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Arbico eXcel i2561 CS review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £550
inc VAT

A fast processor, large hard disk and excellent 24in monitor make the eXcel i2561 CS very good value, but there are still better deals available


3.3GHz Intel Core i5-2500, 4GB RAM, 24in 1,920×1,080 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Arbico’s eXcel i2561 CS is housed in a plain, black Gigabyte case that failed to quicken our pulse. The same can’t be said of the monitor: a 24in AOC model with a bright, even LED backlight and natural-looking colours. It even has a reasonable pair of speakers built in.

Inside the case we found an Intel Core i5-2500, which is unusual for an Intel chip as it doesn’t support Hyper-Threading. However, it has four physical cores so it ploughed through our new benchmarks with ease, scoring 99 overall. This is reassuring as it matched our reference PC which has an almost identical i5-2500K chip (the “K” variant is unlocked for overclocking). Along with a staple 4GB of RAM, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an application that will slow the eXcel i2561 CS down.

Arbico eXcel i2561 CS Side

Like many budget PCs, the eXcel i2561 CS doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card, relying instead on the Core i5’s integrated Intel HD Graphics chipset. This struggled to play any of our benchmark games, even with low quality settings, but older games may run. The dedicated chip is capable of decoding HD video, and there’s an HDMI output that you can feed to a home cinema system.

Arbico eXcel i2561 CS Inside

If you’d like to play games, there are two free PCI-E x16 slots for upgrades. Just bear in mind that the 500W power supply may not be able to handle some of the more powerful cards, even though there’s room in the case for them. This room comes at the expense of hard disk trays: there’s room for only one extra internal disk. You could always use the two external bays, but with more than two hard disks another problem rears its head: heat. There’s just one fan, mounted at the rear, so there’s little air flow through the case.

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Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Processor Intel Core i5-2500
Processor external bus 100MHz (Sandy Bridge DMI)
Processor multiplier x33
Processor clock speed 3.3GHz
Processor socket LGA1155
Memory 4
Memory type DDR3
Maximum memory 16GB
Motherboard Asustek P8H61-M Pro
Motherboard chipset Intel H61


USB2 ports (front/rear) 2/6
Firewire ports (front/rear) 0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear) 0/0
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support none

Internal Expansion

Case tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free) 2 (2)
PCI-E x16 slots (free) 2 (2)
Free Serial ATA ports 4
Free memory slots 0
Free 3.5in drive bays 3

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s) Samsung SpinPoint F1 HD103SJ
Interface SATA2
Total storage capacity 1,000GB


Graphics card(s) Intel HD Graphics 2000
Graphics/video ports VGA, DVI, HDMI


Sound Realtek HD Audio
Sound outputs 7.1 line out, optical S/PDIF out
Speakers none

Removable Drives

Supported memory cards none
Optical drive type(s) DVD+/-RW +/-DL


Viewable size 24 in
Screen model AOC 2436Vwa
Native resolution 1,920×1,080
Screen inputs VGA, DVI

Other Hardware

Keyboard Logitech K120
Mouse Logitech M-U0003


Software included Nero Essentials 9
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore option Windows disc

Buying Information

Warranty two years RTB
Price £550

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