With its eXcel i5250 MX, Arbico has made some shrewd component selections and delivered a PC that not only performs well, but looks rather more expensive than its budget should allow.

It’s based on an Intel Core i5-2500 CPU running at 3.3GHz. The overclockable ‘K’ version of this chip selected by Palicomp has the potential to be faster still, but the Arbico eXcel i5250 MX desktop PC nonetheless gave the best showing in our WorldBench 6 test, and scored 159 points.

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The diminutive system case drew some admiring glances from visitors to our Test Centre – no mean feat for a budget PC. The Arbico eXcel i5250 MX's minimalist design includes a tasteful blue LED-illuminated metal power switch and a matching drive-activity indicator.

A 4GB RAM allocation and one-terabyte (1TB) hard drive are standard offerings at this price. You also get a 21.5in full-HD monitor – a good-value model from AOC that’s been selected by every vendor here – and a set of Logitech stereo speakers with the Arbico eXcel i5250 MX PC, but no bass-enhancing subwoofer.

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Arbico has made a saving in its motherboard selection. This Asus board uses Intel’s H61 rather than H67 chipset; it’s cheaper and offers similar performance, but lacks SATA 6 gigabits per second (Gbps) and Intel Rapid Storage Technology support. You get just one PCI Express x16 slot, teamed with a pair of PCI Express x1 slots and a single PCI slot. The Arbico eXcel i5250 MX also offers only two memory slots, so you’ll need to replace your chips if you want to go beyond the supplied 4GB. None of the above should affect the sort of user who is looking to buy a sub-£500 PC, however.

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