Housed in an imposing Cooler Master Scout system case, the Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 950-24 BLU power desktop PC looks like a fearsome beast. Two handles add bulk, and the build quality is reassuringly solid.

Housed in an imposing Cooler Master Scout system case, the Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 950-24 BLU power desktop PC looks like a fearsome beast. Two handles add bulk, and the build quality is reassuringly solid.

A matt black paint job extends to the case’s interior, where generous cooling provision should please overclockers. Masses of room and a 750W PSU, to which only the required cables are attached, allows for very tidy cabling inside the Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 950-24 BLU power desktop PC too.

Like the competing machines from Arbico, Chillblast and CyberPower, the Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 950-24 BLU power desktop PC runs a 3.06GHz Intel Core i7-950 processor. Although the Palicomp came in joint-last position in our WorldBench 6 performance test, it’s a fast machine and there was little separating the PCs in this test.

The Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 950-24 BLU power desktop PC's gaming scores are more competitive, however. Although its close rivals here have also selected ATI’s Radeon HD 5850 graphics card, Palicomp has fitted a factory-overclocked model. It isn’t as fast as the CyberPower’s version of the same board, but that PC doesn’t come with a set of external speakers and a Blu-ray drive.

Yet another common specification, the 24in full-HD HKC monitor is the final ingredient needed for the Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 950-24 BLU power desktop PC to be used as a multimedia PC. A one terabyte (1TB) hard drive and 6GB of DDR3 RAM are also standard inclusions.

Power PCs chart ranking

  1. Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 950-25 BLU
  2. Chillblast Fusion Bullet
  3. CyberPower Infinity Phoenix
  4. DinoPC Fermisaur 870
  5. Arbico Elite i7-9558 HD

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>> NEXT PAGE: Buying advice

Housed in an imposing Cooler Master Scout system case, the Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 950-24 BLU power desktop PC looks like a fearsome beast. Two handles add bulk, and the build quality is reassuringly solid.

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 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 i7-900-based PC, 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: With storage prices falling, expect 1TB. We’ve seen systems with 2TB that cost less than £1,000.

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: 24in flat-panels are the standard here. Many vendors supply cheap screens to leave more cash 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.

Graphics card: At this price, the ATI Radeon HD 5850 is an almost unbeatable choice for gamers. It offers multiscreen and DirectX 11.0 support.

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 glasses.
The GTX 460 is a good-value card, but it performs a little slower. It’s a superb choice if you intend to add a second card.

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

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.

X58-based motherboards supporting Intel’s Core i7-900-series processors are better equipped to deal with multi-card graphics solutions because of their improved PCI Express bandwidth.

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

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 is no match for a sound card. Consider Creative’s Audigy 4 or X-Fi range.

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>> NEXT PAGE: Specification and our expert verdict

Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 950-24 BLU: Specs

  • 3.06GHz Intel Core i7-950
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit at no extra cost)
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Gigabyte X58A-UD3R motherboard
  • 750W Thermaltake PSU
  • 24in HKC 2249A (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB MSI ATI Radeon HD 5850 (Crysis High/Very High: 82/40fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat Medium/Ultra: 155/77fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 5 x Creative A500 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: 146
  • 3.06GHz Intel Core i7-950
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit at no extra cost)
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Gigabyte X58A-UD3R motherboard
  • 750W Thermaltake PSU
  • 24in HKC 2249A (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB MSI ATI Radeon HD 5850 (Crysis High/Very High: 82/40fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat Medium/Ultra: 155/77fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 5 x Creative A500 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: 146

OUR VERDICT

In a chart overrun with Core i7-950 processors, Radeon HD 5850 graphics cards and 24in HKC monitors, the Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 950-24 BLU power desktop PC stands out for its solid build quality, external speakers and Blu-ray drive. The Blitz has the best all-round specification for gaming, multimedia and overclocking.

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