This stunning performer from Eclipse brings a new level of speed to this price category. Break down the Eclipse Storm i7920n98GTX's complex name and the key to its performance is revealed: Intel's 2.66GHz Core i7 920 CPU. This may be the entry-level model in the Core i7 range, but the results speak for themselves.

Our benchmarks aren't particularly friendly to multicore systems, which usually come into their own only with multithreaded applications or when running several programs at once. This quad-core system tops our WorldBench 6 results table, however, scoring a superb 129 points. In other words, the Eclipse Storm i7920n98GTX is able to maintain excellent performance across the board - with any application that you need to run, be it single- or multithreaded.

But building a Core i7-based system to this price point isn't without its disadvantages. The new CPUs, along with the motherboards and memory they require, are more expensive than previous-gen components. This means costs have had to be cut elsewhere in the Eclipse Storm i7920n98GTX.

The nVidia GeForce 9800 GTX+ is an excellent mid-range graphics card, but it's out-classed by the GeForce GTX 260 and ATI Radeon HD 4870 cards found elsewhere in the chart. As a result, the Eclipse Storm i7920n98GTX's gaming performance lags behind the competition with more demanding titles.

Eclipse is also the only manufacturer here not to supply external speakers. The Eclipse Storm i7920n98GTX lacks a Blu-ray drive and the monitor has only an analogue connector.

The design of the Core i7 CPU dictates that memory modules are best installed in groups of three. The Eclipse Storm i7920n98GTX comes with 3GB rather than the more usual 4GB - 6GB would greatly increase its expense.

Chart ranking: Power desktop PCs (March 09 issue)

  1. Eclipse Storm i7920n98GTX
  2. Arbico Elite 8260 XL
  3. Palicomp Phoenix E86-22
  4. Mesh Elite GTX260 Power
  5. RL Supplies Modula i8470