Compromise is often the name of the game at this price point. Do you pour your money into the processor and RAM, or dish out the dosh on a sizeable monitor and decent graphics setup, sacrificing a little general performance in the process?

Eclipse has done away with its usual brute-force approach and gone very much for the second option. Which is why the Eclipse Crucial Supreme n685n88GTS-0C comes with the thrilling 8800 GTS 512 graphics card. A notch up on the quartet of 8800 GTs supplied with the other PCs here, the GTS 512 offered an extra 5-7fps in our games tests.

Feverish gamers might also want to consider an extra-large helping of screen space, and the Eclipse Crucial Supreme n685n88GTS-0C's 21.6in Yuraku is a beast. It lacks a little clarity and fizz compared to the Arbico CD8500 XL’s 19in Hanspree, but this is still a very solid monitor – and a definite bonus if you’re looking for extra inches. The Eclipse Crucial Supreme n685n88GTS-0C is an excellent choice for those who want hot gaming performance and a large screen.

Unfortunately, general performance isn’t in the same class. Not only does the Eclipse Crucial Supreme n685n88GTS-0C come with the ageing E6850 rather than the hot young Penryn E8500, but this PC is also weighed down by its 2GB of DDR RAM.

The Eclipse Crucial Supreme n685n88GTS-0C’s 320GB hard drive is pleasing – if not quite as capacious as the CyberPower Gamer Infinity Silent Edition’s 400GB unit – although the sound system and DVD writer are less impressive than those bundled with the competition. Gaming enthusiasts may like the idea of the Eclipse Crucial Supreme n685n88GTS-0C's large screen and fast graphics card, but the rest of us will prefer the superb Arbico CD8500 XL or CyberPower Gamer Infinity Silent Edition.

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