star certification if it tried.
HP includes a standard one-year warranty with the Pavilion s5310y, with just enough free support to keep you happy. Within the allotted time, you get 24-7 toll-free phone assistance, a comprehensive list of Web help, including manuals, FAQs, live customer service chat, and driver updates.
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System configurations :
Apple Mac Mini (2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 160GB, Fall 2009
Mac OS X 10.6.2; 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P7550; 2GB 1,067MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 9400M; 160GB, 7,200rpm Fujitsu hard drive
Dell Inspiron Zino HD
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 1.5GHz AMD Athlon X2 3250e; 3GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics chip; 320GB 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.93GHz Intel Core i3-530; 6GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 64MB Intel GMA X4500 HD integrated graphics chip; 1TB, 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drive
HP Pavilion Slimline s5310y
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 3GHz AMD Athlon II X2 250; ; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE integrated graphics chip; 640GBTB, 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drive
HP Pavilion Slimline p6310y
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.8GHz AMD Athlon II X4 630; 6GB 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia Geforce 9100; 1TB, 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drive