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Arbico Value 9650XL review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £500
inc VAT

This quiet, well-built PC has a decent 19in monitor, but it's underpowered and is overpriced.


2.3GHz AMD Phenom X4 9650, 4.000000 RAM, 19in 1,440×900 display, Windows Vista Home Premium


Arbico’s 9650XL is a particularly poor performer for its price, with benchmark scores well below similarly priced systems.

The AMD Phenom X4 9650 processor is an old model now, having been superseded by AMD’s Phenom II range. Also underpowered is the onboard Nvidia GeForce 8200 graphics processor, which failed to run our Crysis frame rate test. Inexplicably, although the PC comes with a decent Logitech mouse, it has a Sumvision keyboard that feels cheap and isn’t particularly nice to type on.

It’s not all bad news, though. The 19in Digimate monitor may be small, but it’s bright and has good viewing angles. The PC is built into a slightly tacky-looking windowed case, but this does a good job of reducing fan noise to an unobtrusive hum. A memory card reader in the front panel can handle all the usual formats, with the bonus of being able to read microSD cards without an adaptor. It also adds a third USB port to the two existing front ports.

Side and rear case fans ensure that the components stay cool. The basic specification doesn’t include any expansion cards, but there’s lots of room for your own upgrades. The Asrock K10N78 motherboard has a free PCI-E x16 slot, two PCI-E x1 slots, three PCI slots and two free memory slots that you can use to upgrade to a maximum of 16GB of RAM.

Without a graphics card to draw extra power, this is also one of the most energy-efficient PCs around, with an idle power consumption of 72W and an active power consumption of 98W with the processor under heavy load. Don’t be fooled by the two-year warranty, as the second year covers labour, but not parts, so you’ll be better off fixing problems yourself after 12 months.

The Arbico 9650XL’s performance was among the worst of any PC we’ve seen lately, and it isn’t exactly cheap. If you’re specifically looking for a low-power desktop, opt for a nettop such as Asus’s new Eee Box but for any other purpose, CCL’s CCL-CS1009 is more powerful and Mesh’s Matrix II 620 HD has a better specification, more storage and a bigger monitor.

Basic Specifications

Rating **
Processor AMD Phenom X4 9650
Processor external bus 200MHz (1.8GHz HyperTransport)
Processor multiplier x11.5
Processor clock speed 2.3GHz
Processor socket AM2+
Level 1 cache 4x 128KB
Level 2 cache 4x 512KB
Memory 4.000000
Memory type PC2-6400
Maximum memory 16GB
Motherboard Asrock K10N78
Motherboard chipset Nvidia GeForce 8200
Power consumption standby 5W
Power consumption idle 72W
Power consumption active 98W


USB2 ports (front/rear) 3/6
Firewire ports (front/rear) 0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear) 0/0
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support none
Other ports none

Internal Expansion

Case midi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free) 2 (2)
PCI-E x16 slots (free) 1 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports 4
Free memory slots 2
Free 3.5in drive bays 3

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s) Samsung HD502HI
Interface SATA 300
Total storage capacity 500GB
Spindle speed 7,200rpm


Graphics card(s) integrated
Graphics/video ports VGA, DVI


Sound Realtek ALC888
Sound outputs 7.1 line out, stereo line out, mic out
Speakers none

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy drive no
Supported memory cards CF, SD, SDHC, MicroSD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo, MicroDrive, xD
Optical drive model HL-DT-ST GH22NS40
Optical drive type(s) DVD+/-RW +/-DL


Viewable size 19 in
Screen model Digimate DGM L-1935WD
Native resolution 1,440×900
Response time 5ms
Screen inputs DVI, VGA

Other Hardware

Modem No
Keyboard Sumvision Gaia multimedia keyboard
Mouse Logitech M-UAE96


Software included Ahead Nero, Cyberlink PowerDVD
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium
Operating system restore option Windows disc

Buying Information

Warranty two years RTB (one year parts and labour, one year labour)
Price £500

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