Combining one of the latest AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics cards with the most extreme overclock of the group, the Chillblast Fusion Talisman has a big head start when it comes to performance. See also Group test: What's the best £1,000 PC?

With its Intel Core i5 overclocked from 3.3GHz all the way up to 4.9GHz, this PC set our expectations very high. However, with a WorldBench 6 score of 203 points it’s still some way behind the very fastest on test which manage scores as high as 217 points. Visit Group test: What's the best desktop PC?

A large proportion of this difference will be down to the Fusion Talisman’s 8GB of RAM which significantly impacts WorldBench scores when compared to 16GB systems. Gaming performance on this PC is excellent with Crysis average frame rates staying at around 59fps even with the quality settings pushed as high as they will go. If you’re hungry for even more, the Asus P8Z68-V motherboard offers full support for CrossFireX (and SLI) and the 700W OCZ Stealthxtreme power supply is powerful enough to support an extra graphics card should you decide to add one later.

Chillblast has made use of the Z68 Express chipset’s ability to use a low-capacity SSD to boost disk performance, and in this case a 1TB hard drive is supplemented by a 30GB OCZ Vertex drive which operates transparently to the user, so there’s no need to worry about it filling up.

The Cooler Master Elite is a rather standard-looking box, devoid of garish go-faster decals or flashy illumination. The internals too show little sign of any souping-up, save for the very large Thermolab Trinity CPU cooler and its attached fan. Considering the very high level of overclocking achieved, we were expecting rather more by way of cooling. We did experience one Windows blue-screen during testing but otherwise the system ran without a hitch.

A high-quality 24in Asus VS247H monitor is included along with a high-resolution five-button mouse and a Trust GXT 18 gaming keyboard with bright orange rubberised gamer keys. A Blu-ray combo drive also comes as standard.

Chillblast Fusion Talisman: Specs

  • Processor type: Intel Core i5 2500K
  • Processor speed: 4.9GHz
  • CPU Cooler: Thermolab Trinity
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • Hard disk capacity: 1000GB serial ATA
  • Motherboard Make and model: Asus P8Z68-V Motherboard
  • External USB 2.0 ports (rear / front / other): 8 (6 / 2 / 0)
  • External USB 3.0 ports (rear / front / other): 2 ( 2 / 0 / 0)
  • Monitor (size and model): 24inch Asus VS247H
  • Pixel pitch: 0.272
  • Native resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Graphics card vendor: Asus
  • Graphics chip (x No. of cards): Radeon 7970
  • Memory/interface: 3GB / PCI Express
  • Sound card (or on-board chipset): on-board 7.1 HD audio
  • Optical Drive Type and model: Samsung SH-B123L/BSBP
  • Operating system, software and extras: Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Network connectivity: Gigabit LAN
  • I/O ports audio: Optical SPDIF, HDMI audio
  • I/O ports video: Dvi, HDMI, DP
  • (W x D x H)mm: 190 x 424 x 490
  • 1x eSATA ports
  • Processor type: Intel Core i5 2500K
  • Processor speed: 4.9GHz
  • CPU Cooler: Thermolab Trinity
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • Hard disk capacity: 1000GB serial ATA
  • Motherboard Make and model: Asus P8Z68-V Motherboard
  • External USB 2.0 ports (rear / front / other): 8 (6 / 2 / 0)
  • External USB 3.0 ports (rear / front / other): 2 ( 2 / 0 / 0)
  • Monitor (size and model): 24inch Asus VS247H
  • Pixel pitch: 0.272
  • Native resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Graphics card vendor: Asus
  • Graphics chip (x No. of cards): Radeon 7970
  • Memory/interface: 3GB / PCI Express
  • Sound card (or on-board chipset): on-board 7.1 HD audio
  • Optical Drive Type and model: Samsung SH-B123L/BSBP
  • Operating system, software and extras: Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Network connectivity: Gigabit LAN
  • I/O ports audio: Optical SPDIF, HDMI audio
  • I/O ports video: Dvi, HDMI, DP
  • (W x D x H)mm: 190 x 424 x 490
  • 1x eSATA ports

OUR VERDICT

A very high level of overclocking promises much; however the system lacks a proper enthusiast system case or heavy-duty cooling system and comes with 8GB of RAM when competitors fit 16GB. Nonetheless, nothing can touch this system for gaming performance at this price.

Find the best price