At £699, the Matrix i323R685 is the least expensive Intel-based PC of the group. Fitted with a dual-core Core i3-2310 processor, it offers noticeably less processing power than the quad-core Core i5 systems, but still achieves a perfectly respectable WorldBench score of 151 points. See also Group test: What's the best family PC.

This is ample for most users who won’t really notice a lot of difference in performance day-to-day unless they’re performing computationally intensive tasks such as video encoding or editing very large files in multi-processing applications such as Adobe Photoshop. If this describes you, then you may prefer to opt for one of the AMD-based PCs which perform somewhat slower in WorldBench but offer more cores for this type of application.

An AMD Radeon HD 6850 graphics card is included which makes even demanding games playable, provided you keep the resolution and quality settings down. Its gaming performance falls somewhat behind that of the Chillblast Fusion Longbow which has a slightly faster version of the same graphics card, coupled with a considerably faster CPU.

The system includes a standard 8GB of DDR3 RAM and 1TB hard disk, and an Asus P8H61-M LE/USB3 motherboard which uses Intel’s ‘value’ H61-Express Sandy Bridge chipset rather than the more advanced Z68-Express chipset used by Arbico.

A 23in AOC display is slightly smaller than the largest monitors of the group, but offering the same 1920 by 1080 pixel HD resolution and a power-saving LED backlight.  It’s a considerably better display than the 21.5in AOC supplied with the Braebo Mithras.

Logitech’s S220 subwoofer-equipped speaker set is added, along with an LG Blu-ray reading combo drive so you can play HD films. A wired keyboard and mouse set is provided, in the form of the rather basic and inexpensive Microsoft Optical Desktop 400 set. You also get built-in Wi-Fi support.

Eclipse Matrix i323R685: Specs

  • Processor: 3.3GHz Intel Core i3-2310 (dual-core)
  • Monitor: 23in AOC E2350SDA (0.26mm, 1920x1080 pixels, DVI/VGA)
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3
  • Storage: 1TB Hitachi SATA III HDD
  • Power supply: 650W EZCool
  • Motherboard: Asus P8H61-M LE/USB3
  • CPU cooler: Standard Intel Cooler
  • USB: 2x USB 3.0, 6x USB 2.0
  • Graphics card: AMD Radeon HD 6850 1GB (775/1000/NA)
  • Sound: onboard
  • Speakers: Logitech S220 inc subwoofer (2.1)
  • Optical drive: LG Blu-ray Reader DVD-writer combo
  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Bundled software: Ahead Nero, Microsoft Office Starter 2010, Bullguard Internet Security
  • Case: Unbranded model 437-16
  • Keyboard: Microsoft Optical Desktop 400
  • Extra features:Wireless-n WiFi
  • Processor: 3.3GHz Intel Core i3-2310 (dual-core)
  • Monitor: 23in AOC E2350SDA (0.26mm, 1920x1080 pixels, DVI/VGA)
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3
  • Storage: 1TB Hitachi SATA III HDD
  • Power supply: 650W EZCool
  • Motherboard: Asus P8H61-M LE/USB3
  • CPU cooler: Standard Intel Cooler
  • USB: 2x USB 3.0, 6x USB 2.0
  • Graphics card: AMD Radeon HD 6850 1GB (775/1000/NA)
  • Sound: onboard
  • Speakers: Logitech S220 inc subwoofer (2.1)
  • Optical drive: LG Blu-ray Reader DVD-writer combo
  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Bundled software: Ahead Nero, Microsoft Office Starter 2010, Bullguard Internet Security
  • Case: Unbranded model 437-16
  • Keyboard: Microsoft Optical Desktop 400
  • Extra features:Wireless-n WiFi

OUR VERDICT

This very reasonably priced PC offers a little less performance than the other Intel-based PCs but comes with a good-quality display, Blu-ray support, WiFi and a set of speakers with a sub-woofer. It’s also a capable gaming machine, making it a good value all-rounder for the home.

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