Dino PC’s Ravenous 2600 desktop PC is blazingly fast, but compromises have been made to achieve that speed.

With performance to match the Arbico Elite in second place, Dino PC’s Ravenous 2600 scored a chart-topping 171 points in our WorldBench 6 speed test. This PC is blazingly fast.

Yet more speed is achieved by the unique inclusion in this group test of a 60GB SSD. That the Dino PC Ravenous 2600 desktop PC didn’t beat the SSD-less Arbico in our benchmark is thus a mystery.

This is a shame, because sacrifices were made to add in the still relatively expensive technology. For example, this PC comes with a VGA-only monitor and a speaker set that doesn’t include a subwoofer. There’s no Blu-ray drive, and the Dino PC Ravenous 2600's HD 6850 graphics card is slower than most of the competition.

Like Arbico, Dino PC specifies double the standard helping of RAM at 8GB. The Ravenous 2600's SSD is also complemented with a 1TB hard drive.

Dino PC specifies the same budget Asus P8P67 LE motherboard as the Chillblast Fusion Zeus. While it supports many desirable features, such as SATA 6Gbps and USB 3.0, the Dino PC Ravenous 2600's motherboad lacks the Bluetooth, multi-GPU and overclocking support of the more expensive versions.

The Ravenous 2600 is a very fast PC out of the box, but Dino PC’s decision to use the non-’K’ version of the i7-2600 CPU means it may well be outpaced by other PCs in this group test once some simple overclocking has been applied.

Power PCs chart ranking

  1. Palicomp Phoenix i7 2600-24 BLU
  2. Arbico Elite i7268 HDX
  3. Chillblast Fusion Zeus
  4. CyberPower Infinity i5 Silent Edition
  5. Dino PC Ravenous 2600

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Next page: Buying advice

Dino PC’s Ravenous 2600 desktop PC is blazingly fast, but compromises have been made to achieve that speed.

Power PCs buying advice

Processor: Intel’s second-generation Sandy Bridge Core i5/i7 CPUs are currently the only serious contenders in this price category, having utterly outclassed the previous-generation of Core i7-800 and 900 processors. These chips are much faster and use less power.

The 3.4GHz i7-2600K is the fastest in the series, with the ‘K’ denoting an unlocked multiplier that offers safe and simple overclocking.

At 3.3GHz, the Core i5-2500K offers a slightly lower specification. It has no support for hyperthreading and 6MB rather than 8MB of level 3 cache.

Both chips are also available in cheaper non-K versions that don’t offer the same overclocking potential.

Motherboard: To take full advantage of Intel’s K-series CPUs, you’ll need a fully compatible motherboard. This will likely be more expensive. Avoid pairing with an H67 chipset-based motherboard.

A 64bit operating system is essential if you intend to use 4GB or more of RAM.

Storage: Expect 1TB, but you may find 2TB at this price. A complementary solid-state disk (SSD) will provide a noticeable boost to bootup times and system responsiveness, but these are pricey.

Get a multiformat DVD writer that can write to a dual-layer format if you want to store 8.5GB on a single disc. Look for a minimum of eight-speed DVD+R DL. Try to get eight-speed DVD+RW.

It’s not unusual to find a drive that reads but doesn’t write to Blu-ray. Note that DVD-burning speeds will be slower on these combo drives.

Display: 24in flat-panels are the standard here. Many vendors supply cheap screens to help budget for other components, but it’s worth spending a little more here if you’ll be working with digital media.

A screen with a response time of 8ms or less will minimise blur on fast-moving images. For image editing, contrast ratio and colour fidelity are more important.

A digital input can preserve picture quality, so think twice about cheap displays that provide only VGA inputs.

Graphics card: At this price, the ATI Radeon HD 6870 is near-unbeatable. It offers support for multiple display and DirectX 11.0. You may be able to get an even faster Radeon HD 6950.

nVidia’s GeForce GTX 470 is also DirectX 11.0-compatible and delivers excellent performance, as well as support for the company’s 3D Vision technology. The GTX 460 offers good value, but it performs a little slower. It’s a superb choice for dual-graphics setups, however.

Look for souped-up versions with faster clock speeds or additional memory.

Many nVidia and ATI graphics cards can be upgraded to dual-card setups later. To take advantage of this, your motherboard and power supply must be compatible.

However, the current crop of motherboards which support the new processors have only limited support for multiple graphics cards, so buy the fastest single card you can afford.

Power supply: The level of power you require will depend on the graphics card you want to use. Look for at least a 500W unit or 750W-plus if you plan to add another card or overclock the CPU.

Sound card and speakers: Onboard sound decoding is so good these days that you’re unlikely to need a separate sound card – except for specialist applications such as studio music creation.

Next page: Specification and our expert verdict

Dino PC Ravenous 2600: Specs

  • 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-2600
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • 60GB SSD
  • 8 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Asus P8P67 LE motherboard
  • 500W EZCool PSU
  • 23.6in AOC 2436SWa (0.2mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB Asus ATI Radeon HD 6850 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 83/36fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 154/73fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 2 x DinoPC speakers
  • 24x/24x/12x/16x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • three-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 171
  • 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-2600
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • 60GB SSD
  • 8 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Asus P8P67 LE motherboard
  • 500W EZCool PSU
  • 23.6in AOC 2436SWa (0.2mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB Asus ATI Radeon HD 6850 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 83/36fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 154/73fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 2 x DinoPC speakers
  • 24x/24x/12x/16x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • three-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 171

OUR VERDICT

SSD storage helps the Dino PC Ravenous 2600 feel faster and more responsive than any other PC here and, as standard, it is. Gamers and tinkerers should look elsewhere, however.

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