Unlike most of the competition, Eclipse has selected an Asus P8Z77-V LX motherboard featuring the enthusiast-friendly Intel Z77 Express chipset rather than the budget or business chipsets found elsewhere. This allows overclocking of the Core i5-3570K if you wish and also offers support for using an SSD as cache, although none is supplied with this system. Take a look at Chillblast Fusion Longbow review too.
There’s room for an additional two sticks of RAM and plenty of empty expansion slots and 6Gb/s SATA ports. This is also the only motherboard in this month’s group to be certified for Windows 8. Visit Arbico eXcel i5256 VX review.
It also provides four USB 3.0 and 10 USB 2.0 ports. However, two of the USB 3.0 ports are on an internal connector and have not been hooked up to the outside of the case, which only supports USB 2.0. This EZCool HA-900B case offers good build quality, but it’s obviously a gaming case and therefore looks too imposing for a family PC, with an unnecessary transparent side-panel.
This lack of SSD is one reason why the Matrix i5357r777 performed slightly slower than other PCs with similar processors. It’s score of 174 points is well behind the PCs from Chillblast and Quiet PC which both combine the same Intel processor with an SSD.
A 23.6in HKX 2412 monitor is included, along with a Blu-ray drive and a pair of Logitech S220 speakers which come with a sub-woofer. However, there’s no webcam and no Wi-Fi included. If you want to add these and an SSD, you’ll end up with a system costing much more than the £799 of the Chillblast or Arbico systems.
To prefer the Eclipse system, you’d have to really want that Z77 chipset, which means you’ll probably be thinking of future upgrades or perhaps overclocking – enthusiast considerations rather than a family’s.