Chillblast Fusion Interceptor review
The new range of ATI graphics cards, the HD Radeon 4000 series, has generated quite a bit of excitement at PC Pro. They’re practically as quick as the equivalent new GPUs from Nvidia, but cost about half the price. Suffice to say, we were just as excited when the first CrossfireX rig boasting a pair of new ATI cards – two HD 4850s, in this case – arrived in the Labs.
Chillblast’s effort doesn’t disappoint, either, with 3D performance across the range of our benchmarks generally impressive. Our low and medium-quality Crysis benchmarks were dispatched with little fuss – although they didn’t show a huge amount of improvement over results with a single card.
However, when we ran the test with high-quality settings and a resolution of 1,620 x 1,200, we saw a significant improvement: from 31fps with a single card to 39fps with CrossfireX, a gain of around 30%. As impressive as these results may be, though, it’s still not quite enough to topple the score of 43fps from the Mesh Ultimate XT940 GTO, which came packaged with a single Nvidia GTX 280 card.
Very high settings showed a similar level of performance, with a score of 21fps with a single card increasing to a playable 30fps with two GPUs – one of the best results we’ve seen in this test from any PC.
It’s faster than the 25fps scored by the Cyberpower Gamer Ultra M2 Quad, which had a single Radeon HD 4870 card. Impressively, this score was also only three frames behind that achieved by the formidable Chillblast Fusion Juggernaut, which came complete with an Nvidia 9800 GX2.
Results in Call of Duty 4 – which has a dedicated multiple-GPU option, unlike Crysis – were even more impressive. Once again, our less-demanding tests were handled with little fuss: in the medium benchmark, two cards outperformed one with a score of 257fps to 135fps. The high quality settings test showed a similar level of improvement, with the CrossfireX setup scoring 145fps, compared to 71fps from one card.
Call of Juarez exhibited dramatic improvements at lower resolutions but at higher settings the CrossfireX rig stalled when compared to performance from a single HD 4850 card. In our medium settings test, the multi-GPU arrangement scored 79fps compared to 41fps from a single card. At high settings, though, both configurations hit 30fps.
Performance in 2D is spectacular. The Interceptor has an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 inside, overclocked from its stock speed of 2.66GHz to 3.4GHz, and this resulted in a score of 1.92 in our application-based benchmarks. It’s not far of the 2.1 scored by the Fusion Juggernaut, our current favourite .
The rest of the specification has also been put together to eke more performance out of the powerful core components. An Asus Rampage Formula motherboard – part of the enthusiast Republic of Gamers range – comes with plenty of oversized specifications: Intel’s X48 chipset, support for a 1,600MHz FSB speed, the ability to handle up to 8GB of RAM and an LCD post display that monitors the temperature and performance of the board.
In this case 4GB of RAM is mounted in the board, keeping the 64-bit version of Windows Vista Home Premium company – although a 32-bit version of the OS is available from Chillblast if you’d prefer. The 750GB hard disk isn’t as generous as the 1TB of storage included with the Mesh Ultimate, but it’s more than enough for a vast media and game collection.
|Warranty||2 year(s) return to base|
|Total hard disk capacity||750|
|CPU family||Intel Core 2 Quad|
|CPU nominal frequency||2.66GHz|
|CPU overclocked frequency||3.40GHz|
|Processor socket||LGA 775|
|HSF (heatsink-fan)||Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro|
|Motherboard||Asus Rampage Formula Republic of Gamers|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel X58 Express|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?||yes|
|3D performance setting||High|
|Graphics chipset||ATI Radeon HD4850|
|Graphics card RAM||512MB|
|Number of graphics cards||2|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Monitor make and model||Samsung SyncMaster 245B|
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,920|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,200|
|Resolution||1920 x 1200|
|Sound card||Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme|
|Case format||Full tower|
|USB ports (downstream)||6|
Mouse & Keyboard
|Mouse and keyboard||Razer Diamondback 3G, SaitekEclipse II|
Operating system and software
|OS family||Windows Vista|
Noise and power
|Idle power consumption||222W|
|Peak power consumption||377W|
|Overall application benchmark score||1.92|
|Office application benchmark score||1.45|
|2D graphics application benchmark score||2.20|
|Encoding application benchmark score||1.88|
|Multitasking application benchmark score||2.14|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||39fps|
|3D performance setting||High|