HP Pavilion Slimline s5510y
Editors' note: This review is part of our 2010 retail laptop and desktop back-to-school roundup, covering specific fixed configurations of popular systems that can be found in retail stores.
Multiple desktop vendors tell us that the PCs you find at Best Buy are the product of rigid formulas cooked up by the company's corporate office. From what we understand, Best Buy regulates the specs, design, and the price of the various PCs the company is willing to stock, on the theory that its formula can predict the kinds of computers consumers are most likely to purchase. A retail partner's formula-driven stocking strategy might partially exonerate HP for the existence of this underfeatured, out-of-date Pavilion Slimline s5510y. Regardless of its origins, we encourage you, strongly, to buy a different PC.
First, let us say that we like the slim tower's desktop chassis quite a bit. Gateway and Acer's recent models have fared very well in our reviews, and we've written positively about previous incarnations of HP's Slimline family. The problem with this current model is that HP failed to upgrade the system's motherboard for at least a year, leaving the PC with the same generations-old integrated Nvidia graphics chip and no HDMI port.
Since the Slimline lacks a convenient means to connect to your television, the slim tower case has only its space-saving benefits to offer desktop shoppers. That's a reasonable selling point, but it's not enough to overcome the Slimline's features and performance deficit compared with its more affordable midtower competition.
|HP Pavilion Slimline s5510y||eMachines ET1831-07|
|CPU||2.8GHz AMD Athlon II X2 240||2.7GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core E5400|
|Memory||3GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM||4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM|
|Graphics||256MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 6150SE integrated graphics chip||256MB (shared) NVIDIA GeForce 7050 integrated graphics chip|
|Hard drives||640GB, 7,200rpm||750GB, 7,200rpm|
|Optical drive||dual-layer DVD burner||dual-layer DVD burner|
|Networking||10/100 Ethernet LAN||10/100 Ethernet LAN|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)||Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)|
The eMachines ET1831-07 is a standard midtower PC that costs $70 less than the Slimline, and it has a larger hard drive, more RAM, and better overall performance. During our first time out with the eMachines, we found its HD movie playback suboptimal. We circled back to that system to compare it with the Slimline, and with an updated Flash player the eMachines handled 1080p video content about as well as this HP does. Neither system plays HD movies perfectly, but since neither system has an HDMI port, you're not likely to use either PC as a home theater system.
Their video playback quality equal, the HP only has its small size as a distinguishing factor. Combine that with its lack of features next to the eMachine, and this Slimline looks like a terrible value.
|Rendering multiple CPUs||Rendering single CPU|
Our benchmark tests provide an equally damning argument that you should avoid this system. The Slimline lags behind the less-expensive eMachines system on every single test. We could see value in an affordable slim tower PC if it offered competitive performance. With its poor performance in our tests, the Slimline has little going for it.
Its lack of an HDMI port hinders this HP as a living room system, but we're also unimpressed by its other connectivity options. You get two USB 2.0 jacks on the back, a set of analog audio inputs, a VGA output for video, and an Ethernet jack--that's it. We've seen $450 slim towers from Gateway and Acer with FireWire and eSATA jacks, so it's not out of the question that this HP system could have them, too. Again, we'll blame its lack of options on the outdated motherboard that holds this system back in a variety of ways. You at least get reasonable expandability inside the Slimline for its size, with half-height slots for a 1x PCI Express card and a 16x PCI Express graphics card. It unfortunately lacks room for more memory or a second hard drive.
|HP Pavilion Slimline s5510y||Average watts per hour|
|Raw (annual kWh)||233.36202|
|Energy Star compliant||No|
|Annual power consumption cost||$26.49|
At risk of piling on, the HP's relatively inefficient power consumption also bears mentioning. Whether it's the chipset, the CPU, or some other component, we can't say. But for whatever reason, this slow Slimline costs about 50 percent more to operate per year than its budget PC competition does, or about 80 cents per more a month than the eMachines. Monetarily speaking, we suspect most of you can handle that, but we hope you won't have to. Not only is this desktop slow for its price range, it's also a power hog.
HP's service and support matches the industry-standard one-year warranty coverage with 24-7 toll-free phone support. HP's Web site also has some useful features, from FAQs, driver, and manual downloads, as well as support chat. The system also comes with a few diagnostic tools, although you'll have to sort them out from the various trial offers and bloatware icons in the dock at the top of the Windows desktop.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
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HP Pavilion Slimline s5510y
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.8GHz AMD Athlon II X2 240; 3GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 6150SE integrated graphics chip; 640GB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive