Plenty of storage thanks to an SSD and hard disk, but its processor is below par
Processor: Quad-core 3.2GHz Intel Core i5-4460, RAM: 8GB, Front USB ports : 2x USB, Rear USB ports: 2x USB3, 4x USB, Total storage: 240GB SSD, 1TB hard disk, Graphics card: 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 960, Display: 24in AOC E2470Sw, Operating system: Windows 10
If it weren’t for the blue trim on the Cooler Master Elite 311 case, the PC Specialist Fusion 311 would look rather plain. The case is generally as unexciting as they come, which may suit you depending on your tastes – not everyone wants sharp angles or glowing LEDs, after all. The Elite 311’s front panel is still a bit too much of a mix of textures and materials for our tastes, however.
The components aren’t very exciting either. The Fusion 311 uses a quad-core Intel Core i5-4460 processor running at its standard 3.2GHz speed. This can Turbo Boost to 3.4GHz under the right thermal conditions, but even then its performance was nothing spectacular and the fan became rather loud.
The PC put in a reasonable rather than spectacular performance in our application benchmarks. An overall score of 81 is more than enough for day-to-day computing tasks, but it’s far behind some of the powerhouses we’ve seen at this price. If you work with 4K video or want to leave an intensive task running in the background while you do something else, you may want to look for an overclocked system or one with a new Intel Skylake processor. The PC has only a single stick of 8GB DDR3 memory installed, so adding a second stick in dual-channel mode will help performance slightly.
Oddly for a PC in an ATX case, the Fusion 311 uses a small microATX motherboard. The Asus H81M-Plus has two memory slots and supports just 16GB RAM. It also has less upgrade potential than a full-size ATX board.
There are only four SATA ports, and only two of these run at 6GB/s. The other two operate at the slower 3GB/s, which would limit the speed of a modern SSD. The system may not have a particularly quick processor, but PC Specialist has been generous with its storage: the PC has a 240GB SSD for the operating system and a 1TB hard disk for your media. We’re big fans of SSDs in PCs, as they make everything feel much more responsive. There’s also a DVD-RW optical drive installed but this means you’re left with just one SATA3 port for further upgrades.
The motherboard has only one PCI-E x16 slot for a graphics card, and it’s occupied by an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960. It also has three PCI-E x1 slots for upgrades such as sound cards or TV tuners, although one is obscured by the dual-width graphics card, and expansion cards in the second might prove a tight fit too. The power supply is a relatively low-powered 450W Corsair VS450, but with limited scope for additional components this shouldn’t be a problem.
The PC’s Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 is a more than capable mid-range graphics card and had no problems with our Dirt Showdown benchmark. At 1,920×1,080, with 4x anti-aliasing and Ultra graphics settings, we saw 77.4fps. This was slightly less than we saw from other PCs with this card, but at frame rates this high, processor speed also plays a part. In the far more challenging Metro: Last Light we saw 28.6fps at 1,920×1,080, with super-sampled anti-aliasing turned on and Very High quality settings, which is a fraction below what we would consider a playable frame rate. Turn off SSAA and you’ll see 53.2fps, however. The graphics card will be fine for all modern games at this resolution, but you may need to knock graphics settings down a notch to be sure of absolutely smooth gameplay.
The front of the case offers a pair of USB ports but neither supports USB3, which was disappointing. We prefer to have faster USB ports available on the front of a PC, so we can quickly connect external storage devices or memory card readers. There are two USB3 ports on the back of the system and four more USB ports. You can connect multiple displays to the GTX 960 through its three DisplayPort and HDMI and DVI outputs.
For £700, the Fusion 311 is available as a complete system with a 24in AOC E2470Sw monitor and a keyboard and mouse set. The monitor has DVI and VGA inputs and its bezels are matt plastic with a subtle brushed finish. It’s an attractive enough display, with tilt adjustment and a sturdy stand. Our image quality tests showed the monitor to have a respectable 973:1 contrast ratio, which was helped by an impressive 0.23cd/m2 black level. Our calibrator showed that it could only display a below-average 84.9% of the sRGB colour gamut, however, so it’s not the best choice for manipulating photographs or performing other colour-sensitive work.
The keyboard and mouse set is a Cooler Master CM Storm Devastator kit, which is one of our favourite budget sets. The keyboard’s keys have plenty of travel and well-judged feedback, so you can soon build up to a decent typing speed. It has media shortcut keys as well as volume, and the keys are backlit. The mouse is comfortable to use with browser navigation buttons on the side and three levels of adjustments so you can change the mouse’s sensitivity for whatever you’re doing with your PC.
Although having both a decent-sized SSD and a mechanical hard disk is commendable, PC Specialist’s Fusion 311 is let down by its poor processor performance and a motherboard that has limited upgrade potential. The Yoyotech Warbird RS10 and Chillblast Fusion Gladiator are better all-round systems, and if you’re not bothered about installing upgrades, the Vibox Exile justifies its lack of expansion options with its compact and elegant case. For other options check out our Best desktop PCs and buying guide.
|Processor||Quad-core 3.2GHz Intel Core i5-4460|
|Memory type||1,600MHz DDR3|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel H81|
|Ports and expansion|
|Front USB ports||2x USB|
|Rear USB ports||2x USB3, 4x USB|
|Other ports||2x PS/2|
|Case size HxWxD||450x190x477mm|
|PCI (free)||0 (0)|
|PCIe x1 (free)||1 (0)|
|PCIe x16 (free)||3 (2)|
|Serial ATA (free)||2x SATA3 (0), 2x SATA2 (1)|
|Memory slots (free)||2 (1)|
|Drive bays 2 1/2″ (free)||0 (0)|
|Drive bays 3 1/2″ (free)||5 (4)|
|Drive bays 5 1/4″ (free)||3 (2)|
|Total storage||240GB SSD, 1TB hard disk|
|Memory card reader||None|
|Optical drive type||DVD-RW|
|Graphics card||2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 960|
|Graphics/video ports||3x DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI|
|Sound card||Realtek ALC887|
|Sound card outputs||Line in, line out, microphone|
|Display||24in AOC E2470Sw|
|Keyboard||Cooler Master CM Storm Devastator|
|Mouse||Cooler Master CM Storm Devastator|
|Operating system||Windows 10|
|Operating system restore option||Restore partition|
|Warranty||Three year RTB (one year parts cover)|
|Price including delivery (inc VAT)||£700|
|Price excluding monitor (inc VAT and delivery)||£600|
|Part Code||Fusion 311|