Running the powerful 3.06GHz Intel Core i7-950 processor, Palicomp Core's i7 Blitz 950-24 SSD desktop PC boasts an impressive specification.

Also using the powerful 3.06GHz Intel Core i7-950 processor, Palicomp Core's i7 Blitz 950-24 SSD desktop PC boasts an impressive specification. Its 6GB of system RAM and 1.5TB hard drive are supplemented by a 64GB Kingston SSD, which boosts startup and shutdown times. This drive isn’t as fast as the Crucial C300 seen elsewhere, however, and doesn’t take advantage of the motherboard’s 6Gbps SATA interface.

The Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 950-24 SSD desktop PC’s 150-point score in WorldBench was very good by most standards, but it’s the lowest here. Gaming is a different story: using a factory-overclocked Radeon HD 5870, the Palicomp achieved some of the best framerates here. It also costs considerably less than its rivals.

A 23.6in full-HD HKC 2249A monitor is provided with the Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 950-24 SSD desktop PC. This is a very popular monitor, thanks to its decent performance and comparatively low price. A set of five surround-sound speakers and a subwoofer are also supplied, along with a Blu-ray drive and separate DVD burner.

With four x16 PCI Express slots, and 6Gbps SATA and USB 3.0 support, the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R motherboard is one of the better-specified models on test. If offers good upgrade potential, and the Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 950-24 SSD desktop PC's 750W power supply unit (PSU) will prove its worth here.

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

Running the powerful 3.06GHz Intel Core i7-950 processor, Palicomp Core's i7 Blitz 950-24 SSD desktop PC boasts an impressive specification.

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

Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 950-24 SSD: Specs

  • 3.06GHz Intel Core i7-950
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit at no extra cost)
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1.5TB SATA
  • 64GB SSD
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R motherboard
  • 750W Thermaltake PSU
  • 23.6in HKC 2249A (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB Powercolor ATI Radeon HD 5870 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 83/46fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 164/95fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 5 x Creative speakers and subwoofer
  • 4x BD-ROM
  • 24x/24x/12x/16x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RAM/-ROM)
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 150
  • 3.06GHz Intel Core i7-950
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit at no extra cost)
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1.5TB SATA
  • 64GB SSD
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R motherboard
  • 750W Thermaltake PSU
  • 23.6in HKC 2249A (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB Powercolor ATI Radeon HD 5870 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 83/46fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 164/95fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 5 x Creative speakers and subwoofer
  • 4x BD-ROM
  • 24x/24x/12x/16x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RAM/-ROM)
  • one-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 150

OUR VERDICT

As one of the cheaper PCs on test, the Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 950-24 SSD is a great option for gamers. The DinoPC costs less still, but it offers slower graphics and lacks 6Gbps SATA and USB 3.0.

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