Eclipse's Reaper xFire i796r587 desktop PC looks powerful and imposing in its black NZXT Beta case. At £1,527 it’s the most expensive – but also the most powerful – PC in the chart.

Eclipse's Reaper xFire i796r587 desktop PC looks powerful and imposing in its black NZXT Beta case. At £1,527 it’s the most expensive – but also the most powerful – PC in the chart.

The Eclipse Reaper xFire i796r587 desktop PC’s Intel Core i7-960 processor is the fastest-clocked on offer. An SSD boosts performance still further.

The Gigabyte motherboard found inside the Eclipse Reaper xFire i796r587 desktop PC is fitted with 6GB of DDR3 RAM and supports USB 3.0 and 6Gbps SATA. Its X58 chipset supports multiple graphics cards, with two of the four PCI Express x16 slots running at x16 speed.

A Blu-ray drive is provided with the Eclipse Reaper xFire i796r587 desktop PC, along with a 23.6in full-HD Hanns-G display.

The ATI Radeon HD 5870 is a premium graphics card that helps the Eclipse Reaper xFire i796r587 desktop PC to deliver excellent results in all our gaming tests.

So far, so good – but we do have one gripe: a 32GB SSD simply isn’t large enough for a Windows 7 boot volume in an enthusiast system. Without very careful management of your files, it won’t be long before the drive fills up and starts to cause problems. We were unable to install all our benchmarking software on the Eclipse Reaper xFire i796r587 desktop PC simultaneously, and even installing the programs one at a time left precious little free disk space.

The Core i7-960 is Intel’s fastest non-extreme CPU in its class. Running at 3.2GHz with all four cores blazing, it should be capable of more than 130 points in WorldBench 6. By replacing the few ‘rogue’ scores with conservative estimates, we reckon the Eclipse Reaper xFire i796r587 desktop PC would have scored at least 150 points had the SSD been larger.

Power PCs chart ranking

  1. Chillblast Fusion Tracer
  2. Arbico Elite i7-8670 HSD
  3. CyberPower Infinity i7 Phoenix
  4. DinoPC Ultrasaur 860 OC
  5. Eclipse Reaper xFire i796r587

>> NEXT PAGE: Buying advice

Eclipse's Reaper xFire i796r587 desktop PC looks powerful and imposing in its black NZXT Beta case. At £1,527 it’s the most expensive – but also the most powerful – PC in the chart.

Power PCs buying advice

Processor: Intel’s original Core i7 CPUs offer a number of speed boosts, although they require more expensive motherboards and memory than previous-generation chips. The Core i7-950 or -960 are good choices at this price, or you can save money by opting for an i7-930. Core i7-800-series chips are excellent value, delivering good performance while requiring less expensive motherboards.

Memory: A £1,001-plus Core i7 machine should come with at least 6GB of RAM, although 3GB may be acceptable if the manufacturer compensates with other extras. For dual-core machines, look for 4GB in two modules to allow expansion.

The triple-channel architecture of Core i7-900-based PCs requires you to install chips in threes. Core i7-800-series CPUs use a two-channel system.

A 64bit OS is essential to take full advantage of this memory, particularly if you’re running a dual-graphics setup.

Storage: Expect at least 1TB. Look for a pair or trio of drives to reduce the risk of total data loss, although noise levels will increase. Raid 0 setups boost speed at the expense of reliability.

Consider mirroring for added security. SSDs provide a speed boost, but offer limited capacity and are expensive. Go for an SSD with at least 60GB if you’re running Windows 7.

Dual-layer DVD+/-R capabilities are useful, preferably at eight-speed or above. Also look for eight-speed DVD+RW.

If you want Blu-ray playback, be prepared to compromise on DVD speeds or buy a dedicated Blu-ray drive.

Display: We’re seeing increasing numbers of 24in displays in our PC charts. This used to be the magic size at which 1080p (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.

Make sure you get a digital input for the best image quality, while an extra HDMI port is great for hooking up additional devices such as games consoles without having to switch cables.

Graphics card: For a thrilling gaming experience, choose between nVidia’s new GeForce GTX 480 and AMD’s ATI Radeon HD 5870. It’s a close call between the two, with nVidia’s newer card often offering a performance edge, but costing considerably more. nVidia’s cards offer support for PhysX in-game effects and stereoscopic 3D using special glasses.

Also look out for pre-overclocked graphics cards, which can deliver excellent value and are approved by chip manufacturers. Buying a single-card setup keeps your options open and leaves more space for sound cards or TV tuners.

Motherboard: If you’re considering any upgrades, check that the motherboard offers enough memory slots to support the chips. SLI or CrossFireX support will enable you to add extra graphics cards to boost your gaming performance. If you’re using an Intel CPU, a motherboard with an X58 chipset will give you better performance in multicard setups.

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 also demand a powerful PSU.

>> NEXT PAGE: Specification and our expert verdict

Eclipse Reaper xFire i796r587: Specs

  • 3.2GHz Intel Core i7-960
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • 32GB SSD
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R motherboard
  • 800W EZCool PSU
  • 23.6in Hanns-G HH241D (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5870 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 79/44fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 162/86fps)
  • onboard sound
  • speakers built into monitor
  • 4x BD-ROM
  • 24x/24x/12/12x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 130
  • 3.2GHz Intel Core i7-960
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • 32GB SSD
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R motherboard
  • 800W EZCool PSU
  • 23.6in Hanns-G HH241D (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5870 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 79/44fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 162/86fps)
  • onboard sound
  • speakers built into monitor
  • 4x BD-ROM
  • 24x/24x/12/12x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 130

OUR VERDICT

The Eclipse Reaper xFire i796r587 desktop PC is a great system, but if you’re prepared to spend more than £1,500 we would strongly recommend choosing an SSD larger than 32GB.

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