The Eclipse Armageddon is one of two systems this month to finally break the 140-point barrier in our WorldBench 6 real-world speed test. It uses the brand-new 3.06GHz Core i7 950 processor, which gives a considerable speed advantage over the older and less expensive 920 that has dominated our charts of late.

The Eclipse Armageddon X58-i795N275 achieved a superb tally of 142 points in WorldBench 6. And although CyberPower's Phoenix beat this score by five points, this system costs £150 less.

Eclipse has supplied a terabyte (1TB) of storage in a single drive with the Armageddon X58-i795N275. Had it spread this capacity across several smaller drives, performance or data security could have been boosted in a Raid configuration, as seen in all the other PCs reviewed here.

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A 6GB allocation of DDR3 RAM has become the standard for Core i7 machines in this category. Here, the memory is provided in three 2GB modules, leaving three slots free for expansion. The Eclipse Armageddon X58-i795N275's 800W PSU, which is more powerful than those supplied by most of the competition, will also be a boon for potential upgrades.

Graphics come courtesy of an XFX-branded nVidia GeForce GTX 275. This is a factory-overclocked model that runs faster than the standard version, enabling the Eclipse Armageddon X58-i795N275 to produce the best framerates in our gaming tests while still offering very good value for money. Sadly, these high-performance components don't leave enough cash spare for a Blu-ray drive.

The Eclipse Armageddon X58-i795N275's 24in BenQ monitor is a premium model. Full-HD widescreen displays such as this offer excellent value for money and plenty of useful screen space for enjoying multimedia and gaming or simply tackling spreadsheets. It offers dual inputs, but lacks an HDMI connection.

Chart rankings: Power desktop PCs (October 09 issue)

  1. Eclipse Armageddon X58-i795N275
  2. Arbico Elite i7890 HD
  3. Chillblast Fusion Turismo
  4. CyberPower Gamer Infinity i7 Phoenix
  5. Chillblast Fusion Thunder


>> NEXT PAGE: Power desktop PCs buying advice



Buying advice: Power desktop PCs (October 09 issue)


Processor: Intel’s quad-core Core i7 CPUs offer a number of speed boosts, including the ability to run eight threads simultaneously, although they require more expensive motherboards and memory than previous-gen chips. With the superb 920 and 940 soon to retire you may find some excellent deals available. The dual-core E8600 is still a very fast processor and delivers excellent value.

Memory: A £1,000-plus Core i7 PC should come with 3GB of RAM (preferably 6GB). For dual-core machines, look for 4GB in two modules to allow room for expansion.

Core i7 PCs require you to buy your chips in threes, in order to take advantage of the triple-channel architecture. You’ll also need to splash out on DDR3 RAM.

A 64bit operating system can take full advantage of this memory, particularly if you’re running a dual-graphics setup.

Storage:
Expect a terabyte. Look for a pair of drives rather than a single unit; it will boost performance and prevent the risk of total data loss. Raid setups are an option. Consider mirroring for added security. SSDs can provide speed boosts, but offer limited capacity and are expensive.

Cover backup with a multiformat DVD writer. Dual-layer capabilities (allowing you to store 8.5GB on a disc) are useful. Make sure the drive supports DVD+R DL at eight-speed or above. You should also be able to get eight-speed DVD+RW.

If you want Blu-ray playback, be prepared to compromise on DVD speeds. Alternatively, buy a second DVD burner for backup.

Display:
We’re seeing increasing numbers of 24in displays in our PC charts. This used to be the magic size at which 1,080p (full-HD) playback became available, making these ideal partners for Blu-ray drives. However, some of the newest 22in (16:9) monitors can also display full-HD – and with a considerable saving, making them excellent value for money.

Make sure you get a digital input for the best image quality.

Graphics card:
For a thrilling gaming experience, choose between nVidia’s GeForce GTX 285 or GTX 295 and an ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2. The latest GeForce GTX 275 and Radeon HD 4890 cards also offer great performance and very good value for money.

Also look out for pre-overclocked graphics cards, which can deliver excellent value for money and are approved by chip manufacturers.

Buying a single-card setup keeps your options open for adding a second card later. It also leaves more space in your PC for sound cards or TV tuners.

Motherboard:
If you’re considering any upgrades, check that the motherboard offers enough memory slots to support additional chips. SLI or CrossfireX support will enable to you add extra graphics cards to boost your gaming performance.

Power supply: The level of power you require will largely depend on the type of graphics card you expect to use. Look for a known and respected brand, and consider from 750W upwards if you have any thoughts of moving up to a dual-card setup later. Any form of overclocking will demand a powerful PSU.

Sound card and speakers:
Onboard sound is still no match for a decent sound card. You should be able to get a Creative Audigy or X-Fi card at this price. If you only want 2.1-channel speakers, make sure they’re high-quality models.

>> NEXT PAGE: Specifications and our expert verdict

Eclipse Armageddon X58-i795N275: Specs

  • 3.06GHz Intel Core i7 950
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • Asus P6T
  • 9 x USB 2.0
  • 800W EZCool PSU
  • 24in BenQ G2410HD (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1,920x1,080)
  • 896MB PCI Express XFX nVidia GeForce GTX 275 XXX (games scores: Crysis (High/Very High) = 84/29fps
  • Fear = 266fps)
  • onboard 6-channel sound
  • speakers built into flat-panel
  • 22x/22x/12x/16x/6x/8x/12x/12x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 142
  • 3.06GHz Intel Core i7 950
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • Asus P6T
  • 9 x USB 2.0
  • 800W EZCool PSU
  • 24in BenQ G2410HD (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1,920x1,080)
  • 896MB PCI Express XFX nVidia GeForce GTX 275 XXX (games scores: Crysis (High/Very High) = 84/29fps
  • Fear = 266fps)
  • onboard 6-channel sound
  • speakers built into flat-panel
  • 22x/22x/12x/16x/6x/8x/12x/12x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 142

OUR VERDICT

The Eclipse Armageddon X58-i795N275 is a super-fast PC for both gaming and general office work.

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