February 26, 2010, 10:09 PM — Although it's roughly half the width of a common midtower desktop, the HP Slimline s5370t does a great job of surpassing many of its value PC peers in performance. But you'll pay a lot for the s5370t's diet. Larger computers make full use of their fatter profiles to deliver a flurry of connections and upgrade possibilities that HP's little PC just can't match. And given the constraints of its trimmed-down profile, the s5370's $1089 price (as of February 19, 2010) makes this a difficult sell.
An Intel Core i5-650 processor coupled with 4GB of DDR3 memory allows this half-size system to reach a score of 124 on our Worldbench 6 testing suite. That's a great result for the category, and it puts the s5370t in the upper range of models on the Value PC chart for performance. However, competing systems like HP's own Compaq 6005 Pro deliver slightly better performance (128) for less ($899 as of February 19, 2010). Larger, midtower desktops like Micro Express's MicroFlex 75B don't exactly blow the s5370t out of the water in WorldBench (it scored 132), but its price-to-performance ratio is vastly superior ($700 as of February 19, 2010).
The s5370t's nVidia GeForce GT220 GPU was able to achieve playable (but low) frame rates when we dialed down the resolution, but its average of 19.4 frames per second on PC World's standard Unreal Tournament 3 gaming benchmark (2560 by 2100 resolution, high quality) is one of the lowest results for the category. The MicroFlex 75B averages 82.0 frames per second in Unreal Tournament 3, making it the better option if you're interested in gaming on a budget. Frugal pack rats are bound to appreciate the s5370t's 1.5-terabyte hard drive, though.
HP uses a half-size variant of its usual Pavilion chassis for the s5370t. The glossy black exterior is a welcome sight, and the DVD burner and Pocket Media Drive expansion bay are flush against the front of the system's paneling. As mentioned, size becomes the s5370t's greatest strength and weakness. You have little room on the inside of the chassis to do any tinkering: The wiring is all over the place, and the system's only internal connection--a PCI Express x4 slot--is blocked by the system's huge power supply.