When it comes to everyday performance, Arbico’s CD8520 XL trounces the competition at this price point, with a WorldBench real-world speed score of 123 – nothing else comes close. It’s also ahead of the field in our gaming tests. Its 512MB nVidia GeForce 8800 GT card even outperforms the newer (but cheaper) 9600 GT favoured by some of its competitors.

The Arbico CD8520 XL uses a 3.16GHz Intel Core 2Duo E8500 processor. Fitted with 4GB of fast PC6400 memory, the Arbico CD8520 XL is your quickest option if you refuse to overclock.

Our Arbico CD8520 XL review model was shipped with a 20in Acer X201 monitor. With a native display resolution of 1,400x1,050 it’s the only monitor in this chart to have a 4:3 aspect ratio rather than the ubiquitous 16:10. This gives you 13 percent more pixels than the equivalent widescreen model. If you’d prefer a 16:10 display, however, Arbico will provide one at no extra cost.

Based on the highly popular Coolermaster Elite 330 case, the Arbico CD8520 XL has fairly standard looks. Take a look inside, however, and you’ll discover some more unusual touches. Whereas other Elite 330 systems tend to use tool-free retention mechanisms for the drive bays, for instance, Arbico has stuck to simple screws.

The Arbico CD8520 XL's chassis contains plenty of room for extra drives, but the complement of 4GB of RAM in the form of four sticks means there’s no room for memory expansion. One PCI and two 1x PCI-Express slots remain, though.

The Creative Audigy SE 7.1 sound card is a welcome addition to the Arbico CD8520 XL. You won’t get the most out of this using the stereo speakers provided, but a subwoofer is included. In case 10 USB ports aren’t enough, there’s a pair of eSATA ports based at the rear on a motherboard connector. These can be removed if you need an extra PCI port.

Chart ranking: Budget desktop PCs (June issue)

  1. Arbico CD8520 XL
  2. Chillblast Fusion Cobra
  3. Mesh G94 Pulse
  4. CyberPower Gamer Infinity 850
  5. CyberPower Gamer Infinity Silent Edition