Great Windows performance backed up by a long warranty, but its graphics card isn't powerful enough
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.
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.
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.
|Processor||Intel Core i5-2500K|
|Processor external bus||100MHz (DMI)|
|Processor clock speed||4.6GHz|
|Motherboard||Asustek P8Z68-V LE|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel Z68|
|USB2 ports (front/rear)||3/6|
|Firewire ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|eSATA ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||N/A|
|PCI-E x1 slots (free)||2 (1)|
|PCI-E x16 slots (free)||2 (1)|
|Free Serial ATA ports||4|
|Free memory slots||2|
|Free 3.5in drive bays||6|
|Hard disk model(s)||Samsung SpinPoint F1 HD103SJ|
|Total storage capacity||1,000GB|
|Graphics card(s)||1GB Nvidia GeForce GTS 450|
|Graphics/video ports||VGA, DVI, HDMI|
|Sound||Realtek HD Audio|
|Sound outputs||7.1 line out, optical S/PDIF out|
|Supported memory cards||none|
|Optical drive type(s)||DVD+/-RW +/-DL|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|Operating system restore option||Windows disc|
|Warranty||two years collect and return|