At this price point, Pentium 4 processors are fairly thin on the ground. This could be because Athlons are faster for the money; the Cube247's WorldBench score of 92 is three to six points off the pace set by our top Athlon PCs. Then again, there are other reasons for this lack of speed.
The Cube247's 512MB of DDR RAM is about what we expected, but 128MB of that has to be assigned to the graphics setup. The Cube247 plays host to that familiar foe, the onboard graphics controller.
We're not saying the Radeon Xpress is abysmal – for an onboard setup it's pretty nippy. But if you want to indulge in anything graphics-intensive (such as playing a game), the Xpress isn't up to the job. It struggled in our games tests, rarely making the 15fps (frames per second) mark when several of our top systems effortlessly hit 50fps. But if you want to view photos, work with office apps or surf the net, you'll find the Xpress 200 adequate.
We felt similarly ambivalent about the onboard sound – it's not a stunning system, but it'll be fine so long as you're not expecting your PC to come alive with the sound of music.
Storage options are plentiful; the Seagate 200GB hard drive is one of the larger units we've seen in this price range. The NEC DVD writer is a handy drive to have at your service, offering competitive speeds across a wide range of formats.
It's nice to see Cube247 paying attention to those areas that, in the financially constricted world of sub-£1,000 PCs, tend to get overlooked. Internally, the ST4 is beautifully arranged, and the keyboard is a decent-quality Logitech - but not the cordless version, unsurprisingly.