Arbico is no stranger to the top of our charts. And the firm has delivered yet another stand-out system this month: the Elite 4850, based on Intel’s Core 2 Duo E8500 processor.

This value-for-money chip powers PCs across all price categories and provides bags of performance. Although it’s the most expensive PC here, the Arbico Elite 4850’s processing power, extras and all-round quality set it apart from its more budget-conscious rivals.

The manufacturer has spurned the highly popular CoolerMaster Elite 330 case in favour of a GZ-X6 model from Gigabyte for the Arbico Elite 4850. It’s a basic-looking design, but it comes with a glossy black finish, optical drive bay covers and tool-free internal drive bays.

The Arbico Elite 4850's 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics card provides plenty of power to keep even the latest games titles running smoothly, although performance differences between ATI and nVidia graphics cards are often highly dependent on the games you play. The Chillblast Fusion Sledgehammer’s nVidia GeForce 9800 GTX has a noticeable edge when playing Crysis.

A huge 750GB hard drive is provided as standard with the Arbico Elite 4850, so you’ll have plenty of room to install a decent games library, as well as a large multimedia collection.

Rather than bundle the cheapest 22in monitor available with the Elite 4850, Arbico has opted for Samsung’s SyncMaster 223BW, which provides excellent image quality and stylish looks.

With five Cyber Acoustic speakers and a subwoofer, the Arbico Elite 4850 is well-equipped for gaming, music and film playback, and it comes with a Blu-ray reader that also supports the now legacy HD DVD format. DVD burn speeds are a little slower than those of rival PCs, but ‘only’ 16-speed DVD-R doesn’t represent a huge sacrifice in order to enjoy high-definition (HD) movies.

Power desktop PCs chart ranking (September issue)

  1. Arbico Elite 4850
  2. Chillblast Fusion Sledgehammer
  3. Eclipse Matrix SLI i85n98GTX
  4. CyberPower Infinity Crossfire HD
  5. Arbico CD9800 PRO