A large screen, great performance and a fast graphics card make this a brilliant all-round system
4.4GHz Intel Core i5-3570K, 8GB RAM, 23.6in 1,920×1,080 display, Windows 8
The Palicomp Alpha Fury is a great looking PC, thanks to the Cooler Master K350 case, that’s also incredibly well balanced and capable of making the most of any task.
As we’ve come to expect from PC’s at this price, a Core i5-3570K lies at the heart of the PC. This model has been overclocked from the standard 3.4GHz to a respectable 4.4GHz. With an overall score of 123 in our benchmark tests, this PC is certainly fast enough for any job.
Palicomp has fitted 8GB of 1,600MHz DDR3 RAM in two modules. Again, that’s as much as most people with ever need, but should you have an interest in particularly memory-intensive tasks, there are two vacant memory slots ready for upgrading.
It’s gaming that this PC is particularly well suited to, thanks to the 2GB AMD Radeon HD 7850 graphics card. It’s an excellent gaming graphics card, achieving smoothly playable frame rates of 73.9fps in Dirt Showdown running at Ultra quality at a resolution of 1,920x,1080 and 29.7fps in Crysis 2, running using Ultra quality settings at a Full HD resolution. The Crysis 2 score is borderline smooth, but drop the detail settings a little and you’ll get much smoother frame rates and still have gorgeous-looking game.
We’re pleased to say that the quality components continue inside the case, with an Asus P8Z77-V LX2 motherboard. This will be familiar to anyone who regularly reads our PC reviews. It’s a generally excellent motherboard with two PCI slots, two PCI-E x1 slots and two PCI-E x16 slots, one of which is occupied by a graphics card and the other of which actually runs at x4, so it’s better for expansion cards. The graphics card also blocks one of the PCI-E x1 slots, but there’s still plenty of room for expansion.
The motherboard also has four SATA2 ports and two SATA3 ports. One of each is in use, connected to the DVD drive and 1TB hard disk respectively. There’s plenty of room to add more storage when you want it, too, with six vacant 3.5in drive bays and two unused 5.25in bays. The drive cages are fixed in place, though, so the very longest graphics cards on the market could be a very tight fit indeed, even though the powerful-but-garish 750W gold CIT PSU could easily power them.
The case’s front panel provides one USB port and one USB3 port, which is great as this fast connector is arguably more useful at the front of the PC, and 3.5mm mic and headphone ports. At the back, you’ll find another six USB ports, two of them USB3, along with a pair of PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, Gigabit Ethernet and three 3.5mm audio ports for 5.1 analogue surround sound.
The supplied mouse and keyboard are budget Cherry set. They’re not much to look at, but they’re comfortable to use, despite the odd angularity of the mouse. The keyboard’s one of the better low-cost ones, with a decent layout and a responsive feel.
It’s good to see a large monitor, with the 24in, Full HD Asus VS247H. It’s got a decent range of inputs, too, with HDMI, DVI and VGA providing enough for you to hook up your PC and any other devices, such as a games console.
We measured its contrast ratio at an excellent 1,144:1, which was borne out in our image tests, as we could see fine detail in even the darkest parts of our test photos. Uncalibrated, the monitor isn’t as good as some others and we measured it as only producing 87.5 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut. We didn’t see any particular colour problems in our tests, although the display is a little cold to look at.
All-in-all, Palicomp has put together a very powerful PC and the Alpha Fury is brilliant for games and Windows applications alike. It’s well-built and was very quiet in our tests, too. While the 24in display is good to see, it’s not as good as the 23in Iiyama IPS screen that comes with the Chillblast Fusion Sprite. If you want a monitor with your PC, the Fusion Sprite is a slightly better choice, although you’ll have to sacrifice a little gaming performance; if you have a monitor you can already use, the Alpha Fury is a great buy for the PC only.
|Processor||Intel Core i5-3570K|
|Processor external bus||100MHz (DMI)|
|Processor clock speed||4.4GHz|
|Motherboard||Asus P8Z77-V LX2|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel Z77|
|USB2 ports (front/rear)||2/6|
|eSATA ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||none|
|PCI-E x1 slots (free)||2 (1)|
|PCI-E x16 slots (free)||2 (1)|
|Free Serial ATA ports||4|
|Free memory slots||2|
|Free 3.5in drive bays||6|
|Hard disk model(s)||Western Digital Blue (WD10EZEX-00RKKA0)|
|Graphics card(s)||2GB AMD Radeon HD 7850|
|Graphics/video ports||2x DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort|
|Sound outputs||5.1 line out, headphone, microphone|
|Supported memory cards||none|
|Optical drive type(s)||DVD+/-RW +/-DL|
|Viewable size||23.6 in|
|Screen model||Asus VS247H|
|Screen inputs||HDMI, DVI, VGA|
|Operating system||Windows 8|
|Operating system restore option||Windows disc|
|Warranty||three years RTB|