Chillblast Fusion Chaos review

£939
Price when reviewed

Cheap PCs are getting more powerful by the week, and the Chillblast Fusion Chaos is no exception. It comes complete with a 32nm Intel Core i3-530 processor overclocked from its standard speed of 2.93GHz to 3.8GHz, and this makes it the fastest Core i3-based machine we’ve yet tested, scoring a blistering 2.29 in our application benchmarks.

It’s also quicker than the systems bearing Core i5 chips we’ve reviewed: the £680 exc VAT PC Specialist Aurea i5-650 HD scored 1.94 and the Cyberpower Gamer Infinity i5 Hercules SE returned a score of 1.93.

Chillblast has also found room in its budget for a top-quality graphics card. The Bournemouth-based firm has picked a Radeon HD 5850, a high-end card, and the Chaos produced stellar results in our Crysis 3D gaming tests.

With High quality settings enabled and at a resolution of 1,600 x 1,200 it achieved an average frame rate of 60fps; with Very High settings at the same resolution it scored 37fps, and it maintained a smooth performance of 37fps even when we boosted the resolution to 1,920 x 1,200. In each test, the Chillblast outstripped the Aurea i5-650 by some margin. The rest of the core specification is solid, with 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard disk and a DVD writer, plus external peripherals that include a comfortable Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse set and a pair of S220 2.1 speakers, also from Logitech. The latter, though clearly a budget set, have surprisingly good sound quality.

In terms of build quality, there’s more good news. The Chaos’ Xigmatek Midgard case is solid and looks great. Its matte-black finish, topped off by meshed panels and an orange case fan at the front, is at least as attractive as any of its rivals from Antec and Cooler Master. Inside is an Asus P7P55D-LE motherboard with a PCI-Express 16x slot, three PCI slots and two empty DIMM sockets for future expansion. Three 5.25in bays lie empty, and there are four spare 3.5in hard disk bays, all fitted with plastic caddies so you can add drives without a screwdriver.

Chillblast Fusion Chaos inside

Other nice touches include rubber washers on the hard disk trays and power supply to absorb vibrations. The included case fans are among the quietest we’ve heard. The CPU cooler – an Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro Rev. 2 – isn’t too loud either.

The ATI graphics card, however, throws a spanner in the works. While the default fan speed of just over 1,000rpm was enough to keep the chip cool without much noise when idle, it shot up to over 1,800rpm when under load. That’s enough to generate an intrusive amount of noise.

And that’s not the only problem. The Chillblast’s monitor is distinctly below par. It’s a DGM model and, while the 23in screen diagonal and 1,920 x 1,080 resolution are both fine, there’s a noticeably grainy finish across lighter areas, the backlight bleeds along all four edges, and it has a weak, wobbly non-adjustable stand.

It’s a disappointing monitor, then, but it isn’t a complete disaster for the system as a whole. The Chillblast Fusion Chaos provides blistering performance in a superb chassis for an excellent price and that’s just enough to gain it a Recommended award. Upgrade the monitor when you buy it and it will be even better.

Warranty

Warranty2yr collect and return

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity500
RAM capacity4.00GB
Screen size23.0in

Processor

CPU familyIntel Core i3
CPU nominal frequency2.93GHz
CPU overclocked frequency3.80GHz
Processor socketLGA 1156
HSF (heatsink-fan)Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev. 2

Motherboard

MotherboardAsus P7P55D-LE
Motherboard chipsetIntel P55
Conventional PCI slots free3
Conventional PCI slots total3
PCI-E x16 slots free1
PCI-E x16 slots total2
PCI-E x8 slots free0
PCI-E x8 slots total0
PCI-E x4 slots free0
PCI-E x4 slots total0
PCI-E x1 slots free1
PCI-E x1 slots total1
Internal SATA connectors6
Internal SAS connectors1
Internal PATA connectors1
Internal floppy connectors1
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory typeDDR3
Memory sockets free2
Memory sockets total4

Graphics card

Graphics cardATI Radeon HD 5850
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?no
3D performance settingLow
Graphics chipsetATI Radeon HD 5850
Graphics card RAM1.00GB
DVI-I outputs2
HDMI outputs1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
DisplayPort outputs1
Number of graphics cards1

Hard disk

Capacity500GB
Hard disk usable capacity465GB
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Spindle speed7,200RPM
Cache size32MB
Hard disk 2 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 2 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 formatted capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 spindle speedN/A
Hard disk 2 cache sizeN/A
Hard disk 3 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 3 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 4 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 4 nominal capacityN/A

Drives

Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical disk 2 make and modelN/A
Optical disk 3 make and modelN/A

Monitor

Monitor make and modelDGM L-2362WD
Resolution screen horizontal1,920
Resolution screen vertical1,080
Resolution1920 x 1080
Pixel response time5ms
Contrast ratio1,000:1
Screen brightness300cd/m2
DVI inputs1
HDMI inputs0
VGA inputs1
DisplayPort inputs0

Additional Peripherals

SpeakersLogitech S220
Speaker type2.1
Sound cardRealtek HD Audio

Case

ChassisXigmatek Midgard
Case formatFull tower
Dimensions208 x 515 x 479mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supplyOCZ
Power supply rating750W

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays3

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream)10
eSATA ports2
PS/2 mouse portyes
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports1
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Modemno
3.5mm audio jacks6

Front ports

Front panel USB ports2
Front panel eSATA ports1
Front panel memory card readerno

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboardLogitech Deluxe 660 keyboard and mouse

Operating system and software

OS familyWindows 7

Noise and power

Idle power consumption87W
Peak power consumption222W

Performance tests

Overall application benchmark score2.29
Office application benchmark score2.10
2D graphics application benchmark score2.31
Encoding application benchmark score2.00
Multitasking application benchmark score2.74
3D performance (crysis) low settings144fps
3D performance settingLow

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