Chillblast Fusion Interceptor review

£1369
Price when reviewed

Cool runnings

This powerful performance is housed in an Antec 1200 chassis with loads of effective cooling. One 200mm fan sits at the top of the chassis and it’s accompanied by five other 120mm fans – two at the back, three at the front – which all keep the case surprisingly chilled. You can adjust fan speeds with externally mounted controls, but you probably don’t want to turn them all up to max – you’ll be hard-pressed to hear anything over the sound of violently rushing air.

The rest of the chassis is busy but never crowded or messy. The 750W Corsair PSU sits at the bottom of the case, rather than the top, and the huge variety of cables emerging from this box are tied together in a large strand which snakes through the centre of the case like a spinal cord, with wires only branching off where they’re needed. Other cables are lashed to various parts of the chassis, so despite the huge amount of hardware in the Chillblast, it’s relatively easy to access the important components: the processor – under the excellent Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro heatsink – memory, graphics card and hard disk.

There’s expansion potential, too: a pair of free PCI slots are joined by three PCI Express 1x sockets, although the two full-sized PCI Express slots are taken up with the pair of graphics cards, which won’t need upgrading for a while yet. There are also plenty of free 5.25in and 3.5in bays for adding a high-definition optical drive, card reader or more storage.

Extras

The range of peripherals is just as impressive as the performance and chassis. The screen, a 24in Samsung Syncmaster 245B, has been a favourite in the PC Pro Labs since its triumphant entrance at the back end of last year. We’re still impressed by the accurate colour reproduction, sharp detail and versatile, adjustable stand. Our only gripe is that there’s no HDMI input, but that’s a minor quibble.

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The keyboard and mouse will please gamers, too: a Saitek Eclipse II and Razer Diamondback 3G are a cut above the usual, bland sets we’re used to seeing. The keyboard is comfortable to use and comes complete with a set of garish, adjustable lights: there’s red, blue and purple, and the intensity of their glow beneath the keys can be easily altered with a circular dial.

Razer’s Diamondback mouse has long been a gamer’s favourite, and the new model – named the 3G – looks to carry on that tradition. It’s comfortable and an 1800dpi infrared sensor offers plenty of precision – although the sensitivity of the Razer is far above that of the average mouse and it took a while for us to get used to it.

Sound is well catered for, too, with a set of Creative T7900 7.1 speakers. We’ve seen these recently in the Fusion Juggernaut and Cyberpower Gamer Ultra M2 Quad and they’re a decent set that provide good sound quality for enjoying games, movies and music. The major omission here is that there’s no Blu-ray drive included,

Conclusion

Despite this, it all adds up to a very impressive package. It may not quite scale the heady heights of the Fusion Juggernaut, and isn’t quite the all-round that the Cyberpwer Gamer M2 Quad is, but it isn’t far off and the price is reasonable.

Stunning performance from both the processor and graphics card contribute to benchmark results that aren’t far short of the best we’ve seen, and the rest of the package – an excellent screen, decent keyboard and mouse and 7.1 speakers – make it worthy of a Recommended award.

Warranty

Warranty 2 year(s) return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 750
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Screen size 24.0in

Processor

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

Motherboard Asus Rampage Formula Republic of Gamers
Motherboard chipset Intel X58 Express
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory type DDR2

Graphics card

Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards? yes
3D performance setting High
Graphics chipset ATI Radeon HD4850
Graphics card RAM 512MB
Number of graphics cards 2

Hard disk

Hard disk Samsung
Capacity 750GB

Drives

Optical drive Samsung
Optical disc technology DVD writer

Monitor

Monitor make and model Samsung SyncMaster 245B
Resolution screen horizontal 1,920
Resolution screen vertical 1,200
Resolution 1920 x 1200
HDMI inputs 0

Additional Peripherals

Speakers none
Speaker type N/A
Sound card Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme

Case

Chassis Antec 1200
Case format Full tower

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 6
FireWire ports 2
eSATA ports 1

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

Performance tests

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

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