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Aria Home Ultra System review

Capable of great gaming performance, but is that enough?

Your games will look good on the bright, colourful 19-inch Hyundai N91W display

Our Verdict

A good choice for gaming, but not the best all-rounder


  • Fast hard drive


  • Processor not the best

When you're choosing an all-purpose family PC at a reasonable price, you shouldn't expect leading-edge gaming performance. However, Aria has managed to squeeze in a capable Gainward Bliss GeForce 7950GT with 256MB of RAM, which managed a blisteringly fast 9,334 score in 3DMark 2005. This should guarantee top gaming speeds for years to come.

Your games will look good, too, on the bright, colourful 19-inch Hyundai N91W display. This comes with one DVI and two VGA ports, and has a couple of speakers if you're looking to save space. The native widescreen resolution of 1,440 x 900 will be welcome if you want to watch movies on your PC, although it's more of a disadvantage for regular applications.

The standard 19-inch resolution of 1,280 x 1,024 means less vertical scrolling and 1 per cent more screen space overall, making it our preferred choice for an all-purpose family PC.

Including an expensive GeForce 7950GT means Aria has needed to cut costs elsewhere, most noticeably in the choice of an Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 processor. This left the system well back on both the CPU and overall PCMark 05 tests.

Yet the system does have a fast hard drive, which in conjunction with the speedy graphics means it will perform better at some tasks.

The cost-cutting continues elsewhere around the system: the hard drive is a relatively small 250GB, the 5.1 speaker set is beaten by many rival setups and there's a definite shortage of extras (Nero Burning ROM, CyberLink PowerDVD, Works 8.5 and that's it). Still, the well-designed Coolermaster case does ensure that the system looks good.

Your verdict on the Home Ultra System ultimately depends on your need for graphics speed, though. If you must have great gaming performance then it's well worth considering; if you want more of an all-round PC, we'd look elsewhere.