Arbico’s £1,199 Elite 9870EX looks very similar to its £749 Elite 8070EX, which uses the same Coolermaster Elite 330 case. The two PCs also share the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L motherboard, Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 processor and 4GB of RAM.

With so many similarities between the systems, it’s hardly surprising that the two Arbicos produce closely matched scores in our WorldBench 6 real-world speed tests. In fact, the Arbico Elite 9870EX managed three points fewer than its lower-cost stablemate.

But the Arbico Elite 9870EX provides a handful of significant upgrades. Following Mesh’s lead in recent months, Arbico has delivered a system tailor-made for HD multimedia. You get Samsung’s 245B display, one of the original low-cost 24in panels, which enables full 1,080p HD playback from the Pioneer combo Blu-ray reader/DVD writer. This drive’s DVD burning speeds are lower than we’d like, but the ability to read the Blu-ray Disc format is a very welcome feature.

A Creative X-Fi Extreme Audio sound card drives five Cyber Acoustic speakers and a subwoofer, turning the Arbico Elite 9870EX into an all-round entertainment system.

The ATI Radeon HD3870 X2 graphics card, like the CyberPower Sli KO GT’s GeForce 9800 GX2, provides twin processors on a single card and 1GB of graphics memory. Gaming scores were quick, but the Arbico Elite 9870EX trailed the nVidia-based systems on Crysis. If you plan to use the higher resolutions supported by a 24in display you may want a little more graphics power.

Chart ranking: Power desktop PCs (August issue)

  1. Chillblast Fusion Thunderbolt
  2. Mesh Xtreme X9450 GTX Pro
  3. Arbico Elite 9870EX
  4. CyberPower Sli KO GT
  5. Dell XPS ONE DSGi E6550

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