At £1,599, the Chillblast Fusion Eagle is by far the most expensive PC here. It comes with a set of 5.1-channel surround-sound speakers, a Blu-ray drive and a 24in Acer monitor.


At £1,599, the Chillblast Fusion Eagle is by far the most expensive PC here. It comes with a set of 5.1-channel surround-sound speakers, a Blu-ray drive and a 24in Acer monitor.

Given its asking price, we were surprised to find a 3.06GHz Core i7 950 CPU under the Chillblast Fusion Eagle's hood rather than the 3.2GHz 960 used by Arbico and CyberPower. Its WorldBench 6 speed score thus took a slight hit, but a 150-point tally is impressive nonetheless.

Two 500GB hard drives are configured in a Raid 0 array, effectively doubling the performance for disk tasks but reducing data security. The Chillblast Fusion Eagle balances this with a spare 500GB drive for backing up important files.

The Chillblast Fusion Eagle keeps up with the best of them when it comes to gaming. Its Radeon HD 5870 delivers performance on a par with the CyberPower and Mesh systems. Thanks to the three PCI Express x16 slots, you can add multiple graphics cards.

The Asus P6T SE motherboard is the same model that the Arbico uses. A total of 6GB of DDR3 memory is installed, with the Chillblast Fusion Eagle offering space for a further 6GB.

Housed in an imposing Xigmatek Midgard case, the Chillblast Fusion Eagle is finished inside and out in matt black. There are two 120mm fans with room for five more, and five screw-free drive bays with antivibration mounts. A handy window also lets you access your CPU cooler's backplate.

Chart ranking (issue 177)

  1. Mesh Ice7 5870 HD
  2. Arbico Elite 9655 HD
  3. CyberPower Gamer Infinity i7 Heaven (April 2010)
  4. Chillblast Fusion Eagle
  5. Eclipse Titan X58 i795R585

>> NEXT PAGE: Buying advice

At £1,599, the Chillblast Fusion Eagle is by far the most expensive PC here. It comes with a set of 5.1-channel surround-sound speakers, a Blu-ray drive and a 24in Acer monitor.

Buying advice


Processor:
Intel's quad-core Core i7 CPUs offer a number of speed boosts, including the ability to run eight threads simultaneously, although they require more expensive motherboards and memory than previous-generation chips. At this price, the Core i7 950 or 960 would be a great choice.

Memory: A £1,001-plus Core i7 machine should come with at least 6GB of RAM, although 3GB is acceptable if the manufacturer compensates with other extras. For dual-core machines, look for 4GB in two modules to allow expansion.

The triple-channel architecture of Core i7 9xx-based PCs requires you to install chips in threes. Core i7 8xx-series CPUs use a two-channel system, which will save you some cash. You'll also need to splash out on DDR3 RAM, but the price of such memory is falling fast.

A 64bit operating system can take full advantage of this memory, particularly if you're running a dual-graphics setup.

Storage: Expect at least 1TB. Look for a pair or even a trio of drives rather than a single unit; it will boost performance and prevent the risk of total data loss. Raid setups are an option. Consider mirroring for added security. SSDs can provide speed boosts, but offer limited capacity and are expensive.

Cover backup with a multiformat DVD writer. Dual-layer capabilities are useful. Make sure the drive supports DVD+R DL at eight-speed or above. You should also be able to get eight-speed DVD+RW.

If you want Blu-ray playback, be prepared to compromise on DVD speeds.

Display: We're seeing increasing numbers of 24in displays in our PC charts. This used to be the magic size at which 1080p (full-HD) playback became available, making these ideal partners for Blu-ray drives. However, some of the newest 22in (16:9) monitors can also display full-HD - and with a considerable saving.

Make sure you get a digital input for the best image quality and an extra HDMI port is great for hooking up additional devices such as games consoles without having to switch cables.

Graphics card: For a thrilling gaming experience, choose between nVidia's GeForce GTX 285 or GTX 295 and AMD's DirectX 11.0-compatible ATI Radeon HD 5870. The GTX 275 and HD 4890 cards also offer great performance and very good value for money. Radeon cards seem to be the current favourite for raw performance, but nVidia's cards offer unique features such as support for PhysX in-game physics effects and stereoscopic 3D using special glasses.

Also look out for pre-overclocked graphics cards, which can deliver excellent value and are approved by chip manufacturers. Buying a single-card setup keeps your options open for adding a second card later. It also leaves more space for sound cards or TV tuners.

Motherboard: If you're considering any upgrades, check that the motherboard offers enough memory slots to support the chips. SLI or CrossFireX support will enable to you add extra graphics cards to boost your gaming performance.

Power supply: The level of power you require will largely depend on the type of graphics card you expect to use. Look for a known and respected brand, and consider from 750W upwards if you have any thoughts of moving up to a dual-card setup later. Any form of overclocking will also demand a powerful PSU.


>> NEXT PAGE: Specification and our expert verdict

Chillblast Fusion Eagle: Specs

  • 3.06GHz Intel Core i7 950
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit at no extra cost)
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 3 x 500GB SATA (2 in Raid 0)
  • Asus P6T SE
  • 8 x USB 2.0
  • 720W Gigabyte PSU
  • 24in Acer V243H BD (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB PCI Express Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5870 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 82/42fps
  • Fear = 350fps)
  • onboard 7.1-channel sound
  • 5 x Trust Soundforce speakers and subwoofer
  • BD-ROM drive
  • max DVD speeds: 24x/24x/12x/16x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • three-year collect-and-return warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 150
  • 3.06GHz Intel Core i7 950
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit at no extra cost)
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 3 x 500GB SATA (2 in Raid 0)
  • Asus P6T SE
  • 8 x USB 2.0
  • 720W Gigabyte PSU
  • 24in Acer V243H BD (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB PCI Express Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5870 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 82/42fps
  • Fear = 350fps)
  • onboard 7.1-channel sound
  • 5 x Trust Soundforce speakers and subwoofer
  • BD-ROM drive
  • max DVD speeds: 24x/24x/12x/16x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • three-year collect-and-return warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 150

OUR VERDICT

The Chillblast Fusion Eagle ticks all the right boxes, but at this price you’ll probably want a faster CPU.

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