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Dino PC Nicosaurus H77 review

Barry de la Rosa
26 Mar 2012
Dino PC Nicosaurus
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
550
inc VAT

The Nicosaurus H77 has the latest technology, but it's let down by an underpowered graphics card

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Specifications

3.3GHz Intel Core i5-2500K, 7.96 RAM, N/A display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Dino PC was hoping to include a 'next-generation' Intel processor with the Nicosaurus H77, but unfortunately the launch date for these hasn't yet rolled around yet, so we only get to show off the new Intel chipset here. The H77-based motherboard inside the Nicosaurus H77 supports USB3 natively, as well as Intel's SRT technology, which helps with SSD drive caching.

Dino PC Nicosaurus

Instead of a new chip, Dino PC shipped the Nicosaurus H77 with an Intel Core i5-2500; the H77 chipset doesn't support overclocking, so Dino rightly chose this over the more commonly used i5-2500K. Nevertheless, it's powerful and scored 108 overall in our Windows benchmarks. Its 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard disk should run most applications easily and give you plenty of room to store your files.

What's more, if you wait until Intel officially launches its new chip (in the not too distant future we imagine), Dino PC will ship a Nicosaurus H77 fitted with an equivalent next-gen processor at no extra cost. Based on previous experience of Intel's 'tick-tock' upgrade path, the new chip should run cooler, providing better performance while drawing the same amount of power.

The Nicosaurus H77 is housed in a Sigmatek Asgard case that looks smart and has plenty of room for expansion. All of its spare drive bays have tool-free clasps and, as long as you don't mount your hard disk opposite the PCI-E x16 slot, there's plenty of room for a long graphics card such as the AMD Radeon HD 7970. If you decide to upgrade to a more powerful graphics card, however, you'll probably also need to replace the 400W Sigmatek power supply.

There's a single fan mounted at the front, a stock Intel CPU fan and one in the power supply, but we only noticed a gentle whine from the CPU fan. As the CPU can't be overclocked, there's no need for extra cooling, even though there are plenty of free fan mounts, although you could replace the CPU fan with a quieter model.

If you only play the occasional casual game, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti graphics card is probably sufficient. Its score of 34fps in Dirt3 means it can handle most games, but if you play more graphically intensive games, such as first-person shooters, you'll need to reduce the graphical settings to achieve playable frame rates, as demonstrated by a score of just under 16fps in our Crysis 2 test.

The brand-new Gigabyte motherboard isn't really that different from the previous generation. There are still only two USB3 ports, despite native support for the USB3 standard, and it has six USB2 ports – two at the front and another four on the back. Audio’s limited to three 3.5mm outputs, although you can also use the graphics card's HDMI output to send both audio and video to an AV receiver.

Its 8GB of RAM is enough for most users, and you’ll only need to upgrade if you use memory-intensive software. Thankfully, it has two free RAM slots, so you can add more RAM without having to dispose of that you already have. There are also four free SATA headers. Strangely, Dino PC has connected the SATA2 hard disk to a SATA3 header, although there's no evidence to suggest this improves performance.

The new chipset and eventual processor make the Nicosaurus H77 interesting, and it has plenty of room for expansion, but its graphics card just isn't up to scratch. This is the PC to go for, though, if you want to sample the latest gear. A good alternative is the PC Specialist Enigma HD, with its better all-round specification.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2500K
Processor external bus100MHz (DMI)
Processor multiplierx33
Processor clock speed3.3GHz
Processor socketLGA1155
Memory7.96
Memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory32GB
MotherboardGigabyte H77M-D3H
Motherboard chipsetIntel H77

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/6
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone

Internal Expansion

Casetower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)1 (0)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)2 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports4
Free memory slots2
Free 3.5in drive bays6

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.C
InterfaceSATA2
Total storage capacity1,000GB

Graphics

Graphics card(s)1GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti
Graphics/video portsVGA, DVI, HDMI

Sound

SoundVIA HD Audio
Sound outputs5.1 line out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

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

Display

Screen modelnone
Native resolutionN/A
Screen inputsN/A

Other Hardware

KeyboardN/A
MouseN/A

Software

Software includednone
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years RTB (first month collect and return)
Price£550
Detailswww.dinopc.com

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