Eclipse's Matrix Crossfire i786R577 is the only Core i7-based PC we've tested this month. As such, it delivers a measurable performance increase.

Rather than following suit with Intel's 2.66GHz Core i5 750, Eclipse has plumped for the 2.8GHz Core i7 860 processor, which adds support for hyperthreading. Although this CPU costs around £70 more, it delivered a measurable performance increase: 137 points in WorldBench 6 compared to around 134 for a system based on the Core i5. As such, the Eclipse Matrix Crossfire i786R577 is the fastest non-overclocked machine in this round-up.

In common with every PC on test, Eclipse supplies a 500GB hard drive and 4GB of memory with the Matrix Crossfire i786R577. Two spare memory slots and plenty of drive bays are available for upgrades.

The ASRock motherboard used here is a larger, more expensive version of that used by the Chillblast. It comes with an extra PCI slot and added overclocking capabilities. There's CrossFireX support for dual graphics cards although, as with the Arbico, one of the Eclipse Matrix Crossfire i786R577's PCI Express slots runs at x4, compromising performance slightly.

The Eclipse Matrix Crossfire i786R577's choice of graphics card is an interesting one. The ATI Radeon HD 5770 offers DirectX 11.0 support, twin DVI ports and HDMI and DisplayPort outputs. This card will excel with future games but, with today's titles, it's the Radeon HD 4890 found higher up the chart that takes the lead.

The Eclipse Matrix Crossfire i786R577's system case is rather plain and unimpressive, while the supplied 22in Hanns-G monitor offers a standard 1680x1050 resolution, falling short of the full-HD displays of the Chillblast and Mesh.

Budget PCs chart ranking: February 10 issue

  1. Chillblast Fusion Blade
  2. Arbico HD7590 Pro
  3. CyberPower Gamer Infinity i5 Achilles
  4. Eclipse Matrix Crossfire i786R577
  5. Mesh Matrix II 965 DX11

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