Palicomp's Excalibur Ballistix E85-4670-19 uses Intel's tried-and-trusted Core 2 Duo E8500 to equal our Best Buy machine's 128-point WorldBench 6 performance. It delivers enough power to breeze through day-to-day computing tasks without a hitch.

Gaming performance is less exemplary, however, and a 512MB HD 4670 graphics card is no competition for the Mesh's 1GB HD 4870. While it's quite capable of playing 3D games, the Palicomp Excalibur Ballistix E85-4670-19 can deliver only half the gaming performance of the Mesh when pushed with the latest titles.

The Palicomp Excalibur Ballistix E85-4670-19's 500GB hard drive and 4GB of DDR2 RAM are in line with the other systems in the chart. Its 19in budget display, meanwhile, offers a decent resolution and the useful inclusion of a digital connector.

The Excalibur is housed in a very tidy-looking case with a full-height front door panel. Finished in silver, this conceals the DVD drive and external drive bays. USB ports are conveniently located at the Palicomp Excalibur Ballistix E85-4670-19's side.

Inside, the Palicomp Excalibur Ballistix E85-4670-19's compact motherboard leaves little room for expansion. Both memory slots are filled and one of the rear chassis slots is taken up by a USB riser.

The Palicomp Excalibur Ballistix E85-4670-19's one-year return-to-base warranty is reasonable but bettered elsewhere.

Chart ranking: Budget desktop PCs (Nov 09 issue)

  1. Mesh Matrix II 550BE PCA
  2. Palicomp Excalibur Ballistix E85-4670-19
  3. Arbico CD 8570 XL
  4. Eclipse Pearl i84R483
  5. Chillblast Fusion Horizon

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