The Fusion Longbow is the first Ivy Bridge-based PC to reach us at PC Advisor and as such is at a distinct advantage over other contenders who were unable to get hold of the new chips in time for our review. See also Group test: What's the best family PC.

Based on the new Intel Core i5-3570K running at 3.4GHz, the Fusion Longbow pulls ahead to achieve a superb score of 189 points in our WorldBench 6 benchmark. We’ve seen faster, but only in overclocked gaming PC rigs. This score is also helped by the inclusion of 16GB of RAM, although you may not notice the benefit in normal use. See also: Intel launches Ivy Bridge processor family.

To support the processor, a new motherboard is required. Chillblast has chosen the Asus P8H77-M Pro, based on the Intel H77-Express chipset. The board supports a wealth of features, including PCI Express 3.0 for enhanced graphics bandwidth; Intel Smart Response Technology to enable the use of small SSDs to boost hard-disk performance; four USB 3.0 and ten USB 2.0 ports. It also supports overclocking of the processor for even faster potential speeds. See also: Intel Ivy Bridge processors tested.

An AMD Radeon HD 6850 graphics card is installed, fitted with 1GB of memory and running just a little faster than the similar card found in Eclipse’s system. However, the gaming performance of the Fusion Longbow is considerably higher than that of the Eclipse, and delivers graphics speeds closer to Arbico’s eXcel 2568 despite that system’s faster AMD Radeon HD 6870 card.

An LG Blu-ray reader/DVD writer drive is fitted as standard, and the excellent 23.6in Asus VS247H display is a great monitor for playing back high-definition films. It includes VGA, DVI and HDMI inputs so you can connect additional devices. A subwoofer-equipped Logitech S220 speaker set also comes as part of the package and an optional software bundle can be pre-installed, including Ahead Nero and CyberLink suites as well as free software such as Open Office and GIMP.

The Cit Vantage system case incorporates internal cable management and comes with a built-in memory-card reader. A useful Wi-Fi card has also been fitted.

Chillblast Fusion Longbow review: Specs

  • Processor: 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-3570K (quad-core)
  • Monitor: 23.6in Asus VS247H (0.272mm, 1920x1080 pixels, HDMI/DVI/VGA)
  • RAM: 16GB DDR3
  • Storage: 1TB Seagate SATA III HDD
  • Power supply: 700W Cit
  • Motherboard: Asus P8H77-M Pro
  • CPU cooler: Standard Intel Cooler
  • USB: 2x USB 3.0, 6x USB 2.0
  • Graphics card: AMD Radeon HD 6850 1GB (790/1000/NA)
  • Sound: onboard
  • Speakers: Logitech S220 inc subwoofer (2.1)
  • Optical drive: Samsung Blu-ray Reader DVD-writer combo
  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Bundled software: Open Office, Ahead Nero Suite, AVG antivirus, Windows Live Mail 2011, GIMP, CyberLink suite (all optional)
  • Case: Cit Vantage
  • Keyboard: Logitech MK260 wireless combo
  • Extra features: WiFi, SD card reader, switchable LEDs
  • Processor: 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-3570K (quad-core)
  • Monitor: 23.6in Asus VS247H (0.272mm, 1920x1080 pixels, HDMI/DVI/VGA)
  • RAM: 16GB DDR3
  • Storage: 1TB Seagate SATA III HDD
  • Power supply: 700W Cit
  • Motherboard: Asus P8H77-M Pro
  • CPU cooler: Standard Intel Cooler
  • USB: 2x USB 3.0, 6x USB 2.0
  • Graphics card: AMD Radeon HD 6850 1GB (790/1000/NA)
  • Sound: onboard
  • Speakers: Logitech S220 inc subwoofer (2.1)
  • Optical drive: Samsung Blu-ray Reader DVD-writer combo
  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Bundled software: Open Office, Ahead Nero Suite, AVG antivirus, Windows Live Mail 2011, GIMP, CyberLink suite (all optional)
  • Case: Cit Vantage
  • Keyboard: Logitech MK260 wireless combo
  • Extra features: WiFi, SD card reader, switchable LEDs

OUR VERDICT

The Fusion Chillblast makes good use of the latest Intel components, delivering by far the best application performance in our family PC category. Gaming performance is also very good, approaching Arbico’s more expensive system. A good software bundle, built-in WiFi, Blu-ray and a decent monitor add up to make this an almost unbeatable PC, for now.

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