Sub-£500 PCs tend not to be blessed with extraordinary speed, but the Arbico CD6420XL has nothing to be ashamed of.


  1. Arbico CD6420XL
  2. Eclipse Max i935N79-VSTA
  3. Arbico CD9600XL
  4. Mesh Elite Value PCA
  5. Zoostorm 2-3305 Versatile PC

First place

Sub-£500 PCs tend not to be blessed with extraordinary speed, but the Arbico CD6420XL has nothing to be ashamed of. Its benchmark score of 76 (achieved on our brand-new WorldBench 6 real-world speed suite) isn't a stunning total when compared with more expensive PCs, but it's a good six points ahead of its nearest rival.

Like the other sub-£500 PCs, the Arbico comes with only 1GB of DDR RAM - if you're looking for smooth Vista performance it might be worth asking how much it'll cost to upgrade to 2GB. But the Intel Core 2 Duo E6320 is a decent processor, delivering plenty of performance for the money.

Not that this is the best machine in every respect - gaming fans will find the runner-up from Eclipse a better buy. That PC's GeForce 7900 GS graphics card offers significantly more firepower than the Arbico's 7600 GS. Despite holding an overall speed advantage, the CD6420XL finished our games tests (which include such intensive titles as Fear and Company of Heroes) with marginally lower framerates than the Eclipse.

The HannsG flat-panel is respectable considering the budget, providing a pleasing picture and reasonably accurate colours. The 250GB hard drive is bettered by only one of the other PCs (the Mesh), and this should be plenty for most users. The DVD writer is excellent and the audio system is functional - only one of the competing machines, the Zoostorm, fares any better in the sound department.


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