Eclipse Solar i6600GTX Xtreme Edition review
Eclipse has taken a single-minded approach to this month’s Labs: power. The focal point to the i6600GTX Xtreme Edition is the enormous 768MB GeForce 8800 GTX graphics card, which is the fastest card money can buy. As you’d expect, this makes the Eclipse a gamer’s dream, remorselessly pummelling our 3D tests into quivering wrecks.
At our toughest settings of 1,600 x 1,200, Far Cry ran at an incredible 108fps and Call of Duty put up only slightly more resistance, with the GTX scoring 62fps. It’s also worth noting the hefty 670W power supply, which is needed for the power-hungry card. This PC will be more than ready for any new games you care to throw at it in the near future, and it simply can’t be matched in this respect by anything else in the Labs.
Your 2D applications will run just as smoothly thanks to the 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo E6600. It achieved 1.44 in our benchmarks, so you won’t notice any sluggishness when running CPU-intensive programs, and there’s 2GB of memory to aid during multitasking. The 500GB hard disk is also above average this month, and everything comes in a sleek and spacious Cooler Master Mystique case with Star Trek-style sliding front doors. The keyboard is also worth mentioning, with its comfortable mock-leather wristrest.
The 20in Belinea TFT is a solid choice, with better-than-average image quality over the supplied DVI cable and a handy four-port USB hub. It isn’t quite as bright as others here, but it shows a good amount of detail in dark images, and the colours on the whole are accurate. The 8ms response time is fine for games, although those sensitive to smearing may notice some on rare occasions.
With a £400-plus graphics card inside, it’s inevitable that compromises have been made in other areas. The Belinea’s speakers are reasonably powerful, but they can’t make up for the lack of a separate bundled set. The Solar also lacks a floppy drive, card reader or any software of note. Then there’s the single-year RTB warranty, which may be a compromise too far when spending this amount. The Eclipse Solar i6600GTX Xtreme Edition is still a powerful gaming PC, but the Gladiator’s two-year on-site warranty means it’s the better choice.