Palicomp Alpha Detonator review

Price when reviewed

Compact and small form factor desktop PCs are an increasingly common sight in PC Pro’s Labs, but if power and future-proofing are top of your shopping list, bigger is always better. Palicomp aims to prove as much with its latest build, the Alpha Detonator, which takes a full-sized ATX case and packs it with an overclocked Ivy Bridge CPU and a top-drawer Nvidia GPU.

Star of the show is the i5-3570K. It’s a 3.4GHz part that isn’t Hyper-Threaded, but the four cores have been overclocked to 4.7GHz. That’s a hefty amount of extra power, and it propelled the Palicomp to a benchmark score of 1.16 – a reasonable jump over its stock speed, and slightly ahead of the Overclockers Titan Prodigy Arctic, which scored 1.09 from the same chip running at 4.2GHz.

Palicomp Alpha Detonator

It’s certainly enough power to plough through demanding applications, and high-end games will be brushed aside just as easily. Graphics horsepower comes from Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 680, which is its top single-GPU card. It’s not an overclocked part, so its score of 62fps in our 1,920 x 1,080 Very High quality benchmark isn’t quite the best we’ve seen: the Overclockers system extracted 79fps from its overclocked GTX 680. The gap was still wide at 2,560 x 1,600, too: the Palicomp scored 35fps, with the Overclockers system fourteen frames per second quicker.

The rest of the specification is good. OCZ’s 120GB Vertex 3 proved itself to be a reasonable performer in our recent Storage Labs: its large and small file write results of 507.4MB/s and 171.1MB/s were particular highlights. Palicomp has divided its 120GB capacity, with 91GB used as the boot drive and the rest used as a cache to improve boot times.

Palicomp Alpha Detonator

There’s 16GB of RAM – twice the amount we’re used to seeing in high-end PCs – alongside a Blu-ray reader and 2TB Samsung hard disk, and it’s all covered by a three-year RTB warranty, which is one year more than Wired2Fire offers.

Palicomp has picked the familiar Cooler Master CM 690 II Advanced chassis. It’s one of our favourites, and that’s not just because of its cool good looks and chrome-effect border – it’s big enough for the most enthusiastic of upgraders and has plenty of features.


Warranty3 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity1,240GB
RAM capacity16.00GB
Screen sizeN/A


CPU familyIntel Core i5
CPU nominal frequency3.40GHz
CPU overclocked frequency4.70GHz
HSF (heatsink-fan)Thermaltake ISCG-300


MotherboardGigabyte Z77X-D3H
Motherboard chipsetIntel Z77
PCI-E x16 slots free1
PCI-E x16 slots total2
PCI-E x1 slots free2
PCI-E x1 slots total2
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec


Memory sockets free0
Memory sockets total4

Graphics card

Graphics cardNvidia GeForce GTX680
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?no
3D performance settingMedium
DVI-I outputs1
HDMI outputs1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
DisplayPort outputs1
Number of graphics cards1

Hard disk

Hard diskOCZ Vertex 3
Internal disk interfaceSATA/600
Spindle speedN/A
Hard disk 2 make and modelSamsung Spinpoint F4
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity2,048GB


Optical disc technologyBlu-ray reader
Optical disk 2 make and modelN/A
Optical disk 3 make and modelN/A


Monitor make and modelN/A
Resolution screen horizontalN/A
Resolution screen verticalN/A
ResolutionN/A x N/A
Pixel response timeN/A
Contrast ratioN/A
Screen brightnessN/A
DVI inputsN/A
HDMI inputsN/A
VGA inputsN/A
DisplayPort inputsN/A

Additional Peripherals

Speaker typeN/A
Sound cardN/A


Dimensions214 x 528 x 496mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supplyXFX 850W
Power supply rating850W

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays3

Rear ports

PS/2 mouse portyes
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2

Operating system and software

OS familyWindows 7

Noise and power

Idle power consumption141W
Peak power consumption389W

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings133fps
3D performance settingMedium
Overall Real World Benchmark score1.16
Responsiveness score1.15
Media score1.18
Multitasking score1.16

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