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Budget PCs Reviews
15,670 Reviews PC Advisor Recommended

Sub-£500 PCs chart: Eclipse Max i935N79-VSTA

£500 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Eclipse Computers

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

The Eclipse's Intel Pentium D processor reminds us of the bad old days for Intel enthusiasts - a time when AMD Athlon chips effortlessly won out on both performance and value for money. But that, as it turns out, is the one failing in an otherwise stonking sub-£500 PC from Eclipse.

The Eclipse Max i935N79-VSTA's Intel Pentium D processor reminds us of the bad old days for Intel enthusiasts - a time when AMD Athlon chips effortlessly won out on both performance and value for money. But that, as it turns out, is the one failing in an otherwise stonking sub-£500 PC from Eclipse.


  1. Arbico CD6420XL
  2. Eclipse Max i935N79-VSTA
  3. Arbico CD9600XL
  4. Mesh Elite Value PCA
  5. Zoostorm 2-3305 Versatile PC

Second place

The Eclipse's Intel Pentium D processor reminds us of the bad old days for Intel enthusiasts - a time when AMD Athlon chips effortlessly won out on both performance and value for money. And indeed, even with a mighty 3.2GHz clock speed, the Eclipse's Pentium D is put firmly in its place by the rip-snorting Core 2 Duo E6320 in the Best Buy Arbico CD6420XL. But that, as it turns out, is the one failing in an otherwise stonking sub-£500 PC from Eclipse.

For a start, the Max's performance looks a lot more appetising if your interests lean towards gaming rather than general PC work. This machine's nVidia GeForce 7900 GS graphics chip means that, even with the inferior processor, it's able to knock spots off the Arbico CD6420XL in our games tests, regularly posting scores that were several frames per second higher. The flat-panel monitor is nice, too - the HannsG HW191DP produces a steady picture that's easy on the eye. This is by no means a given when you're paying just £500 for a PC.

The Eclipse's DVD writer is sizzling and the other specifications (1GB of DDR RAM, a 250GB hard drive) match those found on the other PCs here. The sound system isn't great, of course, but none of the PCs in this Top Five excels on audio.

Some software other than a 90-day trial for Microsoft Office would have been nice. But in many ways this is an extremely good PC. Indeed, if your interest is in playing games, it's likely to be your top choice.

Eclipse Max i935N79-VSTA Expert Verdict »

3.2GHz Intel Pentium D
Windows Vista Home Premium
1GB DDR RAM
250GB serial ATA
Asus P5VD2-X motherboard
6 USB ports
19in HannsG HW191DP flat-panel, 0.283mm pixel pitch, 1,440x900 maximum resolution
256MB nVidia GeForce 7900 GS, PCI Express
onboard Asus sound card
maximum DVD speeds 16x/18x/18x (DVD -ROM/-R/+R) 8x/8x (-R DL/+R DL) 6x/8x/12x (-RW/+RW/-RAM)
includes 90-day MS Office trial
1-year RTB and 30-day premier warranty
WorldBench 6 score 69
  • Build Quality: We give this item 7 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 9 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 9 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

Some software other than a 90-day trial for Microsoft Office would have been nice. But in many ways this is an extremely good PC. Indeed, if your interest is in playing games, it's likely to be your top choice.

  • Sub-£500 PCs chart: Arbico CD6420XL

    Sub-£500 PCs chart: Arbico CD6420XL

    Sub-£500 PCs tend not to be blessed with extraordinary speed, but the Arbico CD6420XL has nothing to be ashamed of.

  • Sub-£500 PCs chart: Arbico CD9600XL

    Sub-£500 PCs chart: Arbico CD9600XL

    This time last year, AMD's Athlon processors lay at the heart of almost every PC we championed, yet Intel has now achieved total dominance. Well, almost total. For the Arbico CD9600XL is waving a somewhat tattered flag bearing the name of AMD's 2.5GHz Athlon 64 X2 4800+ chip. Does this mark an upturn in AMD's fortunes? Probably not.

  • Eclipse Matrix I67N88-VSTA budget PC

    Eclipse Matrix I67N88-VSTA budget PC

    How quickly things change in the PC market. Only last month we were raving about Eclipse's ability to kit out a £750 machine with an E6700 processor.

  • Sub-£500 PCs chart: Zoostorm 2-3305 Versatile PC

    Sub-£500 PCs chart: Zoostorm 2-3305 Versatile PC

    The Zoostorm 2-3305 impressed us when it first appeared, because it was the first machine that proved you could run Vista without spending lavishly on a PC. Subsequent releases have demonstrated more elegant solutions to the problem of Vista on a budget, but this is still a respectable machine for the money.

  • Sub-£500 PCs chart: Mesh Elite Value PCA

    Sub-£500 PCs chart: Mesh Elite Value PCA

    Big names such as Mesh don’t produce many PCs in the sub-£500 range, so the Elite Value PCA comes as a pleasant surprise.


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