With excellent performance, up-to-date components and a tidy, compact system case, Arbico’s i5357 eXcel is powerful – and flexible enough for working from home.

As is usual for this class of PC, it comes with a 24in monitor, a Blu-ray drive and a pair of stereo speakers although these sadly lack a bass-boosting subwoofer. See also Group test: What's the best family PC.

Like all of our chart systems, this PC was tested with Window 7 installed, but its Asus P8B75-M LX motherboard is Windows 8-ready and fully-certified drivers are already available. Because it uses the Intel B75 Express chipset, it also offers native support for SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0 connections. Take a look at Chillblast Fusion Longbow review too.

Powered by a 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-3750 processor, the PC scored an impressive 176 points in WorldBench 6, helped by the inclusion of a 120GB Agility 3 SSD. Only Chillblast and Quiet PC score higher, both of which use the “K” version of the processor - Chillblast’s system also coming with double the amount of RAM. Visit Arbico eXcel i5256 VX review,

Gaming and multimedia performance is enhanced by an Asus AMD Radeon HD 7770 graphics card which delivers frame-rates high enough to enjoy the majority of games without having to resort to low-quality settings. If gaming isn’t your thing, then you could forego this card although we’d recommend upgrading to the Core i5-3750K in that case as it offers faster integrated graphics.

Our CyberLink MediaEspresso conversion test returned a time of 5mins 23sec – faster than many, but if you want to do a lot of video conversion, you can speed it up still further by making use of the Virtu function built into the motherboard. This will allow the use of the Intel graphics processor for such tasks rather than the  separate graphics card. Again, a Core i5-3750K would help here.

Given the components used, the i5357 eXcel is at the more expensive end of the price scale. You could pick up CCL’s Elite Raven for over £100 less, and Arbico’s system comes without Wi-Fi, a card reader or a webcam, all of which are included with the Chillblast Fusion Orb at the same price.

Arbico i5357 eXcel: Specs

  • Model name: i5357 eXcel
  • Processor: 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-3570
  • Monitor: 23.6in AOC E2450SWDA - (0.272mm, 1920x1080, DVI/VGA)
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3 1600MHz
  • Storage: 1TB SATA III HDD
  • Power supply: 400W Xigmatek
  • Motherboard: Windows 8 certified, Asus P8B75-M LX
  • CPU cooler: Standard Intel Cooler
  • USB: 4x USB 3.0, 8x USB 2.0
  • Graphics card, Speeds (Core, Memory, Shader): Asus AMD Radeon HD 7770, 1GB RAM
  • Sound: onboard
  • Speakers: Logitech S120 (2.0)
  • Optical drive: Sony Blu-ray/DVD combo drive
  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (32-bit or XP also available)
  • Bundled software: None
  • Case: Cit Templar
  • Keyboard & mouse: Logitech MK260 wireless combo
  • Model name: i5357 eXcel
  • Processor: 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-3570
  • Monitor: 23.6in AOC E2450SWDA - (0.272mm, 1920x1080, DVI/VGA)
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3 1600MHz
  • Storage: 1TB SATA III HDD
  • Power supply: 400W Xigmatek
  • Motherboard: Windows 8 certified, Asus P8B75-M LX
  • CPU cooler: Standard Intel Cooler
  • USB: 4x USB 3.0, 8x USB 2.0
  • Graphics card, Speeds (Core, Memory, Shader): Asus AMD Radeon HD 7770, 1GB RAM
  • Sound: onboard
  • Speakers: Logitech S120 (2.0)
  • Optical drive: Sony Blu-ray/DVD combo drive
  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (32-bit or XP also available)
  • Bundled software: None
  • Case: Cit Templar
  • Keyboard & mouse: Logitech MK260 wireless combo

OUR VERDICT

This is a decent PC with good performance in a tidy, home-friendly case. It uses an up-to-date motherboard with Windows 8 drivers available. A Blu-ray drive is included, but the speakers are lacking the subwoofer found on most other systems. It also comes without Wi-Fi as standard.

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