Chillblast Fusion Probe gaming PC review

Chillblast Fusion Probe

Chillblast's Fusion Probe is a compact gaming PC. Our review sample is housed in a white Aerocool DS Gaming Cube case, which lends it a minimalist, yet stylish appearance. It's also available in black, red, orange or gold if you prefer.

Measuring only 230 x 502 x 507mm, it's significantly smaller than a standard ATX case, making it tiny for a gaming rig. Its reduced size also requires a smaller motherboard, and in this case it's a Mini ITX form factor GA-Z87N-WIFI from Gigabyte. As its name suggests, it comes with built-in Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth capabilities.

Chillblast has installed a quad-core 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-4670K which has been overclocked to 4.4GHz, helping the Fusion Probe to deliver a truly fast PCMark 7 score of 6965 points - this is a powerful and fast PC. A 2TB Toshiba hard drive is included, complemented by a 120GB Samsung 840 EVO SSD.

While great application performance is useful, this PC is all about gaming and Chillblast has included a Palit Jetstream GeForce GTX 780 graphics card. This factory-overclocked card is one of the fastest nVidia-based cards and it delivered the highest frame rates at the highest quality settings of all the gaming PCs we've tested recently.

Chillblast Fusion Probe: at low quality settings

It didn't fare quite so well at the very low quality settings where CPU performance plays more of a part in the overall frame rate. But no-one buys a system like this to run at the lowest settings possible; and a faster chip such as the Core i7-4770K would push the price up without noticeably improving gameplay.

Unlike the rather cramped case of other small gaming PCs we've tested recently, the Fusion probe seems almost impossibly tidy inside and all components are easy to access.

Chillblast hasn't included an optical drive with this system, but if you need one you can order a DVD burner for an extra £14, or a Blu-ray combo drive for £39 extra.

A 23in Iiyama X2377HDS monitor is included, which features a high-quality IPS panel on a standard 1920 by 1080 pixel resolution. It may not look as stylish as the AOC models included with some other systems, but the picture quality is certainly good. You also get a Gigabyte Force K3 gaming keyboard and M6800 gaming mouse, both of which are popular selections although the mouse is a slightly less expensive model. (See also Group test: What's the best gaming PC?)

Chillblast Fusion Probe: Specs

  • 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-4670K (4.4GHz OC)
  • Corsair H55
  • 16GB DDR3 1600MHz
  • 2TB Toshiba HDD, 120GB Samsung EVO SSD
  • Corsair CX 750W
  • Gigabyte Z87N-WIFI
  • Windows 8.1
  • 23in Iiyama X2377HDS IPS
  • Palit Jetstream GeForce GTX 780 3GB VRAM 902/954/ 6008MHz
  • Gigabit ethernet, 802.11n
  • 6x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0
  • 2 x DVI, HDMI, DP, SPDIF, dual Gigabit LAN
  • Optional extra - 24x DVD RW for £14ex, Blu Ray combo for £39ex
  • Aerocool Dead Silence Gaming Cube - choice of colours (red, white, orange, black, gold)
  • Gigabyte M6800 Gaming Mouse and Force K3 Gaming Keyboard
  • Optional family software pack
  • 2 years collect and return
  • 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-4670K (4.4GHz OC)
  • Corsair H55
  • 16GB DDR3 1600MHz
  • 2TB Toshiba HDD, 120GB Samsung EVO SSD
  • Corsair CX 750W
  • Gigabyte Z87N-WIFI
  • Windows 8.1
  • 23in Iiyama X2377HDS IPS
  • Palit Jetstream GeForce GTX 780 3GB VRAM 902/954/ 6008MHz
  • Gigabit ethernet, 802.11n
  • 6x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0
  • 2 x DVI, HDMI, DP, SPDIF, dual Gigabit LAN
  • Optional extra - 24x DVD RW for £14ex, Blu Ray combo for £39ex
  • Aerocool Dead Silence Gaming Cube - choice of colours (red, white, orange, black, gold)
  • Gigabyte M6800 Gaming Mouse and Force K3 Gaming Keyboard
  • Optional family software pack
  • 2 years collect and return

OUR VERDICT

With its sleek, compact case available in a choice of colours, the Fusion Probe is an attractive and practical PC. It delivers great overall application performance and comes with a truly powerful graphics card, although gaming scores were no better than systems fitted with less ambitiously overclocked graphics and somewhat slower when running at lower-quality settings.

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