The Elite 8595, the sort of top-performing machine we’ve come to expect from Arbico, uses a 3.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 to reach a blistering WorldBench 6 processing-speed score of 122 points. That’s faster than most PCs at twice the price.

It also looks much better than we’d expect from a low-cost system. When costs are being cut, it’s common to find PCs housed in cramped, dull boxes that flex and creak to the touch. The Arbico Elite 8595’s EZ Cool H60 case, however, is sturdily built, spacious and finished in a high-gloss piano black, making the system look rather expensive.

The supplied 19in Hannspree New York monitor has a bold ‘love it or hate it’ design and comes with a build quality that belies its low price. With 4GB of RAM installed as standard and a top-of-the-range 22-speed DVD burner, the Arbico Elite 8595 offers superb value for money for general work and internet use.

Inevitably, there are a few areas of compromise. Avid gamers will find the Arbico Elite 8595 a little lacking; fitted with a 1GB XpertVision nVidia GeForce 9500 GT graphics card, it simply won’t be able to deliver playable performance on the latest 3D games releases.

That’s not to say it can’t play games at all – the Arbico Elite 8595 is streets ahead of Dell's Inspiron 530/2583 in that department. But if you want to play titles of the calibre of Crysis, even at modest quality settings, we’d suggest you take a look at either CyberPower's Gamer Infinity 850 or the Chillblast Javelin. These sacrifice a little performance on day-to-day desktop use but come with considerably beefier graphics performance.

Another shortcoming is the Arbico Elite 8595’s lack of any front-facing USB ports. That’s a failing we’ve not seen in a chart PC for many months.

Budget desktop PCs: chart ranking (Nov 08 issue)

  1. Arbico Elite 8595
  2. Chillblast Javelin
  3. CyberPower Gamer Infinity 850
  4. Mesh Pulse 8600 GT
  5. Dell Inspiron 530/2583

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