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Palicomp Alpha Detonator review

Kat Orphanides
23 Apr 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,300
inc VAT

A perfect powerhouse of a PC, but most users don’t need this much power

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Specifications

4.7GHz Intel Core i5-3570K, 16GB RAM, N/A display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Palicomp's Alpha Detonator is the first PC we've seen fitted with an Intel 3rd-Generation Core "Ivy Bridge" processor. At £1,300 without a monitor, keyboard or mouse, this system is around twice the price of most Core i5-based gaming PCs. However, the high price is down to more than just the processor; the PC has an impressive specification.

Palicomp Alpha Detonator

The Detonator doesn't look very special from the outside

Intel's Core i5-3570K processor is the natural successor to our beloved i5-2500K. In this PC, the processor has been overclocked to 4.7GHz from its native 3.4GHz, and it's a strong performer. In our 2D application benchmarks, the PC scored 153 overall, which makes it even faster than the 140-odd we've seen from PCs with overclocked Core i5-2500K processors.

The graphics card is Nvidia's latest - a 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 680. It's massively powerful and typically costs around £400, which goes some way towards explaining the high price of this PC. Its performance is certainly up to scratch, with a ludicrous 116fps in Dirt 3 and a smooth 50.5fps in Crysis 2, both at 1,920x1,080 and with Ultra detail levels. That’s simply staggering by any definition.

The Detonator has a 2TB hard disk for storage and a 120GB SSD operating system disk for fast boot speeds, plus a Blu-ray reader/DVD re-writer. That’s loads of space, but there’s room for much more storage in three vacant 5 1/4in drive bays and four spare 3 1/2in bays.

The Gigabyte Z77X-D3H motherboard has four SATA3 and four SATA2 ports, and only three are in use. There's plenty of room to add expansion cards, too. Although one PCI-E x1 slot is blocked by the graphics card, two remain accessible, in addition to a pair of PCI-E x16 slots - which actually run at x8 and x4 respectively - and a PCI slot. All four memory slots are occupied, but the system's 16GB of 1,600MHz RAM should be enough for anybody.

The PC has a good selection of rear ports with six USB3 ports, two USB2 ports, a PS/2 port and 5.1 analogue and optical S/PDIF audio outputs. The case also has an extra external bay for a SATA drive on top with two USB2 and two USB3 ports alongside it.

This is a phenomenally powerful gaming PC, but it's also very expensive for a base unit. Despite the brand-new processor - which proves to be a worthy upgrade to the already-powerful Core i5-2500K's typical overclocked performance, rather than an epic game-changer - the graphics card is the real star of the show.

Gamers who want to live on the cutting edge of tech will definitely do well with this system and it's reasonably priced for what it is. However, unless you have a burning desire to own a PC that's more powerful than any current software or game really needs, you're better off spending less money on a full system such as the Palicomp Phoenix i5 Shinobi, which costs £300 less and comes with a monitor, speakers and peripherals. Of course, we'd wait for the inevitable Ivy Bridge version of that PC first, though.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
ProcessorIntel Core i5-3570K
Processor external bus100MHz (DMI)
Processor multiplierx47
Processor clock speed4.7GHz
Processor socketLGA1155
Memory16
Memory typePC3-12800
Maximum memory32GB
MotherboardGigabyte Z77X-D3H
Motherboard chipsetIntel Z77

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)4/8
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone

Internal Expansion

Casemidi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)3 (2)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)3 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports5
Free memory slots0
Free 3.5in drive bays4

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)OCZ Vertex 3 SSD + Samsung HD204UI
InterfaceSATA3 + SATA2
Total storage capacity2,120GB

Graphics

Graphics card(s)2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX680
Graphics/video ports2x DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort

Sound

SoundVIA VT2021
Sound outputs5.1 line out, optical S/PDIF out, line out, mic in
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

Keyboardnone
Mousenone

Software

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

Buying Information

Warrantythree years RTB
Price£1,300
Detailswww.palicomp.co.uk

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