Eclipse’s Galaxy i567r577 uses the latest CPU and motherboard technology to deliver superb performance and the highest score in our processing-speed benchmark.

Eclipse’s Galaxy i567r577 uses the latest CPU and motherboard technology to deliver superb performance and the highest score in our processing-speed benchmark. Its dual-core Intel Core i5 600-series processor is very similar to the Core i3 range, but it adds a turbo boost feature and an integrated graphics chip.

The Core i5 670 used by the Eclipse Galaxy i567r577 is the fastest chip in the 600 series, running at 3.46GHz as standard and 3.73GHz with the turbo boost engaged. It scored 139 points in our WorldBench 6 speed test.

The CPU is combined with an ASRock motherboard that uses the latest H55 chipset. It has a pair of PCI Express x16 slots (the Arbico has just one), enabling you to add a second graphics card using CrossFireX or Quad CrossFireX technology. A 4GB allocation of RAM and a 500GB hard drive are also supplied with the Eclipse Galaxy i567r577.

If you’re an avid gamer, it’s possible to get an ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card at this price point. The Eclipse’s HD 5570 delivers only around half the performance in our gaming tests, but it shaves £50 off the Eclipse Galaxy i567r577's purchase price. If you’re not into gaming at all, you could save more money by relying solely on the CPU’s integrated graphics.

The Eclipse Galaxy i567r577's 22in Hanns-G monitor doesn’t stretch to the full-HD resolution offered by three of the machines in our chart, but you may find the slightly larger-rendered text and icons easier on the eyes. Also note that external speakers aren’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

Eclipse’s Galaxy i567r577 uses the latest CPU and motherboard technology to deliver superb performance and the highest score in our processing-speed benchmark.

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

Eclipse Galaxy i567r557: Specs

  • 3.46GHz Intel Core i5 670
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 500GB SATA
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • ASRock H55DE3 motherboard
  • EZCool 600W PSU
  • 22in Hanns-G HH222DPB (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1680x1050)
  • 1GB PCI Express Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5570 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 38/11fps
  • Fear = 81fps)
  • onboard HD sound
  • speakers built into monitor
  • max DVD speeds: 22x/22x/12x/16x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 139
  • 3.46GHz Intel Core i5 670
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 500GB SATA
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • ASRock H55DE3 motherboard
  • EZCool 600W PSU
  • 22in Hanns-G HH222DPB (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1680x1050)
  • 1GB PCI Express Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5570 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 38/11fps
  • Fear = 81fps)
  • onboard HD sound
  • speakers built into monitor
  • max DVD speeds: 22x/22x/12x/16x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 139

OUR VERDICT

It’s somewhat lacking in graphics power, but the Eclipse Galaxy i567r577 is an excellent all-round performer, and a £50 graphics card upgrade is all that stands between it and gaming framerates that can confidently take on the competition.

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