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Chillblast Fusion Chimera review

Barry de la Rosa
28 Mar 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
550
inc VAT

Great Windows performance backed up by a long warranty, but its graphics card isn't powerful enough

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Specifications

4.6GHz Intel Core i5-2500K, 8GB RAM, N/A display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Intel's Core i5-2500K is well known among PC builders for its ability to be safely overclocked to extreme speeds, so it's no surprise to find that Chillblast has pushed the 2500K in the Fusion Chimera to 4.6GHz. Along with 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard disk and a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTS 450 graphics card, it makes the Fusion Chimera a powerful desktop PC. Indeed, its overall result of 141 in our Windows benchmarks proves it to be a very capable PC that’s ideal for heavy work such as photo or video editing.

Chillblast Fusion Chimera

A fan with red LED illumination adds some menace to the case, but otherwise it's a fairly dull design. Thankfully, it has plenty of room inside and Chillblast has fitted a branded 750W power supply, which means there's plenty of spare power for any upgrades you might want to add. The main 3.5in drive bay faces sideways, which makes it easy to add drives, but even so, there isn’t enough room for one of the larger graphics cards such as an AMD Radeon HD 7970 to fit into the lower PCI-E x16 slot.

The top slot has room, as long as you don't fit a drive into one of the two external 3.5in bays. That means replacing the Nvidia GeForce GTS 450, but that's no big loss. Its score of just under 30fps in Dirt 3 shows that it's capable of playing most modern games, but you'll have to turn down the fancy graphical settings such as anti-aliasing to get playable frame rates on most games. A score of just 13.4fps in Crysis 2 shows that the latest shooters will be less forgiving.

Even though it already has a generous 1TB hard disk, there are plenty of free bays for more disks or optical drives, as well as the aforementioned external 3.5in drive bay, which would be ideal for a memory card reader. There are four free SATA headers, two of which support the faster SATA3 standard, so buying an SSD to act as a Windows boot drive is a real option.

Chillblast Fusion Chimera interior

The Fusion Chimera has a selection of PCI slots for further upgrades, such as Wi-Fi cards or port expanders. The graphics card blocks one PCI-E x1 slot and one legacy PCI slot, although you could move the graphics card to the second PCI-E x16 slot to access both PCI-E x1 slots. It also has two free RAM slots, although upgrading the existing 8GB should only be necessary if you regularly work with large files such as RAW photos or videos.

Externally, you get six USB ports on the rear and three on the front, which is one more than we'd expect. Two of the rear ports support the faster USB3 standard, and there's a PS/2 port for older keyboards or mice. It has a full set of 3.5mm jacks to output audio, as well as an optical S/PDIF for older equipment. We also like the way its internal cabling is neatly tucked behind the motherboard's backplate instead of being bundled into unmanageable knots. If you need a power connector, simply remove the right-hand side panel and look for one.

The Fusion Chimera has all the ingredients of a top-class PC, as well as a two-year collect-and-return warranty, but its graphics card lets it down. It just isn’t powerful enough and you'll soon need to replace it, making it a somewhat wasted investment. A better-rounded option is the PC Specialist Enigma HD.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2500K
Processor external bus100MHz (DMI)
Processor multiplierx46
Processor clock speed4.6GHz
Processor socketLGA1155
Memory8
Memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory32GB
MotherboardAsustek P8Z68-V LE
Motherboard chipsetIntel Z68

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)3/6
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportN/A

Internal Expansion

Casetower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)2 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)2 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports4
Free memory slots2
Free 3.5in drive bays6

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Samsung SpinPoint F1 HD103SJ
InterfaceSATA2
Total storage capacity1,000GB

Graphics

Graphics card(s)1GB Nvidia GeForce GTS 450
Graphics/video portsVGA, DVI, HDMI

Sound

SoundRealtek HD Audio
Sound outputs7.1 line out, optical S/PDIF out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

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

Display

Screen modelnone
Native resolutionN/A
Screen inputsN/A

Other Hardware

KeyboardN/A
MouseN/A

Software

Software includednone
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years collect and return
Price£550
Detailswww.chillblast.com