Chillblast Fusion Flash review

Chillblast certainly crams a lot into its PC packages: its latest machine, the Fusion Flash, incorporates an overclocked Core i5 processor, current-generation graphics card, lightning-fast SSD and an IPS panel for £1,199 inc VAT.

This is the first time we’ve seen an IPS panel packaged with a PC this cheap, and first impressions of the 23in, 1,920 x 1,080 LG Flatron IPS231P are good: colours are accurate thanks to the average Delta E of 3, the 731:1 contrast ratio contributes to good black levels, and the backlight is even. We did spot a couple of minor issues: the brightness of 199.7cd/m2 made the screen feel a little dim, and the maximum Delta E of 9.1 meant lighter tones appear a little cold.

Switching to SRGB mode saw the brightness drop to a meagre 148.9cd/m2, and we found best results by upping the gamma from 2.2 to 2.4: the brightness and average Delta E improved to 203cd/m2 and 2.7 respectively. Colour temperature improved after we tweaked the gamma, too, with the LG’s result of 6,737K closer to the 6,500K ideal than the 7,272K scored by the screen at factory settings.

Chillblast Fusion Flash

While these aren’t massive improvements, and the brightness is a still tad disappointing, it makes for a fine screen that’s capable of handling gaming, movies and general work. It’s just as good as the Samsung screen included with the Palicomp Phoenix i5 Z68 Warrior – our current A-List favourite – but, in both cases, image buffs should look elsewhere.

The PC itself looks bland in comparison to the chunky and imposing Cooler Master case chosen by Palicomp but, once you’re past the Fractal Design R3’s laid-back looks, there’s plenty to like. Build quality is fine, and the side panel, ceiling and door are all coated with thick noise-dampening foam. It works on most occasions, too: the Flash was near silent when idling, and barely any louder when running through our benchmarks. Only after several minutes of intensive stress-testing did the graphics card ramp up but, even then, we’ve certainly heard worse.

Chillblast has filled the matte black interior with neat, regimented cables that rarely emerge from behind the motherboard tray, which is sturdy and features cable-routing holes bordered with rubber.

The six free hard disk bays stand out thanks to bright white paint, and the cages themselves are metal, sturdy and fitted with rubber washers to absorb hard disk vibrations. While you’ll need tools to fit additional storage, the cages at least face the side of the chassis, and can be slid in and out without interfering with other components.

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