Palicomp Alpha Samurai review
A blisteringly fast overclock provides impressive performance, but you can get a similar system with a better graphics card for the same price
Review Date: 3 Sep 2012
Price when reviewed: £1,000
Reviewed By: Kat Orphanides
The Palicomp Alpha Samurai is a powerful system that uses a Core i5-3570K. It’s been overclocked to a faster speed than we usually see from these processors, bringing it up to 4.7GHz. This meant it got an overall score of 157 in our benchmark tests. That’s among the fastest we’ve ever seen, although it’s worth noting that the same processor easily handles the latest software without overclocking. The extra speed does, however, provide a boost when it comes to tasks such as encoding compressed data formats, including video and audio files.
The Alpha Samurai is also loaded with 16GB of RAM running at 2,133MHz, enough to handle even the most demanding video and image-editing tasks. All four memory slots on the Asus P8Z77-V LX motherboard are occupied. It can handle a maximum of 32GB, but upgrades are unlikely to be necessary.
The full-speed PCI-E x16 slot contains a 2GB XFX AMD Radeon HD 7850. It performed reasonably well in our frame rate tests, getting 70fps in Dirt 3 and an almost playable 26fps in Crysis 2, both at maximum quality. The card has two mini DisplayPort outputs, plus one DVI and one HDMI output. It can handle Eyefinity multi-monitor gaming with up to three displays, too. There are also three PCI slots, none of which are in use, and two PCI-E x1 slots, of which one is blocked by the graphics card. There’s also a second PCI-E x16 slot, but it only runs at x4.
This system has a 2TB HDD for storing data alongside a 128GB SSD that provides fast boot times. Both drives are connected to the motherboard’s SATA3 ports, while two SATA2 ports are hooked up to a Blu-ray drive and the external SATA hard disk bay at the top of the case. Although it feels a bit plasticky and looks like an after-thought, the external bay is a brilliant addition to the case, as it means you can access the data on any SATA hard disk without having to install it in one of your internal bays. It’s perfect for data recovery or just an easy way to use a spare internal drive as external storage.
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