PC Specialist PowerGlide Extreme review

27 Jul 2012

A rare all-in-one with the power to handle the latest games, and the touchscreen gives it longer-term appeal

Price when reviewed: 
1,249(£1,249 inc VAT)
5

The all-in-one PC market is dominated by Apple’s iMac and, to a lesser extent, Sony and HP’s machines, so we didn’t expect PC Specialist to offer serious competition. But the firm has done just that, albeit by rebranding an OEM system made by Gigabyte.

The PowerGlide Extreme has an Ivy Bridge Core i5-3570K whose four cores, 3.4GHz stock speed and 3.8GHz Turbo Boost delivered a healthy benchmark score of 0.93. That compares well with other all-in-ones: the expensive Intel Xeon-powered HP Z1 scored 1.02, and the 27in Apple iMac scored 0.83 with an older Sandy Bridge processor.

PC Specialist PowerGlide Extreme

Graphics power comes from the Nvidia GeForce GTX 670, which is by far the most powerful GPU we’ve seen in an all-in-one. Its 64fps average in Crysis at Very High settings is stratospheric compared to rivals: the iMac only managed 26fps at High settings and the Sony VAIO L21 scored 33fps at Medium settings thanks to its mobile graphics chip. The PC Specialist is a gaming expert.

That performance comes with reasonable thermal figures, too. The processor’s idle and peak temperatures of 32°C and 73°C are fine, and the graphics card’s peak of 86°C is warm, but not dangerously high. There’s a high-pitched noise from the graphics card when stressed, but we’ve heard far worse from many desktops. The PowerGlide Extreme’s peak power draw of 264W is what we’d expect, although bear in mind the need for wall sockets: due to the lack of space, it requires three separate external power supplies.

PC Specialist PowerGlide Extreme

It has 8GB of RAM, a 120GB Kingston HyperX 3K SSD hosting Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, and another 1TB of storage in the form of a 2.5in Western Digital Scorpio Blue hard disk in a hot-swappable dock at the top. There’s 802.11n wireless, a Blu-ray reader, and speakers that provide plenty of volume and a reasonable amount of bass, even if the audio kit is lacking when it comes to clear treble sounds.

The screen is a 24in, 1,920 x 1,080 panel and, although its touch function is responsive, it feels like a nod to the future rather than useful today. PC Specialist hasn’t added any touch-specific software, so you’ll have to wait for Windows 8 to make use of it.

Details

Price ex VAT £1,041
Price inc VAT £1,249
Overall rating 5
Performance 5
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 5

Warranty

Warranty 3 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 1,120GB
RAM capacity 8.00GB
Screen size 24.0in

Processor

CPU family Intel Core i5
CPU nominal frequency 3.40GHz
Processor socket LGA 1155

Motherboard

Conventional PCI slots free 0
Conventional PCI slots total 0
PCI-E x16 slots free 0
PCI-E x16 slots total 1
Internal SATA connectors 3
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory type DDR3
Memory sockets free 0
Memory sockets total 2

Graphics card

Graphics card Nvidia GeForce GTX 670
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards? no
3D performance setting Medium
Graphics chipset Nvidia GeForce GTX 670
Graphics card RAM 2.00GB
DVI-I outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
DisplayPort outputs 0
Number of graphics cards 1

Hard disk

Hard disk Kingston HyperX 3K
Capacity 120GB
Hard disk usable capacity 111GB
Internal disk interface SATA 6Gbit/s
Hard disk 2 make and model Western Digital Scorpio Blue
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity 1,000GB
Hard disk 2 formatted capacity 931

Drives

Optical disc technology Blu-ray reader

Monitor

Resolution screen horizontal 1,920
Resolution screen vertical 1,080
Resolution 1920 x 1080

Additional Peripherals

Speaker type 2 x 5W
Sound card Realtek HD Audio

Case

Chassis Gigabyte proprietary
Case format All-in-one
Dimensions 593 x 96 x 453mm (WDH)

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays 0

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 5
PS/2 mouse port no
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Modem no
3.5mm audio jacks 5

Operating system and software

OS family Windows 7

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 66W
Peak power consumption 264W

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings 102fps
3D performance setting Medium
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.93
Responsiveness score 0.82
Media score 1.03
Multitasking score 0.95