An excellent monitor, combined with a powerful processor and graphics card, make this a brilliant all-round system
4.5GHz Intel Core i5-3570K, 8GB RAM, 23in 1,920×1,080 display, Windows 8
The Chillblast Fusion Sprite is neatly understated, but beneath its cool exterior this mid-priced system is a great all-rounder. It’s as well suited for gaming as it is for high-powered desktop applications thanks to its 23in Iiyama ProLite X2377HDS monitor, AMD Radeon HD 7790 graphics card and an overclocked Intel Core i5-3570K processor.
Chillblast has overclocked the processor, upping its standard clock speed of 3.8GHz to 4.5GHz. Combined with the 8GB of RAM, the Fusion Sprite achieved an excellent overall score of 126 I nour application benchmarks.
Graphics performance was equally as impressive thanks to the Sapphire 1GB AMD Radeon HD 7790 graphics card. It produced frame rates of 60fps in Dirt Showdown and 28fps in Crysis 2 at Ultra quality and running at Full HD. Dropping the Crysis quality settings produced an even smoother frame rate of 30.3fps, proving that this PC can cope with high-quality gaming.
Rounding the system off is the excellent Iiyama ProLite X2377HDS, which has a resolution of 1,920×1,080. This IPS monitor has a matt screen, to help cut down reflections. We measured a contrast ratio of 1,013:1 and found that out-of-the box it produced 97.7 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut.
In practice, this translates to vivid, accurately coloured images with loads of subtle detail, even in areas of dark shading. Unlike many screens, further calibration did little to improve this, but as it’s already excellent, that just means you don’t have to spend any time fiddling with awkward monitor controls. The screen’s viewing angles are a little poor and its stand doesn’t have much scope for adjustment, but these are minor flaws in an otherwise excellent display. It also has an HDMI input, as well as the usual DVI and VGA ports, so you could hook up a games console or Blu-ray player, as well as your PC.
Inside, we found the Fusion Sprite to be a well-built PC with excellent components. The graphics card occupies the Asus P8Z77-V LX motherboard’s only full-speed PCI-E x16 slot. A second PCI-E x16 slot actually runs at x4, so it’s better suited for an expansion card rather than running dual graphics.
There are also two PCI-E x1 slots – one of them blocked by the graphics card – and three PCI slots, so there’s plenty of scope to install expansion cards if you want them. Two of the motherboard’s four memory slots are occupied by generic 4GB Team memory modules. They lack the heat spreaders of more expensive RAM, but we experienced no issues with them during our tests. The motherboard can take a maximum of 32GB of RAM, but 8GB is all most people will need, unless you plan on doing a lot of video editing.
There are six SATA ports, two of which are SATA3. One of the latter is connected to a 1TB hard disk, while the DVD-RW drive is hooked up to one of the SATA2 ports. There are plenty of extra ports free in the neatly laid-out case if you want to add extra storage in the future. There are also six vacant 3.5in drive bays – one of them external – and two unused 5.25in bays.
The PC’s front panel is home to two USB ports, one of which is USB3, and 3.5mm mic and headphone ports. On the back panel are three more 3.5mm audio outputs for analogue surround sound and an optical S/PDIF output, as well as a Gigabit Ethernet port and a PS/2 port. There are six rear USB ports, of which two are USB3.
The case is plain, but sturdy, and the system is quiet when running. The 700W CIT power supply should be able to support most upgrades you’re likely to want and we were pleased to find that the case’s internal bay is large enough for a full-length AMD Radeon 6950 graphics card. Everything’s neatly laid out inside the case, as well.
A great monitor and good graphics card are the key factors that makes this system stand out. If you’re after a £700 PC that’s good for everything, buy this one. The Fusion Sprite wins our coveted Best Buy award.
|Intel Core i5-3570K
|Processor external bus
|Processor clock speed
|Asus P8Z77-V LX
|USB2 ports (front/rear)
|eSATA ports (front/rear)
|Wired network ports
|Wireless networking support
|PCI-E x1 slots (free)
|PCI-E x16 slots (free)
|Free Serial ATA ports
|Free memory slots
|Free 3.5in drive bays
|Hard disk model(s)
|Seagate Barracuda (ST1000DM003-1CH162)
|1GB AMD Radeon HD 7790
|2x DVI, 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort
|5.1 line out, optical S/PDIF out, line out, mic in
|Supported memory cards
|Optical drive type(s)
|Iiyama ProLite X2377HDS
|HDMI, DVI, VGA
|Operating system restore option
|two years collect and return