With its dual-core E6700 processor, the Arbico CD-8870GS outpaced the quad-core PCs to record an excellent score of 110 points in our WorldBench 6 test suite of applications, but future software should give the Mesh Elite Quad Express-PCA a significant edge.
A question of performance today or performance tomorrow, then? Not quite. Because, even with its faster chip, the Arbico CD-8870GS struggles to mark itself out as the clear top PC for today's applications - that two-point advantage is noticeable but not significant. Add to the mix the Mesh Elite Quad Express-PCA's massive 4GB of DDR RAM - twice that of the Arbico CD-8870GS - and the future potential offered by its quad-core chip and we suspect you won't disagree that the Arbico CD-8870GS is the lesser choice.
But there's plenty about the Arbico CD-8870GS that will set the heart racing. The V7 screen is a pleasing 20in model that combines full widescreen capabilities with a decent colour palette. The 320MB version of the 8800 GTS is a solid graphics card - although if it's top gaming performance that you're after, the Chillblast Fusion Centaur is a better option. The DVD writer is competitive and the Arbico CD-8870GS comes with a strong software bundle - almost matching the ones provided by the Mesh Elite Quad Express-PCA and Evesham Solar PCs. At this price, we might expect more than a return-to-base warranty, though - the Mesh Elite Quad Express-PCA offers an onsite arrangement.
If you want the best overall performance in today's world, the Arbico CD-8870GS is just about the best shot. But the Mesh Elite Quad Express-PCA is incredibly close even now, and once we see multithreaded applications, or programs that require more memory, the Mesh Elite Quad Express-PCA will cruise ahead.
Chart ranking: power PCs September 07 issue