The Arbico i5 6607 Pro's dual-core Intel Core i5 660 processor has a slightly slower clock speed than the 3.46GHz 670 selected by the Eclipse, but it still produces some very impressive results.

The Arbico i5 6607 Pro combines a 3.33GHz Intel Core i5 660 processor with a motherboard that uses the H55 chipset. This dual-core CPU has a slightly slower clock speed than the 3.46GHz 670 selected by the Eclipse, but the Arbico still produces some very impressive results.

Fast-clocked dual-core processors tend to do better than multi-core chips in our WorldBench 6 real-world speed test. With the 660’s turbo mode boosting processing power to 3.6GHz running single-threaded applications, we weren’t surprised to see the Arbico i5 6607 Pro turn in a very high 135-point score.

The Asus P7H55-M motherboard is based on the H55 chipset, technology specifically designed for use with Intel’s new CPUs. It includes some clever overclocking options that eke out every last bit of performance.However, the limited selection of slots makes the Arbico i5 6607 Pro less upgradable than the Eclipse Galaxy.

The Arbico i5 6607 Pro's 4GB allocation of DDR3 RAM and 500GB hard drive are fairly standard at this price point. The ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card is a more interesting – if expensive – inclusion, delivering satisfying gameplay and considerably more power than both the CyberPower’s HD 5670 and the Eclipse’s HD 5570.

The Arbico i5 6607 Pro's 22in monitor comes with digital and analogue inputs, but its 1680x1050 resolution falls short of full-HD. You’ll also have to make do with its built-in speakers – an external set isn’t supplied.

Budget desktop PCs chart ranking

  1. Chillblast Fusion Stronghold
  2. Palicomp Core i5 Blast 750-24 Plus
  3. Arbico i5 6607 Pro
  4. Eclipse Galaxy i567r557
  5. CyberPower Ultra Triton XT

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>> Next page: Budget desktop PCs buying advice

The Arbico i5 6607 Pro's dual-core Intel Core i5 660 processor has a slightly slower clock speed than the 3.46GHz 670 selected by the Eclipse, but it still produces some very impressive results.

Budget desktop PCs buying advice

Processor: Intel’s latest naming scheme is confusing: if you want a quad-core PC, look for a Core i5 700-series CPU; the newer Core i5 600 series are dual-core.

Quad-core chips offer greater multi-processing capabilities, but the higher clock speeds of dual-core chips mean they can run single-threaded applications faster. Non-gamers should also note that their integrated graphics chips will allow them to play back full-HD video without a discrete graphics card installed.

The dual-core Core i3 540 provides great performance and is compatible with the most up-to-date motherboards and DDR3 memory, but it lacks the integrated graphics and performance boosting features of the Core i5. AMD’s Phenom II X4 920, 940 and 965 also offer good value for money and quad-core performance, although they can’t match the Core i5 in our tests.

Some AMD processors contain hidden extra cores that can be enabled in the Bios. Ensure that any tweaks are backed by the vendor.

Memory: If fast processors speed up your PC, a large bank of memory stops it from slowing down. Get the most out of your CPU by including at least 4GB of RAM. You can get by with 2GB, but your PC will run more smoothly with 4GB.

Core i5- and i7 800-series CPUs use DDR3 memory rather than DDR2, but there’s no need to buy the chips in threes as you do with i7 900-series systems.

Storage: Digital media will quickly fill a reasonably sized hard drive; buy the biggest you can afford. At least 500GB should be expected at this price point.

Consider using a pair of smaller hard drives rather than one large drive – a terabyte (1TB) is a huge amount of information to lose in one go.

Your DVD drive should write to the +/-R formats at 18-speed or better. Eight-speed rewriting is good; if you want to copy up to 8.5GB at once, look for fast DVD+/-R dual-layer drives. Blu-ray readers are becoming more affordable, but they’re still quite rare at this price.

Display: Note that 19in screens offer a lower resolution than 20in/22in monitors; 22in models display larger icons. Newer 21.6in (16:9) flat-panels are capable of displaying full-HD content, although onscreen elements will be even smaller.

A DVI or HDMI connector will provide a considerably better image than a VGA port; if you want to connect additional devices, you’ll need at least two. Finally, look for a good response rate: 8ms or below is fast enough for games.

Graphics cards: There’s not room in the budget for a really top-end graphics card at this price point, but you should still be able to find a decent model.

We test PCs using Fear and Crysis. Although 25fps is enough to make a game playable, you can set your sights higher at this price point – look for 50fps.

Current pricing will limit you in this area, but ATI’s Radeon HD 5770 and nVidia’s GeForce GTX 260 both deliver great performance and value for money, making the latest games playable if you drop the resolution and settings a notch.

nVidia cards offer support for realistic object interactions in games supporting PhysX and the ability to display content in 3D when used with special glasses.

If you don’t play games at all, you may be able to make do with the integrated graphics provided with Intel’s Core i5 600 series processors.

Power supply: A large PSU is less vital at this price point, but look for a model with a full set of SATA and PCI Express connectors to make later upgrades easier.

Sound card and speakers: Most motherboards at this price point depend on onboard sound. To get surround sound look for a 5.1-channel system (five speakers and a subwoofer).

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>> Next page: Specification and our expert verdict

Arbico i5 6607 Pro: Specs

  • 3.33GHz Intel Core i5 660
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit or Vista at no extra cost)
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 500GB SATA
  • 8 x USB 2.0
  • Asus P7H55-M motherboard
  • AvengePower 850W PSU
  • 22in Digimate L-2262WD (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1680x1050)
  • 1GB PCI Express XFX ATI Radeon HD 5770 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 63/25fps
  • Fear = 196fps)
  • onboard Realtek ALC888B
  • speakers built into monitor
  • max DVD speeds: 22/22x/12x/12x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • two-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 135
  • 3.33GHz Intel Core i5 660
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit or Vista at no extra cost)
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 500GB SATA
  • 8 x USB 2.0
  • Asus P7H55-M motherboard
  • AvengePower 850W PSU
  • 22in Digimate L-2262WD (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1680x1050)
  • 1GB PCI Express XFX ATI Radeon HD 5770 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 63/25fps
  • Fear = 196fps)
  • onboard Realtek ALC888B
  • speakers built into monitor
  • max DVD speeds: 22/22x/12x/12x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • two-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 135

OUR VERDICT

The Arbico i5 6607 Pro is a good choice, but cheaper options are available if gaming isn’t your bag.

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