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CNET First Look
HP Pavilion Slimline s5120yAs much as we've appreciated HP's efforts in bringing the slim tower to the mainstream, we cannot recommend this off-the-shelf Pavilion Slimline s5120y. Even considering its low price, its design, features, and performance all come up short next to its...
[ music ] ^M00:00:02 >> Hi, I'm Rich Brown, Senior Editor for CNET.com. Today we're gonna take a look a the HP Pavilion Slimline s5120y. So you can see this is a slim tower PC, costs about $450, and it's a fixed configuration. You'll find it in retail stores across the country. It's also available in a configurable version on HP's website. For this particular model, though, we're not really that thrilled with what HP has put together here. It's pretty spare, and the design is actually missing some features that we like about older slimlines. Going down the front panel you'll see there's a dual layer DVD player, a pair of USB ports, a media card reader, and your typical analogy audio output. There actually used to be a slot down here where you could pull the door down and slide in one of HP's proprietary pocket media hard drives. With a little USB drive, you can pop it in and out, and take it with you. It's pretty convenient for a system like this, which doesn't have a lot of upgrade room inside. Unfortunately, HP got rid of that in this version, so you're kind of out of luck. Now on the back of the case you'll see it's also pretty basic. You get a PS2 keyboard and mouse inputs, you have a VGA video out, four more USB's, Ethernet, and again analog audio as well as a modem output. Now we've seen other slim towers in this price range that have HDMI out's, esaddle [phonetic] for external hard drives, as well as digital audio, among other ports. And like Dell, actually, who has a similar spare slim tower, HP looks kind of behind the times in this system. Its motherboard seems to be out of date compared with other slim towers on the market. So inside the case you can see you actually don't get a lot of room to upgrade. You have two memory slots here, but that's it, and both of them are occupied. You have two expansion slots, there's one, one XPCI [phonetic] express, and one graphics card style PCI expreess [inaudible] with a little course, [phonetic] because it's a slim tower. You have to use half height expansion cards, and they tend to be lower end, lower performance parts that you would put in here. You do get a dual-core AMD Athlon chip, and it is 2.7 gigs, so it's relatively fast. But actually we found that you can get a quad card chip in a similar system from Gateway. And the performance between these two systems, this one and a Gateway, anyway, was just not really a contest. HP lost on pretty much every test. Now we mentioned that you can't add a second hard drive to this system. And if you look underneath the fan and the DVD player you'll see there's one hard drive buried underneath there. You know, you could, of course, connect an external drive, via the USB slots. But again, it's not as seamless as having a second internal slot, or as we said, the pocket media slot from previous models. Now overall this is kind of a disappointing little PC. It is attractive enough. You can put it pretty much anywhere you want to, an office, a living room. But just compared to what else is out there, even despite the fact that it's less expensive by about $50 to $60 bucks, this really just seems under featured and a bad performer. So I'm Rich Brown, and this is a HP Pavilion Slimline s5120y. ^E00:02:59