Arbico Elite 3578 CS review
3.4GHz Intel Core i5-3570K, 8GB RAM, 21.5in 1,920x1,080 display, Windows 8
Arbico typically makes high-quality PCs with great build quality, but the small firm often struggles to get the prices of its systems down far enough to match its rivals. However, the Elite 3578 CS is a bold attempt. The PC is equipped with an Intel Core i5-3570K processor, running at its native 3.4GHz. Even without any overclocking, it's powerful enough for an overall score of 121 in our application benchmarks, can still cope with intensive tasks. Because this is an unlocked processor, you can overclock it yourself if you want to, although it would be a good idea to swap the stock Intel cooler for something a bit more chunky.
The MSI Z77A-G45 motherboard has a clear mouse-driven UEFI interface to help you change settings. It also has loads of upgrade potential. There aren't any PCI slots - the standard is slowly being superseded by PCI-Express - but there are four PCI-E x1 slots (one of which is blocked by the graphics card) and three PCI-E x16 slots. One x16 slot is occupied by the graphics card, and the remaining two run at x16 and x4. The presence of a second full-speed PCI-E x16 slot makes this system a good choice if you want to experiment with dual-graphics-card setups - the board is certified for AMD's CrossFire X, but not SLI.
Installed in the top PCI-E x16 slot is an AMD Radeon HD 7850 graphics card with 1GB of memory. It has plenty of gaming power, as shown by a smoothly playable average frame rate of 29.2fps when running Crysis 2 at 1,920x1,080 and Ultra quality. This card is powerful enough to keep gamers happy for a significant period of time. The graphics card has DVI, HDMI and two mini DisplayPort outputs, which you can use to connect up to three monitors.
The motherboard can handle up to 32GB of RAM. Currently, two 4GB modules are installed, running at 1,600MHz. 8GB is plenty for modern applications and typical for a PC in this price range. The board also has six SATA ports, two of which are SATA3. Both of these are in use, connected to an SSD system disk and a 1TB HDD for storage. The DVD-RW drive is connected to a SATA2 port.
Unfortunately, the SSD, although it means that you get incredibly fast boot and access speeds, has only 60GB capacity, and there's only 20GB free. We've installed games - which would also benefit from the fast read/write speeds of an SSD - larger than this, so you'll have to be prepared to change the default installation location of games and applications to your mechanical hard disk.