Chillblast Fusion Quasar review
Chillblast is no stranger to serving up high-performance desktop PCs, so we had high expectations for its latest Fusion desktop. With a strong showing in all categories, the Fusion Quasar doesn’t disappoint.
Chillblast hasn’t skimped on the core hardware. It starts with a hefty dose of gaming grunt. Rather than relying on Intel’s somewhat anaemic on-CPU graphics, the Quasar has a discrete, Sapphire-branded AMD Radeon R7 260X graphics card. The R7 260X came out swinging in our Crysis graphics benchmark, achieving an average of 123fps on Medium quality settings and 71fps on High. Those are great scores for a PC of this price.
This system isn’t all about gaming, however, as evidenced by the inclusion of a Haswell Intel Core i5-4670K processor, overclocked to 4.3GHz and supported by two sticks of 4GB DDR3 RAM. This setup yielded a barnstorming Overall score of 1.14 in our Real World Benchmark tests, placing the Fusion Quasar in first place for application performance.
It isn’t all down to the CPU, though; Chillblast’s choice of storage plays a part as well. Instead of a standard mechanical hard disk, the Quasar features a Desktop hybrid HDD. This “SSHD” combines an 8GB SSD cache with a 7,200rpm, 1TB mechanical disk and some clever firmware to speed up the loading of common files, such as application executables. It has the effect of boosting the system’s score in the Responsiveness element of our benchmarks to SSD-like levels, while keeping costs down.
The Fusion Quasar’s powerful components are housed in a plain-looking Zalman Z3 Plus tower case. But while the design doesn’t catch the eye, it majors on practicality.
Externally, this is achieved thanks to a decent array of ports. At the top of the chassis are 3.5mm audio and microphone jacks, plus one USB 3 and two USB 2 ports. At the back, you’ll find Gigabit Ethernet, two more USB 2 and four USB 3 ports. There are also HDMI, VGA and DVI video outputs on the motherboard back plane, with two DVI, one HDMI and a DisplayPort output on this graphics card.
Unscrew the thumbscrews and the side panels slide off with ease, revealing a spacious and clutter-free interior. The motherboard is mounted on a tray that leaves around an inch of space between it and the rear wall, which has been used here for stashing cables neatly out of sight.
There’s a danger with an approach like this that it will be more difficult to access power cables when you need to add drives, yet this isn’t the case. Remove the right-hand panel and you’ll see that all you need to do to free the relevant cable is snip open a zip tie or two.
At the bottom of the chassis, towards the front, there’s a tool-free, four-bay drive cage. For those who wish to add extra drives or upgrade from the hybrid drive that’s already installed, the Fusion Quasar has you covered.
The Gigabyte GA-Z87-HD3 motherboard also has plenty of upgrade potential with five SATA/600 sockets, two free RAM slots, a free PCI Express x4 slot and two free conventional PCI slots. Once again, there’s plenty of room to expand, should you wish to.
Where the Chillblast really impresses, however, is with its noise control. The cooling system’s intake and exhaust fans produce little more than a soft rush of air, even with the CPU and GPU running flat out.
The Chillblast Fusion Quasar offers a great all-round package: stalwart processing power, great gaming capability and a well-balanced build with serious upgrade potential.
It’s a terrifically good PC for £600, and it claims our A-List top spot for best budget PC as a result.
|Warranty||5 yr return to base|
|Total hard disk capacity||1,000GB|
|CPU family||Intel Core i5|
|CPU nominal frequency||3.40GHz|
|CPU overclocked frequency||4.30GHz|
|Processor socket||LGA 1150|
|HSF (heatsink-fan)||Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro|
|Conventional PCI slots free||2|
|Conventional PCI slots total||2|
|PCI-E x16 slots free||0|
|PCI-E x16 slots total||1|
|PCI-E x8 slots free||0|
|PCI-E x8 slots total||0|
|PCI-E x4 slots free||1|
|PCI-E x4 slots total||1|
|PCI-E x1 slots free||1|
|PCI-E x1 slots total||2|
|Internal SATA connectors||0|
|Internal PATA connectors||0|
|Internal floppy connectors||0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|Memory sockets free||2|
|Memory sockets total||4|
|Graphics card||AMD Radeon HD R7 260X|
|Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?||no|
|3D performance setting||Low|
|Graphics card RAM||2.00GB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Number of graphics cards||1|
|Hard disk||Seagate Desktop ST1000DX001 SSHD|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/600|
|Chassis||Zalman Z3 Plus|
|Case format||Full tower|
|Dimensions||192 x 465 x 430mm (WDH)|
|Power supply||FSP Aurum 80 Plus FSP600-50ARN|
|Power supply rating||600W|
|Power supply efficiency||80%|
Free drive bays
|Free front panel 5.25in bays||2|
|USB ports (downstream)||4|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|Front panel USB ports||3|
|Front panel memory card reader||no|
Operating system and software
|OS family||Windows 8|
Noise and power
|Idle power consumption||41W|
|Peak power consumption||252W|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||204fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||1.14|