This month sees the second chart PC from Advance Technologies. It’s a significant improvement on the company’s first attempt (read our review of the AdvanceTec AT-FX E430-AP), although the classy Arbico CD6750 SX and Eclipse Fusion i670A385HD have a slight edge over the Advance Technologies AT-FX Air+.

The three-year warranty is impressive – although, since Advance Technologies is still something of a newcomer, the AT-FX Air+ doesn’t offer quite the same peace of mind you’d get from a long-established brand.

Otherwise, the Advance Technologies AT-FX Air+ seems to do almost everything right, without doing it quite as well as the top two. It matches the Eclipse Fusion i670A385HD on performance – no mean feat – but can’t keep up with the Arbico CD6750 SX. The Advance Technologies AT-FX Air+’s hard drive holds a generous 250GB, making it a tempting option for those who maintain extensive libraries of video and music files.

The Asus is quite a nice screen – it’s narrowly preferable to the Yuraku offered with the Eclipse Fusion i670A385HD but weaker than the Arbico CD6750 SX’s Hannspree. The only real down side is the Advance Technologies AT-FX Air+'s GeForce 8500 GT graphics card, the slowest in the chart. It should be said that most of the cards here aren’t going to be useful for much more than playing high-definition movies and showing off your photo collections. Even so, we’d look for a better card than the ultra-cheap 8500 GT.

The Advance Technologies AT-FX Air+'s Pioneer DVD writer is a decent model and its software bundle is ample.

Budget PCs chart ranking (March 08 issue)

  1. Arbico CD6750 SX
  2. Eclipse Fusion i670A385HD
  3. Advance Technologies AT-FX Air+
  4. CyberPower Gamer Ultra 550 - last month 2
  5. Eclipse Mirage Sli a60n86GT - last month 3