The Eclipse Matrix i567r577 offers the highest CPU clock speed in the chart, but this desktop PC has more to offer still, running at 3.73GHz with its turbo boost technology in gear.

Based on Intel’s dual-core Core i5-670 running at 3.46GHz, the Eclipse Matrix i567r577 offers the highest CPU clock speed in the chart. Its WorldBench 6 overall-speed score is impressive at 135 points, but this desktop PC has more to offer still, running at 3.73GHz with its turbo boost technology in gear.

Similarly priced to the Core i7-920, however, the Core i5-670 leaves less cash in the budget for other components. Eclipse has been unable to include external speakers in the Eclipse Matrix i567r577 desktop PC's specification, and its 500GB hard drive looks meagre in comparison to the 1TB models provided by two of its rivals.

The Hanns-G HH222DPB supplied with the Eclipse Matrix i567r577 desktop PC isn’t the only 22in monitor here, but it is the only screen that can’t carry a full-HD image. The HH222DPB offers 1680x1050 natively.

However, unlike Arbico, Eclipse hasn’t skimped on the =Matrix i567r577 desktop PC's graphics card. You’ll get the same ATI Radeon HD 5770 and 1GB of video memory as supplied with the rest of the competition, allowing for excellent gaming results even if you can’t play them at such high resolutions.

The ASRock motherboard doesn’t support USB 3.0 or SATA 6Gbps, but its pair of PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots (one of which is restricted to x4 speed) enable you to add a second graphics card to the Eclipse Matrix i567r577 desktop PC.

Budget PCs chart ranking

  1. Chillblast Fusion Nautilus
  2. Arbico i7-9250 XL
  3. DinoPC Elmisaur 750 OC
  4. Eclipse Matrix i567r577
  5. CyberPower Infinity i3 Apollo

>> NEXT PAGE: Buying advice

The Eclipse Matrix i567r577 offers the highest CPU clock speed in the chart, but this desktop PC has more to offer still, running at 3.73GHz with its turbo boost technology in gear.

Budget 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 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 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 quad-core Phenom II X4 920, 940 and 965 also offer good value for money, 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 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 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 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

Eclipse Matrix i567r577: 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
  • 650W EZCool PSU
  • 22in Hanns-G HH222DPB (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1680x1050)
  • 1GB ATI Radeon HD 5770 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 64/25fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 102/44fps)
  • onboard sound
  • speakers built into monitor
  • 24x/24x/12x/12x/6x/8x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW)
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 135
  • 3.46GHz Intel Core i5-670
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 500GB SATA
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • ASRock H55DE3 motherboard
  • 650W EZCool PSU
  • 22in Hanns-G HH222DPB (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1680x1050)
  • 1GB ATI Radeon HD 5770 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 64/25fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 102/44fps)
  • onboard sound
  • speakers built into monitor
  • 24x/24x/12x/12x/6x/8x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW)
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 135

OUR VERDICT

Dual-core systems such as the Eclipse Matrix i567r577 desktop PC can still offer excellent value for money, particularly if you rarely run several applications simultaneously and have little use for multithreaded apps. However, in this case, you’ll also have to put up with a smaller monitor, less upgrade potential and no external speakers.

Find the best price