Choosing a Best Buy PC these days often comes down to a simple choice: the fastest chip in today's market or a slightly slower model that will perform dramatically better in a year or two.
The Cube247 Nova ST3 appears to be headed down the latter route. Its Quad Q6600 is currently slightly slower than the dual-core E6850s, but it could turn the tables as multithreaded software becomes more common. Unlike a lot of future-proofed machines, however, the Cube247 Nova ST3 has another sweetener: a bargain price tag. It undercuts its rivals by a good £125.
And the Cube247 Nova ST3's price doesn't signal a raft of compromises. Anything but, in fact - the Cube247 Nova ST3 comes with 4GB of high-calibre Corsair RAM and a pair of 500GB hard drives. The Cube247 Nova ST3 has more storage space than any system we've seen previously.
The Cube247 Nova ST3's WorldBench 6 real-world speed score isn't quite as fast as the dual-core Zoostorm 5-6514 Edge PC's, but the Cube247 Nova ST3's dazzling components keep the gap to a minimum. And, of course, you'll get a handsome speed increase when you start adding multithreaded applications to your system.
The Cube247 Nova ST3's large Mirai flat-panel provides decent-quality colour and a welcome 22in of viewing space. The ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT, meanwhile, isn't in quite the same class as the 8800 GTX and Ultra chips, but it's still a sizzling graphics card. The Cube247 Nova ST3 showed itself quite capable of carrying off some dazzling framerates in our games testing.
Perhaps the only dull point in the Cube247 Nova ST3 is the sound system - we'd prefer to see a top-drawer Creative card. We might also quibble that a PC costing almost £1,200 deserves more than a one-year return-to-base warranty.
We can't get over how much grunt you get for your money with the Cube247 Nova ST3. This show-stopping mix of features and value wins a deserved Best Buy award.
Chart ranking: power PCs October 07 issue