Chillblast Fusion Rapier review

£586
Price when reviewed

Nvidia’s mid-range graphics card, the GeForce GTS 450, is beginning to appear in an increasing number of PCs. It might not be able to keep up with the GTX 460, but it’s built around the same revised Fermi core and is obviously making a good impression with PC builders.

Its results show why: a score of 33fps in our 1,920 x 1,080 High quality Crysis gaming test is extremely impressive for a budget machine. Despite the low price, the Fusion rapier is clearly capable of playing top titles, even if you’ll have to reign in your resolution or quality settings: we had to scale the system back to 1,600 x 900 to get a near-playable 26fps from our Very High quality benchmark.

Chillblast’s overclocked Intel processor is the ideal companion for the mid-range graphics card, and here the Core i3-530 has been overclocked from 2.93GHz to 4GHz. That results in an application benchmark score of 2.36: one of the best we’ve seen from a budget system, even if it can’t match the 2.56 of the Palicomp Core i3 Blast 530OC44, which achieved its score by running the same processor at a faster 4.4GHz. Still, it’s plenty of power and should sate all but the most demanding users.

It’s the second time Chillblast has used the EZCool A200D chassis recently and we’re glad to see it. It’s undoubtedly a budget enclosure, but few corners have been cut to meet the price. It’s one of the better looking low-end cases around and build quality is fine throughout. It’s also a little larger than most cheap cases, which allows for a motherboard tray and, consequently, an extremely tidy build.

Chillblast Fusion Rapier

Noise isn’t an issue, either. Barely a hum escapes from the graphics card cooler or the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro processor heatsink, although we’re disappointed by the heatsink getting in the way of one of the motherboard’s vacant DIMM slots. This is the only real black mark against the Chillblast’s upgrade potential, though, thanks to hard disk bays that face the side of the chassis and a decent selection of empty slots and sockets across the motherboard.

The monitor makes a good impression, too, with Chillblast plumping for the popular AOC F22+. This combines a 22in diagonal and 1,920 x 1,080 native resolution with decent quality. Colours are reasonably accurate and text is sharp. It lacks a little vibrancy when compared with more expensive panels, but it’s fine for everyday use.

Elsewhere, the wireless Logitech keyboard and mouse set is comfortable and comes with a range of media buttons, and the Gigabyte speakers, which don’t come with a subwoofer, still offer reasonable quality alongside a surprising amount of bass.

We have few quibbles with this PC. Performance is strong, the monitor is good and we like the fact that speakers have been included too. Some rivals are better in individual areas but, thanks to its all-round excellence, the Chillblast Fusion Rapier is our new budget system of choice.

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 500GB
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Screen size 22.0in

Processor

CPU family Intel Core i3
CPU nominal frequency 2.93GHz
CPU overclocked frequency 4.00GHz
Processor socket LGA 1156
HSF (heatsink-fan) Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro

Motherboard

Motherboard Asus P7H55/USB3
Motherboard chipset Intel H55
Conventional PCI slots free 2
Conventional PCI slots total 2
PCI-E x16 slots free 2
PCI-E x16 slots total 3
PCI-E x8 slots free 0
PCI-E x8 slots total 0
PCI-E x4 slots free 0
PCI-E x4 slots total 0
PCI-E x1 slots free 1
PCI-E x1 slots total 2
Internal SATA connectors 6
Internal SAS connectors 1
Internal PATA connectors 1
Internal floppy connectors 0
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory type DDR3
Memory sockets free 2
Memory sockets total 4

Graphics card

Graphics card Nvidia GeForce GTS 450
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards? no
3D performance setting Low
Graphics chipset Nvidia GeForce GTS 450
Graphics card RAM 1.00GB
DVI-I outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
DisplayPort outputs 0
Number of graphics cards 1

Hard disk

Hard disk Seagate Barracuda 7200.12
Capacity 500GB
Hard disk usable capacity 465GB
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Spindle speed 7,200RPM
Cache size 16MB
Hard disk 2 make and model N/A
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity N/A
Hard disk 2 formatted capacity N/A
Hard disk 2 spindle speed N/A
Hard disk 2 cache size N/A
Hard disk 3 make and model N/A
Hard disk 3 nominal capacity N/A
Hard disk 4 make and model N/A
Hard disk 4 nominal capacity N/A

Drives

Optical drive Sony Optiarc AD-5260S
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical disk 2 make and model N/A
Optical disk 3 make and model N/A

Monitor

Monitor make and model AOC F22+
Resolution screen horizontal 1,920
Resolution screen vertical 1,080
Resolution 1920 x 1080
Pixel response time 5ms
Contrast ratio 1,000:1
Screen brightness 300cd/m2
DVI inputs 1
HDMI inputs 0
VGA inputs 1
DisplayPort inputs 0

Additional Peripherals

Speakers Gigabyte GP-4600
Speaker type 2.0
Sound card Realtek HD Audio

Case

Chassis EZCool A200D
Case format Full tower
Dimensions 191 x 475 x 440mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supply EZCool PS-05 650W
Power supply rating 650W

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays 3

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 8
FireWire ports 1
PS/2 mouse port yes
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 1
Modem no
3.5mm audio jacks 6

Front ports

Front panel USB ports 2
Front panel FireWire ports 1
Front panel memory card reader no

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboard Logitech Wireless Desktop MK250

Operating system and software

OS family Windows 7

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 85W
Peak power consumption 276W

Performance tests

Overall application benchmark score 2.36
Office application benchmark score 2.13
2D graphics application benchmark score 2.41
Encoding application benchmark score 2.10
Multitasking application benchmark score 2.81
3D performance (crysis) low settings 118fps
3D performance setting Low

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