From the outside, Chillblast's Fusion Goliath looks much the same as any other sub-£1,000 PC. Inside, however, we find USB 3.0 and super-fast SATA 6GBps technologies.

From the outside, Chillblast's Fusion Goliath looks much the same as any other sub-£1,000 PC. Inside, however, we find some new technologies making their first appearances in our chart, thanks to the Asus P7P55D-E motherboard.

Don't be fooled by Asus and its similar-sounding motherboard names: the Chillblast Fusion Goliath's P7P55D-E is an entirely different beast to the P7P55D LE found in the Arbico. Most important among these differences is the inclusion of the new USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB per second (GBps) standards, which promise vastly improved data-transfer rates from both internal and external hard drives.

Of course, the full effect of these improvements won't come into play until you plug in a compatible drive. For example, the Chillblast Fusion Goliath's terabyte (1TB) Samsung SpinPoint F3 internal drive may be quick, but it's of the older 3GBps variety. The USB 3.0 interface, on the other hand, offers significant speed boosts with products already on the market - such as Buffalo's DriveStation HD-HXU3.

The Chillblast Fusion Goliath's other specs include a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 860 processor and 4GB of DDR3 RAM. This tried-and-tested high-performance configuration delivers excellent value for money.

The Chillblast Fusion Goliath achieved a creditable 140 points in WorldBench 6, and scored highly in our gaming tests thanks to its Radeon HD 5850. And, while the dual-core Hercules edged ahead in Fear and Crysis, it lacks the Chillblast's multiprocessing power.

The Chillblast Fusion Goliath is housed in a sleek Xigmatek Asgard case, and sold with a 23in full-HD monitor. You also get a pair of stereo speakers, providing all you need for an immersive multimedia experience.

Chart ranking: Power desktop PCs (issue 178)

  1. Chillblast Fusion Goliath
  2. CyberPower Infinity Hercules XT
  3. Eclipse Evolution i792R585
  4. Arbico i7 HD8650 Pro
  5. Mesh Ice7 860 DX Fire

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>> NEXT PAGE: Buying advice

From the outside, Chillblast's Fusion Goliath looks much the same as any other sub-£1,000 PC. Inside, however, we find USB 3.0 and super-fast SATA 6GBps technologies.

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, Core i7 chips require more expensive DDR3 memory and a new motherboard design, so expect to make sacrifices elsewhere.

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-based system, however, expect 3GB or 6GB of RAM (such machines 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: Anything less than 500GB is considered small. With prices falling, it's more typical to find 1TB at this price point.

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 SATA 6GBps support too.

Display: 22in or 24in flat-panels are the standard here. Many vendors supply cheap screens in order to leave more room in the budget for other components, but it's worth spending a little more 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.

If you're a movie fan, look for one of the new 16:9 format 22in-plus displays that offer full-HD playback. You may even be able to find a 24in model.

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

You'll also find good deals on nVidia's GeForce GTX 260 (or even GTX 280). Look for souped-up versions with faster clock speeds or additional memory. nVidia cards offer some unique features, including support for 3D gaming with compatible monitors and glasses.

The GTX 260 and HD 5850 can be used in dual-card setups later but, to take advantage of this, your motherboard and power supply must be compatible. ?Ready-made dual-card setups are available but can be more expensive.

Power supply: The level of power you require will depend largely on the type of graphics card you expect to use. Look for at least a 500W unit at this price point or 750W upwards if you plan to add another card. A known brand is also likely to give better stability. Overclocking also demands a high-quality power supply.

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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Chillblast Fusion Goliath: Specs

  • 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 860
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit at no extra cost)
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • Asus P7P55D-E motherboard
  • 10 x USB 2.0
  • 700W EZCool PSU
  • 23in Digimate G2220HD (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB PCI Express Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5850 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 73/35fps
  • Fear = 296fps)
  • onboard HD Audio 7.1
  • 2 x Chillblast speakers and subwoofer
  • max DVD speeds: 24x/24x/12x/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: 140
  • 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 860
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit at no extra cost)
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA
  • Asus P7P55D-E motherboard
  • 10 x USB 2.0
  • 700W EZCool PSU
  • 23in Digimate G2220HD (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB PCI Express Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5850 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 73/35fps
  • Fear = 296fps)
  • onboard HD Audio 7.1
  • 2 x Chillblast speakers and subwoofer
  • max DVD speeds: 24x/24x/12x/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: 140

OUR VERDICT

Chillblast's Fusion Goliath offers some exciting new technologies, but it doesn't neglect other components to do so. With powerful DirectX 11.0 graphics, USB 3.0, SATA 6GBps, an Intel Core i7 processor, a full-HD monitor and stereo speakers, this PC comes highly recommended.

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