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Palicomp i5 Devil Blaster review

Michael Passingham
25 Oct 2014
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
699
inc VAT

Incredibly fast, the Palicomp i5 Devil Blaster has overclocked processing grunt and a graphics card to match, but we wish it had an SSD

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 4.5GHz Intel Core i5-4690K (overclocked), RAM: 8GB, Front USB ports : 1x USB2, 1x USB3, Rear USB ports: 2x USB2, 4x USB3, Total storage: 1TB hybrid hard disk, Graphics card: 2GB Powercolor AMD Radeon R9 270X, Display: 24in Iiyama ProLite E2483HS, Operating system: Windows 8.1

Palicomp's i5 Devil Blaster is more than its mildly silly name suggests, and actually puts on a terrific show in terms of processor and gaming performance. The black Zalman Z3 case makes a good first impression, distinctive and good-looking, Palicomp's system badges amount to nothing more than glossy black stickers, which have a tendency to peel off, though self-removing stickers is a definite boon in many people's book.

At least the innards of the system are neatly organised, with black cable tidies taking most of the wiring through to the hidden portion of the case. It's all very tightly managed, which will make future expansion a little challenging, with a knife almost certainly required to release some of the crucial SATA data and power leads from their cable ties.

Palicomp has ignored the case fan speed control button on the front of the case, instead favouring motherboard-controlled cooling. The PC's components are well insulated by the case and whisper quiet. Even when under heavy load, the i5 Devil Blaster remains quiet and cool.

Palicomp has performed one of the most ambitious overclocks of the £700 PC systems we've reviewed, taking an admittedly overclock-friendly Intel Core i5-4690K processor from a base clock speed of 3.5GHz to 4.5GHz. In return, it has achieved scintillating results in our benchmarking tests: a score of 125 in image editing, followed by 129 and 146 in the video processing and multitasking tests gives the PC an overall score of 137. In real world terms, this PC will fly through basic tasks and will also be able to tackle more challenging multimedia tasks, too. It's all kept cool by a large Thermaltake heatsink and 120mm fan that runs almost silently.  There's room for more RAM, too, with only two of the four RAM slots on the motherboard occupied by the 8GB of memory supplied by Palicomp.

The graphics card hasn't been skimped on either, with a 2GB Powercolor AMD Radeon R9 270X. It powered through our Full-HD, Ultra graphics Dirt Showdown test, producing an impressive 89.2fps. In Crysis 3, with the graphics turned up to High, its average frame rate was 44.6fps, occasionally dropping to a still-playable 29fps in more action-packed moments.

The graphics card has two DVI, one HDMI and one DisplayPort output, making it easy to connect to the supplied 24in Iiyama ProLite E2483HS monitor, for which Palicomp has supplied an HDMI cable. Iiyama's monitor is fairly good, with contrast levels of 1,145:1 and 92.2 per cent sRGB colour coverage. Being a TN panel, it has the advantage of lightning-quick response times of 2ms, although the downside of this is a slightly compromised viewing experience thanks to poor viewing angles. Solid colours change by an entire shade as you cast your eye down the screen, meaning the overall image ends up being inferior to an IPS panel. Nonetheless, this screen only adds £70 to the price of the system, so it's good value.

One area where the i5 Devil Blaster is slightly lacking is the supplied storage, with a single 1TB Seagate SSHD doing all the work. While its built in SSD cache helps increase performance, it's not as good as having a separate SSD and hard disk.

The Asus Z97-K motherboard leaves some room for expansion if you want to add more hardware to your PC either during the configuration process or later in the device's life. There's an additional PCI-E x16 slot, running at x4 speeds, as well as two legacy PCI slots and two PCI-E x1 slots. Four of the six SATA3 ports are also left free, and there's lots of room in the case for a 2.5in drive, one more 5.25in externally facing drive and four more 3.5 in disks, too. The motherboard supports up to six USB3 ports: four are at the back and a mid-board USB header supports two more at the front, although only one of front-facing ports is USB3 compatible. There are also two more USB2 ports at the rear, along with three 3.5mm audio jacks which, in conjunction with the two front-facing 3.5mm connectors, can be configured to create a 7.1 audio setup.

Palicomp supplies the bare minimum in terms of keyboard and mouse, with a basic Cherry set perfectly usable, albeit dull and lacking in extra features. Overall, the Palicomp i5 Devil Blaster is a terrifically powerful PC with excellent gaming performance. In creating such an all-conquering machine, the PC does lack an SSD and the monitor could be slightly better, but for the money it's an impressive package and probably the most powerful system you can buy for £700 at the moment.

Core specs
ProcessorQuad-core 4.5GHz Intel Core i5-4690K (overclocked)
Processor socketFCLGA1150
RAM8GB
Memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory32GB
MotherboardAsus Z97-K
Motherboard chipsetIntel Z97
Ports and expansion
Front USB ports1x USB2, 1x USB3
Rear USB ports2x USB2, 4x USB3
Other ports2x PS2
Networking1x 10/100/1000
Case typeMid tower
Case size HxWxD465x192x430mm
PCI (free)2 (2)
PCIe x1 (free)2 (2)
PCIe x16 (free)2 (1)
Serial ATA (free)6 (4)
Memory slots (free)4 (2)
Drive bays 2 1/2" (free)1 (1)
Drive bays 3 1/2" (free)4 (3)
Drive bays 5 1/4" (free)2 (1)
Storage
Total storage1TB hybrid hard disk
Memory card readerNone
Optical drive typeDVD Writer
Graphics
Graphics card2GB Powercolor AMD Radeon R9 270X
Graphics/video ports2x DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort
Sound
Sound cardRealtek ALC887
Sound card outputs5.1 line out, headphone, microphone
SpeakersNone
Display
Display24in Iiyama ProLite E2483HS
Native resolution1,920x1,080
InputsHDMI, DVI, VGA
Other hardware
KeyboardCherry KU-0556
MouseCherry M-5400
ExtrasNone
Software
Operating systemWindows 8.1
Operating system restore optionRestore partition
Buying information
WarrantyThree-years RTB
Price including delivery (inc VAT)£699
Price excluding monitor (inc VAT and delivery)£630
Supplierwww.palicomp.co.uk
Detailswww.palicomp.co.uk
Part Codei5 Devil Blaster

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