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Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 920-T24-4890 review

£999 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Palicomp

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

Palicomp’s Blitz offers little that we haven’t seen higher up the chart in terms of its spec. But its 24in full-HD monitor is well worth a gander.

Power desktop PCs buying advice (Nov 09 issue)

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, Core i7 chips require more expensive DDR3 memory and a new motherboard design, so expect to make sacrifices elsewhere.

Dual-core CPUs are still popular at this price point, offering good performance and considerably lower system costs. Intel's E8600 offers the best performance.

Quad-core processors, such as the Q9400, are another option. These chips use the same memory and motherboard as dual-core machines and can offer huge speed advantages if you run multithreaded applications such as video encoding.

Memory: Consider 4GB as a minimum, particularly if you're running Windows Vista. If you're buying a Core i7-based system, however, expect 3GB or 6GB of RAM (such machines install memory chips in threes). A 64bit operating system 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 operating system is essential.

Storage: Anything less than 500GB is now considered a small amount of storage space. Many users will get by with 320GB but, with prices falling, it isn't impossible to find a terabyte at this price point.

Get a multiformat DVD writer that can write to a dual-layer format if you want to store 8.5GB rather than 4.7GB on a disc. Look for a minimum of eight-speed DVD+R DL; DVD-R DL is nice but not essential. Try to get eight-speed DVD+RW.

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

Display: 22in flat-panels are the standard here. Many vendors supply budget screens in order to leave more cash in the pot for other components, but it's worth spending a little more if you intend to work 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 example.

Graphics card: At this price point, the ATI Radeon HD 4890 is an excellent choice for gamers. You'll also find good deals on nVidia's GeForce GTX 260 (or even 280). Look for souped-up versions with faster clock speeds or additional memory. All of our Top 5 machines go for the HD 4890.

The GTX 260 and HD 4890 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 solutions are available but can work out 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, but consider 750W upwards if you have any thoughts of moving up to a dual card solution later. Overclocking will also demand 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: Specifications and our expert verdict

Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 920-T24-4890 Expert Verdict »

2.66GHz Intel Core i7 920
Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit
2 x 500GB SATA (Raid 0)
Asus P6T SE motherboard
11 x USB 2.0
AlphaPower 1,050W PSU
24in Acer X243H (0.28mm pixel pitch
1GB PCI Express PowerColor ATI Radeon HD 4890 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 67/30fps
Fear = 263fps)
onboard Realtek ALC888/1200 sound
2 x Logitech S220 speakers
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: 128
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

Don’t let the Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 920-T24-4890's fourth-place position fool you. This is a worthy PC with the best display here. Although it’s beaten on raw performance, it isn’t left in the dust.

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