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Eclipse Eco A255R545 review

David Ludlow
17 May 2010
Eclipse Eco A255R545
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
423
inc VAT

The Eclipse Eco A255R545 is a decent PC, but it lacks upgrade potential and needs more memory.

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Specifications

3.1GHz AMD Phenom II X2 550, 2.000000 RAM, 18.5in 1,366x768 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

The trick with any budget PC is cutting the necessary corners to keep the price down, but leaving enough decent components behind so that the system is well balanced. For the most part Eclipse has done a good job with its Eco A255R545 PC.

From the outside you’d be hard pushed to tell that it’s a budget computer. The glossy black case looks fantastic and hides the front ports and DVD writer behind flaps, keeping the front looking incredibly tidy. There’s plenty to please on the inside, too.

This is one of the only budget computers we’ve seen to have a dedicated graphics card: an ATI Radeon HD 5450. It’s a DirectX 11 graphics card, but before you get too excited about high-end gaming, this model is currently the lowest model in ATI’s range. It limped through our Call of Duty 4 test at 1,680x1,050 at just 7fps; however, at the supplied monitor’s native resolution of 1,366x768 and at lower detail settings we managed playable frame rates of 26fps. One benefit of this card is that it's passively cooled, so there's no additional noise from a loud graphics card fan.

The main benefit of the fitted graphics card is that it’s capable of decoding HD video from Blu-ray (you’ll need to upgrade the bundled DVD writer, though). With its HDMI output, you can transmit full HD audio from Blu-ray discs to a suitable home cinema amplifier, or just connect your computer to your HD TV easily.

As you might expect for a budget computer, there’s a dual-core processor. The AMD Phenom II X2 550 has a fast clock speed of 3.1GHz. It did well in our tests, managing an overall score of 83. It’s slightly disappointing that only 2GB of RAM is fitted, although you can upgrade to 4GB (the motherboard's maximum) easily by fitting another stick of memory in the spare DIMM slot. This PC will cope with pretty much any standard task you can throw at it and should even be good enough for some light video editing.

Other upgrades could be tricky. The motherboard only has only two SATA ports, and both are already filled with the DVD writer and generous 500GB hard disk. The 500W power supply has three free Molex power connectors, but no SATA or PCI-E connectors, so you’ll need to upgrade it or use adaptors if you add extra peripherals. For adding internal expansion cards, such as a SATA card for additional hard disks, there are PCI-E x1 and PCI slots.

The HannsG HH181 18.5in monitor is a fairly average budget display. Its resolution of 1,366x768 matches that of a 720p HD TV, and provides a decent amount of desktop room. We found that it was quite grainy, particularly with bright parts of an image. Contrast is decent and colours are realistic rather than exciting. We were pleased with the Microsoft wireless keyboard and mouse. While basic models, both are comfortable to use.

Eclipse has put together a decent budget computer, but we’d have liked more memory and a motherboard that allows for more upgrade potential. Palicomp’s Carbon AMD TFT-19 is a better choice.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorAMD Phenom II X2 550
Processor external bus200MHz (2GHz HyperTransport)
Processor multiplierx15.5
Processor clock speed3.1GHz
Processor socketAM3
Level 1 cache2x 128KB
Level 2 cache2x 512KB
Memory2.000000
Memory typeDDR2
Maximum memory8GB
MotherboardAsus M2N68-AM
Motherboard chipsetNvidia Geforce 7025 + nForce 630a

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/4
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 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports0
Free memory slots1
Free 3.5in drive bays3

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Samsung SpinPoint F3 HD502HJ
InterfaceSATA 300
Total storage capacity500GB
Spindle speed7,200rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s)512MB ATI Radeon 5450
Graphics/video portsHDMI, DVI, VGA

Sound

SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Sound outputs5.1 line out, stereo line out, mic in
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy driveno
Supported memory cardsnone
Optical drive modelOptiarc AD-5240S
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Viewable size18.5 in
Screen modelHannsG HH181
Native resolution1,366x768
Response time5ms
Screen inputsVGA

Other Hardware

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

Software

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

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB (first 30 days collect and return)
Price£423
Detailswww.eclipsecomputers.com

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