Chillblast Fusion Blaze review
4.5GHz Intel Core i5-3570K, 8GB RAM, 23in 1,920x1,080 display, Windows 8
The Fusion Blaze from Chillblast is a powerful and well-built Windows 8 system. At £800, it occupies the middle ground between high performance and realistic pricing for a family PC. Chillblast has equipped it accordingly, with more modest components than you'd find in a full-on enthusiast PC. The Intel Core i5-3570K processor is the same powerful CPU that you'll find in many of our favourite performance systems. It has a significant overclock, too, bringing it up to a speed of 4.5GHz from the stock 3.4GHz. This helped the PC to an excellent overall score of 144 in our application benchmarks.
The graphics card is an overclocked 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 OC from Palit. The GTX 660 is an unassuming-looking card which isn’t as powerful as the GTX 660 Ti version, but it's still no slouch; we saw a smooth 30fps in Crysis 2 at 1,920x1,080 and Ultra detail, demonstrating that it's easily able to handle all the latest 3D games. The card has two DVI ports, an HDMI port and DisplayPort, and you can connect monitors to all three for triple-screen gaming; you'll have to drop the resolution and detail levels, though.
The PC's 700W power supply is generic rather than branded, but should nonetheless pack enough power to support significant upgrades. There's certainly plenty of scope to do so. The Asus P8Z77-V LX motherboard is a budget model, but it's an ATX motherboard with three PCI slots and two PCI-E x1 slots - one of which is blocked by the graphics card's cooler. There are also two PCI-E x16 slots, but the bottom slot only runs at x4 speed.
There are six SATA ports, two of which are SATA3. There are three free SATA2 ports and one free SATA3 port. The PC has a Blu-ray drive and a 2TB hard disk. We were surprised to find that the Fusion Blaze – unlike most similarly priced systems - doesn’t have an SSD. Although this means that its boot speeds aren’t as fast as computers with a solid state system drive, Windows 8’s own improvements to boot times still make it feel fast. You also won’t benefit from the quicker read/write speeds of an SSD, but the 2TB hard disk gives you plenty of room to install software and means that you won’t have to juggle with the install locations of your favourite games and applications, as you do with small SSDs. If you want to upgrade later, there's lots of room for more drives, with two free 5 1/4in bays, one external 3 1/2in bay and five unused internal 3 1/2in bays. There are two vacant memory slots on the board, too, with the others each holding a 1,333MHz 4GB memory module.