Chillblast Fusion Templar review

Good performance, an excellent monitor and a keen price make this an award-winning choice for budget buyers

Mike Jennings
22 Feb 2013
5
Price when reviewed 
698

The A-List’s Budget PC category has been ruled by Palicomp’s Phoenix i5 Destiny for a long time, but that system’s Sandy Bridge processor and last-generation graphics are looking dated. It’s high time for a change, and the Chillblast Fusion Templar is out to steal its well-worn crown.

The Templar gets off to a familiar start with the Intel Core i5-3570K processor. The “K” suffix denotes it’s an unlocked CPU, and Chillblast has taken full advantage by boosting the stock speed of 3.3GHz to a healthier 4.5GHz. It isn’t the most ambitious tweak we’ve seen on this particular processor, but it’s enough to deliver an application benchmark result of 1.15 – better than the 1.1 scored by the Palicomp Phoenix i5 Destiny.

Chillblast Fusion Templar

Gaming power comes from a mid-range AMD Radeon HD 7770, which blitzed the Palicomp in our gaming benchmarks. It scored 49fps in our 1,920 x 1,080 High-quality Crysis test, 19 frames ahead of its rival. The Templar can just about handle top-tier titles, too, scoring 30fps score in our Very High-quality benchmark, although higher resolutions and multi-monitor setups will prove too much for this particular card.

Neither component struggled in our thermal tests, though. The overclocked processor hit a top temperature of 74°C thanks to the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 heatsink, and the graphics card – provided by XFX – was even cooler, topping out at only 62°C. Noise wasn’t a problem, either; the Templar was virtually silent when idling, and its modest whine during tough benchmarks isn’t anything to worry about.

The rest of the specification impresses. Eight gigabytes of RAM is twice the amount included in the Palicomp, and the Seagate Barracuda hard disk offers 1TB of space and good speeds. Its sequential read and write benchmarks of 189MB/sec and 176MB/sec compare well with the A-Listed Hitachi DeskStar 7K1000.D, which scored 186MB/sec and 187MB/s in the same tests. The only disappointment is the DVD writer – the Palicomp includes a Blu-ray drive.

The chassis, a Corsair 200R, won’t win any design prizes with its plain, matte black exterior, but it ticks all the right boxes on the inside. A raised motherboard tray allows Chillblast to hide the Xigmatek power supply’s ugly, unbraided cables behind it, and the system’s various cables have also been lashed together. The result is an extremely tidy machine that’s easy to work inside.

Chillblast Fusion Templar

There’s plenty of upgrade potential, too, with two free memory sockets that can accept an additional 24GB of DDR3 RAM, four SATA sockets free at the bottom of the motherboard, three side-facing hard disk bays and a pair of empty 5.25in bays. One PCI-Express x16 slot is free (restricted to x4 speed), and it’s joined by one PCI-Express x1 and three PCIs. If we’ve one complaint, it concerns general build quality. The plastic front bends alarmingly when pushed, and the metal side panels are flimsy.

Chillblast has included a full complement of peripherals with the Templar, and the monitor is the star of the show. It’s a Full HD Iiyama ProLite X2377HDS – one of the best we’ve seen bundled with a PC at this price. Its IPS panel delivered an average Delta E of 2.5, which is better than our A-Listed budget monitor – the Dell Ultrasharp U2312HM, which scored 2.7 – and the accurate colours are matched with decent maximum brightness of 266cd/m2. Our only quibble is over the black level, which we’d prefer to be deeper. The Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse, on the other hand, are merely average.

That aside, there’s very little wrong with this machine. It’s quicker in both applications and games than its budget rivals, the chassis is tidy and quiet and it comes with one of the best monitors in a desktop at the price. The Palicomp has had a long reign at the top of the A-List, but that’s finally come to an end. The new king is the Chillblast Fusion Templar.

Warranty

Warranty1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity1,000GB
RAM capacity8.00GB
Screen size24.0in

Processor

CPU familyIntel Core i5
CPU nominal frequency3.30GHz
CPU overclocked frequency4.50GHz
Processor socketLGA 1155
HSF (heatsink-fan)Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev. 2

Motherboard

MotherboardAsus P8Z77-V LX
Motherboard chipsetIntel Z77
Conventional PCI slots free3
PCI-E x16 slots free1
PCI-E x16 slots total2
PCI-E x1 slots free3
PCI-E x1 slots total3
Internal SATA connectors6
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory typeDDR3
Memory sockets free2
Memory sockets total4

Graphics card

Graphics cardAMD Radeon HD 7770
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?no
3D performance settingHigh
Graphics chipsetAMD Radeon HD 7770
Number of graphics cards1

Hard disk

Hard diskSeagate Barracuda
Capacity1.00TB
Hard disk usable capacity931GB
Spindle speed7,200RPM

Drives

Optical disc technologyDVD writer

Monitor

Monitor make and modelIiyama Prolite X2377HDS
Resolution screen horizontal1,920
Resolution screen vertical1,080
Resolution1920 x 1080

Case

ChassisCorsair 200R
Case formatFull tower
Dimensions210 x 497 x 430mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supply rating500W

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays2

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream)4
PS/2 mouse portyes
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports1

Front ports

Front panel USB ports2

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboardLogitech wireless keyboard and mouse

Operating system and software

OS familyWindows 8

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings49fps
3D performance settingHigh
Overall Real World Benchmark score1.15
Responsiveness score1.16
Media score1.18
Multitasking score1.11

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