A gaming PC that provides good performance in an eye-catching case
Processor: Quad-core 4.6GHz Intel Core i7-4790K, RAM: 16GB, Front USB ports : 2x USB2, 2x USB3, Rear USB ports: 2x USB2, 4x USB3, Total storage: 250GB SSD, 1TB Hard disk, Display: N/A, Operating system:
The Chillblast Fusion Nebula is built-in a very striking and gargantuan orange tower, which we like. The case is an Aerocool Dead Silence DS 200, and it’s available in equally eye-searing red, blue or green or more sedate black and white should the orange finish not be to your taste. There’s a useful LCD screen on top of the case that displays the current temperature of the chassis, and you can adjust fan speed with the buttons that surround it. You can also switch between Fahrenheit and Celsius, and change the colour of the display.
The DS 200 case does a good job of keeping noise to a minimum too, and is aided in this respect by a Corsair H55 liquid CPU cooler. The H55 comes pre-filled and won’t ever need refilling, so you won’t have to worry about maintaining it. You can install liquid coolers with radiators up to 240mm or 280mm in size, should you wish.
As for power, the Chillblast Fusion Nebula is equipped Intel’s latest Core i7 processor, the Core i7-4790K, which has been overclocked to 4.6GHz. The Core i7-4790K is part of Intel’s Devil’s Canyon range of processors, which are Haswell processors that have been refreshed to provide extra processing power. In the case of the Core i7-4790K, extra capacitors are used to allow it to run at higher clock frequencies as standard.
The Core i7-4790K is paired with 16GB of RAM, and this combination helped the Fusion Nebula score 121 overall in our PC benchmarks. Although we’ve found there isn’t much room for overclocking with the Core i7-4790K, it’s a very strong processor that’s a great choice if you plan on running applications that make good use of multiple cores. The Fusion Nebula will handle processor intensive tasks with aplomb.
You’ll certainly want to use the Fusion Nebula for gaming as it has the excellent Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 graphics card installed. The Fusion Nebula produced a superb average frame rate of 117.8fps in our Dirt Showdown benchmark at a resolution of 1,920×1,080 with 4x anti-aliasing and graphics quality set to Ultra. The Fusion Nebula even performed well in our much more challenging Crysis 3 benchmark, producing an average frame rate of 59.3fps at 1,920×1,080, High graphics quality and 4x anti-aliasing. Even with graphics quality set to Very High and with 8x anti-aliasing, the Fusion Nebula produced an average frame rate of 35fps. You should have no trouble playing the latest games at the highest quality settings with the Fusion Nebula.
The motherboard used by the Fusion Nebula is an Asus Z97-K, and it has good upgrade potential. There are four memory slots, and only two are occupied by sticks of 8GB RAM running at 1,600Mhz, giving you a maximum capacity of 16GB. The motherboard supports a maximum capacity of 32GB, and you can easily add two extra 8GB DIMMs.
As for expansion slots, the motherboard has two PCI-E x16 slots, one of which is occupied by the GTX 780 graphics card. The other PCI-E x16 slot will run at x4 if you install another card in it. There are also two PCI-E x1 slots, but only one is accessible because the other is blocked by the graphics card. Should you have any PCI cards from an older PC, such as a TV tuner, you’ll be pleased to see that the Z97-K has two legacy PCI slots.
Two of the board’s six SATA3 slots are occupied by a Samsung 840 Evo 250GB SSD on which you’ll find Windows 8.1 installed, a 1TB Seagate SSHD, but that leaves you with plenty of SATA3 ports left for any additional storage you want to install. The Fusion Nebula gives you a generous amount of storage space, and the speed of the 840 Evo SSD made interacting with Windows and our programs exceptionally quick.
You’ll have no trouble attaching peripherals either, thanks to two PS/2 ports, two USB and four USB3 ports, as well as a Gigabit Ethernet port and audio connections for up to 8.1 channel audio. On the top of the case are a further two USB ports and two USB3 ports in addition to the obligatory headphone and microphone jacks. The graphics card also has a healthy supply of outputs with two DVI, one HDMI and one DisplayPort outputs.
The case can also accommodate any upgrades you may want to make, as it has two external 5 1/4in bays and one of the two 2.5in bays free. You’ll also find three 3.5in bays unoccupied. The Chillblast Fusion Nebula uses a 750W power supply, so it should be able to handle any upgrades, even a second graphics card.
We really like the Chillblast Fusion Nebula’s case, with its bright and eye-catching design, and the ability to control fan speeds from the top of the case makes the Fusion Nebula a great option for incessant tinkerers. Everything inside was neatly cabled and put together. The Fusion Nebula is great if you’re looking for a powerful and versatile gaming PC that can handle your other hobbies, be they video-editing or music making. It’s also reasonably priced if you don’t want to go so far as the outlandish Scan 3XS Z87 Vengeance SLI. The Palicomp Intel Haswell Hydro-780 is a more expensive but is also worth considering if you’re looking for a high-end gaming PC. Like the Chillblast Fusion Nebula, the Hydro-780 uses GeForce GTX 780 graphics card, so its gaming performance is also top-notch, but its 3TB hard provides more storage space. However, we think the Chillblast Fusion Nebula, with its newer components and cheaper price, is the better buy.
|Processor||Quad-core 4.6GHz Intel Core i7-4790K|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel Z97|
|PORTS AND EXPANSION|
|Front USB ports||2x USB2, 2x USB3|
|Rear USB ports||2x USB2, 4x USB3|
|Case type||Mid tower|
|Case size HxWxD||210x527x485mm|
|PCI (free)||2 (2)|
|PCIe x1 (free)||2 (1)|
|PCIe x16 (free)||2 (1)|
|Serial ATA (free)||6x SATA3 (4)|
|Memory slots (free)||4 (2)|
|Drive bays 2 1/2″ (free)||2 (1)|
|Drive bays 3 1/2″ (free)||4 (3)|
|Drive bays 5 1/4″ (free)||2 (2)|
|Total storage||250GB SSD, 1TB Hard disk|
|Memory card reader||N/A|
|Optical drive type||N/A|
|Graphics card||3GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 780|
|Graphics/video ports||2xDVI, HDMI, DisplayPort|
|Sound card||Realtek ALC887|
|Sound card outputs||Line in, line out, mic in|
|Operating system||Windows 8.1|
|Operating system restore option||Restore disc|
|Warranty||Two-year collect and return, three-year parts and labour|
|Price including delivery (inc VAT)||£1,200|
|Price excluding monitor (inc VAT and delivery)||£1,200|
|Part Code||Chillblast Fusion Nebula|