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Eclipse Solar i76r577 review

Barry de la Rosa
7 Oct 2010
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Eclipse Solar i76r577
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
750
inc VAT

A superb monitor, powerful graphics card and processor and a future-proof motherboard make this neatly-built system the ideal mid-range desktop PC.

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Specifications

2.8GHz Intel Core i5-760, 4GB RAM, 22in 1,920x1,080 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

The Eclipse Solar i76r577 comes in an imposing black tower case with the power supply at the bottom, so the motherboard and components are easy to access. It's powered by an Intel Core i5-760, with a dedicated ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card and a stunning BenQ G2220HD monitor.

Eclipse hasn't overclocked the Core i5, as other manufacturers have done, so it runs at its stock speed of 2.8GHz. This resulted in an overall score of 140 and consistent scores across the range of tests, which is more than enough power for most needs. The 4GB of RAM fitted is more than enough for most applications, although if you plan on editing large photos or video you may consider adding more DIMMs to the two free slots.

As well as being easy to access, the Solar i76r577's motherboard has two free PCI slots and four vacant PCI-Ex1 slots, although one is obscured by the graphics card's heatsink and fan. There are plenty of free drives bays, and in addition to the three free SATA II headers, there are two SATA III headers. Mechanical hard disks aren't fast enough to take advantage of SATA III's speeds, but you could consider adding a solid state disk (SSD) for faster boot times.

Eclipse Solar i76r577

The Radeon HD 5770 is our favourite budget graphics card and the least expensive card we'd recommend for serious gamers. It scored 65.2fps in our Call of Duty 4 test and 36.8fps in Crysis, so it's able to handle the latest games without having to reduce settings: at the monitor's native Full HD resolution, it still managed 31fps with detail set to High and 4x AA.

BenQ's G2220HD is a fantastic 22in monitor with a bright, even backlight and natural colours. The matt finish on the screen does little to dull the image, and contrast is superb. Its menu system is clear and easy to use, with fine controls for colour temperature as well as some image preset modes that we found too overblown.

Support for USB3 and SATA III means the motherboard has plenty of upgrade potential. As well as two USB3 ports on the rear panel, you get two eSATA ports, one just above the front of the case and one on the rear panel. Audio can be output via a set of 7.1 line out sockets, an optical S/PDIF port or the graphics card's HDMI port.

The Microsoft keyboard and mouse set are fairly decent budget models. The keyboard has a numberpad and multimedia shortcuts, and is reasonably comfortable to type on, while the mouse is a simple two-button model with a ratcheted wheel action.

This PC strikes a good balance between its parts: a powerful processor, a decent graphics card, a superb display and a future-proof motherboard with support for the latest technologies. This excellent combination of components means that this PC wins our Best Buy award.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
ProcessorIntel Core i5-760
Processor external bus133MHz (2,400MHz QuickPath Interconnect)
Processor multiplierx21
Processor clock speed2.8GHz
Processor socketLGA1156
Level 1 cache4x 64KB
Level 2 cache4x 256KB
Memory4
Memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory16GB
MotherboardAsustek P7P55D-E LX
Motherboard chipsetIntel P55

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/6
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)1/1
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone
Other ports2x USB 3.0

Internal Expansion

Casetower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)4 (3)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports5
Free memory slots2
Free 3.5in drive bays5

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Samsung SpinPoint F3 HD103SJ
InterfaceSATA II, SATA III
Total storage capacity1,000GB
Spindle speed7,200rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s)ATI Radeon HD 5770
Graphics/video portsVGA, DVI, HDMI

Sound

SoundVIA HD Audio
Sound outputs7.1 line out, optical S/PDIF out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy driveno
Supported memory cardsnone
Optical drive modelOptiarc AD-5260S
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Viewable size22 in
Screen modelBenQ G2220HD
Native resolution1,920x1,080
Response time5ms
Screen inputsVGA, DVI

Other Hardware

ModemNo
KeyboardMicrosoft Wired Keyboard 400
MouseMicrosoft Basic Optical Mouse

Software

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

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£750
Detailswww.eclipsecomputers.com

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