Four of the five PCs here are powered by Intel’s 3.06GHz Core i7-950 processor, but the Chillblast Fusion Bullet power desktop PC is the fastest of all, with a staggering WorldBench 6 score of 151 points.

Four of the five PCs here are powered by Intel’s 3.06GHz Core i7-950 processor, but the Chillblast Fusion Bullet power desktop PC is the fastest of all, with a staggering WorldBench 6 score of 151 points.

Like the Core i7-950-based competition, the Chillblast Fusion Bullet power desktop PC comes with 6GB of DDR3 RAM, a 1TB hard drive, a 24in HKC monitor and a Radeon HD 5850 graphics card.

It’s no surprise, then, to also see little variation in the choice of motherboard. The Chillblast Fusion Bullet power desktop PC uses the same Asus model as the Arbico, while the Palicomp and CyberPower have plumped for identical Gigabyte boards. The motherboard provides support for high-speed USB 3.0 and offers three PCI Express x16 slots, two of which can be used at the full x16-speed simultaneously.

If you’re happy to stick with just the one graphics card, however, the Chillblast Fusion Bullet power desktop PC's Radeon HD 5850 delivers good gaming performance. The Fusion Bullet is slightly faster than the Arbico, which uses the same card, but it can’t match the gaming performance of the factory-overclocked cards selected by Palicomp and CyberPower.

The EZCool A200D is less showy than some of the system cases seen here, and it’s also less imposing. A top-mounted cooling fan can be fitted, but isn’t preinstalled. The Chillblast Fusion Bullet power desktop PC's  700W PSU also lacks the tidy cabling of the Palicomp’s 750W model.

Supplied with a DVD/Blu-ray combo drive and a set of 5.1-channel speakers, the Chillblast Fusion Bullet power desktop PC will make a great multimedia system.

Power PCs chart ranking

  1. Palicomp Core i7 Blitz 950-25 BLU
  2. Chillblast Fusion Bullet
  3. CyberPower Infinity Phoenix
  4. DinoPC Fermisaur 870
  5. Arbico Elite i7-9558 HD

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>> NEXT PAGE: Buying advice

Four of the five PCs here are powered by Intel’s 3.06GHz Core i7-950 processor, but the Chillblast Fusion Bullet power desktop PC is the fastest of all, with a staggering WorldBench 6 score of 151 points.

Power PCs buying advice

Processor: Intel’s Core i7 chip is taking this price bracket by storm. It’s a match for the best dual-core systems and will outpace any previous-generation quad-core machine. However, some i7-900-series chips require more expensive DDR3 memory and a new motherboard design, so expect to make sacrifices.

The latest Core i7-800-series processors use lower-cost motherboards but can still compete with the lower end of the Core i7-900-series on performance.

Intel’s dual-core Core i5 CPUs are also worth considering, offering higher clock speeds for your money.

Memory: Consider 4GB as a minimum. If you’re buying a Core i7-900-based PC, expect 3GB or 6GB of RAM (such PCs install memory chips in threes). The Core i7-800-series and Core i5 chips install memory sticks in twos, however, making them excellent value for money.

A 64bit OS will take full advantage of your RAM, but check that your software and drivers will be supported. If you opt for more than 4GB, a 64bit OS is essential.

Storage: With storage prices falling, expect 1TB. We’ve seen systems with 2TB that cost less than £1,000.

Get a multiformat DVD writer that can write to a dual-layer format if you want to store 8.5GB on a single disc. Look for a minimum of eight-speed DVD+R DL. Try to get eight-speed DVD+RW. At this price you may also find a drive that reads Blu-ray discs – note that it won’t burn to Blu-ray, and DVD burning speeds will be slower.

Keep an eye out for new motherboards with USB 3.0 and 6Gbps SATA support, enabling high-speed drives to be added.

Display: 24in flat-panels are the standard here. Many vendors supply cheap screens to leave more cash for other components, but it’s worth spending a little more on a display if you intend to work primarily with digital photos or video.

A screen with a response time of 8ms or less will minimise blur on fast-moving images. For image editing, contrast ratio and colour fidelity are more important.

A digital input can preserve picture quality, so think twice about displays that provide analogue inputs only.

Graphics card: At this price, the ATI Radeon HD 5850 is an almost unbeatable choice for gamers. It offers multiscreen and DirectX 11.0 support.

nVidia’s GeForce GTX 470 is also DirectX 11.0-compatible and delivers excellent performance, as well as support for the company’s 3D Vision glasses.
The GTX 460 is a good-value card, but it performs a little slower. It’s a superb choice if you intend to add a second card.

Look for souped-up versions with faster clock speeds or additional memory.

nVidia and ATI graphics cards can be upgraded to dual-card setups later. To take advantage of this, your motherboard and power supply must be compatible.

X58-based motherboards supporting Intel’s Core i7-900-series processors are better equipped to deal with multi-card graphics solutions because of their improved PCI Express bandwidth.

Ready-made dual-card setups are available but can be more expensive.

Power supply: The level of power you require will depend on the graphics card you want to use. Look for at least a 500W unit or 750W-plus if you plan to add another card or overclock the CPU.

Sound card and speakers: Onboard sound is no match for a sound card. Consider Creative’s Audigy 4 or X-Fi range.

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>> NEXT PAGE: Specification and our expert verdict

Chillblast Fusion Bullet: Specs

  • 3.06GHz Intel Core i7-950
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit at no extra cost)
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Asus P6X58D-E motherboard
  • 700W EZCool PSU
  • 24in HKC 2249A (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB Asus ATI Radeon HD 5850 (Crysis High/Very High: 83/38fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat Medium/Ultra:151/74fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 5 x Chillblast speakers and subwoofer
  • 8x BD-ROM
  • max DVD speeds: 16x/16x/16x/16x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • two-year collect-and-return warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 151
  • 3.06GHz Intel Core i7-950
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit at no extra cost)
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Asus P6X58D-E motherboard
  • 700W EZCool PSU
  • 24in HKC 2249A (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB Asus ATI Radeon HD 5850 (Crysis High/Very High: 83/38fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat Medium/Ultra:151/74fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 5 x Chillblast speakers and subwoofer
  • 8x BD-ROM
  • max DVD speeds: 16x/16x/16x/16x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • two-year collect-and-return warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 151

OUR VERDICT

Chillblast’s Fusion Bullet is a very fast, versatile multimedia desktop PC. But if gaming is your priority, you may prefer the PCs from Palicomp and CyberPower.

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