It’s a double first for Arbico this month as it manages to top both this and the £1,001+ chart. The main ingredient of its unparalleled success is the Arbico CD8500 XL's brand-new Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 processor. This Penryn chip supplants the E6850, offering considerably more performance for a similar price. Indeed, a 2GB E8500 system will now notch up roughly the same WorldBench 6 tally as an E6850 PC with twice the RAM. Not that Arbico has stuck to 2GB, mind; the Arbico CD8500 XL packs in 4GB of high-calibre Corsair DDR2-800 RAM.

If there’s a flaw with the Arbico CD8500 XL, however, it’s the size of the monitor. The Hanspree XM New York measures just 19 inches – a far cry from the 21.6 and 22in screens that pop up elsewhere in the top three. But size isn’t everything. Indeed, the Arbico CD8500 XL's XM New York packs a decent image that easily beats that of the larger GNR and Yuraku screens. It’s a high-quality component and you’d be lucky to save more than a few pounds by specifying the Hanspree rather than the GNR. However, should a large screen be your priority then the CyberPower Gamer Infinity Silent Edition is clearly the best deal.

You might quibble about the Arbico CD8500 XL's hard drive, although we reckon 250GB is enough for most users. Otherwise, the Arbico CD8500 XL is extremely impressive. The GeForce 8800 GT continues to offer superb framerates – they’re not quite as good as those of the Eclipse Crucial Supreme n685n88GTS-0C’s GTS 512, but the gap is rarely more than 6 frames per second (fps).

The Arbico CD8500 XL's sound system is arguably the best in the chart; it’s certainly the most consistent. The Audigy SE 7.1 is more than a match for the other PCs’ onboard setups. The Arbico CD8500 XL is well stocked with connectors, boasting a towering 10 USB ports. Add a Samsung DVD writer that’s close to the top of its game, and the Arbico CD8500 XL is an outstanding system for the money – but is a 19in screen too small?

Budget PCs chart ranking (April issue)

  1. Arbico CD8500 XL
  2. CyberPower Gamer Infinity Silent Edition
  3. Eclipse Crucial Supreme n685n88GTS-0C
  4. Chillblast Fusion Gladiator - last month 1
  5. Zoostorm 4-4428


This is a system that's close to the top of its game, but is the Arbico CD8500 XL's 19in screen too small for the money?

See also:

Budget PCs buying advice