HP Pavilion S3541.uk (KZ754AA)

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HP Pavilion S3541.uk (KZ754AA)

HP Pavilion Slimline s3500 series is a compact, space-saving PC for unlimited fun and creativity, and the compact, space-saving design with full PC ex...

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20% positive

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Review of "HP Pavilion S3541.uk (KZ754AA)"

published 02/04/2010 | Drewster-Rooster
Member since : 25/03/2010
Reviews : 493
Members who trust : 183
About me :
Wondering if it's safe to come back.......It's been a long time.....
Not for me
Pro when it worked it was fast and efficient and it looked sleek and stylish.....
Cons It 'died' after 14 months!
very helpful
Speed
Reliability
Memory / capacity
Range of Extra Features
Design

"I fell for the good looking one; again!!"

A promising start

Back in November 2008 I was on the lookout for a new desktop PC for use at home. I didn’t have a long list of requirements my main one being a machine that would get me online quickly, efficiently and without any fuss. I have had various PCs over the course of my 15 years online and one of my earliest computers that I first bought was a Hewlett Packard which I had been pleased with. So with this in mind and whilst browsing the selection available at PC World I noticed this, the Slimline Pavilion S3541 from HP priced at a reasonable £449.99. Bearing in mind my past positive experience and with the price being roughly in the middle of my budget I bought it, brought it home and set it up.

The first thing about the 3500 series of computers from HP that you can’t fail to notice is the size of them. Measuring up at roughly a third of the size of a traditional desktop PC its dimensions appealed to me. It had a 10.7cm width, 35.2cm depth and 27.6cm height and only weighed 8.5 kgs. It had a sleek, black appearance with flashing azure lights which I did find to be quite fancy and as I was looking for a new, smaller desk for at home this computer made my choices of suitable locations perfect and overall I was delighted with my purchase.
Although I’m by no means a computer ‘geek’ I know that the important things to look for is a decent amount of memory, and the S3541 boasted an impressive 3GB of RAM and a 500GB of hard drive storage, by no means a beast of a machine but perfectly acceptable for what I required. It had an Intel Core 2 Duo processor (that means nothing to me, but I’m sure the more 'techy' of readers will understand) and 3 USB ports which were handily located (2 on the front, 1 at the back). On top of the base unit featured a multi media card reader which allowed me to put my memory card from my digital camera and phone which made photo transference an easy task.

A DVD rewriter was included in the specifications, a graphics card and really everything else that you would expect in a brand new, up-to-date PC. It had Windows Vista already installed and was good to go from the moment it sprung to life when switched on. All was going great for 14 months until one day, back in February this year my computer died. Out of the blue, whilst I was on the internet my computer ‘blue screened’ and up came a warning that the memory had corrupted. I tried to run system diagnostics to pin point where the problem was but the test failed to run.

Oh Dear...

“Hmmm” I thought to myself and instinctively I knew that I had a major problem on my hands. I rang PC world asking for help, but as my computer was out of its 12 months warranty they could only suggest that I take it in store to their ‘PC hospital’ for the tech guys to take a look at. Agreeing that this would be a sensible solution I proposed to book an appointment – 2 weeks later was the earliest it could be seen. Not good.

Instead I took my computer to an independent, well established (and frequently visited) computer stockist who said they would run various tests and try and pinpoint what the actual problem was and so I left it in their capable hands. A couple of days later I received a telephone call advising me that the machine was completely unresponsive and despite trying to identify and replace the corrupted memory it was effectively dead, they could try replacing the mother-board and the memory if I wanted but as the machine was so much smaller than regular desktop PC’s then sourcing parts would be difficult, and quite honestly, costly.

I was informed that this was not an isolated case and that they had encountered problems before with other HP slimline machines, the main problem being that as they are so small then they are prone to overheat which then damages the memory. Indeed, Googling “HP blue screen” brings up other examples of this occurring to other people and it would appear that this is a common issue. PC World could offer no assistance; my computer was out of its warranty. I telephoned HP to be told the same so effectively I was left without a computer and had spent almost £450.00 for 14 months usage.

As mentioned earlier, I’m not the most technical person in the world and I realise that this review only briefly mentions what specifications are included in this model, however as a regular, everyday user of a desktop PC I have certain expectations and I don’t think I am being unreasonable in expecting a computer to last for more than 14 months before needing a replacement. In the past I have managed to get 3-5 years worth of daily use out of my older, more traditional sized computers and only upgraded for vanity reasons or because they were used so often that they had become sluggish and unresponsive. I thought I was onto a winner with the HP 3541; it looked spectacular, performed effortlessly and met all my requirements but only for a brief time.

This has been my experience with this computer and I do think that maybe I was unlucky; I wouldn’t suggest that all the models in this series are going to be the same but can only review what happened to me. As you can imagine this has been a major disappointment not helped with the response I got from both PC World and HP themselves and for all these reasons is why I wouldn’t recommend either this or any other computer from Hewlett Packard to anyone anymore.
It has been a huge learning curve for me and an expensive one too, I’m now back to using a traditional sized, custom built PC that may look big and clunky in comparison, but it works. It is functional and reliable and that’s all I wanted in the first place.

My Rating

This has been my honest account of my experiences with the HP3541 and I’m sure it won’t come as any surprise to discover that I would only award it a 1 ciao star rating. If any consumers are considering purchasing a ‘Pavilion Slimline’ with *any* serial number I would strongly recommend that you research them online, specifically referring to ‘blue screen issues’

Techy Stuff

A list of technical system features can be found on the “product information” link above, or by visiting: http://www.ciao.co.uk/Productinformation/HP_Pavilion_Slimline_s3541_uk_Core_2_Duo_E4700_2_6_GHz__7081130
For the sake of brevity I wont repeat them all here as they are easily accessible to anyone wanting to see exactly you get for your money.

Final Thoughts and a Warning for all...

Thanks for reading my review; I do hope it has been of use to any potential buyers out there, a computer is a significant purchase to anyone regardless of their budget. My top tip would be to do plenty of research, at least then you are making an informed decision on what to buy, unlike me – I went for what looked good. What an expensive mistake.


Community evaluation

This review was read 1173 times and was rated at
83% :
> How to understand evaluation of this review
very helpful

Comments on this review

  • tallulahbang published 01/05/2010
    I completely agree: I've had a few HPs and the quality and durability has definitely gone downhill. Think it'll be a Dell next time (when Ciao and Dooyoo pay me enough). xx
  • anonymili published 30/04/2010
    Shame it was such a disappointment! Looks are NOT everything when it comes to computer hardware - now you know :)
  • VampirePrincessLizzy published 30/04/2010
    Excellent review :)
  • Did you find this review interesting? Do you have any questions? Sign into your Ciao account to leave the author a comment. Log in

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Product Information : HP Pavilion S3541.uk (KZ754AA)

Manufacturer's product description

HP Pavilion Slimline s3500 series is a compact, space-saving PC for unlimited fun and creativity, and the compact, space-saving design with full PC experience and performance, at a third the size of a normal PC.

Product Details

Product Description: HP Pavilion s3541.uk - Slimline - Core 2 Duo E4700 2.6 GHz - 3 GB - 660 GB

Type: Media centre

Form Factor: Tower

Processor: 1 x Intel Core 2 Duo E4700 / 2.6 GHz ( Dual-Core )

RAM: 3 GB (installed) / 4 GB (max) - DDR2 SDRAM - 800 MHz - PC2-6400

Storage Controller: SATA ( SATA 3Gb/s )

Hard Drive: 1 x 500 GB - SATA 3Gb/s

Hard Drive (2nd): 1 x Pocket Media Drive 160 GB

Optical Storage: DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM with LightScribe Technology

Card Reader: 15 in 1

Graphics Controller: PCIe x16 - ATI Radeon HD 3450

Video Memory: 256 MB

TV Tuner Type: Digital TV, Digital and analogue TV - DVB-T

Audio Output: Integrated - 5.1 channel surround

Networking: 10Mb LAN, 100Mb LAN, 802.11b, 802.11g

OS Provided: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium

Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year warranty

Dimensions (WxDxH): 10.7 cm x 35.2 cm x 27.6 cm

Weight: 8.5 kg

Cache Memory: L2 Cache

Localisation: English / United Kingdom

General

MPN: KZ754AA, KZ754AA#ABU

Type: Media centre

Recommended Use: Home use

Product Form Factor: Tower

Localisation: English / United Kingdom

Processor / Chipset

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E4700 / 2.6 GHz

Number of Cores: Dual-Core

64-bit Computing: Yes

CPU Qty: 1

Max CPU Qty: 1

Chipset Type: NVIDIA GeForce 7100 / nForce 630i

Front Side Bus: 800 MHz

RAM

Installed Size: 3 GB / 4 GB (max)

Technology: DDR2 SDRAM

Memory Speed: 800 MHz

Memory Specification Compliance: PC2-6400

Form Factor: DIMM 240-pin

Configuration Features: 1 x 1 GB + 1 x 2 GB

Hard Drive

Type: HDD

Capacity: 1 x 500 GB

Interface Type: SATA 3Gb/s

Spindle Speed: 7200 rpm

Hard Drive (2nd)

Type: Pocket Media Drive

Capacity: 1 x 160 GB

Storage Controller

Type: 1 x SATA - integrated

Controller Interface Type: SATA 3Gb/s

Optical Storage

Type: DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM - SATA

Read Speed: 40x (CD) / 16x (DVD)

Write Speed: 40x (CD) / 16x (DVD±R) / 8x (DVD±R DL)

CD / DVD Rewrite Speed: 32x (CD) / 6x (DVD-RW) / 8x (DVD+RW) / 12x (DVD-RAM)

Disc Labeling Technology: LightScribe Technology

Card Reader

Type: 15 in 1 card reader

Supported Flash Memory Cards: CompactFlash Card type I, CompactFlash Card type II, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Microdrive, MultiMediaCard, SD Memory Card, SmartMedia Card, Memory Stick Duo, xD-Picture Card, Memory Stick PRO Duo, miniSD, RS-MMC, MultiMediaCardmobile, MultiMediaCardplus

Monitor

Monitor Type: None

Graphics Controller

Type: Plug-in card

Interface Type: PCIe x16

Graphics Processor: ATI Radeon HD 3450

Video Memory: 256 MB

Video Interfaces: DVI, VGA

Total Available Graphics Memory: 1535 MB

Multimedia Functionality

TV Tuner Type: Digital TV, Digital and analogue TV

Digital TV Reception: DVB-T

Audio Output

Type: Integrated

Sound Output Mode: 5.1 channel surround

Compliant Standards: High Definition Audio

Input Device

Type: Mouse, keyboard

Keyboard

Connectivity: Wireless

Mouse

Connectivity: Wireless

Technology: Optical

Networking

Wireless LAN Supported: Yes

Data Link Protocol: Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g

Compliant Standards: IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g

Expansion / Connectivity

Bays: 1 (total) / 0 (free) x 3.5" ¦ 1 (total) / 0 (free) x 5.25" ¦ 1 (total) / 0 (free) x Pocket Media Drive bay

Slots: 1 (total) / 0 (free) x PCIe x1 ¦ 1 (total) / 0 (free) x PCIe x16 ¦ 1 (total) / 0 (free) x CPU ¦ 2 (total) / 0 (free) x DIMM 240-pin

Interfaces: 6 x USB 2.0 ( 2 in front ) ¦ 1 x headphones ( 1 in front ) ¦ 1 x microphone ¦ 1 x PS/2 keyboard ¦ 1 x PS/2 mouse ¦ 1 x FireWire ¦ 1 x LAN ¦ 1 x audio line-out ¦ 1 x audio line-in ¦ 1 x DVI-D

Miscellaneous

Included Accessories: Remote control

Cables Included: DVI-VGA adapter

Power

Device Type: Power supply

Power Provided: 180 Watt

Operating System / Software

OS Provided: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium

Software: Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft Windows Movie Maker, Adobe Reader, Microsoft Windows DVD Maker, Microsoft Windows Media Center, Microsoft Office 2007 Home and Student Edition (Trial), HP Total Care Advisor, Microsoft Works 9.0, Norton Internet Security 2008 (60 days subscription), HP Help and Support Center, HP Recovery Manager, My HP Games, CyberLink DVD Suite 5, Muvee autoProducer Basic

Cache Memory

Installed Size: L2 Cache

Dimensions & Weight

Weight: 8.5 kg

Height: 27.6 cm

Depth: 35.2 cm

Width: 10.7 cm

Manufacturer Warranty

Service & Support Details: Limited warranty - parts and labour - 1 year - pick-up and return

Service & Support: 1 year warranty

Ciao

Listed on Ciao since: 27/03/2009