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Palicomp Phoenix i5 Shinobi review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £1000
inc VAT

With blistering performance and high-quality hardware, Palicomp's Shinobi is a ninja PC


4.8GHz Intel Core i5-2500K, 8GB RAM, 23in 1,920×1,080 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

If you spend £1,000 on a PC, you shouldn’t have to make compromises; something Palicomp’s i5 Shinobi proves with style. Even the case looks brilliant, with a glossy front panel lid that closes over the external drive bays and a matt black finish on both its exterior and interior. It’s also sound-proofed, with a layer of foam attached to the side and front panels. Even with the side panel removed, you can only hear a low rushing sound from the case, CPU and graphics card fans. It’s not completely silent with the case closed, but it’s not loud enough to really be noticeable either. There aren’t many perforations to let dust in, either – the bottom air vent for the PSU is covered by a gauze mesh.

Palicomp Phoenix i5 Shinobi

The 850W Powercool power supply isn’t from a big brand, but it’s a step above the unlabelled generic power supplies fitted to most PCs. It’s a modular PSU, so only the cables it needs are plugged in – the ones that aren’t in use are supplied with the PC, along with a DVI cable and extra drive rails for the case. The case has seven unused 3 1/2in drive bays, one of which is adapted for a 2 1/2in disk, so you could fit an SSD easily. The only occupied bay contains a generous 2TB hard disk. Two of the four 5 1/4in bays are in use. One contains a Blu-ray reader and the other a hot-pluggable external hard disk bay connected to one of the motherboard’s two SATA3 ports.

The disc drive and hard disk are connected to SATA2 and SATA3 ports, leaving one spare SATA3 and two spare SATA2 ports available for future expansion. There are also plenty of slots for PCI and PCI-E expansion cards, although a lot of space is taken up by the large graphics card and heatsink. One PCI-E x1 slot is obstructed by the graphics card, but there are two unused PCI-E x16 slots, which can be used for both PCI-E x1 and x4 cards, as well as a couple of vacant PCI slots, so there’s still plenty of room for expansion. All four of the motherboard’s memory slots are occupied by 2GB sticks of 1,600MHz Corsair XMS RAM. You’ll need to remove the processor cooler’s fan to take out one of the RAM sticks, but this is fairly simple to do.

Palicomp Phoenix i5 Shinobi inside

The large processor cooler is needed, as the CPU has been overclocked to 4.8GHz, making it one of the highest Core i5-2500K overclocks we’ve seen. The system’s overall score in our application benchmarks was 141, one of the fastest we’ve seen from a Core i5 and certainly fast enough for anything we can think of doing with a home PC. The graphics card is also a bit of a monster: a 2GB AMD Radeon HD 6970 with two DVI, one HDMI and two mini-DisplayPort outputs. It’s an incredibly powerful card, producing 69fps in Dirt 3 at 1,920 x 1,080, 4x anti-aliasing and Ultra quality settings. Even the punishing Crysis 2 test ran at 25fps at Ultra quality. It’s ideal for gamers who really care about their graphics.

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Basic Specifications

Rating *****
Processor Intel Core i5-2500K
Processor external bus 100MHz (DMI)
Processor multiplier x48
Processor clock speed 4.8GHz
Processor socket LGA1155
Memory 8
Memory type PC3-12800
Maximum memory 32GB
Motherboard Asus P8Z68-V
Motherboard chipset Intel Z68


USB2 ports (front/rear) 1/8
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 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free) 3 (2)
Free Serial ATA ports 3
Free memory slots 0
Free 3.5in drive bays 7

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s) Hitachi DeskStar (HDS5C3020ALA)
Interface SATA2
Total storage capacity 2,000GB


Graphics card(s) 2GB ATI Radeon HD 6970
Graphics/video ports 2x DVI, 1x HDMI, 2x mini DisplayPort


Sound Realtek ALC892
Sound outputs 7.1 line out, optical S/PDIF out, stereo line out, mic in
Speakers Logitech S220 2.1

Removable Drives

Supported memory cards SD, SDHC, SDXC
Optical drive type(s) DVD+/-RW +/-DL BD-ROM


Viewable size 23 in
Screen model Samsung B2430L
Native resolution 1,920×1,080
Screen inputs DVI, VGA

Other Hardware

Keyboard Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 3000
Mouse Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 5000


Software included none
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore option Windows disc

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £1,000

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