Chillblast Fusion Sidewinder review

£805
Price when reviewed

Chillblast was one of the first manufacturers in PC Pro’s Labs to routinely take one of Intel’s mid-range processors and overclock it, to stunning effect. The Fusion Sidewinder continues the tradition.

From the moment we pulled the Chillblast from its packaging, we had a good feeling about it. The Antec Three Hundred case is a superb start. It’s well-built, sturdy, has plenty of expansion potential and good airflow – a fine building block on which to rest any PC. Peer inside, and it’s clear this PC has been constructed with a level of care and attention that eludes many manufacturers.

The Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 rests in an Asus P5Q motherboard, and Chillblast has pushed it from its standard 2.4GHz up to an impressive 3.2GHz. The choice of an Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro CPU cooler keeps things from getting too toasty, even under pressure, and the end result is a supremely fast PC – the fastest here by some margin.

Turning our attention to gaming, the Fusion Sidewinder couldn’t defeat the SLI-equipped Zoostorm, but came very close, equalling the Eclipse’s 40 frames per second in our high-detail Crysis test.

Elsewhere, the Chillblast’s specification is solid and unfussy. The Samsung Spinpoint F1 hard disk provides an ample 750GB of storage, and the basic Logitech S220 speakers are a diminutive but good-sounding budget 2.1 set. The monitor is excellent, however. It’s a Samsung SM-223BW and provides sterling image quality. Whites are pure and bright, skin tones natural, and although the default picture settings are a bit too bright, a few simple tweaks make all the difference.

The Fusion Sidewinder is a fantastic all-round PC. It doesn’t offer the generous extras of the PC Specialist system, or the gaming grunt of the Zoostorm, but treads a wonderfully-judged middle ground. Build quality goes hand-in-hand with outstanding performance and is matched with a two-year collect and return warranty. For £700 (exc VAT) you won’t find a better PC.

Warranty

Warranty 2 year(s) collect and return

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 750
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Screen size 22.0in

Processor

CPU family Intel Core 2 Quad
CPU nominal frequency 2.40GHz
CPU overclocked frequency 3.20GHz
Processor socket LGA 775
HSF (heatsink-fan) Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro

Motherboard

Motherboard Asus P5Q
Motherboard chipset Intel P45
Conventional PCI slots free 3
Conventional PCI slots total 3
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 0
PCI-E x4 slots total 0
PCI-E x1 slots free 2
PCI-E x1 slots total 2
Internal SATA connectors 8
Internal PATA connectors 1
Internal floppy connectors 1
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory type DDR2
Memory sockets free 2
Memory sockets total 4

Graphics card

Graphics card Sapphire Radeon HD 4870
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards? no
3D performance setting High
Graphics chipset ATi Radeon HD 4870
Graphics card RAM 512MB
DVI-I outputs 2
HDMI outputs 0
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0
Number of graphics cards N/A

Hard disk

Hard disk Samsung Spinpoint F1
Capacity 750GB
Hard disk usable capacity 750GB
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Spindle speed 7,200RPM
Cache size 32MB
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 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 Samsung SyncMaster 223BW
Resolution screen horizontal 1,680
Resolution screen vertical 1,050
Resolution 1680 x 1050
Pixel response time 2ms
DVI inputs 1
HDMI inputs 0
VGA inputs 1
DisplayPort inputs 0

Additional Peripherals

Speakers Logitech S220
Speaker type 2.1
Sound card Realtek HD audio

Case

Chassis Antec 300
Case format Full tower
Dimensions 205 x 465 x 458mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supply rating 500W

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays 2

Rear ports

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

Front ports

Front panel USB ports 2
Front panel memory card reader yes

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboard Logitech Cordless EX110

Operating system and software

OS family Windows Vista
Recovery method Recovery disc
Software supplied Nero 7 Essentials

Performance tests

Overall application benchmark score 1.88
3D performance (crysis) low settings 40fps
3D performance setting High

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