HP Pavilion Slimline S5160f Packs a Blu-Ray Player, a TV Tuner, and HDMI Output
At a Glance
A 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 processor powers the Pavilion Slimline S5160f. That's the slowest CPU in use on any recent value PC priced similarly to the S5160F ($880 as of November 15, 2009). An above-average amount of storage (750GB) and memory (6GB of DDR3-1333 RAM) are nice touches, but they can't prevent the S5160f from ambling to a pedestrian mark of 95 on our WorldBench 6 test suite. In addition, we had to dial back the S5160f's resolution to 1024 by 768 pixels to help it achieve barely playable frame rates of 39 frames per second and 32 fps, respectively, in our Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and Unreal Tournament 3 tests (at high quality settings in each case).
As its name implies, this Slimline desktop emphasizes compactness. The glossy black case matches the look of other HP PCs--like the recent Pavilion P6130f and Pavilion Elite E9120f--but the system's single optical drive (occupied by a Blu-ray drive) is oriented vertically, and the other optical bays included in most Pavilion designs are absent. The system's single, filled hard drive bay hides behind a side-facing fan toward the front of the case, suggesting that future upgrades won't be easy.
Four USB ports on the back of the S5160f provide the system's primary connection options. The integrated 7.1 surround sound, S/PDIF coaxial output, and HDMI port (on the discrete nVidia GeForce G210 graphics board) are positives, but HP includes10/100 ethernet (instead of gigabit ethernet) for wired network connections. No other connection option--like FireWire 400 or eSATA--is available for external devices. On the front of the case you'll find only two USB ports and one multiformat card reader.
The system we tested came with a generic two-button mouse. The keyboard had a standard layout with three extra buttons for changing your system's volume on the fly. HP threw in a remote control, too, for fussing with the S5160f from afar. It's a nice afterthought, though hardly a perfect match for the system's integrated TV tuner.
If you are especially interested in watching movies and TV on your PC, HP's Pavilion Slimline S5160F might catch your eye. The system's Blu-Ray player, TV tuner, and HDMI output make it feel more like a media center PC than like a true desktop. But its lack of external connections and mediocre networking support may limit its abilities in a living room. Faster, more feature-packed competing systems like the Acer Veriton X270 ($500 as of August 23, 2009) offer much more room to work and grow with.