The Eclipse Platinum i84n88GTS-SLI is another stand-out system in a highly competitive chart. Its processor may be a notch slower than those offered by the leaders – it uses a 3GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 rather than the 3.16GHz E8500 – it’s the only system to feature dual graphics cards in a scaleable link interface (SLI) configuration.

With its pair of Asus GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB cards, the Eclipse Platinum i84n88GTS-SLI’s gaming performance leaves the competition standing. In most games you should expect to see superb performance: when running Fear, its framerates were at least 60 percent faster than those of any other system.

To get twice as much graphics power under the hood, sacrifices have been made elsewhere. The Eclipse Platinum i84n88GTS-SLI is the only system in the category to deploy just 2GB of RAM, its 21.6in display is a fairly low-cost model and there’s no sound card. A full set of Logitech 5.1 surround speakers is provided, however.

Non-gaming performance is decent; it’s measurably slower than the top systems here, but you’re unlikely to notice much difference during the Eclipse Platinum i84n88GTS-SLI's general use.

Five 5.25in bays and three 3.5in bays are free and the motherboard has two unused memory sockets, allowing the Eclipse Platinum i84n88GTS-SLI's allocation to be easily upgraded to 4GB.

Power PCs chart ranking (May issue)

  1. Arbico CD8500 PRO
  2. Chillblast Fusion Anaconda
  3. Eclipse Platinum i84n88GTS-SLI
  4. Mesh Pulse 24
  5. Chillblast Apollo