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Chillblast Fusion Neptune review

Barry de la Rosa
22 Dec 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
500
inc VAT

A fast PC for the price, but it can't play the latest games. If games aren’t a priority, it’s a fine choice

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Specifications

3.3GHz Intel Core i5-2500K, 8GB RAM, 22in 1,920x1,080 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

With hard drive prices at an all-time high, we were expecting new PCs to arrive with less storage than usual, so the 1TB disk in Chillblast's Fusion Neptune came as a welcome surprise. Chillblast assured us that it has adequate stock levels, too. More surprisingly, it also comes with a quad-core Intel Core i5-2500K processor, a massive 8GB of RAM and a Full HD monitor, and it's backed up by a generous two-year collect-and-return warranty.

Chillblast Fusion Neptune

AOC's F22+ is a familiar budget monitor. Instead of a stand, it sits on a bar underneath the screen, and leans back on an extendable rubber foot. Its CCFL backlight isn't as bright or even as certain LED-backlit monitors, but it makes up for this with bold colours and decent contrast. It has both VGA and DVI inputs, and we were glad to see that Chillblast has bundled a DVI cable in the box so you can use the digital input.

Driving the monitor is the Core i5-2500K's integrated Intel HD Graphics chip, which can decode HD video content but will struggle to play the latest games. It managed 22.7fps Dirt 3, running at 1,280x720 at High detail level: a reasonable result but not quite enough to be smooth.

There's a free PCI-E x16 slot for a dedicated graphics card, but the unbranded 500W power supply doesn’t have a huge amount of headroom and the small case may limit you to shorter, mid-range cards such as AMD's Radeon HD 6770. Although we managed to find a free Molex plug, the power supply's cables are hidden away so you'll have to cut them free to get at the plug.

Chillblast Fusion Neptune

There's room for other upgrades inside the case, including a PCI slot and two PCI-E x1 slots - although one will be obscured if there's a graphics card fitted. The two RAM slots are taken up already, but you shouldn't need more than 8GB unless you work with very large files. There are plenty of free drive bays, but with only two free SATA headers you'll have to add more via an expansion card if you want to add more than two extra hard disks or optical drives.

Externally, there's more scope for expansion. Two USB ports are conveniently located on the front panel along with headphone and microphone ports, while the rear panel contains four more USB2 and two USB3 ports. There are three audio outputs which allow you to connect a set of 5.1 speakers, and there's a PS/2 port: handy if you have an old, favourite keyboard or mouse that needs one.

Chillblast Fusion Neptune

The bundled Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse set looks fine, and the dongle uses a single USB port, but we found the keyboard far too spongy. The mouse is too light for our liking, but has a light ratcheting action on its wheel which gives good feedback. Some may prefer to spend a bit more to get a better monitor - you can order the Fusion Neptune without the monitor for £428.

Despite the impressive multimedia benchmark score, we feel that AMD Llano-powered PCs currently have a better balance between Windows and gaming performance at this price. The Palicomp Hyper Flame matches the Fusion Neptune's 1TB disk and raises the stakes with its Blu-ray drive, capable integrated graphics chip and more attractive monitor. However, if raw power is more important to you than gaming or a Blu-ray drive, then the Fusion Neptune is ideal.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2500K
Processor external bus100MHz (DMI)
Processor multiplierx33
Processor clock speed3.3GHz
Processor socketLGA1155
Memory8
Memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory16GB
MotherboardAsustek P8H61-M LE/USB3
Motherboard chipsetIntel H61

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/6
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone

Internal Expansion

Casetower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)2 (2)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports2
Free memory slots0
Free 3.5in drive bays6

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Hitachi DeskStar 7K1000.C (HDS721010CLA332)
InterfaceSATA2
Total storage capacity1,000GB

Graphics

Graphics card(s)Intel HD Graphics 3000
Graphics/video portsVGA, DVI

Sound

SoundRealtek HD Audio
Sound outputs5.1 line out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

Supported memory cardsnone
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Viewable size22 in
Screen modelAOC F22+
Native resolution1,920x1,080
Screen inputsVGA, DVI

Other Hardware

KeyboardLogitech K260
MouseLogitech M210

Software

Software includedNero 10 Essentials Suite
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantytwo year collect and return
Price£500
Detailswww.chillblast.com