Palicomp's Core i3 Blast 560-22 USB3 desktop PC offers discrete graphics and plenty of upgrade potential.

A tweaked version of Palicomp’s Core i3 Blast 540-22 USB3, this PC upgrades its predecessor’s 3.06GHz Core i3-540 processor to a 3.33GHz Core i3-560. Despite the on-paper speed boost, however, this tweak hasn’t translated into any real increase in overall performance for the Palicomp Core i3 Blast 560-22 USB3.

Whereas the older Palicomp scored 123 points in WorldBench 6, the newer model managed 124. This disappointing result sees the Palicomp Core i3 Blast 560-22 USB3 desktop PC tot up 25 points fewer than the chart-leading Chillblast.

More pleasing is Palicomp’s unique addition of a dedicated graphics card, the Radeon HD 5450. Although this card does little for gaming framerates – the Palicomp Core i3 Blast 560-22 USB3 PC logged 19fps in comparison to the competition’s 17fps in Fear – it offers silent, fanless operation and adds multiple simultaneous outputs and support for DirectX 11.0. Of course, Sandy Bridge processors can do most of this internally.

The ASRock motherboard offers USB 3.0 support, with one of the Palicomp Core i3 Blast 560-22 USB3's 15 ports able to drive the latest peripherals at greatly increased speeds. This is ideal for use with external hard drives, although the PC’s 1TB of internal storage means you’ll probably be using such devices only for backup.

The Palicomp Core i3 Blast 560-22 USB3 PC's expansion options are plentiful, with room for dual graphics cards, four sticks of RAM – memory can be added to rather than replaced – and a handful of add-in cards.

We’ve seen the Palicomp Core i3 Blast 560-22 USB3's tidy Cooler Master Elite 330 case housing PCs costing £1,000-plus. It’s well-made, offers plenty of internal space and doesn’t have the flimsy feel associated with budget cases.

Also supplied with the Palicomp Core i3 Blast 560-22 USB3 desktop PC is a 21.5in AOC F22+ monitor, a stylish display that’s capable of full-HD (1080p) playback.

Budget PCs chart ranking

  1. Chillblast Fusion Skyline
  2. Eclipse Solar i523P67
  3. Arbico i3 5600 XL
  4. Dino PC Plutosaur 650
  5. Palicomp Core i3 Blast 560-22 USB3

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