HP's Compaq Presario CQ5011uk is unlike any other PC here; it's difficult to decide whether it should sit at the top or bottom of our chart. The answer to this question depends entirely on what you want and need from your PC.

The first major difference is cost, and the HP Compaq Presario CQ5011uk is priced £100 below the rest of the competition. As such, it's reasonable to expect that a few compromises have been made in its spec. And indeed there have.

At the core of the HP Compaq Presario CQ5011uk is a CPU verging on extinction - the 2.4GHz Intel Pentium E2200 processor. This is a significantly slower chip than the Core 2 Duo chips found in most of today's PCs.

No graphics card is included, and the motherboard's integrated graphics leave anything other than running office or basic multimedia apps out of the question. Unsurprisingly, the HP Compaq Presario CQ5011uk wouldn't run Crysis at all, and reduced Fear to a slideshow with a paltry result of just 3fps.

Only 3GB of RAM is supplied with the HP Compaq Presario CQ5011uk, although bringing this allocation in line with the competition would only be worthwhile if you also installed the 64bit version of Vista.

The HP Compaq Presario CQ5011uk's 19in Hanns-G is a fairly decent monitor, but the analogue-only version used here can't match the quality of the DVI-enabled version we're used to seeing supplied with our chart PCs.

Nevertheless, if all you need is a reasonable PC for surfing the web, none of these shortcomings are important. And the HP Compaq Presario CQ5011uk has a few good points.

The system case is extremely well designed, a huge amount of software is preinstalled and there's a tremendous amount of interactive setup help. In short, the HP Compaq Presario CQ5011uk is the ideal PC for your mum.

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