With some juicy components listed in the Palicomp Core i5 Blast 760-24 USB3's spec, we were a little disappointed with this budget desktop PC's performance.

Given that Palicomp’s Core i5 Blast 760-24 USB3 budget desktop PC uses the same 2.8GHz Core i5-750 processor and Asus motherboard as our Best Buy and Recommended PCs, we were a little disappointed with its overall performance. While any system scoring 130 points in WorldBench 6 is more than adequate for most users, it falls a full nine points short of Chillblast’s similarly equipped PC.

The Palicomp Core i5 Blast 760-24 USB3 houses an Asus motherboard, which provides this budget desktop PC with a good selection of expansion ports, as well as a USB 3.0 interface for high-speed connections to the latest hard drives.

Externally, the Palicomp Core i5 Blast 760-24 USB3 budget desktop PC is very similar to the Arbico, with both using Cooler Master’s trusty Elite 330 system case. This is a well-built but unexciting option.

The Palicomp Core i5 Blast 760-24 USB3 comes with the chart-standard 4GB of RAM, but at least 50 percent more hard-disk space than any of the budget desktop PC competition. Its 1.5TB drive is actually three times the size of Arbico’s.

Graphics performance is pretty good: although the nVidia GeForce GTX 460 graphics card supplied here is the lower-cost 768MB version, it’s been factory-overclocked to run a little faster than the 1GB model supplied by Eclipse. It can’t match the real-world performance of the more expensive version, but it helps the Palicomp Core i5 Blast 760-24 USB3 budget desktop PC to edge ahead of the Best Buy Chillblast in both our gaming tests.

A 23.6in display is slightly larger than the 23in monitors usually seen at this price point. It offers the same 1920x1080 full-HD resolution, but text and icons will appear slightly larger on this screen. You also get a set of Logitech stereo speakers and a subwoofer for enhanced bass response, making the Palicomp Core i5 Blast 760-24 USB3 the best budget desktop PC here for multimedia use.

Chart ranking: Budget PCs

  1. Chillblast Fusion Midas
  2. Eclipse Fusion i76n460
  3. Palicomp Core i5 Blast 760-24 USB3
  4. Arbico i5-7670 XL
  5. CyberPower Infinity i3 Apollo (repeat)

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With some juicy components listed in the Palicomp Core i5 Blast 760-24 USB3's spec, especially for multimedia use, we were a little disappointed with this budget desktop PC's performance.

Budget desktop PCs buying advice

Processor: Intel’s latest naming scheme is confusing: if you want a quad-core PC, look for a Core i5-700-, 800- or 900-series CPU; the newer Core i5-600 series chips are dual-core.

Quad-core chips offer greater multiprocessing capabilities, but the higher clock speeds of dual-core chips mean they can run single-threaded applications faster. Non-gamers should note that their integrated graphics chips will allow them to play full-HD video without a discrete graphics card.

Intel’s 2.8GHz quad-core Core i5-760 is the current king of the £501-£750 desktop PCs category and is compatible with the most up-to-date motherboards and DDR3 memory.
AMD’s quad-core Phenom II X4 920, 940 and 965 also offer good value for money, although they can’t match the Core i7 in our tests.

Some AMD processors contain hidden extra cores that can be enabled in the Bios. Ensure that any tweaks are backed by the vendor.

Memory: If fast processors speed up your PC, a large bank of memory stops it from slowing down. Get the most out of your CPU by including at least 4GB of RAM. You can get by with 2GB, but your PC will run more smoothly with more.

Core i5- and i7-800-series CPUs use DDR3 memory rather than DDR2, but there’s no need to buy the chips in threes as you do with i7-900-series systems.

Storage: Digital media will quickly fill a reasonably sized hard drive; buy the biggest you can afford. At least 500GB should be expected at this price point.

Consider using a pair of smaller hard drives rather than one large drive – a terabyte (1TB) is a huge amount of information to lose in one go.

Your DVD drive should write to the +/-R formats at 18-speed or better. Eight-speed rewriting is good; if you want to copy up to 8.5GB at once, look for fast DVD+/-R dual-layer drives. Blu-ray readers are becoming more affordable, but they’re still quite rare at this price.

Display: Note that 19in screens offer a lower resolution than 20in/22in monitors; 22in models display larger icons. Newer 21.6in (16:9) flat-panels are capable of displaying full-HD content, but onscreen elements will be even smaller. You may be able to get a 23.6in display at this price if you make compromises elsewhere.

A DVI or HDMI connector will provide a considerably better image than a VGA port; if you want to connect additional devices, you’ll need at least two.

Finally, look for a good response rate: 8ms or below is fast enough for games.

Graphics cards: We test graphics with Crysis and Stalker: Call of Pripyat, the latter able to benchmark DirectX 11.0-capable graphics cards. Although 25fps is enough to make a game playable, you can set your sights higher at this price point – look for 50fps.

Current pricing will limit you in this area, but ATI’s Radeon HD 5770 and nVidia’s GeForce GTX 460 both deliver great performance and value for money, making the latest games playable if you drop the resolution and settings a notch.

nVidia cards offer support for realistic object interactions in games supporting PhysX and are able to display 3D content.

If you don’t play games at all, consider using only the integrated graphics of Intel’s Core i5-600-series processors.

Power supply: A large PSU is less vital at this price point, but look for a model with a full set of SATA and PCI Express connectors to make later upgrades easier.

Sound card and speakers: Most motherboards at this price point depend on onboard sound. To get surround sound, look for a 5.1-channel system (five speakers and a subwoofer).

>> NEXT PAGE: Specification and our expert verdict

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Palicomp Core i5 Blast 760-24 USB3: Specs

  • 2.8GHz Intel Core i5-760
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit at no extra cost)
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1.5TB SATA
  • 12 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Asus P7P55D-E LX motherboard
  • 750W PowerCool PSU
  • 23.6in HKC 2249A (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 768MB KFA nVidia GeForce GTX 460 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 81/28fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 82/47fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 2 x Logitech S220 speakers and subwoofer
  • max DVD speeds: 24x/24x/12x/16x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 130
  • 2.8GHz Intel Core i5-760
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit at no extra cost)
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1.5TB SATA
  • 12 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Asus P7P55D-E LX motherboard
  • 750W PowerCool PSU
  • 23.6in HKC 2249A (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 768MB KFA nVidia GeForce GTX 460 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 81/28fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 82/47fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 2 x Logitech S220 speakers and subwoofer
  • max DVD speeds: 24x/24x/12x/16x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 130

OUR VERDICT

The Palicomp Core i5 Blast 760-24 USB3 is the best budget desktop PC here for multimedia use, but its Windows performance could be better.

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