Palicomp Phoenix i5 Z68 Warrior review
4.8GHz Intel Core i5-2500K, 16GB RAM, 24in 1,920x1,080 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
We've seen several very powerful overclocked PCs recently, thanks to Intel's multiplier-unlocked Core i5-2500K processor. At lower prices - around the £800 mark - manufacturers have to make compromises to afford the processor, such as a cheaper case or less capable graphics card. Palicomp's i5 Z68 Warrior may cost £1,200, but it doesn't suffer from a compromised spec. The PC has a 2GB AMD Radeon 6970 graphics card, a Blu-ray drive, a tank-like Cooler Master CM 690 II case and a 2TB hard disk with an additional 64GB solid state drive that, instead of acting as storage, is configured as an hard disk cache using Intel's Smart Response Technology (SRT), which is designed to speed up hard disk access times.
The dramatically overclocked processor runs at 4.8GHz, and powered the Warrior through our benchmark tests with an overall score of 142. That's among the highest we've seen and indicates that the PC is more than powerful enough to run any consumer software, as well as several packages at once. This PC will have performance to spare for a few years to come. The system also has a huge 16GB of memory. We're not quite sure what you'd use it for - it's more than our benchmarks' multi-tasking tests can accurately reflect - but if you ever feel the need to run multiple virtual machines, get heavily into ray-tracing or edit hundreds of images at time, this massive chunk of RAM will be here for you.
The 2GB AMD Radeon 6970 graphics card is more than up to the task of handling games, with a blistering 62.5fps in the DirectX 11 STALKER test and 75.6fps in Crysis. We couldn't get our Dirt 3 benchmark to run, though, due to a problem with the current version of AMD's driver. The Warrior's MSI-branded graphics card has a pair of DVI ports, one HDMI output and two Mini DisplayPort connections. This means it can handle up to four monitors in Eyefinity mode.
The PC runs surprisingly quietly - there's a low, audible hum, but it wasn't enough to bother us, even at heavy load. Part of the credit for this goes to the well-insulated, and extremely heavy, case, and part to the quiet CPU cooler. The case's ventilation holes are also protected largely against fluff by mesh covers - a real plus if you have cats, carpet, or both.