DinoPC’s Maxosaur 870 desktop PC saves some cash by running a Core i7-870 CPU, and it still scored a very fast 152 points in our WorldBench 6 real-world speed test.

DinoPC’s Maxosaur 870 is the only desktop PC here to shun Intel’s Core i7-950 processor. Instead running a Core i7-870, the Maxosaur saves some cash on a P55 rather than X58 chipset that is put to better use elsewhere – and it still scored a very fast 152 points in our WorldBench 6 real-world speed test.

Many high-end PCs are provided with a speed-boosting SSD in addition to the main hard drive; the DinoPC Maxosaur 870 desktop PC is the first to be fitted with two. By combining a pair of 60GB Crucial SSDs in a Raid 0 setup, DinoPC has delivered the fastest disk sub-system in the chart. Unfortunately, performance is hampered by the lack of USB 3.0 and 6Gbps SATA support on the motherboard.

With a greater amount of flash storage available, applications can be installed here rather than on the DinoPC Maxosaur 870 desktop PC's main 1TB hard drive. This will drastically reduce load times.

A 25in full-HD Hanns-G monitor is supplied with the DinoPC Maxosaur 870 desktop PC. Despite it being only slightly larger than others here, it looks considerably more impressive. A Blu-ray drive complements the screen nicely, but the external speaker set lacks surround-sound and a subwoofer.

DinoPC has plumped for a Radeon HD 6870 graphics card for the Maxosaur 870 desktop PC, which isn’t as fast as the Chillblast and Palicomp’s HD 5870s.

Power PCs chart ranking

  1. Chillblast Fusion Reaper
  2. Arbico Elite i7 9568 HSD
  3. DinoPC Maxosaur 870
  4. Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 950-24 SSD
  5. CyberPower Infinity White Knight

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NEXT PAGE: Buying advice

DinoPC’s Maxosaur 870 desktop PC saves some cash by running a Core i7-870 CPU, and it still scored a very fast 152 points in our WorldBench 6 real-world speed test.

Power PCs buying advice

Processor: Intel’s original Core i7 CPUs offer a number of speed boosts, although they require more expensive motherboards and memory than previous-generation chips. The Core i7-950 or -960 are good choices at this price, or you can save money by opting for an i7-930. Core i7-800-series chips are excellent value, delivering good performance while requiring less expensive motherboards.

Memory: A £1,001-plus Core i7 machine should come with at least 6GB of RAM; some may even make the leap to 12GB, although most of us won’t need this much. For dual-core machines, look for 8GB in two modules to allow expansion.

The triple-channel architecture of Core i7-900-based PCs requires you to install chips in threes. Core i7-800-series CPUs use a two-channel system.

A 64bit OS is essential to take full advantage of this memory, particularly if you’re running a dual-graphics setup.

Storage: Expect at least 1TB. Look for a pair or trio of drives to reduce the risk of total data loss, although noise levels will increase. Raid 0 setups boost speed at the expense of reliability.

Consider mirroring for added security. SSDs provide a speed boost, but offer limited capacity and are expensive. Go for an SSD with at least 60GB if you’re running Windows 7.

Dual-layer DVD+/-R capabilities are useful, preferably at eight-speed or above. Also look for eight-speed DVD+RW.

If you want Blu-ray playback, be prepared to compromise on DVD speeds or buy a dedicated Blu-ray drive.

Display: We’re seeing increasing numbers of 24in displays in our PC charts. This used to be the magic size at which 1080p (full-HD) playback became available, making these ideal partners for Blu-ray drives. However, some of the newest 22in (16:9) monitors can also display full-HD – and with a considerable saving.

Make sure you get a digital input for the best image quality, while an extra HDMI port is great for hooking up additional devices such as games consoles without having to switch cables.

Graphics card: For a thrilling gaming experience, choose between nVidia’s GTX 480 and AMD’s Radeon HD 5870. It’s a close call between the two, with nVidia’s card often offering a performance edge, but costing considerably more. nVidia’s cards offer support for PhysX in-game effects and stereoscopic 3D using glasses.

Don’t be fooled by AMD’s naming system: the HD 6850 and 6870 are in fact slower than the 5850 and 5870.

Look out for pre-overclocked graphics cards. Buying a single-card setup keeps your options open and leaves more space for sound cards or TV tuners.

Motherboard: If you’re considering any upgrades, check that the motherboard offers enough memory slots to support the chips. SLI or CrossFireX support will enable you to add extra graphics cards to boost your gaming performance. If you’re using an Intel CPU, a motherboard with an X58 chipset will give you better performance in multicard setups.

Power supply: The level of power you require will largely depend on the type of graphics card you expect to use. Look for a known and respected brand, and consider from 750W upwards if you have any thoughts of moving up to a dual-card setup later. Any form of overclocking will also demand a powerful PSU.

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NEXT PAGE: Expert verdict and specification

DinoPC Maxosaur 870: Specs

  • 2.93GHz Intel Core i7-870
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • 2 x 60GB SSD
  • 10 x USB 2.0
  • Asus P7P55 LX motherboard
  • 430W Corsair PSU
  • 25in Hanns-G HH251DPB (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB Asus ATI Radeon HD 6870 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 77/41fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 152/87fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 2 x Gigabyte GP-S4600
  • 4x BD-ROM
  • 22x/22x/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: 152
  • 2.93GHz Intel Core i7-870
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • 2 x 60GB SSD
  • 10 x USB 2.0
  • Asus P7P55 LX motherboard
  • 430W Corsair PSU
  • 25in Hanns-G HH251DPB (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB Asus ATI Radeon HD 6870 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 77/41fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 152/87fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 2 x Gigabyte GP-S4600
  • 4x BD-ROM
  • 22x/22x/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: 152

OUR VERDICT

With a great monitor and two SSDs onboard, the DinoPC Maxosaur 870 desktop PC has buckets of potential. Other components are less attractive, however.

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