As Sandy Bridge takes over as the top processor more desktop computers are coming out packing these, one of the latest and most powerful is the Palicomp Phoenix Hydro-X, a big beast aimed squarely at the hard-core gamer. The magic begins with its overclocked i7-2600K, which has been taken from 3.4 GHz up to a ridiculous 4.7 GHz. To give some idea of how fast that is light will have travelled only 4.5 cm in the time it takes this machine to do one clock cycle. That’s fast! It also means this is one of the most powerful desktop computers seen so far. As the name suggests the processor is cooled by a water cooler unit from Corsair, keeping the temperature from the overclocked performance under control.
The processor is only the beginning though, as for gaming, graphical power is the most important thing and again the Hydro-X takes it to the extreme with two AMD Radeon HD 6950 graphics cards twinned with CrossFireX. This kind of graphical power allows the machine to run even the mighty Crysis at 85 frames per second in 1920 by 1080 resolution with the highest settings. The cooling on the two cards is pretty noisy but most users will not notice when blitzing through the latest games.
All of this is backed up with 8 GB of RAM and a 64 GB SSD from Kingston making the machine highly responsive on start up and when loading programs. The SSD also has the advantage of being silent. Bulk data storage is also there in the form of a 1.5 terabyte hard drive. The Hydro-X has good connectivity with all of the standard connectors of desktop PCs – USB 2.0, PS/2 and eSATA along with USB 3.0 for high speed connections such as external hard drives, FireWire also for driving high speed peripherals and S/PDIF for high quality audio output. It also sports a Blu-Ray and DVD drive and full wireless-N data connectivity. The power supply is an impressive 750 watt unit with the machine capable of drawing up to 633 watts at peak power. It is also incredibly noisy compared to other desktop computers with the assorted cooling fans reaching maximum speed as the graphics cards heat up and the processor heads up to a maximum of 84 degrees Celsius.
The Palicomp Phoenix Hydro-X is one of the most powerful desktop PCs available and comes with a very competitive price at £1,499 including VAT. The price is only about one hundred pounds more than buying the parts individually and with the build quality and care that Palicomp have taken over this beast; among desktop PCs it is well worth the price. If you are a hard-core gamer looking for the best machine for upcoming games like Crysis 2 which can really benefit from enormous processing power this is a great choice. Just make sure you wear headphones so you don’t have to hear its fans while you play.
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