Running single-threaded applications, the 3.33GHz Intel Core i5 660-powered Arbico i5 HD6650 XL power desktop PC will easily outperform systems based on more expensive quad-core chips.

Running single-threaded applications, the 3.33GHz Intel Core i5 660-powered Arbico i5 HD6650 XL power desktop PC will easily outperform systems based on more expensive quad-core chips.

Ordinarily, those who like to run multiple programs simultaneously would be better served by one of the Arbico i5 HD6650 XL power desktop PC's quad-core competitors. The PC's DirectX 11.0-compatible ATI Radeon HD 5850 graphics card partially atones, with its DirectCompute feature offloading media-processing tasks on to the graphics card and freeing up the CPU for other activities. But all four of its rivals also include DirectCompute, making them capable of even greater parallelism. The right CPU choice for you will come down to the apps you use and how you use them.

The Arbico i5 HD6650 XL power desktop PC's Asus P7P55 LX motherboard supports CrossFireX for doubling up on ATI graphics cards. It also offers easy overclocking, with one option seeing the power switch transform into a turbo button for a one-touch speed boost. This motherboard shouldn't be confused with the more advanced Asus P7P55D-E LX supplied by Chillblast, however.

Arbico supplies 1TB of storage in a single drive, plus 4GB of DDR3 RAM - both are standard inclusions at this price point. More impressively, the Arbico i5 HD6650 XL power desktop PC is the only system here to offer a Blu-ray drive, which it pairs with an attractive 22in full-HD LG screen that comes with touch-sensitive controls and a set of stereo speakers. As such, the Arbico delivers the best all-round multimedia credentials of the group.

Chart ranking (July 2010 issue)

  1. Chillblast Fusion Reactor
  2. Eclipse Evolution i786R587
  3. Arbico i5 HD6650 XL
  4. Arbico i7 HD8650 Pro
  5. Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 860-24

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