The Eclipse Titan iQX965A487 costs £100 more than anything else in this month’s chart, yet could still be considered good value for money. That’s because of its processor, the Intel Core 2 Quad Extreme QX9650.

Extreme Edition processors represent the pinnacle of Intel’s CPU range and are designed specifically to be overclockable thanks to their unlocked multiplier settings. You can pick up an E8500 at retail for around £140. By contrast the QX9650 will set you back around £600 – suddenly the Eclipse Titan iQX965A487's extra £100 doesn’t seem so bad a deal.

Testing at stock speeds, our results won’t show the best this CPU can deliver, but even so the Eclipse Titan iQX965A487's WorldBench score of 119 is comparable to some of the E8500 systems we’ve tested and it has the added multiprocessing power of quad-core technology available for those applications able to take advantage of it.

One of three systems here to use a single ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics card, the Eclipse Titan iQX965A487 outperforms all the power PCs from our previous chart, even those with dual-card solutions based on previous technologies.

The Eclipse Titan iQX965A487's case has an unusual design, fronted by two seemingly pointless curved panels hinged like saloon-bar doors. They open to reveal a DVD burner, memory card reader, audio connectors and five USB ports. Tiny power and reset buttons are situated on the right of the case; the left sports one of the largest cooling fans we’ve ever seen.

Two key factors prevent the Eclipse Titan iQX965A487 scoring more highly. First, its 21.6in Hanns-G HG216DP monitor is up against a selection of 24in models from the competition. Second, it’s supplied without any external speakers.

Also, unlike the systems from Arbico and Chillblast, the Eclipse Titan iQX965A487 has no Blu-ray drive – but, in the credit column, it does offer built-in Wi-Fi.

Power desktop PCs: chart ranking (October issue)


  1. Chillblast Fusion SuperNova
  2. CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Elite
  3. Eclipse Titan iQX965A487
  4. Arbico Elite 4870
  5. Chillblast Fusion Thunderbolt

>>NEXT PAGE: Power desktop PC's buying advice

Buying advice: Power desktop PCs (October issue)

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duos are almost always the processors to go for: their performance is excellent for the price. But don’t power a standard desktop with a processor beginning with ‘E6’ – these chips’ time has passed.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, go for one of Intel’s latest quad-core processors, such as the Q9450. These deliver better performance than the previous generation of quad chips.

Memory: If you’re spending more than £1,000 on a PC, it should come with at least 4GB of RAM. Assuming you’re running Windows Vista, any less than this will prevent your PC from reaching its full potential.

For a PC that’ll be able to cope easily with programs in 2008 and beyond, get 4GB of RAM in two modules, so you’ll have room for expansion later.
A 64bit operating system will help you take full advantage of your memory, especially if you’re using dual graphics cards – these sap RAM on 32bit systems.

Storage: Expect at least 500GB and probably 750GB at this price. Beyond this, go for a pair of such drives rather than a single larger unit. It’ll boost your performance and prevent you losing lots of data if a drive fails. Raid setups are also an option. Hard drives are relatively inexpensive, so consider mirroring for added security.

Cover backup with a multiformat DVD writer. Dual-layer capabilities (allowing you to store 8.5GB rather than 4.7GB on a disc) are useful. Make sure the drive supports DVD+R DL at eight-speed or above – some more recent drives offer twice this speed. You should also be able to get eight-speed DVD+RW.

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

Display: We’re seeing increasing numbers of 24in displays in our high-end PC charts. You may baulk at the idea of such a large PC screen, but 24in is currently the magic size where full 1,080p high-definition (HD) playback becomes available – so these monitors make ideal partners for Blu-ray Disc drives.

If this doesn’t appeal, 22in displays are excellent value. Make sure you get a digital input for the best image quality and additional inputs if you want to attach other devices. An HD multimedia interface (HDMI) is useful if you want to share your display with a games console.

Graphics card: It’s possible to spend an eye-watering amount of money on gaming hardware – a top-spec graphics card can easily cost more than the rest of the system put together. For a thrilling gaming experience we recommend an nVidia GeForce GTX280 or 9800 GX2. ATI’s Radeon HD 4870 is also a strong contender. Buying a single-card solution now keeps your options open for adding a second card later. It also leaves more upgrade space available in your PC for sound cards or TV tuners.

Sound card and speakers: There have been big steps forward in onboard sound, with support for 7.1-channel audio (seven speakers and a subwoofer), but it’s still no match for a decent sound card. You should be able to find a PC with a Creative Audigy card or, better still, one from the excellent X-Fi range. If you only want stereo 2.1-channel speakers, make sure they’re high-quality models; most firms are bundling 5.1 speakers, which allow full surround sound when watching films or playing games.

Eclipse Titan iQX965A487: Specs

  • 3GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Extreme X9650
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit
  • 4GB DDR2 RAM
  • 750GB SATA
  • ASRock 4Core 1600P35-WiFi
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 21.6in Hanns-G HG216DP (0.277mm pixel pitch
  • 1,680x1,050 native resolution)
  • 512MB PCI Express Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4870 (games scores: Crysis = 61fps
  • Fear = 219fps)
  • onboard Realtek ALC890
  • speakers built into monitor
  • 18x/18x/8x/8x/6x/8x/12x/12x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • Wi-Fi
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 119
  • 3GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Extreme X9650
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit
  • 4GB DDR2 RAM
  • 750GB SATA
  • ASRock 4Core 1600P35-WiFi
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 21.6in Hanns-G HG216DP (0.277mm pixel pitch
  • 1,680x1,050 native resolution)
  • 512MB PCI Express Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4870 (games scores: Crysis = 61fps
  • Fear = 219fps)
  • onboard Realtek ALC890
  • speakers built into monitor
  • 18x/18x/8x/8x/6x/8x/12x/12x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • Wi-Fi
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 119

OUR VERDICT

Some key factors prevent the Eclipse Titan iQX965A487 scoring more highly: its 21.6in Hanns-G HG216DP monitor is up against a selection of 24in models from the competition; it’s supplied without any external speakers; and, unlike the systems from Arbico and Chillblast, the Eclipse Titan iQX965A487 has no Blu-ray drive. In the credit column, it does offer built-in Wi-Fi and offers good value for money.

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