Editor choice

Eclipse Apollo Review: All work and no play

What do we mean by an all-round PC? Generally, it’s about balancing the money spent on the various components so you get a system that’s ready for everything ­ within reason ­ rather than weighted towards a particular task. For example, if you have a mid-range budget and shell out on a high-performance graphics card, you may be able to run every 3D game at fast-frame rates but you’ll only have enough cash left for a CPU that struggles when you open more than a couple of web-browser windows.

A desktop PC that has the perfect balance of components for everyday tasks

This desktop PC goes the opposite way. Unlike others we’ve tested around this price, it has no graphics card at all. Instead, Eclipse has spent its money on an i5-6400 processor, one of the best in Intel’s Skylake range. Strictly speaking, it’s no longer one of the very latest processors, because the slightly faster Kaby Lake chip is already beginning to appear in PCs, but it’s still an excellent choice. It has four cores running at up to 3.3GHz and an integrated Intel HD Graphics 530 processor that’s definitely better than nothing.

In our benchmark tests, the Apollo was clearly ahead of i3-based systems, scoring high for multitasking and video editing. You’d still want a more powerful i7 machine for professional work, but sacrificing the GPU does guarantee a boost to raw processing power. And if you want to play games occasionally, it’s not out of the question. You’ll just have to settle for Full HD or lower resolution and reduced quality settings, and steer clear of the most demanding titles.

The case ­ Cooler Master’s MasterBox 5 ­ provides loads of room with very little to occupy it. The hard drive is a fast Seagate Barracuda with a generous 2TB capacity. But if you want really fast you’ll need an SSD, and there’s an M.2 connector ready to add flash storage directly to the PCI-Express interface. There are also four SATA ports and one SATA Express for conventional drives and SSDs, with two 3.5in and five 2.5in bays to accommodate them, although none of these has the front opening required for a DVD or Blu-ray drive.

For external peripherals, there are two fast USB 3.1 ports and one USB Type-C on the back, along with Gigabit Ethernet, PS/2 keyboard and mouse sockets and an audio jack, as well as a pair of USB 3.0 ports on the front. With no graphics card to provide extra monitor outputs, you just get one HDMI, one dual-link DVI-D (supporting higher-resolution screens) and one VGA connector for older monitors.

If you need more clout, Eclipse’s numerous upgrade options would let you add, for example, a 275GB SSD, another 8GB of memory, and Asus’ ROG Strix edition of AMD’s Radeon RX 480 graphics card for around £1,000 in total. Although the RX 480 isn’t the most impressive of this year’s new GPUs, combining it with the Apollo’s i5-6400 would beat systems that combine a pricier graphics card, such as Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070, with an underpowered CPU.

SPECIFICATIONS

2.7GHz Intel i5-6400 quad-core processor · 8GB memory · 2TB hard drive · 2x USB 3.1 ports · 2x USB 3.0 ports · USB Type-C · Gigabit Ethernet · HDMI port · Dual-link DVI port · VGA port · Windows 10 Home · 475x210x491mm (HxWxD) · Three-year warranty

The same logic dictates that, as long as serious gaming isn’t your main concern, the Apollo ­ even in its basic configuration ­ will stand the test of time better than a similarly priced machine that has a more advanced graphics card. Graphical tasks like photo and video editing will benefit from the faster main processor, and almost every program will be able to take advantage, rather than only those designed to support a GPU.

VERDICT:

Focusing on the CPU makes this a superior desktop PC for general tasks and a good base for upgrading

ALTERNATIVE:

PC Specialist RX1 GT

If you want more 3D gaming performance, this combines a fast AMD CPU and basic GPU to good effect

8 Total Score
Eclipse Apollo Review: All work and no play

Focusing on the CPU makes this a superior desktop PC for general tasks and a good base for upgrading

Add your review

Tags:

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Compare items
  • Total (0)
Compare
0