The Eclipse Titan X58 i7A489 is one of the first systems to grace our Test Centre with AMD's brand-new ATI Radeon HD 4890 graphics card under the bonnet. As a result, the Eclipse scores well in our gaming tests, achieving an impressive 28fps in Crysis (‘Very High Quality' settings) and putting itself on a par with the GTX 275-equipped Chillblast and Arbico PCs topping the chart.

Despite its 2.66GHz quad-core processor, however, performance in our WorldBench 6 real-world processing-speed test suite falls somewhat behind the top-scoring PCs. The Eclipse Titan X58 i7A489's 125-point tally is closer to what we'd expect from a decent dual-core system.

A hefty 700W power supply is included with the Eclipse Titan X58 i7A489, which will provide plenty of grunt for future upgrades. The motherboard also supports both CrossfireX and scaleable link interface (SLI) technologies, should you wish to add a second graphics card. Although this is the same motherboard as that used by Arbico, the four-chip memory limit is unlikely to be a problem with 6GB of RAM preinstalled.

The Eclipse Titan X58 i7A489's Asus VH242H is a good-looking 24in monitor that takes the new 16:9 widescreen format and provides a 1,080p (full-HD) resolution. It comes with VGA, DVI and HDMI inputs, while a digital S/PDIF output lets you pass audio from your HDMI connection to an external set of digital speakers.

A Blu-ray drive has also been included with the Eclipse Titan X58 i7A489, although it doesn't let you burn standard optical discs - a serious omission on a modern PC, particularly at this price point.


Chart ranking: Power PCs (August issue)

  1. Chillblast Fusion Thunder
  2. Arbico Elite i7 RSX Pro
  3. CyberPower Gamer Infinity i7 Galaxy
  4. Eclipse Titan X58 i7A489
  5. Chillblast Fusion Hercules


>> NEXT PAGE: Buying advice

Buying advice: Power PCs (August 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 far more expensive motherboards and memory than previous-generation chips. The dual-core E8600 is still a very fast processor and delivers excellent value.

Memory: If you're spending more than £1,000 on a Core i7 PC, it should come with a minimum 3GB of RAM and 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 750GB. 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.

Eclipse Titan X58 i7A489: Specs

  • 2.66GHz Intel Core i7 920
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R motherboard
  • 11 x USB 2.0
  • 700W EZCool Tornado PSU
  • 24in Asus VH242H flat-panel monitor (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1,920x1,200)
  • 1GB PCI Express Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4890 graphics card (games scores: Crysis (High/Very High) = 67/28fps
  • Fear = 254fps)
  • onboard Realtek ALC888 sound
  • speakers built into flat-panel
  • 2x BD-ROM
  • 8x DVD-ROM
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 125
  • 2.66GHz Intel Core i7 920
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R motherboard
  • 11 x USB 2.0
  • 700W EZCool Tornado PSU
  • 24in Asus VH242H flat-panel monitor (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1,920x1,200)
  • 1GB PCI Express Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4890 graphics card (games scores: Crysis (High/Very High) = 67/28fps
  • Fear = 254fps)
  • onboard Realtek ALC888 sound
  • speakers built into flat-panel
  • 2x BD-ROM
  • 8x DVD-ROM
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 125

OUR VERDICT

Housed in a robust-looking Gigabyte system case, the Eclipse Titan X58 i7A489 looks the part; it comes with a convenient memory card reader and front-facing USB ports. But the Eclipse is let down by the lack of a DVD burner and a relatively short one-year warranty.

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