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HP Pavilion Slimline s5510y review: HP Pavilion Slimline s5510y

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MSRP: $459.99

The Good Small size; support policies meet industry standards.

The Bad Outdated motherboard lacks HDMI output; slower and has fewer features than desktops that cost $70 less.

The Bottom Line Do not buy this HP Pavilion Slimline s5510y. Its slow performance for its price and its outdated motherboard prevent it from leveraging the strengths of its slim tower case in the living room. You can find faster, better-equipped PCs for the same price or less.

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4.7 Overall
  • Design 5
  • Features 4
  • Performance 4
  • Support 7

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retail partner's formula-driven stocking strategy might partially exonerate HP for the existence of this underfeatured, out-of-date Pavilion Slimline s5510y.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
Price $459 $389
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.

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Asus Essentio CM5671
HP Pavilion Slimline s5510y

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion Slimline s5510y
Asus Essentio CM5671

CineBench tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multiple CPUs  
Rendering single CPU  
Asus Essentio CM5671
eMachines ET1831-07
Dell Inspiron i560-2050NBK
HP Pavilion Slimline s5510y

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.

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