There are many ways that a budget PC can go wrong. A cramped, badly organised case; a noisy little fan; too little RAM; or a small HDD. Fortunately, this Zoostorm from PC Nextday doesn't fall foul of any of these common economy PC disasters.
It's based around an Intel Celeron D 2.9GHz CPU, which is a low-end processor for the budget end of the market that delivers a usable level of performance. If you go shopping for a budget PC, you'll still find the odd system for sale with only 256MB of RAM...
The makers of this system were wise enough to give us a solid 512MB of memory. Graphics are processed by an onboard chip that delivers reasonable performance for games. There are six USB ports, two at the front and four at the rear.
The Zoostorm comes with a 17-inch AOC LCD Monitor, which produces an attractive picture.
The case of this PC is easy to open, and the front pops off readily for painless access to the spare drive bays: two 3.5-inch and one 5- inch. The CPU fan is large and quiet and is fi tted with a dust shield to reduce the normal accumulation of filth inside the case.
There are two Serial ATA ports for extra hard drives, and room for three extra PCI devices. There are two memory slots. The innards of this PC give little cause for complaint, except for one thing: an AGP port instead of PCI Express.
The specification of the Zoostorm compares well with other similarly priced systems, but be aware that any PC this cheap has made some performance sacrifices for the sake of keeping the price low. Spending £100 more could make all the difference. Before going for a PC like this you need to ask yourself: will graphics ever be important to you?
If so, it would be easier to buy a system with better graphics capabilities now, rather than upgrade later. Are you likely to install a large number of Windows applications? If so, this PC might struggle to cope. On the other hand, if you're buying on a budget and just want to do some email and Web browsing, it could be just the ticket.