Arbico’s PCs are generally top performers, and the 8440 is no exception. Based on a Core 2 Duo E8400 processor, the Arbico Elite 8440 scores 118 WorldBench 6 points. The E8500-powered Zoostorm 62-3309 Home Desktop is better still, but this is a highly creditable showing.

Internally, the Arbico Elite 8440 is very similar to the Arbico Elite 8400 However, the newer model comes with an extra 2GB of RAM and one of the latest 22-speed DVD burners from Samsung. It’s great to see 4GB of RAM included at this price. It’s provided in two sticks, so there are two slots remaining for later upgrades.

The Arbico Elite 8440 drops the popular CoolerMaster Elite 330 case in favour of the rather sleeker EZ-Cool H60 model, with concealed optical drive bays.

Although the Arbico Elite 8440's WorldBench performance is good, gaming performance on this system is average. The GeForce 8600 GT graphics card offers considerably less power than the 8600 GTS supplied with the Chillblast Fusion Hawk, although the full 1GB of dedicated RAM is handy for less taxing games. If it’s an all-out gaming machine you’re after, you’d do better to look at Eclipse's Evolution i84n88GS and its far beefier 8800 GS offering.

There’s another 19in Hannspree XM New York display, but no external speakers are provided. You’ll have to rely on the built-in speakers – a serious disadvantage when comparing the Arbico Elite 8440 to the Zoostorm 62-3309 Home Desktop. As with all the other sub-£500 systems, no sound card is provided. You’ll be using onboard audio.

Budget desktop PCS chart ranking (September issue)

  1. Zoostorm 62-3309 Home Desktop
  2. Arbico Elite 8440
  3. Eclipse Evolution i84n88GS
  4. Chillblast Fusion Hawk
  5. CyberPower Gamer Ultra 750

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