Palicomp Alpha Detonator review

The new de facto spec for a modern gaming rig?

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Elsewhere on the specs list it's a top-end gaming rig and no mistake.

The version we've had on our test bench houses AMD's top gaming behemoth, the AMD Radeon HD 7970, overclocked from the 925MHz core speed over the 1GHz mark to 1,050MHz.

Palicomp is also offering the Alpha Detonator with an Nvidia GTX 680 instead of the AMD HD 7970. As the two are relatively closely-priced there's no difference in price.

We don't know as yet what Palicomp will do to the Nvidia card's clocks; at stock clocks the GTX 680 offers the same sort of performance as this overclocked HD 7970 we've got here.

The next highlight on the impressive specs list is the storage split – the 120GB OCZ Vertex 3 SSD takes care of the boot drive specifics, but it's partitioned so that 20GB is taken for the Smart Response Technology to accelerate the chunky 2TB HDD backing it up.

While the setup definitely makes for an impressive machine, it's also likely to be the de facto spec for a gaming rig over the next year.

We'll see i7 variants like the Chillblast Fusion Mamba we're also looking at, but the i5 is going to be the chip we see in most rigs circa £1,000.

All the machines, which until now had Intel Core i5 2500K CPUs in them, will switch over to the Ivy Bridge variant, the Intel Core i5 3570K.

That wont come as any surprise as there's no real price or performance difference.

We set up a 2500K machine with roughly the same spec and there was zero difference in gaming frame rates. But in terms of gaming rigs, this is still the chip you want at its heart.

We liked

The Core i5 3570K is going to be the de facto chip in most £1,000 gaming rigs we see from now on and that's because it's as good as it gets in quad-core trim.

The overclocked AMD Radeon HD 7970 is also a great choice, offering the same sort of frame rates, in this tweaked state, as the competing Nvidia GTX 680.

The Palicomp Alpha Detonator is also incredibly well-specced out everywhere else too, from the huge amount of RAM to the excellent SSD/HDD storage set up.

We disliked

Unfortunately the price is getting on for a little too much from a gaming rig. It is incredibly well kitted out, but pushing this close to £1,500 is tough.

It's not Palicomp's fault, but Intel's, that the Core i5 3570K doesn't offer much improvement, as a gaming CPU, over its Core i5 2500K brethren.


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