The Arbico i5-7670 XL fails to impress against some strong competition, but it's the only budget desktop PC here to include a Blu-ray drive.

The fourth PC here to use Intel’s Core i5-760 CPU, the Arbico i5-7670 XL achieves only moderate performance from the 2.8GHz chip. While its 134-point WorldBench 6 score is the third-fastest here, we’re used to seeing even better performance from this PC vendor. And we’ve seen better results from budget desktop PCs using the slower Core i5-750.

Also a little disappointing is the inclusion of a comparatively small 500GB hard drive – the competition is fitted with 1TB and 1.5TB drives for the same money. And Arbico has also skimped on the i5-7670 XL's monitor, supplying a 22in HKC display with this budget desktop PC and no external speakers.

There’s a good reason for these cutbacks, however: Arbico is the only PC vendor here to supply a Blu-ray drive. The Arbico i5-7670 XL's monitor might be smaller than the competition, but it’s still capable of producing a full-HD image. This budget desktop PC is thus unique in being able to play off-the-shelf HD movies.

Gaming performance from the Arbico i5-7670 XL budget desktop PC is very good. The ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card lagged behind nVidia’s GeForce GTX 460 by a couple of frames in our Crysis tests, but it steamed ahead in Stalker: Call of Pripyat.

Arbico has selected a slightly different version of the Asus motherboard used by the top three budget desktop PCs for its i5-7670 XL. This board retains the high-speed USB 3.0 interface, but replaces one of the PCI Express x1 slots with a PCI Express x16 slot, enabling an easy upgrade to a dual-graphics card setup.

Chart ranking: Budget PCs

  1. Chillblast Fusion Midas
  2. Eclipse Fusion i76n460
  3. Palicomp Core i5 Blast 760-24 USB3
  4. Arbico i5-7670 XL
  5. CyberPower Infinity i3 Apollo (repeat)

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The Arbico i5-7670 XL fails to impress against some strong competition, but it's the only budget desktop PC here to include a Blu-ray drive.

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-, 800- or 900-series CPU; the newer Core i5-600 series chips are dual-core.

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

Intel’s 2.8GHz quad-core Core i5-760 is the current king of the £501-£750 desktop PCs category and is compatible with the most up-to-date motherboards and DDR3 memory.
AMD’s quad-core Phenom II X4 920, 940 and 965 also offer good value for money, although they can’t match the Core i7 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 more.

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, but onscreen elements will be even smaller. You may be able to get a 23.6in display at this price if you make compromises elsewhere.

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: We test graphics with Crysis and Stalker: Call of Pripyat, the latter able to benchmark DirectX 11.0-capable graphics cards. 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 460 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 are able to display 3D content.

If you don’t play games at all, consider using only the integrated graphics of 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).

>> NEXT PAGE: Specification and our expert verdict

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Arbico i5-7670 XL: Specs

  • 2.8GHz Intel Core i5-760
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit, XP or Vista at no extra cost)
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 500GB SATA
  • 8 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Asus P7P55D-E motherboard
  • 850W AvengePower PSU
  • 22in HKC 2219A (0.25mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB Asus ATI Radeon HD 5770 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 70/25fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 112/52fps)
  • onboard Realtek ALC888B sound
  • speakers built into monitor
  • 8x BD-ROM
  • max DVD speeds: 22x/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: 134
  • 2.8GHz Intel Core i5-760
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit, XP or Vista at no extra cost)
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 500GB SATA
  • 8 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Asus P7P55D-E motherboard
  • 850W AvengePower PSU
  • 22in HKC 2219A (0.25mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB Asus ATI Radeon HD 5770 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 70/25fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 112/52fps)
  • onboard Realtek ALC888B sound
  • speakers built into monitor
  • 8x BD-ROM
  • max DVD speeds: 22x/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: 134

OUR VERDICT

Whether the Arbico i5-7670 XL is the right budget desktop PC for you will depend on your preference for nVidia or ATI graphics, as well as whether you’re prepared to make major compromises to get a Blu-ray drive.

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