Palicomp's Core i7 Blitz 930-24 USB3 power desktop PC delivers excellent value for money and a premium selection of components.

Palicomp's Core i7 Blitz 930-24 USB3 power desktop PC delivers excellent value for money and a premium selection of components. It runs a 2.8GHz Core i7-930 quad-core processor, which increases to 3.06GHz with Turbo Boost in gear.

The Core i7-930 requires an expensive motherboard that uses the X58 chipset, which is vastly superior to the P55 required by the i7-870 seen elsewhere in the chart. The Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 930-24 USB3 power desktop PC’s Gigabyte model offers four PCI Express x16 slots, with two operating simultaneously at x16 speed or all four at x8 speed. ATI CrossFireX and nVidia scalable link interface (SLI) are supported, making this board ideal for adding graphics cards.

Support for triple-channel memory means you get six memory slots and 6GB of RAM installed as standard with the Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 930-24 USB3 power desktop PC – twice as much as any other PC here. The motherboard also offers speedy storage, with high-performance USB 3.0 and SATA 6 gigabits per second (Gbps) technologies covered.

The Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 930-24 USB3 power desktop PC demonstrated the joint-fastest result in our WorldBench 6 real-world speed test, in which both the Palicomp and the Arbico scored 143 points.

Palicomp has selected a factory-overclocked Radeon HD 5850 graphics card for the Core i7 Blitz 930-24 USB3 power desktop PC, with its core and memory speeds boosted from 725MHz and 1GHz to 765MHz and 1,125MHz respectively. Our gaming tests show an increase of 2 to 3fps over non-clocked 5850s, but it still fails to keep pace with Eclipse’s dual-card system.

A 24in full-HD monitor and a set of five speakers and a subwoofer are supplied with the Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 930-24 USB3 power desktop PC. All that’s missing is a Blu-ray drive.

Power PCs chart ranking

Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 930-24 USB3
Arbico Elite i7-8785 HD
Eclipse Tornado SLi i87n46
CyberPower Infinity i7 Hercules XT
Chillblast Fusion Hammerhead

>> NEXT PAGE: Buying advice

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Palicomp's Core i7 Blitz 930-24 USB3 power desktop PC delivers excellent value for money and a premium selection of components.

Power PCs buying advice

Processor: Intel’s Core i7 chip is taking this price bracket by storm. It’s a match for the best dual-core systems and will outpace any previous-generation quad-core machine. However, some Core i7-900-series chips require more expensive DDR3 memory and a new motherboard design, so expect to make sacrifices.

The latest Core i7-800-series processors use lower-cost motherboards but can still compete with the lower end of the Core i7-900-series on performance.

Intel’s dual-core Core i5 CPUs are also worth considering, offering higher clock speeds for your money.

Memory: Consider 4GB as a minimum. If you’re buying a Core i7-based system, expect 3GB or 6GB of RAM (such PCs install memory chips in threes). The Core i7-800-series and Core i5 chips install memory sticks in twos, however, making them excellent value for money.

A 64bit OS will take full advantage of your RAM, but check that your software and drivers will be supported. If you opt for more than 4GB, a 64bit OS is essential.

Storage: Anything less than 500GB is considered small. With prices falling, it’s more typical to find 1TB at this price point.

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. At this price you may also find a drive that reads Blu-ray discs – note that it won’t burn to Blu-ray, and DVD burning speeds will be slower.

Keep an eye out for new motherboards with USB 3.0 and 6Gbps SATA support, enabling high-speed drives to be added.

Display: 22in or 24in flat-panels are the standard here. Many vendors supply cheap screens in order to leave more room in the budget for other components, but it’s worth spending a little more on a display if you intend to work primarily with digital photos or video.

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 displays that provide analogue inputs only.

If you’re a movie fan, look for one of the new 16:9-format 22in-plus displays that offer full-HD playback. You may even be able to find a 24in model.

Graphics card: At this price point, the ATI Radeon HD 5850 seen in three of the five PCs here is an almost unbeatable choice for gamers. It offers multiscreen support and supports DirectX 11.0.

nVidia’s GeForce GTX 470 also supports DirectX 11.0 and delivers excellent performance, as well as support for the company’s 3D Vision glasses. Look for souped-up versions with faster clock speeds or additional memory.

The GTX 260 and HD 5850 can be used in dual-card setups later but, to take advantage of this, your motherboard and power supply must be compatible.

Ready-made dual-card setups are available but can be more expensive.

Power supply: The level of power you require will depend largely on the type of graphics card you expect to use. Look for at least a 500W unit at this price point or 750W upwards if you plan to add another card. A known brand is also likely to give better stability. Overclocking also demands a high-quality power supply.

Sound card and speakers: Onboard sound is no match for a sound card. Consider Creative’s Audigy 4 or X-Fi range.

>> NEXT PAGE: Specification and our expert verdict

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Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 930-24 USB3: 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 SATA (Raid 0)
  • 12 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Gigabyte X58A-UD3R motherboard
  • 750W Thermaltake PSU
  • 24in AOC 2436VWA (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB MSI ATI Radeon HD 5850 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 72/40fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 146/76fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 5 x Creative A500 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: 143
  • 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 SATA (Raid 0)
  • 12 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Gigabyte X58A-UD3R motherboard
  • 750W Thermaltake PSU
  • 24in AOC 2436VWA (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB MSI ATI Radeon HD 5850 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 72/40fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 146/76fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 5 x Creative A500 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: 143

OUR VERDICT

The Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 930-24 USB3 power desktop PC combines a cracking specification with excellent performance results. It offers fantastic value and maximum upgrade potential.

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