Pros: Excellent performance; quiet
Cons: Not SLI-compatible; power supply
Bottomline: A fast multimedia and gaming PC
Not many PCs score a 10,014 in PCmark05 and stay quiet at the same time, but Arbico’s Elite 8480EX does it with aplomb.
A Core 2 Duo E8400 processor overclocked to 3.6GHz, from 3GHz, lends a hand to the great performance, scoring 9,149 in its PCmark05 section - a score more commonly seen from Intel’s mid-range Quad Core parts. In most cases this 3.6GHz dual-core will leave 3GHz models in its wake.
The CPU is kept quiet by an impressive Scythe Katana 2 heatsink, which also kept the temperature down to 28°C. The 8480EX’s 500GB hard drive is also quietened with a 5.25in anti-vibration caddy.
The front-side bus is increased from 1,333MHz to 1,600MHz to make the magic 3.6GHz number, courtesy of an excellent Gigabyte P35 motherboard. The system’s Bios is second to none, although like all Intel motherboards, it doesn’t support SLI (only ATI Crossfire), so you cannot add a second Nvidia graphics card if you wanted to.
Gamers playing on 20in and 22in monitors will find the 8480EX’s overclocked BFG Nvidia Geforce 8800GTS graphics card enough to turn graphics settings up to high, reflected by a score of 14,702 in 3Dmark06.
Arbico has included an affordable Coolermaster Elite 330 case. It’s a little bland, while its Coolermaster 460W power supply is only rated at 70%+ efficiency, which is just behind modern 80%+-rated power supplies (but the 106W idle power draw isn’t too bad).
For £100 less than the 8480EX, you could buy Chillblast’s Fusion Sentinel desktop with a 3GHz quad core and has a whisperless performance. But it lacks a separate soundcard. The 8480EX is well built, p owerful and has many premium components and extra ports.