This impressive entry from Eclipse stands head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to gaming. Fitted with an ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics card, the Eclipse Matrix i85A487 has significantly more 3D oomph than those fitted with the lesser Radeon HD 4850 version.

Given that the Eclipse Matrix i85A487 uses the same 3.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor found in the chart-leading systems from Arbico and Chillblast, we expected similarly high performance figures from it. In fact, our WorldBench 6 tests produced rather disappointing results: a score of 119 is by no means slow, but 125-odd points are not uncommon from similarly specified PCs.

The extra cost of the graphics card also forces compromises for the Eclipse Matrix i85A487 in other areas: your warranty lasts a year, not two, and a 500GB hard drive is supplied rather than 750GB.

Inside the Eclipse Matrix i85A487, the Foxconn P35AX-S motherboard is rather small and basic. Only two memory slots are available, both already filled, providing a total of 4GB of DDR2 RAM. Most of us won’t need to expand beyond this, but it’s nice to have the flexibility of spare slots. On the plus side, ATI’s Crossfire technology is supported, so you can add a second Radeon HD 4870 at a later date.

You don’t get any external speakers with the Eclipse Matrix i85A487 either, so you’ll have to rely on the tiny ones built into the Hanns-G HG216DP monitor.

The Eclipse Matrix i85A487's monitor is itself a very popular choice, offering good image quality from its 21.6in display and dual video inputs, including HDMI for easy connection to a Blu-ray player or games console.

If you’re a keen gamer then, despite some significant compromises, the Eclipse Matrix i85A487 is definitely the one for you.

Budget desktop PCs: chart ranking (October issue)

  1. Arbico CD 4850
  2. Chillblast Fusion Hornet
  3. Eclipse Matrix i85A487
  4. CyberPower Gamer Infinity GT
  5. Packard Bell imax 3414

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