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Eclipse Eco a50 review

Barry de la Rosa
7 Jul 2009
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
400
inc VAT

A well-equipped PC with decent upgrade potential and good performance at a bargain price; only the low-resolution display is a disappointment.

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Specifications

2.6GHz AMD Athlon X2 5050e, 2.000000 RAM, 18.5in 1,366x768 display, Windows Vista Home Premium

Eclipse has managed to submit a complete PC, including an 18.5in widescreen display, for just £400 including VAT.

To keep the price down, the Eco a50 uses some budget components, but Eclipse has done a good job of picking them so that there are no obvious weak areas.

The 2.6GHz dual-core Athlon 64 X2 5050e processor may be one of AMD's older chips, but it's still capable. The 2GB of RAM helped this PC managed an overall benchmark score twice that of Novatech's Ion Fusion nettop.

As you'd expect at this price, there's no dedicated graphics card, and the onboard Radeon 3100 graphics chip isn't capable of playing games. However, it can decode 1080p HD video, so you could use your PC to watch movies if you add a Blu-ray drive. For would-be gamers, there's a free PCI Express x16 slot, so adding a dedicated graphics card such as Sapphire's £84 Radeon HD 4830 is easy. As the motherboard supports Hybrid CrossFireX, you can add an ATI card and use both graphics chips together for slightly better performance.

As well as the free graphics card slot, there are two free RAM slots for up to 8GB of memory, although you'd have to switch to the 64-bit version of Windows to take advantage of all that RAM. Expansion isn't limited to the inside of the case, as a total of eight USB ports provide plenty of room for peripherals.

The 18.5in widescreen monitor seems a real bonus at this price, but it's not quite as good as we'd hoped for and it has a resolution of 1,366x768, the same as a 720p HD TV. This appears quite a low resolution for the monitor's size. Fortunately, picture quality is excellent, with accurate colours and a bright, even backlight. There's a range of preset picture settings, so you can quickly change the image settings to match the content you're viewing.

If performance is more important than size but you still want a PC on a low budget, the Eco A50 is a better choice than the nettops. For just £400 you get a decent computer, although if you can stretch your budget further, Mesh's Nero 9950HD is a better choice.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorAMD Athlon X2 5050e
Processor external bus200MHz (1GHz HyperTransport)
Processor multiplierx13
Processor clock speed2.6GHz
Processor socketAM2
Level 1 cache2x 128KB
Level 2 cache2x 512KB
Memory2.000000
Memory typeDDR2
Maximum memory8GB
MotherboardAsus M3A78-CM
Motherboard chipsetAMD 780G
Power consumption standby5W
Power consumption idle59W
Power consumption active97W

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/6
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone
Other portsnone

Internal Expansion

Casemidi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)1 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports4
Free memory slots2
Free 3.5in drive bays2

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Samsung HD502HI
InterfaceSATA 300
Total storage capacity500GB
Spindle speed5,400rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s)ATI Radeon 3100
Graphics/video portsVGA, DVI, DisplayPort

Sound

SoundVIA HD Audio
Sound outputs7.1 line out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy driveno
Supported memory cardsnone
Optical drive modelTSSTcorp SH-S223B
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Viewable size18.5 in
Screen modelBlue H H95W
Native resolution1,366x768
Response time5ms
Screen inputsDVI, VGA

Other Hardware

ModemNo
KeyboardMicrosoft Wired Keyboard 400 v1.0
MouseMicrosoft Basic Optical Mouse v2.1

Software

Software includednone
Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£400
Detailswww.eclipsecomputers.com

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