At £1,299, the Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 930-24 is the least expensive PC here, yet Palicomp has managed to squeeze in several decent specifications and pull off some really impressive performance results.

At £1,299, the Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 930-24 is the least expensive PC here, yet Palicomp has managed to squeeze in several decent specifications and pull off some really impressive performance results.

The Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 930-24 comes with the same ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics card found in most of the competition, while its 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 930 processor is faster than the Arbico’s Core i7 920. With 142 points in our WorldBench 6 real-world speed test, the Blitz came in a close second to the (£200 more expensive) CyberPower.

The Core i7 Blitz 930-24's graphics performance is also very good. Palicomp has selected a stock version of the HD 5870 in comparison to the overclocked speed-boosted models chosen by Arbico and Eclipse, but the differences are minor.

Its Gigabyte motherboard supports both USB 3.0 and 6 gigabits per second (Gbps) SATA, letting you take advantage of the latest drive technology as new models become available. For now, the Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 930-24 houses a pair of 500GB drives in a Raid 0 array. This process stripes data across both drives to speed up disk tasks, but if one drive fails you’ll lose all your data. For this reason, Palicomp also supplies a terabyte (1TB) hard drive for backing up important data.

The 24in AOC monitor supports a full-HD resolution and includes a handy USB port. You also get a Blu-ray drive and a set of five speakers and a subwoofer, making the Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 930-24 exceptional value for money. All that’s missing is a solid-state drive (SSD).

Power desktop PCs chart ranking

  1. Palicomp Core i7 Blitz
  2. Arbico Elite 9587 HSD
  3. Chillblast Fusion Matrix
  4. CyberPower Infinity i7 Heaven
  5. Eclipse Supernova i793r587

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>> Next page: Power desktop PCs buying advice

At £1,299, the Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 930-24 is the least expensive PC here, yet Palicomp has managed to squeeze in several decent specifications and pull off some really impressive performance results.

Power desktop PCs buying advice

Processor: Intel’s 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 point, or you can save money by opting for an i7 930. Core i7 860 chips cost even less.

Memory: A £1,001-plus Core i7 machine should come with at least 6GB of RAM, although 3GB is 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 9xx-based PCs requires you to install chips in threes. Core i7 8xx-series CPUs use a two-channel system, which will save you some cash. You’ll also need to splash out on DDR3 RAM, but the price of memory is falling fast.

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 even a trio of drives rather than a single unit to reduce the risk of total data loss, although noise levels will increase. Raid 0 setups are an option, boosting speed the expense of reliability. Consider mirroring for added security. SSDs provide a speed boost, but offer limited capacity and are expensive.

Dual-layer DVD+/-R capabilities are useful, preferably at eight-speed or above. You should also be able to get eight-speed DVD+RW.

If you want Blu-ray playback, be prepared to compromise on DVD speeds.

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 offering a performance edge but also a considerably higher price. nVidia’s cards offer unique features such as 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 for adding a second card later. It also 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.

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: Specification and our expert verdict

Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 930-24: Specs

  • 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 930
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit at no extra cost)
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 2 x 500GB (Raid 0) + 1TB SATA
  • 10 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R motherboard
  • Thermaltake 750W PSU
  • 24in AOC 2436VWA (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB PCI Express Asus ATI Radeon HD 5870 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 73/44fps
  • Fear = 340fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 5 x Sumvision speakers and subwoofer
  • 4x BD-ROM
  • max DVD speeds: 24x/24x/12x/16x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RAM/-ROM)
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 142
  • 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 930
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit at no extra cost)
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 2 x 500GB (Raid 0) + 1TB SATA
  • 10 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R motherboard
  • Thermaltake 750W PSU
  • 24in AOC 2436VWA (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB PCI Express Asus ATI Radeon HD 5870 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 73/44fps
  • Fear = 340fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 5 x Sumvision speakers and subwoofer
  • 4x BD-ROM
  • max DVD speeds: 24x/24x/12x/16x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RAM/-ROM)
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 142

OUR VERDICT

Palicomp's Core i7 Blitz 930-24 offers exceptional value for money and some very good performance results. Its strong feature list is missing a solid-state drive, but Palicomp has instead favoured a high-performance Raid 0 array.

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