Plenty of raw performance is available from the Cryo PC Pico XS, a PC using an overclocked Intel Core i5 processor, tempered by water cooling, all packed into a nearly cubic desktop chassis
If you’re thinking prefixes in the SI system of units, you’d be forgiven for thinking a pico PC was a pretty damn small computer. After all, if a micro computer is a boxy desktop model, then ‘nano’ and ‘pico’ must logically be smaller. Maybe not several orders of magnitude smaller, but at least appreciably titchier.
The clue to this Pico’s real dimensions can be found from the Nano, also from Cryo Performance Computing, that we reviewed March this year. That overclocked PC was built around a modified Lian Li case little over a foot tall. The Pico here is only a tad smaller though, at 11in tall.
Like the Nano, the Cryo PC Pico XS is a very well made system, engineered for performance and reasonably low noise levels. Cryo has taken an Intel Core i5-650, and wound up its standard 3.2GHz clock speed to 4.2GHz. Helping to prevent meltdown is a Corsair water cooling kit, fixed over the CPU and with its associated fan blowing through the top of the case.
A large fan at the front, blinged up in blue lights, draws in air to vent through the case’s rear perforations. A Corsair power supply carries its own fan on the case left, while the ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card is mounted so its fan blows through the case bottom.
The result is a system that runs fairly quiet, but is far from silent. Depending on your own sensitivities to noise, you may find it just too whirry for living room bliss, but nonetheless it’ll be quieter than many Windows PCs, epecially those that have been overclocked beyond the processor manufacturer's recommended speed.
There are ports aplenty, including two USB 3 ports on the front panel alone. Various configurations are available to spec — our sample had 4GB of Corsair 1333MHz RAM, a 500GB Samsung Spinpoint hard drive, and ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card with 1GB memory.
Equipped thus, and with a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium for operating system, the Cryo PC Pico XS is priced at £795.
We tried our current roster of games to gauge the Cryo PC Pico XS' graphics performance. Starting slowly, FEAR is a straightforward ride, and at maxiumum detail settings the Cryo PC Pico XS waltzed through with 123 frames per second.
In the easier of our two Crysis tests, at 1024x768 resolution and High details settings, we saw 79fps, falling to 25fps at Very High detail and 1680x1050 resolution.
To stretch the ATI card’s DirectX 11 rendering, the Stalker: Call of Pripyat benchmark was run, at default Medium detail and an HD resolution of 1280x720, where the Cryo PC Pico XS scored an average framerate of 105fps.
At a more challenging Ultra settting and at 1920x1080 resolution, it could still muster a smooth 49fps — a good result.
And in the PC Advisor overall speed test using WorldBench 6, the Cryo PC Pico XS stormed through with a score of 148 points.
Power consumption was rather high, at 101W when left idling at the Windows desktop. Stressed by some graphics intensive action, we saw this figure rise to 207W.
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