Arbico’s all-conquering Best Buy of two months ago is relegated to fifth place by an influx of powerful new models. But the Arbico CD6570 SX remains a strong budget PC.

The Arbico CD6570 SX’s 2GB of Kingston memory and Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 processor are as difficult to fault as ever. We’re also quietly impressed by the 19in Hannspree XM New York flat-panel. While not a dazzling screen, the Hannspree packs plenty of colour and decent definition, while its interesting looks should attract comment.

The Arbico CD6570 SX's Gainward graphics card, meanwhile, is no ordinary rendition of the 8600 GT; its 1GB of RAM enables it to turn in an excellent performance in our gaming tests. If your top priority is blistering framerates on the latest games, however, the Eclipse Matrix A64N88GS would be a better choice.

Those with large storage needs, on the other hand, might find the Arbico CD6570 SX's 160GB hard drive slightly constricting. The 250GB Zoostorm 4-2354 is the leading contender in this department.

The Arbico CD6570 SX remains a decent machine overall. Its general Windows speed may not look as appealing as it once did, but you get an impressive display, a strong graphics card, a fast Samsung DVD writer, plenty of software and a decent warranty.

Budget PCs chart ranking (May issue)


  1. Arbico CD8400 XL
  2. CyberPower Gamer Infinity 750
  3. Eclipse Matrix A64N88GS
  4. Zoostorm 4-2354
  5. Arbico CD6570 SX

Verdict

You won’t go wrong with the Arbico CD6570 SX, but there are four machines we’d prefer.

NEXT PAGE: Budget PCs buying advice > >

See also: Our first look at Arbico's CD6570 SX > >

Budget PCs buying advice (May issue)

Processor: You’re not going to get the fastest processors at this price, but many of today’s chips are powerful enough to make light work of standard applications – and there are some excellent, affordable processors around if you can find them.

Intel’s Core 2 Duo E8400 is a stand-out component. For the first time we’ve seen a quad-core CPU in this price range: the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600. The Athlon 64 X2 6400+ is also an option, although it currently can’t match the Intel processors on general performance.

Don’t be fooled into buying an Intel Pentium D. They have dual-core capabilities, but their performance is a long way behind the Core 2 Duo range.

Memory: In this Vista-dominated age, 2GB has almost become a requirement. You may be able to make do with 1GB, but we wouldn’t recommend it. Check you’re getting the full benefit of the memory – some onboard graphics controllers use system memory, which will ultimately slow down your system.

Storage: You can never have too much storage space. Digital media content such as video and music files will quickly fill a reasonably sized hard drive, so buy the biggest you can. A 250GB drive is a good investment, although hard-drive space is relatively easy to add at a later date.

Look for a DVD burner that can write to the –R/+R formats at 16-speed or more. If you want to copy up to 8.5GB at once, look for DVD-R DL or +R DL. Write speeds on these tend to be lower, but you should look for an absolute minimum of six-speed. Realistically, you ought to be aiming for eight-speed.

Flat-panel: Compromises have to be made to keep the price of a PC down, and the monitor is often where the sacrifices start. Just remember that this is the part of the PC you’re going to be spending most of your time looking at.

All the PCs in our charts now come with flat-panels. The most common size is 19in – be very careful when considering going above this size, because the quality is unlikely to be good enough under these price constraints. We don’t see many CRTs now, but they’re still a pretty good deal if you can find them – provided you can put up with the bulky casing, the colour depth on these displays tends to be better than you get on flat-panels.

Graphics cards: Given that the best graphics cards can retail for £300 or £400, fervent gamers are unlikely to be best served by a sub-£500 PC. Nonetheless, the cream of the crop generally come with decent cards.

You should be looking for PCs that can produce 50 frames per second (fps) if you’re going to be playing games – 70fps or 80fps is better still. Currently, the fastest chip in this price range is the GeForce 8800GS, but including one may require compromises elsewhere.

The GeForce 8600s are a good alternative. They can support DirectX 10.0, although they’re unlikely to be powerful enough to make the most of tomorrow’s DirectX 10.x games. They have plenty of pace for today’s games.

Sound card and speakers: You’re unlikely to get a standalone sound card at this price. Most motherboards have decent built-in audio chips that can handle six-channel sound, but to get the best out of them you’ll need a 5.1 speaker system. Unfortunately, you may not be able to get anything better than a 2.1 system in this category – you won’t necessarily get a subwoofer or speakers at all.

See also:

Arbico CD6570 SX: expert review

Budget PCs chart ranking

NEXT PAGE: Our first look at Arbico's CD6570 SX > >

Our first look at Arbico's CD6570 SX

Arbico continues to excel in the sub-£500 PC category, with the CD6570 SX bearing more than a passing resemblance to the superb Arbico CD6750 XL that grabbed top spot last time. The similarities include processing speed – both PCs notched up a stellar WorldBench 6 score of 99. It says something for the achievement of the Arbico CD6750 XL that, two months on, only this brand-new machine could match that score, with the others struggling to get within three points.

Predictably, we have high praise for the Arbico CD6570 SX's 2GB of Kingston memory and Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 processor. We’re also quietly impressed by the Arbico CD6570 SX's 19in Hannspree XM New York flat-panel. While not a dazzling screen, the Hannspree packs plenty of colour and decent definition, while its interesting looks should attract comment. The Arbico CD6570 SX's Gainward graphics card, meanwhile, is no ordinary rendition of the 8600 GT; its 1GB of RAM enables it to beat the other 8600 GTs in gaming tests. However, the extra memory doesn’t make enough of a difference to match the second-placed Eclipse Fusion i670A385HD’s Radeon HD 3850 – by some distance the best graphics card here.

If you’re keen to play the latest games, you may be more attracted to the Eclipse Fusion i670A385HD than the Arbico CD6570 SX. Those with large file libraries, on the other hand, might not find its 160GB hard drive roomy enough, and the Advance Technologies AT-FX Air+ would get the nod. For most sub-£500 buyers, however, the Arbico CD6570 SX will be the PC of choice.

Verdict

The Arbico CD6570 SX is an excellent machine overall, with the top general Windows speed, the most impressive display and the second-best graphics card – not to mention a decent two-year warranty, a fast Samsung DVD writer and plenty of software. Component for component, the Arbico CD6570 SX is the best PC for the price.

Budget PCs chart ranking (March 08 issue)


  1. Arbico CD6750 SX
  2. Eclipse Fusion i670A385HD
  3. Advance Technologies AT-FX Air+
  4. CyberPower Gamer Ultra 550 - last month 2
  5. Eclipse Mirage Sli a60n86GT - last month 3


See also:
Arbico CD6750 SX: expert review
Budget PCs chart ranking
Budget PCs buying advice

Budget PCs buying advice (March 08 issue)

Processor You’re not going to get the fastest processors at this price, but many of today’s chips are powerful enough to make light work of standard applications – and there are some excellent, affordable processors around if you can find them.

This month’s Core 2 Duo E6750 is a stand-out component, and plenty of cheaper systems use the decent E6500 and E6550 chips. The Athlon 64 X2 6000+ is also an option, and has fared pretty well in its outings to date. Don’t be fooled into buying an older Intel Pentium D, though. They have dual-core facilities, but their performance is a long way behind today’s Core 2 Duo range.

Memory In this Vista-dominated age, 2GB has almost become a requirement. You may be able to make do with 1GB, but we wouldn’t recommend it – with applications only moving in one direction, you shouldn’t compromise in this area. Check you’re getting the full benefit of the memory – some onboard graphics controllers use system memory, which will ultimately slow your system down.

Storage You can never have too much storage space. Digital media content such as video and music files will quickly fill a reasonably sized hard drive, so buy the biggest you can. A 250GB drive is a good investment that you won’t regret.

It helps to keep large files archived on DVD, so make sure the PC has a DVD burner. Look for a drive that can write to the –R/+R formats at rates of at least 16-speed. If you want to copy up to 8.5GB at once, look for a drive with DVD-R DL or +R DL. Write speeds on these tend to be lower, but you should look for an absolute minimum of six-speed on one of the formats. Realistically, you ought to be aiming for eight-speed.

Flat-panel Compromises have to be made to keep the price of a PC down, and the monitor is often where the sacrifices start. Just remember that this is the part of the PC that you’re going to be spending most of your time looking at.

All the PCs in our charts now come with flat-panels. The most common size is currently 19in – you should be very careful when considering going above this size because the quality is unlikely to be good enough under these sorts of price constraints. We don’t see many CRTs now, but they’re still a pretty good deal if you can find them – provided you can put up with the bulky casing, the colour depth on these displays tends to be better than you get on flat-panels.

Graphics cards Given that the best graphics cards can retail for £300 or £400, fervent gamers are unlikely to be best served by a sub-£500 PC. Nonetheless, the cream of the crop do tend to come with decent cards.

You should still be looking for PCs that can produce 50 frames per second (fps) if you’re going to be playing games – 70fps or 80fps is better still. Today’s chip of choice is the Radeon HD 3850. This card is faster than anything else that you’re likely to get at this price point.

The GeForce 8600s are a good alternative. They can support DirectX 10.0, although they’re unlikely to be powerful enough to make the most of tomorrow’s DirectX 10.0 games. They have plenty of pace to tackle today’s games.

Sound card and speakers You’re unlikely to get a standalone sound card at this price – it’s an area where vendors try to cut costs. Most motherboards have decent built-in audio chips that can handle six-channel sound, but to get the best out of them you’ll need a 5.1 speaker system. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance you won’t get anything better than a 2.1 system in this category – indeed, you won’t necessarily get a subwoofer or speakers at all.


See also:
Arbico CD6750 SX: expert review
Budget PCs chart ranking
Budget PCs buying advice

Arbico CD6570 SX: Specs

  • 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6750
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 160GB serial ATA
  • Asus ConRoe1333-D667
  • 6 x USB
  • 19in Hannspree XM New York (0.283mm pixel pitch, 1,440x900 max resolution @ 75Hz)
  • 1GB PCI Express Gainward nVidia GeForce 8600GT
  • onboard Realtek HD
  • speakers built into flat-panel
  • subwoofer
  • 20x/20x/12x/16x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • Ability Office
  • Ahead Nero
  • two-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 99
  • 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6750
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 160GB serial ATA
  • Asus ConRoe1333-D667
  • 6 x USB
  • 19in Hannspree XM New York (0.283mm pixel pitch, 1,440x900 max resolution @ 75Hz)
  • 1GB PCI Express Gainward nVidia GeForce 8600GT
  • onboard Realtek HD
  • speakers built into flat-panel
  • subwoofer
  • 20x/20x/12x/16x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • Ability Office
  • Ahead Nero
  • two-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 99

OUR VERDICT

You won’t go wrong with the Arbico CD6570 SX, but there are four machines we’d prefer.

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