The Palicomp Core i3 Blast 540-19 desktop PC's 3.06GHz Core i3 540 processor is only slightly faster than the Recommended Chillblast's 2.93GHz 530, but the difference between these two dual-core machines is a full 10 points in our WorldBench 6 speed test.

The Palicomp Core i3 Blast 540-19 desktop PC's 3.06GHz Core i3 540 processor is only slightly faster than the Recommended Chillblast's 2.93GHz 530, but the difference between these two dual-core machines is a full 10 points in our WorldBench 6 speed test.

Without adding to the price tag, Palicomp has also managed to squeeze an ATI Radeon HD 5450 graphics card with 512MB of video memory into the Core i3 Blast 540-19 desktop PC's spec, meaning it doesn't need to rely on the Core i3 chip's integrated graphics processor. The HD 5450 is a very slow card, producing only around double the framerates of the Core i3's graphics chip and unable to play modern 3D games at their best. However, it brings with it DirectX 11.0 and triple-monitor support. It's also passively cooled, so it won't add noise to the system.

The Palicomp Core i3 Blast 540-19 desktop PC's ASRock motherboard is very similar to the Chillblast's Asus model. Two PCI Express slots are supplied, with one running at the full x16 speed and the other at x4. A second graphics card can be added in CrossFireX mode.

Unlike the Chillblast, however, the Palicomp Core i3 Blast 540-19 desktop PC has only two memory slots and both are filled with the machine's 4GB allocation of DDR3 RAM. You'll need to replace rather than add to the existing modules if you plan to upgrade.

The Palicomp Core i3 Blast 540-19 desktop PC also comes with a smaller 18.5in monitor that offers a rather unimpressive 1366x768 resolution. More pleasingly, a set of stereo speakers and a subwoofer means you won't have to rely on the tinny models built into the display.

Budget PCs chart ranking

  1. Palicomp Core i3 Blast 540-19
  2. Chillblast Fusion Vortex
  3. Eclipse Quantum a55r575
  4. CyberPower Ultra Athenna XT
  5. Arbico Phenom 5524 GT

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