If your budget is limited, then PC Specialist’s Fusion FX-41 still offers a great deal of power for just £649. Featuring a quad-core AMD FX-4100 processor running at 3.6GHz, it offers less overall computing power than the six-core Mithras system from Braebo, but each individual core runs a little bit faster. For a number of applications, this often results in slightly better performance unless you’re running a lot of processes at once. So this is why the Fusion FX-41’s WorldBench 6 score of 134 points come out a little ahead of the Mithras’s 128. See also Group test: What's the best family PC.

The usual 8GB of RAM is included, along with a 1TB hard drive – double the capacity of the Mithras. Also included is a Powercolor Radeon HD 7750 graphics card with 1GB of memory. It’s a newer generation of card than the Radeon HD 6850 and 6870 found elsewhere, but quite a lot slower. It is however, much quicker than the Radeon HD 6450 of the Braebo Mithras.

A budget 23.6in Edge 10 M240 display is included, with full-HD support thanks to its 1920 by 1080-pixel resolution. The PC also comes with a Blu-ray drive for watching HD films on your PC. The ever-popular Logitech S220 speakers provide the sound output, enhanced by a subwoofer for extra bass.

A good set of accessorises is provided, including built-in wireless-n networking, a memory-card reader and a Logitech C210 webcam. You also get a Logitech MK250 wireless keyboard and mouse set which is slightly larger than the MK260 model, but lacks the row of hotkeys along the top.

A long, three-year warranty is provided on this system although it’s a return-to-base, parts-only agreement rather than the best collect-and-return all-inclusive policies found elsewhere.

The PCS Enigma system case is very basic, but tidy and spacious. It offers useful front-facing ports and doesn’t have the imposing looks of those PCs clearly designed to appeal more to boy gamers than families.

PC Specialist Fusion FX-41: Specs

  • Processor: 3.6GHz AMD FX-4100 (quad-core)
  • Monitor: 23.6in Edge 10 M240 (0.272mm, 1920x1080 pixels, DVI/VGA)
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3
  • Storage: 1TB Seagate SATA II HDD
  • Power supply: 450W FSP
  • Motherboard: Asus M5A78L-M/USB3
  • CPU cooler: Standard AMD Cooler
  • USB: 2x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0
  • Graphics card: Powercolor AMD Radeon HD 77 0 1GB (800/1125/NA)
  • Sound: onboard
  • Speakers: Logitech S220 inc subwoofer (2.1)
  • Optical drive: Samsung Blu-ray Reader DVD-writer combo
  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Bundled software: Microsoft Office Starter 2010, Bullguard Internet Security
  • Case: PCS Enigma Piano Black
  • Keyboard: Logitech MK250 wireless combo
  • Extra features: Wireless-n WiFi, Logitech C210 Webcam, Memory card reader
  • Processor: 3.6GHz AMD FX-4100 (quad-core)
  • Monitor: 23.6in Edge 10 M240 (0.272mm, 1920x1080 pixels, DVI/VGA)
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3
  • Storage: 1TB Seagate SATA II HDD
  • Power supply: 450W FSP
  • Motherboard: Asus M5A78L-M/USB3
  • CPU cooler: Standard AMD Cooler
  • USB: 2x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0
  • Graphics card: Powercolor AMD Radeon HD 77 0 1GB (800/1125/NA)
  • Sound: onboard
  • Speakers: Logitech S220 inc subwoofer (2.1)
  • Optical drive: Samsung Blu-ray Reader DVD-writer combo
  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Bundled software: Microsoft Office Starter 2010, Bullguard Internet Security
  • Case: PCS Enigma Piano Black
  • Keyboard: Logitech MK250 wireless combo
  • Extra features: Wireless-n WiFi, Logitech C210 Webcam, Memory card reader

OUR VERDICT

It may be the least expensive PC on offer in this round-up, but its performance is more than adequate and it offers a well-rounded selection of features and peripherals including wireless networking, a card reader and a webcam. It’s not a great machine for playing games, but as a general-purpose family PC it fits the bill very well.

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