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Eclipse ECO AP555 review

Barry de la Rosa
11 Feb 2011
Eclipse ECO AP555
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
350
inc VAT

It has a massive hard disk and support for USB3 and eSATA, but it doesn't quite have enough power to compete with the best-value PCs at this price.

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Specifications

3.2GHz AMD Phenom II X2 555, 4GB RAM, 22in 1,920x1,080 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

With a limited budget to work with, Eclipse opted for an AMD Phenom II X2 555 processor for the Eco AP555. This is a dual-core model that runs at 3.2GHz but it trails Core i3-based PCs at the same price. The Eco AP555's motherboard has a number of modern features however, such as support for both eSATA and USB3. Plus, you get 4GB of RAM and a massive 1TB hard disk. Don't be fooled by the Eco moniker: the AP555 uses more power than most budget PCs at 114W under load.

An overall score of 92 in our benchmarks is a good score at this price, and it's capable of handling most applications. Our benchmarks have a reference score of 100, based on a quad-core AMD chip, and the dual-core Athlon here stands out with a lower score in the Video-encoding test. A score of 109 in the single-threaded Image-editing test shows the Eco AP555 is actually faster when it has just one task to process.

There's 4GB of RAM fitted in two 2GB modules, with two spare slots making upgrades easy. There are also four free expansion slots, one of which is a PCI-E x16 slot for a dedicated graphics card. However, the power supply is rated at 500W, so it may not have enough headroom to handle the most powerful graphics cards available, and its already noticeable hum will become louder the more load is put on it. You'll also need one or two Molex-to-PCI-E power adaptors for the larger cards that require their own power supply.

Unlike most tower cases, there's room for only three more drives inside, but there are also only three SATA headers free. Externally, you have two USB ports mounted conveniently in the middle of the front panel, and there are six more on the rear including one USB3 port. There are also FireWire and eSATA ports, so you shouldn't have any problems connecting fast external drives or other peripherals.

Audio buffs will be pleased to find five 3.5mm sockets that can handle 7.1 surround sound, as well as an optical S/PDIF. Unfortunately you can't get Blu-ray quality sound via the HDMI port, as the Radeon HD 4290 doesn't support Protected Audio Path.

Eclipse ECO AP555

If you order a monitor with the Eco, Eclipse supplies a DVI cable in the box, as the BenQ G2220HD doesn't come with one. Quality is superb, proving that you don't need an LED backlight for a bright and colourful image. It has a warmer colour temperature than its LED-backlit cousin, the G2222HDL, but contrast isn't quite as good. You can choose between both models from Eclipse - the LED version will set you back only £10 extra.

The Eco AP555 is a good PC, but it's not quite the best value at this price. Its AMD processor can't match the Core i3 found in the OP3 Mars, which also has a longer three-year warranty.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorAMD Phenom II X2 555
Processor external bus200MHz (2GHz HyperTransport)
Processor multiplierx16
Processor clock speed3.2GHz
Processor socketAM3
Memory4
Memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory16GB
MotherboardASRock 890GM Pro3
Motherboard chipsetAMD 890GX

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/6
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/1
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/1
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportN/A

Internal Expansion

Casetower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)1 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports3
Free memory slots2
Free 3.5in drive bays2

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Samsung SpinPoint F3 (HD103SJ)
InterfaceSATA II
Total storage capacity1,000GB

Graphics

Graphics card(s)ATI Radeon HD 4290
Graphics/video portsVGA, DVI, HDMI

Sound

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

Removable Drives

Supported memory cardsnone
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

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

Other Hardware

KeyboardLogitech K120
MouseLogitech M-U0003

Software

Software includedOffice 2007 Trial
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£350
Detailswww.eclipsecomputers.com

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