For many months now, Intel’s 3.16GHz Core 2 Duo E8500 processor has been king of the hill, delivering almost unbeatable performance in systems across all our PC charts.

But things are set to change: the new 3.33GHz E8600 makes its first appearance here in the Zoostorm 64-6502. With this CPU monster under the hood, the 64-6502 achieved 130 points in our WorldBench 6 processing-speed test – making this the fastest system we’ve yet seen.

Add in one of nVidia’s new GeForce GTX 260 graphics cards and the Zoostorm 64-6502 is a truly formidable £999 machine that easily beats anything that has come before it in this category.

The Zoostorm 64-6502 houses a 750GB hard drive and 4GB of RAM, providing ample storage and memory for running multiple desktop applications. Two RAM slots remain free for future upgrades, although you’ll have to move to a 64bit operating system (OS) to take advantage of that option.

One aspect of the Zoostorm 64-6502 disappoints, however: the 22in AMW monitor can’t match the quality of such displays as the Samsung SM-2253LW supplied with the Chillblast Olympian. Neither is there a digital connection, meaning that this powerhouse relies on an inferior analogue VGA port for input.

The Zoostorm 64-6502's two-tone, black-and-silver system case is smart, with understated good looks. The bottom half has a brushed metal fascia with rounded edges that incorporate the power switch and hard-drive LED; the top houses the drive bays and a vertical sliding door, which reveals a trio of USB ports, memory-card reader and pair of audio connectors.

Although plenty of internal drive bays are free, the case appears a little cramped. This is mainly due to the Zoostorm 64-6502’s enormous graphics card and high-quality 880W power supply, with its thick, wrapped cables that help to keep things tidy.

Chart ranking: Power desktop PCs (Nov issue)

  1. Zoostorm 64-6502
  2. Mesh Elite GTX260 Pro
  3. CyberPower Gamer Infinity Silent Edition
  4. Chillblast Olympian
  5. PC Specialist Apollo HD8600

>> NEXT PAGE: Power desktop PCs buying advice