AMD processors don't tend to perform as well as their Intel counterparts under the stresses of our WorldBench 6 test, but that's no reason to discount them. A carefully specced AMD system, such as the CyberPower AMD Pre-Build 2 Cores, can deliver very good value for money.

The dual-core Athlon X2 7850 CPU used here nudges just above the 100-point mark. This represents a significant performance loss compared to the fastest Intel-based systems in the group. When it comes to games, however, the CyberPower AMD Pre-Build 2 Cores excels.

The cost savings made by this choice of processor leave enough cash in the pot to add an ATI Radeon HD 4770 graphics card to the CyberPower AMD Pre-Build 2 Cores. This is a considerably faster graphics card than any other in this price band, delivering almost double the performance of the competition in our ‘Very High' Crysis test.

A 4GB allocation of RAM and 320GB hard drive are standard fare at this price point, as is the CyberPower AMD Pre-Build 2 Cores' 19in monitor. The Hanton produced rather flat, muted colours, but its inclusion of a digital connection is pleasing.

The AMD Pre-Build 2 Cores' well-designed system case comes as a nice surprise, given that CyberPower usually bundles it with its pricier models. Its black mesh finish and subtle blue trim lends it a comparatively expensive appearance.

Inside, the Asus motherboard leaves little room for expansion. All memory slots are spoken for, while the graphics card and 500W Cooler Master power supply consume much of the CyberPower AMD Pre-Build 2 Cores' remaining space.

Chart ranking: Budget desktop PCs (September 09 issue)

  1. Arbico CD 8467 XL
  2. Palicomp Ballistix Excalibur E85SLI-19
  3. CyberPower AMD Pre-Build 2 Cores
  4. Eclipse Mirage A995R467
  5. HP Compaq Presario CQ5011uk