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Palicomp Alpha Detonator review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £1300
inc VAT

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


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 1,920×1,080 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 *****
Processor Intel Core i5-3570K
Processor external bus 100MHz (DMI)
Processor multiplier x47
Processor clock speed 4.7GHz
Processor socket LGA1155
Memory 16
Memory type PC3-12800
Maximum memory 32GB
Motherboard Gigabyte Z77X-D3H
Motherboard chipset Intel Z77


USB2 ports (front/rear) 4/8
Firewire ports (front/rear) 0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear) 0/0
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support none

Internal Expansion

Case midi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free) 3 (2)
PCI-E x16 slots (free) 3 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports 5
Free memory slots 0
Free 3.5in drive bays 4

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s) OCZ Vertex 3 SSD + Samsung HD204UI
Interface SATA3 + SATA2
Total storage capacity 2,120GB


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


Sound VIA VT2021
Sound outputs 5.1 line out, optical S/PDIF out, line out, mic in
Speakers none

Removable Drives

Supported memory cards none
Optical drive type(s) DVD+/-RW +/-DL BD-ROM


Screen model none
Native resolution N/A
Screen inputs N/A

Other Hardware

Keyboard none
Mouse none


Software included Nero
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore option Windows disc

Buying Information

Warranty three years RTB
Price £1,300

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