Chillblast Fusion Catapult VR PC review

The Fusion Catapult is a mid-priced VR-ready PC offering a good balance of performance and features. Its £999 price tag allows Chillblast to avoid the lower specification components you’ll find in the least expensive VR PCs, ensuring some degree of future-proofing and allowing for a speedy overclocked system.

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Chillblast Fusion Catapult VR PC review: Design

The system is housed in a futuristic-looking Zalman Z11 Neo system case. It’s a standard ATX mid tower, but with many angular curves and distinguishing design features, which make it rather more interesting than a standard rectilinear box. It features blue illuminated fans visible through mesh dust filters and a transparent side panel, while cable management keeps the inside spacious and tidy, leaving plenty of room for internal upgrades.

Chillblast Fusion Catapult VR PC review: Features and spec

It has a 3.5GHz Intel Core i5-6600K, overclocked to a modest but significant 4.4GHz and cooled by a Corsair Hydro H55 liquid cooler. This immediately gives the PC a performance advantage over those rivals which don’t use an overclocked CPU.

This is possible thanks to combining the ‘K’ version of the Core i5 processor with an Asus Z170-K motherboard featuring the Intel Z170 Express chipset that is able to exploit the unlocked multiplier in CPU.

This motherboard also provides support for the super-fast 256GB Samsung SM951 M2 PCI Express solid-state drive (SSD). This drive doesn’t affect gaming frame rates, but it does make a huge difference to overall system responsiveness – a difference that could clearly be felt during testing when compared to cheaper PCs fitted only with a standard hard drive. Of course, the Fusion Catapult has one of those too – in this case it’s a 1TB Seagate Barracuda ready to provide the bulk of your storage requirements. The performance of the PCI Express SSD can be seen clearly in the PCMark 8 Storage result in which the Fusion Catapult scores the highest of the whole group.

The Chillblast is unique in this group test in that it uses an AMD graphics card rather than an nVidia model. In this case it’s an 8GB Radeon R9 390X, which is both newer and more powerful than the Radeon R9 290 required by the minimum recommended VR specifications.

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Chillblast Fusion Catapult VR PC review: Performance

When it comes to gaming performance, the Chillblast Fusion Catapult is good, although not stellar. While it convincingly outperforms systems based on the entry-level nVidia GTX 970, it falls behind those PCs using more powerful cards such as the GTX 980 Ti. While you usually have to pay more for such systems, the possible fly in the ointment for Chillblast is YoyoTech’s Warbird RS14, which has a GTX 980 Ti but at the same overall price as the Fusion Catapult. The YoyoTech PC is undeniably faster at gaming, but falls down everywhere else when compared to Chillblast’s offering, due to lower spec components throughout.

Chillblast Fusion Catapult VR PC review: Benchmark results

The following benchmark results allows you to compare between all VR PCs tested in our group test. Please note that many of these PCs can now be ordered with a GTX 1080 or 1070 graphics card: these were annouced after the PCs were tested and reviews were completed. Chillblast supplied its PC with a Radeon R9 390X, but can still offer an upgrade to a GTX 1070 or 1080 on request.

Chillblast Fusion Catapult: Specs

  • Intel Core i5 6600K (3.5GHz stock, 4.4GHz OC)
  • Corsair Hydro H55 Cooler
  • 16GB DDR4 2133MHz
  • 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm HDD
  • 256GB Samsung SM951 M2 PCIe
  • FSP 750W PSU
  • Asus Z170-K,Windows 10 Home
  • XFX AMD Radeon R9 390X 8GB
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 6 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 3.1 (Type A)
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x USB 5gbps Type C
  • 2 x DVI
  • 1 x DP
  • 1 x HDMI
  • Zalman Z11 Neo
  • 5 year labour only, 2 year collect and return parts and labour, lifetime phone
  • Intel Core i5 6600K (3.5GHz stock, 4.4GHz OC)
  • Corsair Hydro H55 Cooler
  • 16GB DDR4 2133MHz
  • 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm HDD
  • 256GB Samsung SM951 M2 PCIe
  • FSP 750W PSU
  • Asus Z170-K,Windows 10 Home
  • XFX AMD Radeon R9 390X 8GB
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 6 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 3.1 (Type A)
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x USB 5gbps Type C
  • 2 x DVI
  • 1 x DP
  • 1 x HDMI
  • Zalman Z11 Neo
  • 5 year labour only, 2 year collect and return parts and labour, lifetime phone

OUR VERDICT

A mid-priced VR-ready PC striking a perfect balance between performance and features, the Chillblast Fusion Catapult is well built and delivers a solid VR experience without cutting corners. Faster gaming performance is possible for this price, but only if serious compromises are made elsewhere.

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