A well put-together PC, the Arbico QC6700 Pro doesn’t put many feet wrong, but still finds itself stuck outside the winning circle. In all honesty, this PC’s biggest failing comes down to price. At £1,350, the Arbico QC6700 Pro is the second most expensive PC here. And given the dazzling array of talent at work in the highest rated machines, that price is enough to count the Arbico out of contention, even given the rather sumptuous looks of the casing.

The Arbico QC6700 Pro comes equipped with a Core 2 Quad Q6700 processor. And while this makes it slightly faster than the Cube247 Electra ST10’s Q6600, the difference only amounts to a couple of points. The 4GB of RAM is blisteringly fast Corsair memory, and the 500GB hard drive is more than substantial – really, the twin 500GB drives found in the Cube247 Electra ST10 are more generous, although few users are going to find 500GB too little for their needs.

The Arbico QC6700 Pro's 22in Hyundai is a very solid flat-panel, if nothing to rave crazily about. The GeForce 8800 GTX is rather closer to the top of its class, although since the Arbico QC6700 Pro is the third PC to offer this card, it’s hard to get too excited about. The sound system is very good, and the LG DVD writer is actually the best in the chart for those who like double-layer facilities.

Chart ranking: £1,001+ power desktop PCs, December 07 issue


  1. Mesh Elite Quad Storm PCA (This PC is no longer in the chart. Click here for more information)
  2. CyberPower Gamer Infinity SLI GTX - last month 1
  3. Cube247 Electra ST10
  4. Arbico QC6700 Pro
  5. PC Specialist Apollo R600-X3

Verdict

We like the Arbico QC6700 Pro, but it faces some tough competition. In terms of sheer capabilities, the Arbico QC6700 Pro is one of the better machines here. But given the steep price tag, we can place the Arbico QC6700 Pro no higher in the chart.

Buying advice: £1,001+ power PCs, December 07 issue

Processor: They might soon face some serious competition from AMD's quad-core processors but, for now, the Core 2s reign supreme. In fact, Intel has been busy adding to its line-up - the quad-core QX6850 is the latest fantastic addition.

Quad-core processors potentially offer 50 to 100 percent extra performance in applications that are programmed to take advantage of the extra cores included within each chip. Don't expect multicore apps and games to flood in, but in a couple of years the software landscape could shift dramatically - and the higher the number of cores, the more impressive the performance boost is likely to be.

You can still get the dual-core E6750 and E6850 processors at good prices. And these chips are devastatingly fast, so don't discount them.

Memory: No sooner had we welcomed the age of the 2GB PC than 4GB machines started appearing in our charts. Three of the models in this chart now include this much memory.

If you want your PC to cope easily with programs in 2008 and beyond, 4GB is the key - but 2GB remains a decent option if you want to save money. For the best performance, buy from a high-quality memory maker such as Corsair.

Storage: Unbelievably, anything less than 500GB is now considered a small amount of storage - the PCs in our £1,001+ chart come with between 500GB and 1TB of hardware space. Unless you specialise in a particularly gigabyte-hungry pastime such as video, 500GB should be more than enough. Make sure you get serial ATA cabling for rapid transfer rates.

Cover backup with a multi-format DVD writer. Dual-layer capabilities (allowing you to store 8.5GB rather than 4.7GB on a disc) are a must, and you should make sure the drive supports DVD+R DL at eight-speed or more. Eight-speed DVD-R DL is nice but not essential, and look for good eight-speed DVD+RW facilities. Other optional formats include DVD-RAM.

Display: You might think all of the flat-panels found in this category would be of superior quality - but you'd be mistaken. The PCs in our chart mostly come with 22in displays, but you should be careful when choosing screens larger than this. Some bigger models produce poor colours and fuzzy images, which might cause problems for those with sensitive eyes. If in doubt, 22in screens are safer bets, but you'll have to accept inferior resolution support.

Graphics cards: At this price point, you should be able to get something rather startling. The GeForce 8800 Ultra is undoubtedly the most prized acquisition. Its support for DirectX 10.0 means Vista adopters can look forward to some impressive games titles in the future.

The Ultra also has bags of performance and sizzling features. The 8800 GTX is nearly as good and, as stocks dwindle, could be available at a juicy price. However, you shouldn't overlook their slightly less exciting sibling, the 8800 GTS, nor the brand-new ATI HD 2900 XT. The latter can't keep up with the Ultra and GTX, but it will eclipse even the 640MB version of the 8800 GTS.

Sound card and speakers: Onboard or integrated sound has come on in leaps and bounds, with support for 7.1 channel sound - but it's still no match for a decent sound card. Hunt around and you should be able to get a PC with a Creative Audigy card or, better still, one from the excellent X-Fi range. If you only want 2.1-channel speakers, make sure they're high-quality. Most manufacturers are bundling 5.1-channel speakers. Strangely, 7.1 speakers are becoming less common but, if you want audio excellence, you'd be best off holding out for a set of these.

Arbico QC6700 Pro: Specs

  • 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 4GB DDR RAM
  • 500GB serial ATA
  • Asus P5N-E SLI motherboard
  • 6 x USB ports
  • 22in Hyundai X220W flat-panel (0.282mm pixel pitch, 1,680x1,050 max resolution at 75Hz)
  • 768MB PCI Express XFX nVidia GeForce 8800 GTX
  • Creative SB X-Fi XtremeAudio
  • 5 x Cyber Acoustics CA5150
  • subwoofer
  • max DVD speeds: 16x/18x/18x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R), 10x/10x (DVD-R DL/+R DL), 6x/8x/12x (DVD-RW/+RW/-RAM)
  • Ability Office
  • CyberLink PowerDVD
  • Ahead Nero
  • two-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 115
  • 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 4GB DDR RAM
  • 500GB serial ATA
  • Asus P5N-E SLI motherboard
  • 6 x USB ports
  • 22in Hyundai X220W flat-panel (0.282mm pixel pitch, 1,680x1,050 max resolution at 75Hz)
  • 768MB PCI Express XFX nVidia GeForce 8800 GTX
  • Creative SB X-Fi XtremeAudio
  • 5 x Cyber Acoustics CA5150
  • subwoofer
  • max DVD speeds: 16x/18x/18x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R), 10x/10x (DVD-R DL/+R DL), 6x/8x/12x (DVD-RW/+RW/-RAM)
  • Ability Office
  • CyberLink PowerDVD
  • Ahead Nero
  • two-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 115

OUR VERDICT

We like the Arbico QC6700 Pro, but there are some tough contenders elsewhere. In terms of sheer capabilities, it’s one of the better machines here. But given the steep price tag, we can place it no higher in the chart.

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