The fastest PC here for gaming, Eclipse’s Selenelion i726n570 will be a hit with fans of gaming and one-word tongue-twisters alike.

Housed in a Cooler Master Elite 430 system case, the Eclipse Selenelion i726n570 looks very much like Chillblast’s Fusion Zenith. Inside, things are very different. The Selenelion uses the non-overclockable Core i7-2600 processor and a Gigabyte motherboard.

At standard settings, this PC is no slower than the competition – the Eclipse Selenelion i726n570 scored 166 points in WorldBench 6 – but you won’t be able to eke out any extra power from its 3.4GHz CPU.

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Performance is already pretty strong, however, and particularly in gaming. The Eclipse Selenelion i726n570 PC's GTX 570 is the fastest graphics card of the group – if not by a wide margin.

The Gigabyte motherboard is a well-specified model, offering a pair of PCI Express x16 slots and plenty of audio connectors, including optical and co-axial S/PDIF. There’s neither FireWire nor eSATA, but the Eclipse Selenelion i726n570 does offer two USB 3.0 connectors.

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The 1TB hard drive and 8GB of DDR3 RAM are standard inclusions at this price, although here the memory is conveniently split between two 4GB modules, leaving two slots free for upgrades. The standard Intel CPU cooler has been fitted, which will be adequate given that the Eclipse Selenelion i726n570 PC isn’t designed for overclocking.

A 23.6in HKC monitor is large enough to make good use of the Eclipse Selenelion i726n570's Blu-ray drive, but by no means the best-quality display we’ve seen at this price. No speakers have been included – a let-down for a £999 PC.

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Processor: Intel’s second-gen Core i5 and i7 CPUs are the only serious contenders at this price. These ‘Sandy Bridge’ chips are much faster and use less power than their predecessors.

The 3.4GHz Core i7-2600K is the fastest available, with its ‘K’ designation denoting an unlocked multiplier. K-series CPUs are designed for overclocking, but demand a compatible motherboard.

At 3.3GHz, the Core i5-2500K offers a slightly lower specification. Unlike the Core i7, it has no support for hyperthreading and 6MB rather than 8MB of level-three cache.

Motherboard: K-series chips require a motherboard that supports overclocking. These boards cost a little more, but a good version will do the hard work for you, providing a significant speed boost without any specialist knowledge.

Never pair a K-series CPU with a motherboard based on the H67 chipset – these don’t support overclocking. If you want to overclock, you should also invest in a third-party CPU cooler.

A 64bit OS will take full advantage of your RAM, but check that your software and drivers will be supported.

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Storage: With storage prices falling, expect 1TB. We’re even seeing systems with 2TB at this price. A solid-state drive (SSD) may be available, providing a noticeable improvement in bootup times and system responsiveness. Their price requires cutbacks elsewhere, however.

Get a multiformat DVD writer that can write to a dual-layer format if you want to store 8.5GB on a single disc. Look for a minimum of eight-speed DVD+R DL. Try to get eight-speed DVD+RW.

It’s not uncommon to find a DVD drive that also reads Blu-ray discs, but DVD-burning speeds will be slower. Look for separate Blu-ray and DVD drives for the fastest performance.

Flat-panel: 24in flat-panels are standard at this price. Many vendors supply cheap screens to leave more cash for other components, but it’s worth spending more on a display if you intend to work with digital photos or video.

A screen with a response time of 8ms or less will minimise blur on fast-moving images. For image editing, contrast ratio and colour fidelity are more important.

A digital input (HDMI, DVI or DisplayPort) can preserve picture quality.

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Graphics card: At this price, the 2GB ATI Radeon HD 6950 is an excellent choice for gamers. It offers multi-screen and DirectX 11.0 support.

nVidia’s GeForce GTX 560 Ti is also DirectX 11.0-compatible and delivers similar performance, as well as support for the company’s 3D Vision glasses.

You may find a GeForce GTX 570 at this price, which will give you even better gaming framerates.

Look for souped-up versions with faster clock speeds or additional memory.

Many nVidia and ATI graphics cards can be upgraded to dual-card setups. However, motherboards that support the new CPUs have only limited support for multiple graphics cards, so we advise you to buy the fastest single card you can.

Power supply: The level of power you require will depend on the graphics card you want to use. Look for at least a 500W unit or 750W-plus if you plan to add another card or overclock the CPU.

Sound card and speakers: Onboard sound is so good these days that you’re unlikely to need a sound card. Look for a set of external speakers and a subwoofer.

Eclipse Selenelion i726n570: Specs

  • 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-2600
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • 8 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Gigabyte P67A-UD3-B3 motherboard
  • 650W EZCool PSU
  • 23.6in HKC 2249A monitor (0.27mm pixel pitch, 1920x1080)
  • 1.28GB nVidia GeForce GTX 570 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 99/46fps, Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 196/113fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 12x BD-ROM
  • 16x/16x/6x/8x/6x/8x/12x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-ROM)
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 166
  • 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-2600
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • 8 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Gigabyte P67A-UD3-B3 motherboard
  • 650W EZCool PSU
  • 23.6in HKC 2249A monitor (0.27mm pixel pitch, 1920x1080)
  • 1.28GB nVidia GeForce GTX 570 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 99/46fps, Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 196/113fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 12x BD-ROM
  • 16x/16x/6x/8x/6x/8x/12x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-ROM)
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 166

OUR VERDICT

The Eclipse Selenelion i726n570 provides the fastest gaming framerates out of the box, but its non-overclockable Intel Core i7-2600 processor and lack of external speakers could make it somewhat less attractive to enthusiasts.

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