Chillblast Fusion Spartan Ultimate PC review

£2499
Price when reviewed

There’s no doubt which PC is the most interesting this month: just one glance at the silver Chillblast on its little wheels had us intrigued, and a look inside offered more surprises. The Lian Li PC-V1000 case isn’t technically designed in the BTX form factor, but it does have the motherboard mounted back-to-front.

Chillblast Fusion Spartan Ultimate PC review

Many cases have side fans cooling the CPU, but this design has the Chillblast’s side fan over the graphics card, which is arguably in greater need of cooling anyway, given the increasing efficiency of CPUs these days. There’s still a rear fan drawing air over the CPU area, and the Scythe Infinity cooler’s fan draws in the same direction; a separated compartment at the bottom sees a single front fan cooling the hard disks and PSU.

To be fair, it isn’t the tidiest setup in terms of cabling and accessibility, but it does keep the air flowing well when you consider the small footprint of the case, and the performance from the overclocked Q6700 was fantastic. Running at 3.33GHz, it hit 1.93 in our benchmarks and, although there’s only one graphics card, this is a flagship 8800 Ultra, so only SLi setups can top it.

But the Fusion Spartan is about more than just raw power. The 24in Dell monitor is simply superb. In our review (web ID: 128864), we praised its accurate colours and excellent design. And paired with a Blu-ray drive, X-Fi sound card and 7.1 speakers, it offers so much in the way of entertainment. A TV tuner would have completed the set, but that’s just being picky.

Vista Ultimate, a Wi-Fi card, cordless keyboard and mouse, plus more than a terabyte of storage: the Chillblast is packed with everything you could possibly need from a dream system. The one thing keeping it from winning this month is the absence of a spare graphics card slot – without the option to expand later, this otherwise excellent-value PC falls just short of greatness.

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