Because of its 7950 GT graphics card, at £750 Arbico's CD7950XL is an excellent buy. Gamers will be particularly interested in the high framerates pulled out by the CD7950XL during our Company of Heroes and Fear tests – the Arbico was 10-15fps (frames per second) faster than its similarly priced Windows Vista competitors. It will be available soon from www.arbico.co.uk.
However, not everything on the Arbico is as outstanding. It's always welcome to see a 19in rather than a 17in flat-panel – the extra two inches allows you to make out considerably more detail – but the Arbico's Yuraku isn't blessed with one of the more famous brand names. The screen is actually quite proficient, but we certainly wouldn't put this in the same class as a screen such as Acer's AL1916W.
And there are problems elsewhere. The Core 2 Duo E6600 is very nice, but an extra 1GB of DDR RAM would have helped with Vista performance. The gap between XP and Vista speed was slightly more pronounced here than was the case with the 2GB Chillblast Fusion Vista 6300 OCTV 2.1GHz PC. And general performance was just a notch below that of other 2GB Vista PCs – the WorldBench real-world speed score of 120 was some six to seven points behind the top two we tested.
The 250GB hard drive isn't the largest although, as with the Chillblast, it seems churlish to complain when most users will find this sufficient. And at least the sound system and DVD writer are decent. Games players will find themselves inexorably drawn to this PC. The rest of us, however, might be slightly put off by the screen and only 1GB of memory.
For full reviews of the very best Vista systems available right now, look out for the April 06 issue of PC Advisor, which hits the news stand on 15 February. For a full, in-depth review of Windows Vista, click here.