Time and again PC Specialist puts in a sterling effort, only to find its way blocked by the likes of the Chillblast Fusion Zodiac and Arbico Elite 8500GTS. When we first saw the specifications of the PC Specialist Apollo 880GT Sli, we felt it had a good chance of grabbing top spot in our £1,001+ desktop PCs chart. But we hadn’t reckoned on the success of the Penryn revolution.

Not that you should dismiss the PC Specialist Apollo 880GT Sli out of hand. Its storage space (two 500GB hard drives and a flash memory device) is second to none – for specialists looking to store masses of video and audio files, the extra space could more than prove its worth.

We’re also impressed by the PC Specialist Apollo 880GT Sli’s visuals. The LG L226WTQ 22in flat-panel offers such strong image quality that its low price tag seems like an aberration. With its sharp definition and fabulous colour palette, this is a screen to adore. Similarly, the PC Specialist Apollo 880GT Sli's paired 8800 GT graphics cards make for eyecatching framerates, placing this PC ahead of the Arbico Elite 8500GTS on pure gaming speed. The robust casing (with a generous smattering of USB ports) is another plus, while the PC Specialist Apollo 880GT Sli's sound system is decent and the LG DVD writer thoroughly capable.

But the PC Specialist Apollo 880GT Sli loses ground when it comes to the processor. Whereas the Arbico Elite 8500GTS and Chillblast Fusion Zodiac are graced by trailblazing Penryn chips, the PC Specialist Apollo 880GT Sli has to make do with the old-hat E6850. Performance is still pretty good – for an E6850, a WorldBench score of 120 is excellent, which is probably testament to the 4GB of Corsair DDR2-800 RAM. But it certainly doesn’t compare to the E8500. The PC Specialist Apollo 880GT Sli is also a little more expensive than the Chillblast Fusion Zodiac.