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Palicomp Carbon AMD TFT-22 review

Barry de la Rosa
7 Feb 2011
Palicomp Carbon AMD TFT-22
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
379
inc VAT

A decent set of components makes the Carbon AMD TFT-22 a good base on which to build a PC, but it has a poor keyboard and mouse set and not enough USB ports.

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Specifications

3.2GHz AMD Athlon II X4 640, 2GB RAM, 22in 1,920x1,080 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

With a budget of only £250 you'd expect a PC with a few corners cut. Palicomp's Carbon AMD TFT-22 may lack a dedicated graphics card and doesn't have the latest USB3 or eSATA ports, but it's a solidly built desktop PC with plenty of room for expansion. An overall score of 90 in our benchmarks means the Carbon isn't far behind Core i3-based PCs: its 3.2GHz Athlon II X4 640 processor may not be as fast, but its four cores help to minimise the performance gap.

Palicomp Carbon AMD TFT-22

Our first concern was the motherboard, as this is the heart of the PC and any future upgrades are dependent on that for support. There's a single 2GB memory module fitted and, with three slots free you could upgrade to the maximum supported 8GB by simply adding three more 2GB modules.

There are also two free PCI slots, one free PCI-E x1 slot and an unused PCI-E x16 slot, leaving plenty of room for a dedicated graphics card and other expansion cards. Your choice of graphics card may be limited by the 450W power supply, and for some cards you'll need a Molex-to-PCI-E power adaptor. Furthermore, putting more strain on the power supply will likely increase the noise from its fan, which is already noticeable. The existing, integrated graphics chip can play HD videos, but 3D games are out of the question.

You might want to fit an expansion card with a couple of USB3 ports and invest in a USB hub, as the Carbon is limited to only four free USB ports. Two USB ports are already taken up by the budget keyboard and mouse set, which are themselves prime candidates for upgrade: the keyboard is spongy and the mouse is too light, with only two buttons and a loose scroll wheel, and both feel like they might fall apart with prolonged use.

Room for more drives is limited by the fact that there are only two free SATA headers, even though there are plenty of drive bays free. Still, the supplied 500GB hard disk won't need upgrading any time soon, unless you want to store a huge video, photo and music collection.

Palicomp can supply the Carbon with an LED-backlit LG 22in monitor, which costs an extra £130. This is a smart, thin flat-panel display with decent image quality - it's not quite as bright as other new monitors we've seen, but colour accuracy is good and contrast was acceptable. It offers fine control over colour temperature, including a gamma control, but the preset image modes are awful, so it's best to stick with the Standard mode.

When you're on a tight budget, you should still be mindful of the potential for expansion in any PC you buy, so that when you have a bit more money you can upgrade the PC without wasting your initial investment. With that in mind, the Carbon is a decent choice as it has plenty of room and you don't have to remove any existing memory in order to upgrade. However, the CCL AMD Express Box has more USB ports and a better keyboard and mouse, so it's slightly better value for the same price.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorAMD Athlon II X4 640
Processor external bus210MHz (1GHz HyperTransport)
Processor multiplierx15
Processor clock speed3.2GHz
Processor socketAM3
Memory2
Memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory8GB
MotherboardASRock N68C-S UCC
Motherboard chipsetNvidia GeForce 7025 + nForce 630a

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/4
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportN/A

Internal Expansion

Casetower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)0 (0)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports2
Free memory slots3
Free 3.5in drive bays4

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Seagate Barracuda (ST3500320NS)
InterfaceSATA II
Total storage capacity500GB

Graphics

Graphics card(s)Nvidia GeForce 7025
Graphics/video portsVGA

Sound

SoundVIA HD Audio
Sound outputs5.1 line out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

Supported memory cardsnone
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Viewable size22 in
Screen modelLG Flatron E2240
Native resolution1,920x1,080
Screen inputsVGA

Other Hardware

KeyboardCIT KB-1807UB
MouseCIT MS-2018UB

Software

Software includedNero v9
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£379
Detailswww.palicomp.co.uk

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