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Palicomp Excalibur 630OC-19 review

Barry de la Rosa
4 Jun 2010
Palicomp Excalibur 630OC-19
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
499
inc VAT

A dedicated graphics card makes the Excalibur great for playing games, but the 19in monitor is a little disappointing

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Specifications

3GHz AMD Athlon II X4 630, 4GB RAM, 19in 1,440x900 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

We don't expect to see dedicated graphics cards in a PC costing around £500 and when we do see one it's not usually very good. It's quite refreshing, then, to see that Palicomp has managed to fit an ATI HD 5670 in its Excalibur 6400C-19.

This managed a respectable 41.6fps in our Call of Duty 4 test, showing that this PC is capable of dealing with games. More modern titles may need to have detail settings turned down, but they'll still be smooth.

Performance otherwise is pretty good, too. Palicomp has overclocked the AMD Athlon II X4 630 processor from 2.8GHz to 3GHz. Combined with 4GB of RAM the Excalibur managed an overall score of 89. It's quick enough for most jobs, but you can get faster computer for the same price.

Typically at this price, fitting a graphics card means that compromises need to be made elsewhere. In this case, it's the monitor: a small 19in model. In fairness, the BenQ G900WD is a high quality display, with natural colours and decent contrast. With both VGA and DVI inputs (HDCP support), it's a flexible display. However, its 1,440x900 resolution is a little cramped compared to the 22in or larger monitors we're used to seeing with PCs at this price.

Apart from the sole PCI-E x16 slot taken up by the graphics card, there is plenty of room inside the case for expansion, with three PCI slots and two PCI-E x1 slots, although one of these is blocked by the graphics card. Adding more memory should be simple, as the motherboard supports up to 16GB and there are two free slots. All of the memory can be used as Palicomp has opted for a 64-bit version of Windows. If you wanted to add more hard disks to the existing 500GB hard disk, there are four free SATA ports.

Externally, there are also plenty of expansion options: as well as the cornucopia of memory card slots, there are two USB ports mounted on the front panel, and you'll find six more on the rear, although two of these are taken up by a cheap keyboard and mouse set. There are also two older PS/2 ports which will accept older mice and keyboards, but there aren't any FireWire or eSATA ports. However, adding eSATA is just a matter of buying a suitable bracket for a few pounds and connecting it to a spare SATA port inside.

The keyboard and mouse are the first things you'll want to upgrade, as they really aren't up to scratch. The keyboard is very springy, with a half-height Enter key, and the mouse is too small and light for everyday use.

The dedicated graphics card makes this computer capable of playing games, but it comes at the expense of other system components and we're not fans of the small display. If you've already got a monitor that you can use, you can buy this PC without its monitor for £449. However, we think that Mesh's Nero Pro is the better all-round computer, as it's faster, has a 23in Full HD monitor and large 750GB hard disk. We'd rather opt for this and add a graphics card later.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorAMD Athlon II X4 630
Processor external bus215MHz (2150MHz HyperTransport)
Processor multiplierx14
Processor clock speed3GHz
Processor socketAM3
Level 1 cache4x 128KB
Level 2 cache4x 512KB
Memory4
Memory typeDDR2
Maximum memory16GB
MotherboardASRock K10N78
Motherboard chipsetNvidia GeForce 8200

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)3/8
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone
Other portsnone

Internal Expansion

Casemidi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)2 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports4
Free memory slots2
Free 3.5in drive bays4

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Western Digital Caviar Black (WD5001AALS)
InterfaceSATA 300
Total storage capacity500GB
Spindle speed7,200rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s)1GB ATI Radeon HD 5670
Graphics/video portsVGA, DVI, HDMI

Sound

SoundATI HD audio
Sound outputs7.1 line out
SpeakersN/A

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy driveno
Supported memory cardsSD, SDHC, CF, Memory Stick PRO Duo, MMC, RS-MMC, microSD, Memory Stick Micro (M2), xD
Optical drive modelOptiarc AD-7241S
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Viewable size19 in
Screen modelBenQ G900WD
Native resolution1,440x900
Response time5ms
Screen inputsVGA, DVI

Other Hardware

ModemNo
Keyboardgeneric wired keyboard
Mousegeneric wired mouse

Software

Software includedNero Burning ROM 9
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£499
Detailswww.palicomp.co.uk

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