It’s the second most expensive PC in the chart, but the Chillblast Fusion Matrix combines some of the very best components available with top-notch performance and cutting-edge features.

It’s the second most expensive PC in the chart, but the Chillblast Fusion Matrix combines some of the very best components available with top-notch performance and cutting-edge features.

The 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 930-powered Chillblast Fusion Matrix comes in a few points behind the CyberPower and Palicomp, but it’s well ahead of the remaining competition with an impressive score of 140 points in our WorldBench 6 real-world speed test. Like most PCs in this chart, it’s fitted with an HD 5870 graphics card that’s capable of playing the latest games at high resolutions.

Storage is provided by a super-fast 1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 hard drive and a 60GB Corsair SSD. Using a single hard drive offers better data security than drives paired in Raid 0 arrays, while the SSD dramatically speeds up Windows’ bootup and shutdown times as well as general operation. The Corsair drive used by the Chillblast Fusion Matrix is a little faster than the Arbico’s Kingston.

The Chillblast Fusion Matrix's Asus motherboard is very well equipped with forward-looking features, including a trio of PCI Express x16 slots for adding multiple graphics cards, a pair of USB 3.0 ports and support for 6Gbps SATA.

BenQ’s 24in monitor is one of the better monitors we’ve seen supplied with chart PCs, offering an LED backlight and superior image quality. Its full-HD resolution is a good match for the Chillblast Fusion Matrix's Blu-ray drive and set of five speakers and a subwoofer. The monitor also comes with dual inputs.

Power desktop PCs chart ranking

  1. Palicomp Core i7 Blitz
  2. Arbico Elite 9587 HSD
  3. Chillblast Fusion Matrix
  4. CyberPower Infinity i7 Heaven
  5. Eclipse Supernova i793r587

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>> Next page: Power desktop PCs buying advice

It’s the second most expensive PC in the chart, but the Chillblast Fusion Matrix combines some of the very best components available with top-notch performance and cutting-edge features.

Power desktop PCs buying advice

Processor: Intel’s Core i7 CPUs offer a number of speed boosts, although they require more expensive motherboards and memory than previous-generation chips. The Core i7 950 or 960 are good choices at this price point, or you can save money by opting for an i7 930. Core i7 860 chips cost even less.

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 memory is falling fast.

A 64bit OS is essential to 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 to reduce the risk of total data loss, although noise levels will increase. Raid 0 setups are an option, boosting speed the expense of reliability. Consider mirroring for added security. SSDs provide a speed boost, but offer limited capacity and are expensive.

Dual-layer DVD+/-R capabilities are useful, preferably 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, while 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 new GeForce GTX 480 and AMD’s ATI Radeon HD 5870. It’s a close call between the two, with nVidia’s newer card offering a performance edge but also a considerably higher price. nVidia’s cards offer unique features such as support for PhysX in-game 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 you to 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.

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>> Next page: Specification and our expert verdict

Chillblast Fusion Matrix: Specs

  • 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 930
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit at no extra cost)
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA + 64GB SSD
  • 8 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Asus P6X58D-E motherboard
  • Xigmatek 700W PSU
  • 24in BenQ G2420HDBL (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB PCI Express ATI Radeon HD 5870 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 80/45fps
  • Fear = 345fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 5 x Trust speakers and subwoofer
  • 4x BD-ROM
  • max DVD speeds: 24x/24x/12x/16x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • two-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 140
  • 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 930
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit at no extra cost)
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB SATA + 64GB SSD
  • 8 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Asus P6X58D-E motherboard
  • Xigmatek 700W PSU
  • 24in BenQ G2420HDBL (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB PCI Express ATI Radeon HD 5870 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 80/45fps
  • Fear = 345fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 5 x Trust speakers and subwoofer
  • 4x BD-ROM
  • max DVD speeds: 24x/24x/12x/16x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • two-year return-to-base warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 140

OUR VERDICT

An excellent all-round PC, Chillblast ships its Fusion Matrix with a Blu-ray drive, external speakers, a very nice 24in full-HD display and fast SSD storage. But it is a little pricey.

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