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Chillblast Fusion Kevlar review

Kat Orphanides
28 Apr 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
500
inc VAT

An SSD, 2TB hard disk and quality monitor make this £500 PC a great buy

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Specifications

3.8GHz AMD A10-5800K, 8GB RAM, 21.5in 1,920x1,080 display, Windows 8

An SSD is a brilliant way to make Windows 8 and applications load faster, but it's not usually something that you find in a PC at this price. We're pleased to see that Chillblast has supplied a 120GB Samsung 840 SSD as the boot drive. With UEFI BIOS, it means you can turn on this PC and boot into Windows incredibly quickly.

For your files and documents there's also a 2TB hard disk. Using Windows 8's Libraries, you can easily configure your computer so that all of your documents sit on this hard disk.

Chillblast Fusion Kevlar

Chillblast has made a good choice of processor and motherboard, too, with an AMD A10-5800K CPU and Asus F2A85-M LE motherboard. While the 3.8GHz processor isn't quite as fast as its Intel rivals, it's still plenty fast enough for Windows. In our 2D benchmarks, the CPU combined with 8GB of RAM managed an overall score of 65.

Where this processor trumps its Intel rivals is with its integrated graphics. Managing 42fps in our Dirt Showdown laptop test at a resolution of 1,280x720, it shows that you can easily play games on this PC. Bumping the resolution to 1,920x1,080 we managed a frame rate of 31.9fps by dropping detail settings to medium.

Chillblast Fusion Kevlar

For more graphics performance, the motherboard also has two PCI-E x16 slots. You can add an inexpensive graphics card and, using CrossfireX, combine it with the onboard graphics for a boost; for even more performance, you can fit two faster graphics cards.

There's no need to install a graphics card to run multiple monitors, though, as the A10-5800K supports up to three displays. With three graphics outputs on the motherboard (VGA, DVI and HDMI), you can run multiple displays out of the box.

The system comes with a chunky 21.5in Asus VE228 monitor, with a resolution of 1,920x1,080. It has VGA and DVI inputs and is a decent matt display with accurate colours and wide viewing angles. Contrast was good with pleasingly deep black levels. Our colour calibrator measured it as producing 86.2 per cent of the RGB colour gamut. This isn't amazing, but given that the monitor costs an extra £80 on top of the base system's £420, it's a decent budget monitor.

The Asus F2A85-M LE uses one of AMD's latest chipsets, so there's excellent support for the latest ports. At the rear are a PS/2 port for keyboard or mouse, two USB3 and four USB ports. There's even an eSATA port, as well as the usual Gigabit Ethernet port and audio ports: three 3.5mm ports for 5.1 analogue surround sound and an optical S/PDIF output for those who prefer to go digital. At the front of the PC are two more USB3 ports, a couple of USB ports, plus 3.5mm mic and headphone connectors.

Chillblast Fusion Kevlar

The case is small, light and easy to fit on or under the average desk. It provides next to nothing in terms of sound- or dust- proofing, but the PC isn't particularly noisy and the loudest thing about it is the fan on the CPU cooler; the case fans are virtually silent.

Inside the case, the layout is immediately striking. Rather than mounting the hard disks into 3.5in bays across the width of the case, the 3.5in HDD and 2.5in SDD are both screwed into place sideways on one of the drive cage's uprights. This leaves a bit more space than usual, so you'll be able to fit an AMD 5970 or similarly sized graphics card in, but anything much over 220mm in length will be a tight fit.

Installing any graphics card into the PCI-E x16 slot will block the board's only PCI-E x1 slot below it. There's also a PCI slot. The motherboard has seven SATA3 ports, three of which are in use for the DVD drive, SSD and HDD. There are only two memory slots, both occupied by 4GB modules to provide a total 8GB of RAM.

Chillblast has supplied a basic Cherry keyboard and mouse. They're not much to look at but the keyboard in particularly if better than you might expect, proving to be easy and accurate to touch-type on.

The Fusion Kevlar has plenty of storage and a fast SSD, which makes it a great buy if you have loads of media to store. The processor's capable on-chip graphics make it a good choice than its Intel-based rivals if you want to do a bit of gaming and never plan on upgrading, but the PC Specialist Infinity A10 has greater upgrade potential while the Wired2Fire Velocity VX is better for 3D games.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
ProcessorAMD A10-5800K
Processor external bus100MHz (HyperTransport)
Processor multiplierx38
Processor clock speed3.8GHz
Processor socketFM2
Memory8
Memory typePC3-10666
Maximum memory32GB
MotherboardAsus F2A85-M LE
Motherboard chipsetAMD A85FX FCH

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)4/6
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/1
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone

Internal Expansion

Casemidi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)1 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)2 (2)
Free Serial ATA ports5
Free memory slots0
Free 3.5in drive bays2

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Samsung SSD 840 120GB + Seagate Barracuda (ST2000DM001-1CH164)
InterfaceSATA3

Graphics

Graphics card(s)AMD Radeon HD 7660D
Graphics/video portsHDMI, DVI, VGA

Sound

SoundRealtek ALC887
Sound outputs5.1 line out, optical S/PDIF out, line out, mic in
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

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

Display

Viewable size21.5 in
Screen modelAsus VE228
Native resolution1,920x1,080
Screen inputsDVI, VGA

Other Hardware

KeyboardCherry KU-0556
MouseCherry M-5400

Software

Operating systemWindows 8
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

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