Palicomp Phoenix Hydro-X review

£1499
Price when reviewed

Sandy Bridge is grabbing all the headlines at the moment, but a good choice of graphics card is every bit as important to an avid gamer. That’s why Palicomp has crammed a pair of powerful AMD Radeon HD 6950s into its Phoenix Hydro-X.

We’ve seen some high-end 
CrossFireX systems in the past, but this tops the lot. Even when tested with Crysis at 1,920 x 1,080 and Very High quality settings, the Hydro-X waltzed through with a phenomenal average of 84fps. Compare that to the 76fps of our previous gaming record-holder, the Palicomp Kinetic Hydro-X, and you see just how far ahead this PC is.

But the Hydro-X wasn’t done there. When we upped the resolution to a 30in monitor-friendly 2,560 x 1,600 and added 8x anti-aliasing, it still cantered through at 41fps. It’s the first PC we’ve tested that managed to remain playable in that ludicrously difficult test.

Palicomp Phoenix Hydro-X

Gaming is clearly king here, but there’s still a Sandy Bridge processor to keep up with the Joneses: Palicomp has overclocked the i7-2600K from 3.4GHz to a huge 4.7GHz. It surged through our application benchmarks with an overall score of 3.37 – not quite the fastest we’ve seen, but it’s the kind of raw power you won’t find in many PCs.

As if this wasn’t enough, you also get a 64GB Kingston SSDNow V+ drive and a 1.5TB hard disk, along with 8GB of RAM and a Blu-ray reader. It’s all inside a Cooler Master HAF X chassis that offers a plentiful supply of ports: the front sports pairs of USB 3 and USB 2 sockets alongside eSATA, and the rear has USB 3, eSATA, FireWire, 
S/PDIF and PS/2.

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 1,564GB
RAM capacity 8.00GB
Screen size N/A

Processor

CPU family Intel Core i7
CPU nominal frequency 3.40GHz
CPU overclocked frequency 4.70GHz
Processor socket LGA 1155
HSF (heatsink-fan) Corsair H70 water-cooling

Motherboard

Motherboard Asus P8P67 PRO
Motherboard chipset Intel P67
Conventional PCI slots free 1
Conventional PCI slots total 2
PCI-E x16 slots free 1
PCI-E x16 slots total 3
PCI-E x8 slots free 0
PCI-E x8 slots total 0
PCI-E x4 slots free 0
PCI-E x4 slots total 0
PCI-E x1 slots free 1
PCI-E x1 slots total 2
Internal SATA connectors 4
Internal SAS connectors 1
Internal PATA connectors 1
Internal floppy connectors 1
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory type DDR3
Memory sockets free 0
Memory sockets total 4

Graphics card

Graphics card MSI R6950 Twin Frozr II
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards? yes
3D performance setting Low
Graphics chipset AMD Radeon HD 6950
Graphics card RAM 2.00GB
DVI-I outputs 4
HDMI outputs 2
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 2
Number of graphics cards 2

Hard disk

Hard disk Kingston SSDNow V+ 64GB
Capacity 64GB
Hard disk usable capacity 59GB
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Spindle speed N/A
Cache size 32MB
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity 1,500GB
Hard disk 2 formatted capacity 1,397
Hard disk 2 spindle speed 7,200RPM
Hard disk 2 cache size 64MB
Hard disk 3 make and model N/A
Hard disk 3 nominal capacity N/A
Hard disk 4 make and model N/A
Hard disk 4 nominal capacity N/A

Drives

Optical disc technology Blu-ray reader/DVD writer combo
Optical disk 2 make and model N/A
Optical disk 3 make and model N/A

Monitor

Monitor make and model N/A
Resolution screen horizontal N/A
Resolution screen vertical N/A
Resolution N/A x N/A
Pixel response time N/A
Contrast ratio N/A
Screen brightness N/A
DVI inputs N/A
HDMI inputs N/A
VGA inputs N/A
DisplayPort inputs N/A

Additional Peripherals

Speakers N/A
Speaker type N/A
Sound card Realtek HD Audio
Peripherals N/A

Case

Chassis Cooler Master HAF X
Case format Full tower
Dimensions 260 x 528 x 417mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supply Thermaltake EVO_Blue 750W
Power supply rating 750W
Power supply efficiency N/A

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays 3

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 8
FireWire ports 2
eSATA ports 3
PS/2 mouse port yes
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 1
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 1
Modem no
3.5mm audio jacks 6

Front ports

Front panel USB ports 2
Front panel eSATA ports 1
Front panel memory card reader no

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboard N/A

Operating system and software

OS family Windows 7

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 179W
Peak power consumption 633W

Performance tests

Overall application benchmark score 3.37
Office application benchmark score 2.60
2D graphics application benchmark score 3.58
Encoding application benchmark score 2.87
Multitasking application benchmark score 4.44
3D performance (crysis) low settings 218fps
3D performance setting Low

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