Chillblast Nautilus review
Monstrous in power and price, this media PC is nothing short of stunning
Review Date: 20 Jun 2012
Price when reviewed: £1,599
Reviewed By: Kat Orphanides
Thanks to its Lian Li Snail case, the Nautilus from Chillblast is the most distinctive media centre PC we've ever reviewed. It looks stunning and runs very quietly, with only the faintest rush of air to be heard even when we pressed our ear to the case. This is particularly impressive given that the case has little soundproofing. Instead, its sides are made entirely of a fine but sturdy mesh, which does good job of keeping fluff out of the guts of the PC. Our review system was turned into a glowing apparition by some unusually impressive lighting. The lighting is optional, though, so you can order the system without if you'd find it distracting. The case has fans on its sides, so sitting it on its side under your TV will mess up the cooling.
Inside, the components, cages and fan mountings slot into position like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. All the internal edges are smoothly finished and all you have to do to gain access to the motherboard is slide away a mounting with a pair of intake fans on it. There's also a rear outflow fan, which you can adjust to find your own optimal balance between cooling and quietness. The massive processor cooler and graphics card almost entirely obscure the Asus P8Z77-M microATX motherboard, leaving only one PCI slot accessible. This limits the Nautilus’ upgrade potential, but you could put a sound card or TV tuner in there if you don't want to occupy the PC's external USB ports.
The PC has an Intel Core i7-3770K processor overclocked to 4.2GHz, making this the most powerful media centre system we've ever seen. The combination of this processor, a 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 graphics card and 16GB RAM makes it obvious that this PC is ready for absolutely anything, from gaming to graphics. The graphics card has a pair of DVI ports as well as HDMI and DisplayPort, and you can simultaneously connect monitors to all of them. The system shows its speed in our benchmark tests, with a huge overall score of 129 in our application benchmarks, 124fps in our Dirt 3 gaming test and 50fps in Crysis 2 at Ultra quality.
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