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Palicomp i5 Cosmos review: A fantastic all-rounder

James Archer
31 Jul 2018
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,100
inc VAT

Whether it’s the 4K-ready GPU, overclocked processor or NVMe storage, the i5 Cosmos never slows down

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Few PC builders are as happy to try squeezing extra power out of a CPU as Palicomp – we’ve seen ambitious overclocks on the i5 Luminosity, the AMD Galaxy and now the i5 Cosmos.

This time, it’s the Intel Core i5-8600K, which has gone from a 3.6GHz base clock all the way up to 4.8GHz. With six physical cores each targeting that higher speed, it could be quite the powerful tweak.

What’s got us really interested, however, is the GPU: an 8GB GeForce GTX 1070, customised by EVGA. In the £900-1,100 range, it’s exceedingly rare to get a 4K-capable card such as this, with the weaker GTX 1060 being a far more common sight; both the CCL Reaper and Wired2Fire Pyro Reactor favour it, and these are hardly underpowered PCs for their prices.

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That said, the Medion Erazer X5361 G also manages to pack a GTX 1070, and that’s a paltry £857. On gaming performance alone, there’s essentially nothing separating Medion’s PC from the i5 Cosmos: in the Metro: Last Light Redux benchmark, for instance, the i5 Cosmos produced averages of 73fps at 1,920 x 1,080 and 19fps at 3,840 x 2,160, both exactly the same as what the Erazer X5361 G scored in the same tests. Its 42fps at 2,560 x 1,440 is also a trivial 1fps lower than the Erazer X5361 G’s equivalent result.

That 4K result also shows how even the GTX 1070 can struggle with certain games at max settings, but don’t fret too much – we got a far more enjoyable 53fps merely by switching the nigh-redundant SSAA off and lowering overall quality to High. There won’t be many games at all that would demand much harsher cuts to graphics settings in order to run well on the i5 Cosmos.

This also means that less demanding games, such as Dirt: Showdown, will breeze along. On Ultra quality with 4x anti-aliasing, the i5 Cosmos put out a lush 146fps at 1,920 x 1,080, 136fps at 2,560 x 1,440 and 82fps at 3,840 x 2,160. Again, these aren’t significantly different results to those of the Erazer X5361 G, but that doesn’t stop them being high for a £1,100 PC.

Palicomp i5 Cosmos review: Performance

If gaming performance is overwhelmingly your main concern, we could see how the Erazer X5361 G would be the better bet solely because it’s cheaper. However, that’s also where the similarities end, for the i5 Cosmos is a far, far better system for CPU power, storage, upgradability and aesthetics.

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Let’s start with that overclocked hexa-core processor: in our 4K application benchmarks, it scored a mightily impressive 168 in the image test, 192 in the video test, 213 in the multitasking test and 199 overall, and that’s just with a middling 8GB of RAM. The Medion system’s overall score of 99 is utterly trounced, and while the CCL Reaper came much closer with 189 overall, it’s still lower while failing to offer equal gaming power in exchange.

It’s a stable overclock, and despite the use of a simple air cooler, temperatures weren’t a problem: the highest we recorded the Core i5-8600K reaching was 90°C, 10°C below its operational maximum, and even then it peaked only briefly during our intensive benchmarks.

Even so, it’s not the outright best performer around this price. The Pyro Reactor, with its AMD Ryzen 5 1600X, scored an even higher 217 overall, even if this did include a lower image test score of 142. Unlike with the Reaper, this does partly make up for the Pyro Reactor only have a GTX 1060 to this PC’s GTX 1070.

However, the i5 Cosmos has a clear advantage on storage. Its 256GB is an M.2-mounted NVMe model, allowing it to record a breakneck sequential read speed of 2,655MB/sec in the AS SSD benchmark, as well as a sequential write speed of 1,372MB/sec. To help with capacity, you also get a vast 2TB hard disk, so speed and space are both covered near-perfectly.

This is particularly handy as one of the i5 Cosmos’ few weak points is its lack of storage upgrade space; not counting the already-occupied hard disk tray, the case and motherboard only offer one spare 3.5in tray, one 2.5in mounting point and one spare M.2 slot between them. There’s much more room for other types of hardware, though, with a second PCI-Ex 16 slot, four PCI-E slots and two spare RAM slots in addition to the ones already filled.

Palicomp i5 review: Verdict

Admittedly the motherboard doesn’t have much in the way of high-end features on its rear I/O panel – S/PDIF and USB Type-C connections, for example, are missing completely. Still, you should be able to get by with the two USB 2 and four USB 3 ports, especially when there are another two USB 3 ports on the front of the case, and with a Gigabit Ethernet jack, one HDMI output, three DisplayPort sockets and a DVI port, networking and video are handled well enough too.

Frankly, we’d be happy to live with some bog-standard rear connectivity if it means having a GTX 1070, overclocked hexa-core CPU and speedy NVMe storage for the exceedingly reasonable price of £1,100. The Pyro Reactor is still worth a look if you’re going to be splitting time between gaming and multithreaded content creation tasks, but the i5 Cosmos a better all-rounder.

Specifications
ProcessorHexa-core 4.8GHz Intel Core i5-8600K
RAM8GB DDR4
Front USB ports2 x USB 3
Rear USB ports2 x USB 2, 4 x USB 3
Graphics card8GB EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 SC Gaming ACX 3.0
Storage256GB SSD, 2TB hard disk
DisplayNone
Operating systemWindows 10 Home
Warranty3yr RTB
Detailswww.palicomp.co.uk
Part codeCOF3

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