Chillblast Fusion Juggernaut review

Price when reviewed

Chillblast PCs have earned a reputation at PC Pro for extreme performance, but the angrily named Fusion Juggernaut manages to take this trend up a notch. Courtesy of a market-leading graphics card and a massively overclocked quad-core processor, it achieved the fastest benchmark results we’ve ever seen in both 2D and 3D applications.

Lightning-quick gaming performance comes courtesy of a single Nvidia GeForce 9800 GX2 card with its dual-GPU design. The recent Fusion Trident’s attempt at triple SLI was fraught with reliability issues and thus underwhelmed us, but the Juggernaut’s single-card setup has no such problems.

In our High 1,600 x 1,200 Crysis benchmark, it averaged 53fps – far superior to the 41fps achieved by the previous table-topper, the Chillblast Fusion Venom. Results didn’t disappoint as we increased both quality and resolution, either: at 1,600 x 1,200 with the ultra-demanding Very High settings, it averaged 33fps, and upping the resolution to the monitor’s native 1,920 x 1,200 still saw a playable 31fps – finally, a PC that can play Crysis in all its intended glory.

The 2D results were record breaking as well: an overall benchmark result of 2.10 is the highest we’ve ever seen at PC Pro, topping the 2.07 scored by the £2,230 Zoostorm 3365-7514 Core 2 Quad from our Ultimate PC Labs nearly half a year ago. That the Juggernaut manages such a feat at almost a grand cheaper highlights the speed at which technology marches onwards.

These magnificent results come courtesy of Chillblast’s expertise in the art of getting the most out of a processor. Intel’s Core 2 Quad Q9450 normally runs at 2.66GHz, but Chillblast has overclocked it to 3.4GHz. While other machines, like the Fusion Venom, have taken the older Core 2 Quad Q6600 to the same speed, the Q9450’s 12MB shared L2 cache gives it the edge.

It’s cooled by an Arctic Cooler Pro 7, which does such an effortlessly good job of keeping things from overheating that we’d be surprised if the clock speed couldn’t be pushed further. Chillblast has fully tested it at this speed, though, so you can be confident it won’t keel over when you push it hard.

But the Juggernaut is about more than just brute force. Until recently, the Samsung SyncMaster 245B was our A-Listed 24in panel of choice thanks to near-perfect picture quality and a great price; it remains an excellent choice both for gaming and work. The backlight in our sample was perfectly even and – while not quite as vibrant as Dell’s new A-List king, the 2408WFP – it sailed through our tests without a hitch. Our only qualm would be the lack of ports – with just DVI and VGA inputs, the HDMI output on the graphics card goes to waste.

The range of ports and connectors on the hulking CoolerMaster case is nevertheless extensive: eight USB ports, eSATA, FireWire and optical S/PDIF sit alongside everything else you’d expect. The Asus Rampage Formula motherboard is from the manufacturer’s Republic of Gamers range and includes its own plug-in audio daughterboard, the SupremeFX II. That hasn’t stopped Chillblast including a discrete sound card, too, though: the SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme card seems rather an unnecessary addition.

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