If you want a lot of power for not a lot of money, the Eclipse Matrix i67N88-VSTA is just the ticket.
- JAL Andromeda
- Eclipse Matrix i67N88-VSTA
- Zoostorm 2-5406 Advanced PC
- Arbico CD6880 XL
- Eclipse Ultimate i66GT-VSTA
The Eclipse looked set to land itself a Best Buy until the late appearance of the JAL. These are two quite different PCs, each targetting a separate audience. But if you want a lot of power for not a lot of money, this PC is more the ticket.
The Matrix's killer feature is its Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 chip. At a time when its rivals are experimenting with the E6600, the Eclipse adopts the superior version. The performance difference isn't startling (the jump is a measly 0.24GHz), but you get plenty of extra juice. While the other PCs clustered in the mid-nineties when rated using our WorldBench test suite, the Eclipse was the only system to hit three digits. The 2GB of DDR RAM doesn't hurt, of course, but mostly this PC is a triumph for the E6700.
The technological advances don't stop there, for the Eclipse comes with the best graphics card (even if it does share this particular component with the Arbico) in the shape of the 320MB 8800 GTS card. There are better graphics adapters out there - the 640MB version of this card, and the brand new ATI, to name but two - but given the £750 budget, this is about as good as it gets. The Arbico gave the Eclipse a good fight in our games tests, but the Matrix remained supreme - and it finished a long way ahead of the likes of the Zoostorm and the JAL.
The HannsG isn't a flat-panel we're going to go crazy about but, it's certainly more than good enough for this price point. The display's colourful and reasonably sharp, and the widescreen resolution is extremely welcome. The DVD writer and hard drive are commendable, and the onboard sound is no less satisfactory than on its rivals.