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Arbico P250 CS review

David Ludlow
3 May 2010
Arbico P250 CS
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
424
inc VAT

There's nothing particularly wrong with Arbico's P250 CS, but for similar money you can get a PC with more memory and a faster processor.

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Specifications

3.1GHz AMD Athlon II X2 255, 2.000000 RAM, 19in 1,440x900 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Arbico's P250 CS contains just about the right mix of components that we'd expect to find in a budget computer. The AMD Athlon II X2 255 processor is a decent choice and runs at a high clock speed of 3.1GHz. This PC has just 2GB of RAM, which is a little stingy by today's standards, but the P250 still did well in our tests with an overall score of 73 in our Windows benchmarks.

You could boost system performance a little more by fitting a second 2GB stick of RAM in the spare DIMM slot on the motherboard. Unsurprisingly, for a budget computer, there's no dedicated graphics card and the onboard ATI Radeon HD 3000 graphics couldn't manage our 3D games tests, although they can decode HD video.

If you'd like to play games on this computer, you can fit a dedicated graphics card into the free PCI-E x16 slot. Depending on the card you pick, you may need to upgrade the 500W power supply, as it has no PCI-E power adaptor. There are some spare Molex power cables, so you could also use an adaptor.

Upgrade potential for this PC isn't too bad and better than on many budget computers. It's good to see that there are four SATA ports and two are free. If you fit an extra SATA hard disk, you'll need to use a Molex-to-SATA power adaptor, as the power supply doesn't have any spare SATA plugs.

Oddly, this motherboard doesn't have any PCI-E x1 slots. This restricts you to using the two PCI slots or, if you don't fit a dedicated graphics card, the PCI-E x16 slot. Fortunately, there are six USB ports for adding external peripherals, such as an external hard disk for when you fill up the 320GB model supplied.

As with most budget computers, the P250 CS ships with a 19in widescreen display. The DGM 1,440x900 display gives you a fair amount of desktop room. It's a bright display, but we found that colours look a little washed out. Viewing angles aren't brilliant either, and you need to sit square-on to the display to get the best picture quality, otherwise the screen can look a little dim.

It has both DVI and VGA inputs, but only a VGA cable is provided in the box, even though the motherboard has a digital output. Its built-in stereo speakers are good enough for Windows sounds, but too tinny for regular use with music or movies.

The quality of the supplied keyboard and mouse with a budget PC usually isn't brilliant, but the Sum Vision set Arbico supplies is terrible. The keyboard is incredibly spongy, making it annoying an inaccurate to touch type on. The mouse isn't much better and we found it too small to use comfortably.

There's nothing particularly wrong with Arbico's P250 CS, but for similar money you can get a PC with more memory and a faster processor. Palicomp's Carbon AMD TFT-19 is a better choice.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorAMD Athlon II X2 255
Processor external bus200MHz (2GHz HyperTransport)
Processor multiplierx15.5
Processor clock speed3.1GHz
Processor socketAM3
Level 1 cache2x 128KB
Level 2 cache2x 1,024KB
Memory2.000000
Memory typePC2-6400
Maximum memory4GB
MotherboardBiostar A780L M2L+
Motherboard chipsetAMD 760G

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/4
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100
Wireless networking supportnone
Other portsnone

Internal Expansion

Casemidi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)0 (0)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports2
Free memory slots1
Free 3.5in drive bays5

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Samsung SpinPoint F1 HD322HJ
InterfaceSATA 300
Total storage capacity320GB
Spindle speed7,200rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s)ATI Radeon HD 3000
Graphics/video portsVGA, DVI

Sound

SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Sound outputsstereo line out, mic in, line in
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy driveno
Supported memory cardsnone
Optical drive modelLG HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GH22NS50
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Viewable size19 in
Screen modelDGM L-1935WD
Native resolution1,440x900
Response time5ms
Screen inputsDVI, VGA

Other Hardware

ModemNo
KeyboardSumvision Gaia multimedia keyboard
MouseSumvision 3D Optical Mouse

Software

Software includednone
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years RTB (first month collect and return)
Price£424
Detailswww.arbico.co.uk

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