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Palicomp Phoenix i5 Storm review

Barry de la Rosa
1 Apr 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
550
inc VAT

Its 2TB hard drive is a real benefit for media hoarders, especially considering today's prices, but its GPU is underpowered

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Specifications

4.7GHz Intel Core i5-2500K, 8GB RAM, N/A display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Packing a massive 2TB disk in to a £550 desktop PC’s no mean feat, but Palicomp’s managed it. As well as plenty of storage space, there's a powerful Intel Core i5-2500K CPU, 8GB of RAM and a dedicated AMD Radeon HD 6670 graphics card.

Palicomp Phoenix i5 Storm

Palicomp’s taken full advantage of the i5-2500K’s generous overclocking potential, pushing the chip from its standard 3.3GHz up to a blistering 4.7GHz. It didn't come out top in our benchmarks, however, because its 2TB Samsung disk only spins at 5,400rpm. The Chillblast Fusion Chimera, which has an i5-2500K overclocked to 4.6GHz, managed to come out on top thanks to its 7,200rpm hard disk.

An overall score of 137 is still very impressive, however, and the Phoenix i5 Storm should power through most applications. Palicomp's fitted a massive CPU heatsink and fan to keep it cool under heavy load, but it's also quiet, even when running multiple benchmarks simultaneously.

AMD's Radeon HD 6670 is a mid-range graphics card, and the Phoenix i5 Storm scored 22fps in Dirt 3 and 11.4fps in Crysis 2, which shows that it's only suitable for casual gamers who aren't interested in playing the latest action games. You'll have to turn off most fancy graphical settings to get playable frame rates in first-person shooters and real-time strategy games, but more sedate genres such as turn-based strategy or adventure games should run okay.

Palicomp Phoenix i5 Storm

The Cooler Master Elite case has plenty of room for expansion. All the spare drive bays have tool-free clamps that make installing extra disks or optical drives much easier, and there are a total of four external bays available. The four spare SATA headers include a SATA3 header that can be used to install an SSD as a Windows boot disk.

There are free expansion slots, but the graphics card's position blocks access to one PCI-E x1 and one PCI slot. We were disappointed to find the 8GB of RAM fitted as four 2GB modules because this means that you'll have to get rid of some DIMMs to upgrade, although 8GB should be more than enough RAM for most people's needs. The 500W Thermaltake power supply should provide enough power for most upgrades, unless you plan on fitting a second or much more powerful graphics card.

Palicomp Phoenix i5 Storm

A Blu-ray drive is an extra bonus, letting you watch Full HD films, and it also has a full complement of 7.1 surround-sound audio outputs, as well as an S/PDIF output. However, the Phoenix i5 Storm's 6670 graphics card is its Achilles heel; if you don't play games, it's a wasted investment, but if you do you'll soon outgrow its poor performance. If, however, you’re a media hoarder, it could be the PC for you. A good alternative is the PC Specialist Enigma HD.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2500K
Processor external bus100MHz (DMI)
Processor multiplierx47
Processor clock speed4.7GHz
Processor socketLGA1155
Memory8
Memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory32GB
MotherboardAsustek P8Z68-V LX
Motherboard chipsetIntel Z68

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)2 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)2 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports4
Free memory slots0
Free 3.5in drive bays6

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Samsung EcoGreen F4 (HD204UI)
InterfaceSATA2
Total storage capacity2,000GB

Graphics

Graphics card(s)1GB AMD Radeon HD 6670
Graphics/video portsVGA, DVI, HDMI

Sound

SoundRealtek HD Audio
Sound outputs7.1 line out, optical S/PDIF out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

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

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

Warrantythree years RTB
Price£550
Detailswww.palicomp.co.uk

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