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Palicomp Core i3 Blast 5300C41-22 review

Palicomp Core i3 Blast 5300C41-22
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £549
inc VAT

Seriously fast application performance, a host of expansion ports and a svelte, LED-backlit Full HD monitor. Only a lack of 3D speed holds it back.


4.1GHz Intel Core i3-530, 4GB RAM, 22in 1,920×1,080 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

The specification of the Core i3 Blast 530OC41-22 hasn’t changed from when we last saw it two months ago, when it won a Budget Buy award. Palicomp equips the PC with an Intel Core i3 530, but overclocks it from its stock speed of 2.9GHz to a whopping 4.1GHz – making it incredibly fast for a budget PC. In our benchmarks, it produced an impressive 175 in the single-threaded image-editing test and 144 overall. Its fast score of 151 in the video-encoding test shows that this PC will cope with even the toughest of tasks easily.

It’s a little disappointing to find a Radeon HD 5450 graphics card installed, though. It handles full HD video much better than the Core i3’s integrated graphics chip, but still struggles with games, managing just 7.6fps in our Call of Duty 4 test. If you want to play games, you’ll need to upgrade this graphics card. Fortunately, adding this graphics card hasn’t forced Palicomp to scrimp and save elsewhere, and the rest of the system is fantastic.

Palicomp Core i3 Blast 5300C41-22

There’s plenty of room for expansion inside and out. As well as a generous 1TB hard disk, the Core i3 Blast has a grand total of 12 USB ports, plus a single USB3 port and an eSATA port on the rear, both of which support faster external drives than USB. Audio buffs can choose between a full set of 7.1 analogue outputs and optical or coaxial S/PDIF outputs. There’s even a memory card reader on the front panel that can read modern formats, including microSD and SDHC. It’s a nice addition and makes it easy to transfer photos from your digital camera.

Inside the case, there are two free PCI slots, two free PCI-E x1 slots (one of which is very close to the processor’s heatsink, so you may not be able to use it) and a free PCI-E x16 slot. The motherboard supports AMD’s CrossFire technology, so you can fit two graphics cards, although the expense and small performance gain over a single card usually mean this isn’t worth it. There are plenty of drive bays free, each with quick-release brackets for fast fitting, plus four free SATA headers. Two spare RAM slots mean you can upgrade to 8GB from 4GB without having to sacrifice the existing memory.

Palicomp hasn’t spent much on the keyboard and mouse – the mouse has a ball and the keyboard is simply awful – but it has invested heavily in the monitor: a super-thin LG model with LED backlighting and a Full HD resolution. Despite a slightly uneven backlight, colours were natural and contrast superb, and it’s a brilliant display to get with a computer.

Although the Core i3 Blast has a slightly pointless graphics card, it doesn’t come at the expense of any essential features. In fact, apart from gaming prowess, it’s great value thanks to the excellent display and huge array of expansion ports. However, the CyberPower Infinity i3 Apollo Elite has similar performance and a much faster graphics card.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Processor Intel Core i3-530
Processor external bus 185MHz (3.3GHz DMI)
Processor multiplier x22
Processor clock speed 4.1GHz
Processor socket LGA1156
Memory 4
Memory type DDR3
Maximum memory 16GB
Motherboard ASRock P55 Pro/USB3
Motherboard chipset Intel P55


USB2 ports (front/rear) 3/9
Firewire ports (front/rear) 0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear) 0/1
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support none

Internal Expansion

Case midi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free) 2 (2)
PCI-E x16 slots (free) 2 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports 5
Free memory slots 2
Free 3.5in drive bays 5

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s) Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB
Interface SATA II
Total storage capacity 1,000GB


Graphics card(s) ATI Radeon HD 5450
Graphics/video ports VGA, DVI, HDMI


Sound Realtek HD Audio
Sound outputs 7.1 line out, coaxial S/PDIF out, optical S/PDIF out
Speakers none

Removable Drives

Supported memory cards SD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, xD, CF, microSD
Optical drive type(s) DVD+/-RW +/-DL


Viewable size 22 in
Screen model LG Flatron E2240T-PN
Native resolution 1,920×1,080
Screen inputs VGA, DVI

Other Hardware

Keyboard Octigen Slim Keyboard
Mouse Octigen Ball Mouse


Software included Nero 9, OpenOffice
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore option burn own restore disc

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £549

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