Arbico has a history of producing top-performing PCs, and this month is no exception. Like all the other vendors in this chart, Arbico has wisely chosen Intel’s superb Core 2 Duo E8500 processor for its CD9800 PRO, which has been dominating our charts since it appeared on the market.

The Arbico CD9800 PRO is a revamped version of the CD8500 PRO, a previous Best Buy winner. The CoolerMaster Elite 330 case makes another welcome appearance, with its ample drive-bay capacity and solid construction. Once again, the Gigabyte P35-DS3R motherboard delivers excellent performance, and there are a generous 10 USB 2.0 ports.

Perhaps the most significant upgrade is the Arbico CD9800 PRO's inclusion of nVidia’s GeForce 9800 GTX graphics card. The 9800 GTX offers only small performance benefits over the 8800 GTS, but Arbico has managed to include the newer card without bumping up the price.

The 500GB hard drive is a notable improvement on the Arbico CD8500 PRO’s 320GB model, but this system sticks with the less impressive Creative Audigy SE sound card. The X-Fi Xtremes are a better bet.

A 22in Cibox C2201 monitor completes the package. This is an adequate flat-panel, even if it can’t match the superb image quality provided by the Best Buy’s Samsung SyncMaster. We’re also rather disappointed that the Arbico CD9800 PRO's choice of screen doesn’t include a DVI input.

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