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Eclipse Solar a856a75 review

Kat Orphanides
29 Apr 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
450
inc VAT

Decent performance and expansion options, but you can get faster PCs for the same money

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Specifications

3.6GHz AMD A8-5600K , 8GB RAM, 21.5in 1,920x1,080 display, Windows 8

The Eclipse Solar a856a75 has a case that's a little more eye-catching than most budget PCs. We were particularly taken by the large illuminated power button on the front panel. The DVD-RW drive is hidden behind a hinged cover which opens as a drive ejects; there's another hinged cover concealing a pair of USB ports, 3.5mm mic and headphone ports and an externally facing 3.5in drive bay suitable for a memory card reader.

Eclipse Solar a856a75

The inside of the case is strictly functional, without much by way of soundproofing, which is a bit of a pain as the generic 500W power supply is inordinately noisy. However, there aren't many broad vents to let dust in. As well as the external 3.5in bay, there are six more 3.5in drive bays, of which one is occupied by a 1TB hard disk. The rest are vacant, as are three of the case's four 5.25in drive bays. The hard disk and disc drive each occupy one of the motherboard's six SATA3 ports, so you'll easily be able to add a fast SSD if you want to install a quicker boot drive.

The Asrock FM2A75M-DGS motherboard is slightly shorter on expansion slots than the Asus FM2 boards we see in a lot of budget PCs, but it covers the essentials with a PCI-1 x16 slot, a PCI slot and a PCI-E x1 slot. Bear in mind that most graphics cards' coolers will block the PCI-E x1 slot.

Eclipse Solar a856a75

The motherboard has been paired with an AMD A8-5600K processor, which produced an overall score of 62 in our application benchmarks. The processor's on-chip AMD Radeon HD 7560D GPU put in a decent performance in our 3D graphics tests, too, although it couldn't muster a playable frame rate in Dirt Showdown at a 1,920x1,080 resolution and Ultra quality. Even dropping the quality to medium wasn't satisfactory, producing an average frame rate of 25.7fps. At 1,280x720 and High quality, we got a satisfactory 33.2fps. This means you'll be able to play games to some degree on this PC, although you can add a low-cost graphics card and use CrossfireX to get more performance should you need it.

At the back of the board are six USB ports, two of them USB3 - there's also an unused USB3 header as the case disappointingly doesn't have any USB3 ports at the front. In addition to these, there are two PS/2 ports for a mouse and keyboard, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and three 3.5mm analogue audio outputs for up to 5.1 surround sound. There are no digital audio outputs and there isn't an HDMI port for the on-chip graphics either: there's just one DVI and one VGA port.

Eclipse Solar a856a75

Eclipse supplies an AOC e2250Swdn monitor, which has both DVI and VGA ports. This budget display is 21.5in matt widescreen display. It does the job but its poor contrast means that dark scenes look greyish and poorly defined. The keyboard and mouse are a generic Microsoft set. While they're nothing exciting, both are comfortable to use and easy to work with.

Although this is a capable budget system, neither the processor nor the monitor as good as those supplied with similarly priced rivals. If you’re after a £450 PC, we recommend the AMD A10-5800K based PC Specialist Infinity A10 instead.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorAMD A8-5600K
Processor external bus100MHz (HyperTransport)
Processor multiplierx36
Processor clock speed3.6GHz
Processor socketFM2
Memory8
Memory typePC3-10600
Maximum memory32GB
MotherboardAsrock FM2A75M-DGS
Motherboard chipsetAMD A75 FCH

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/6
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone

Internal Expansion

Casemidi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)1 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports4
Free memory slots0
Free 3.5in drive bays6

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Seagate Barracuda (ST31000524AS)
InterfaceSATA3

Graphics

Graphics card(s)AMD Radeon HD 7560D
Graphics/video portsVGA, DVI

Sound

SoundRealtek ALC662
Sound outputs5.1 line out, headphone, microphone
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

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

Display

Viewable size21.5 in
Screen modelAOC e2250Swnd
Native resolution1,920x1,080
Screen inputsVGA, DVI

Other Hardware

KeyboardMicrosoft Basic Keyboard
MouseMicrosoft Basic Optical Mouse

Software

Operating systemWindows 8
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£450
Detailswww.eclipse-computers.com

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