Three figures

Palicomp phoenix inferno redline

So, what does all this expensive tech mean for your games? Essentially it means you can run any game on the market today with no concerns about running it maxed-out at your chosen resolution of choice.

And with the accompanying Samsung 27-inch monitor sporting a native resolution of just 1,920 x 1,080 then you're rather likely to be hitting triple digits when it comes to average frame rates in a lot of titles. Hell, we even saw three figures at 2,560 x 1,600 in DiRT 3. That's some serious gaming pedigree right there and should offer a real stab at future-proofing your PC gaming for the next few years at least.

We do at some point have to talk about the price though. As fast as this machine is if your raison d'etre is more gaming than creation you could happily spend half the price and still get incredible performance in all modern titles. But you could do practically anything PC-related with this machine.

The Z68 platform gives you access to the onboard GPU goodness of the Sandy Bridge chip and so the QuickSync video goodness is ready and waiting for the content-creation faithful. The huge amount of memory and storage means that for any other productivity task you give it, the Phoenix will excel as well.

The only real weakness with the bundle then is that Samsung screen. It's actually a rather weak panel and the 1,920 x 1,080 native resolution hardly does justice to the twin GTX 590s housed within. For a machine that's trying to be the ultimate PC you'd want it paired with a higher-res screen. It's not a huge issue as you can knock the panel off the bundle which brings the price down below the £4,000 mark.

And if you're happy to spend this much money on a single PC then you're likely to be just as happy dropping serious cash on a large monitor.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

CPU rendering performance
Cinebench R11.5: Index score: Higher is better
Palicomp Inferno Redline: 9.52
Dino PC Evolution 2600K OC: 8.97

CPU encoding performance
X264 v4: Frames per second: Higher is better
Palicomp Inferno Redline: 51
Dino PC Evolution 2600K OC: 49

DirectX 11 tessellation performance (2560x1600)
Heaven 2.5: Frames per second: Higher is better
Palicomp Inferno Redline: 64
Dino PC Evolution 2600K OC: 32

DirectX 10 gaming performance (2560x1600)
Just Cause 2: Frames per second: Higher is better
Palicomp Inferno Redline: 86
Dino PC Evolution 2600K OC: 59

Case in point

Palicomp phoenix inferno redline

There is something else which has polarised opinion in the office and that's the chassis. Personally I'm a big fan of the function-over-form stylings of the Cooler Master HAF X. With the large fans on top of the case it's perfect for a large watercooling radiator.

Others feel it doesn't necessarily make it look like a £4,000 PC. But when it's throwing polygons around this quickly, rendering 3D scenes in a trice and encoding HD video faster than you can say that Welsh town name with more syllables than people, you're not going to be looking at the chassis.

Obviously this is pretty much as high-end a base unit as is feasible right now without stretching into the professional workstation space. It may be costly, but for a PC practically capable of anything it's not a bad price.

Though if you're a purist PC gamer with little interest in things productivity-based then it's simply overkill. There will be much speedier machines available in a month based on the X79 platform, but for an equivalent machine you'll be looking closer to the £5,000 mark.

And anyway, if you sit there waiting for the next, fastest thing to tip up, you'll always be waiting. But right now this is as fast as it reasonably gets.

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