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PC Specialist Fusion HD 550 review

PC Specialist Fusion HD 550
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £550
inc VAT

While it offers a lot out of the box, the Fusion HD 550 has extremely limited expansion options and its monitor is dull and cold.


3.11GHz AMD Phenom II X2 550 (unlocked to 4 cores), 4GB RAM, 21.6in 1,920×1,080 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

While most budget PCs use an Intel Core i3 processor, PC Specialist has opted for an AMD Phenom II X2 550 instead. This chip is quite a bit cheaper and, as a result, there’s more money to spend on a decent graphics card, the ATI Radeon HD 5670.

The processor is a favourite amongst enthusiasts: it’s essentially a quad-core processor that has had two of its cores disabled at the factory. Once unlocked and tested, these chips are functionally identical to their quad-core brethren.

This results in an overall benchmark score of 112, which is faster than the standard Intel Core i3-530 fitted many PCs, but not as fast as the overclocked chips used by many other manufacturers. The results are consistent across the tests, with scores of 111 in the image-editing test and 115 in the multi-tasking test. This is powerful enough to handle any mainstream applications, and won’t slow down as much when you have multiple applications open.

PC Specialist Fusion HD 550

The Fusion HD 550’s 5670 graphics card isn’t quite as fast as our favourite ATI model, the 5770, but scores of 43.2fps in Call of Duty 4 and 22.5fps in Crysis show it to be capable of running most modern games, although for best results you may have to turn down some settings.

The monitor is made by HKC, a new Chinese manufacturer. Its design is pretty basic, but it has both VGA and DVI inputs, and thankfully PC Specialist has included a DVI cable in the box. Image quality isn’t great, however. We found that the backlight is dull and uneven, and the image has a blue cast that makes it seem cold. The menu system is ugly and basic, and we were unable to fix image quality by adjusting the crude colour sliders.

Inside the case, there’s not a lot of room. PC Specialist has attached the hard disk vertically on a special bracket, and the remaining external 3.5in bay contains the memory card reader. There’s only one free 5.25in bay as well, despite there being four free SATA headers. The graphics card blocks one of the two free PCI slots, but there’s also an unoccupied PCI-Ex1 slot.

With only two RAM slots, you’ll have to replace the existing DIMMs if you want to upgrade, although 4GB of RAM is plenty for most needs. Expansion on the outside is similarly limited: there are only six USB ports, two of which are taken up by the keyboard and mouse, leaving only four usable USB ports. There aren’t any FireWire or eSATA ports either, and audio is limited to 5.1 outputs. The 500GB hard disk is decent enough, although some PCs here come with a 1TB disk.

It’s difficult to recommend the Fusion HD 550. While the processor is fast and it can play games out of the box on its Full HD monitor, it’s not as fast as Core i3-based PCs for the same price, and while it can play games, it won’t play the next generation of games without compromises on image quality settings. Extremely limited expansion options and poor image quality will add to your woes.

If you’re not interested in upgrading your PC and don’t mind the limited number of USB ports, the Fusion HD 550 is also available minus the monitor for £459. If you’re not into gaming, or want to save up for a decent graphics card, Palicomp’s Core i3 Blast 530OC41-22 will give you incredible performance, a brilliant Full HD monitor and tons of room for expansion.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
Processor AMD Phenom II X2 550 (unlocked to 4 cores)
Processor external bus 200MHz (2GHz HyperTransport)
Processor multiplier x15.5
Processor clock speed 3.11GHz
Processor socket AM3
Level 1 cache 4x 128KB
Level 2 cache 4x 512KB
Memory 4
Memory type DDR3
Maximum memory 8GB
Motherboard Asustek M4A78LT-M LE
Motherboard chipset AMD 780G


USB2 ports (front/rear) 3/4
Firewire ports (front/rear) 0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear) 0/0
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support none
Other ports none

Internal Expansion

Case tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free) 1 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free) 1 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports 4
Free memory slots 0
Free 3.5in drive bays 1

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s) Hitachi DeskStar (HDS721050CLA362)
Interface SATA 300
Total storage capacity 500GB
Spindle speed 7,200rpm


Graphics card(s) ATI Radeon HD 5670
Graphics/video ports VGA, DVI, HDMI


Sound VIA HD Audio
Sound outputs 5.1 line out
Speakers none

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy drive no
Supported memory cards SD, MMC, Memory Stick, CF, microSD
Optical drive model Optiarc AD-7260S
Optical drive type(s) DVD+/-RW +/-DL


Viewable size 21.6 in
Screen model HKC 2219A
Native resolution 1,920×1,080
Response time 5ms
Screen inputs VGA, DVI

Other Hardware

Modem No
Keyboard Logitech Internet 350 Keyboard
Mouse Logitech B110


Software included Microsoft Office 2010 Starter, Nero 9
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore option Windows disc

Buying Information

Warranty one year collect and return
Price £550

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