DinoPC's Maxosaur 950 is a fast power desktop PC with some good specifications, but it's expensive compared to its rivals.

DinoPC’s Maxosaur 950 is very similar in design to the Arbico, with both power desktop PCs employing the Core i7-950 and a 60GB SSD. The DinoPC scored 153 WorldBench 6 points, putting it on a par with the iMac.

Also like the Arbico, the DinoPC Maxosaur 950 power desktop PC uses an Asus P6X58D-E motherboard. This supports SATA 6Gbps, USB 3.0 and up to three graphics cards.

A 6GB allocation of DDR3 RAM is supplied with the DinoPC Maxosaur 950 power desktop PC, while a 1TB hard drive supplements the SSD. Although the PSU is a modular version with convenient detachable cables, its 550W power rating is a little weak for a system with so much upgrade potential.

Graphics are provided by a factory-overclocked Radeon HD 5870 with 1GB of DDR5 memory. This card runs faster than the similar model provided by Arbico, allowing the DinoPC Maxosaur 950 power desktop PC to achieve a few extra frames in our Crysis tests and a noticeable speed boost in Stalker.

DinoPC also supplies a 24.6in Hanns-G monitor with the Maxosaur 950 power desktop PC. Its full-HD 1080p resolution and pleasingly thin bezel make it a rather impressive addition to the system.

Two optical drives are included in the form of a standard DVD burner and a separate quad-speed Blu-ray drive. A set of USB stereo speakers is supplied with the DinoPC Maxosaur 950 power desktop PC, but these can’t match the surround-sound playback of the set provided by Arbico.

Chart ranking: Power PCs

  1. Arbico Elite i7-9500 HSD
  2. Apple iMac 27in (Mid-2010)
  3. Eclipse Armageddon i795n460 SLi
  4. DinoPC Maxosaur 950
  5. CyberPower Infinity i7 Phoenix (repeat)

>> NEXT PAGE: Power PCs buying advice

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DinoPC's Maxosaur 950 is a fast power desktop PC with some good specifications, but it's expensive compared to its rivals.

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, although 3GB may be acceptable if the manufacturer compensates with other extras. For dual-core machines, look for 4GB 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 new GeForce GTX 480 and AMD’s ATI Radeon HD 5870. It’s a close call between the two, with nVidia’s newer card often offering a performance edge, but costing considerably more. nVidia’s cards offer support for PhysX in-game effects and stereoscopic 3D using special glasses.

Also look out for pre-overclocked graphics cards, which can deliver excellent value and are approved by chip manufacturers. 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.

>> NEXT PAGE: Specification and our expert verdict

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DinoPC Maxosaur 950: Specs

  • 3.06GHz Intel Core i7-950
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • 60GB SSD
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Asus P6X58D-E motherboard
  • 550W Thermaltake PSU
  • 24.6in Hanns-G HH251DPB (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB Asus ATI Radeon HD 5870 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 77/45fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 154/89fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 2 x Gigabyte GP-S4600 speakers
  • 4x BD-ROM
  • max DVD speeds: 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: 153
  • 3.06GHz Intel Core i7-950
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • 60GB SSD
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Asus P6X58D-E motherboard
  • 550W Thermaltake PSU
  • 24.6in Hanns-G HH251DPB (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB Asus ATI Radeon HD 5870 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 77/45fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 154/89fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 2 x Gigabyte GP-S4600 speakers
  • 4x BD-ROM
  • max DVD speeds: 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: 153

OUR VERDICT

The DinoPC Maxosaur 950 is a great power desktop PC, producing excellent all-round performance and offering some premium components. It’s expensive compared to its Windows 7 rivals, however.

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