Gamers will love the Chillblast Fusion Omega’s impressive graphics framerates. Its nVidia GeForce GTX 580 held a convincing lead in our tests, and provides a significant performance boost over the GTX 570 seen elsewhere.

Overall system performance is also strong. Intel’s Core i7-2600K CPU propelled the Chillblast Fusion Omega power desktop PC to a 175-point score in our WorldBench 6 speed test.

An Asus P8P67 Pro motherboard provides Bluetooth, four USB 3.0 ports, SLI support and sophisticated overclocking functions. Thanks to an Arctic Cooling CPU cooler, the Chillblast Fusion Omega is better suited to overclocking than our Best Buy, which is fitted with Intel’s standard unit.

Power desktop PCs chart ranking

    1. Arbico Elite i7-2657 MX
    2. Chillblast Fusion Omega
    3. Eclipse Supernova P67i526r697
    4. Dino PC Maxosaur 2600K
    5. Mesh Evolution 2600K PCA

      A performance-boosting 60GB Corsair Force SSD is supplied with the Chillblast Fusion Omega PC, along with a 1TB Samsung F3 hard drive. This is some way down on the competition.

      The 25in Hanns-G monitor is noticeably larger than the 24in screens elsewhere in the chart, although not as big as the Dino PC’s 27in Iiyama. It allows for immersive gameplay and HD movie viewing from the included Blu-ray drive, but it isn’t as fully featured as the Arbico’s 24in Asus VE247H. A set of 5.1-channel speakers is also provided with the Chillblast Fusion Omega.

      The Chillblast Fusion Omega's Cooler Master system case is fitted with three 120mm fans, plus additional mounting points.

      >> NEXT PAGE: Budget desktop PCs buying advice

      Power desktop PCs buying advice

      Processor: Intel’s 3.4GHz quad-core Core i7-2600K offers fantastic performance, hyperthreading, Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz and easy overclocking. You can make a small saving by opting for the non-’K’ version, which does without the overclocking feature. Alternatively, the Core i5-2500 offers a reduced cache, no hyperthreading and a 3.3GHz clock speed, but will still outpace many Core i7 chips. It’s also available in a ‘K’ version.

      If you intend to overclock the CPU, upgrade the standard Intel cooler first.

      Core i7-950 and -870 CPUs cost less, but use a different type of motherboard.

      Memory: A £1,001-plus Sandy Bridge Core i7 PC should come with at least 8GB of RAM. The triple-channel architecture of Core i7-900-based PCs requires you to install chips in threes. Core i7-800- and -2000-series CPUs use a two-channel system.

      A 64bit OS is essential to take full advantage of this memory, particularly if you’re running a dual-graphics setup.

      Storage: Expect 1TB. Look for a pair or trio of drives to reduce the risk of total data loss, although noise levels will increase. Raid 0 setups boost speed at the expense of reliability. 2TB drives are also available, but remember to
      back up regularly. Consider mirroring for added security.

      SSDs provide a significant and very noticeable speed boost, from reduced startup times to improved system responsiveness. They’re now priced at a level where you should expect to see one in any PC costing more than £1,000. Go for an SSD with a capacity of at least 60GB if you’re running Windows 7.

      Dual-layer DVD+/-R capabilities are useful, preferably at eight-speed or above. Also look for eight-speed DVD+RW. If you want Blu-ray playback, be prepared to compromise on DVD speeds.

      Display: PCs at this price are nearly always offered with a 24 or 25in display. 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 – for less money.

      Models with LED backlighting aren’t necessarily better, but can offer improved contrast, lower power consumption and a thinner, more desirable design.

      Make sure you get a digital input for the best image quality, while HDMI is great for hooking up additional devices.

      Graphics card: For a top-level gaming experience, go for nVidia’s GeForce GTX 580. If you don’t need ultimate performance, the cheaper GTX 570 and AMD Radeon HD 6970 are a great match for a 24in monitor.

      Both brands support stereoscopic 3D when used with the correct display hardware and glasses. Recent ATI graphics cards can also be connected to multiple displays.

      Look out for pre-overclocked graphics cards, as well as those that come with custom cooling solutions. A single-card setup leaves more space for sound cards or TV tuners.

      Motherboard: Too early for this round-up, look out for 268 motherboards for best performance. These boards should really unlock the potential of Intel’s latest processors.

      SLI or CrossFireX support lets you add extra graphics cards. Sandy Bridge motherboards support this mode of operation, but current H67 boards aren’t able to deliver the full bandwidth required for peak 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 brand, and consider from 750W upwards if you plan to add a second graphics card. Any form of overclocking will also demand a powerful PSU.

      Chillblast Fusion Omega: Specs

      • 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-2600K
      • Arctic Cooler Freezer 7 Pro CPU cooler
      • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit at no extra cost)
      • 8GB DDR3 RAM
      • 1TB SATA
      • 60GB SSD
      • 10x USB 2.0
      • 4x USB 3.0
      • Asus P8P67 Pro motherboard
      • 600W Corsair PSU
      • 25in Hanns-G H251DPB (0.28mm pixel pitch, 1920x1080)
      • 1.5GB Gainward nVidia GeForce GTX 580 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 106/58fps, Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 216/132fps)
      • onboard sound
      • 5x Chillblast speakers and subwoofer
      • 10x BD-ROM
      • 16x/16x DVD-R/+R, 12x/16x DVD-R DL/+R DL, 6x/8x DVD-RW/+RW, 12x/16x DVD-RAM/-ROM
      • two-year collect-and-return warranty
      • WorldBench 6 score: 175
      • 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-2600K
      • Arctic Cooler Freezer 7 Pro CPU cooler
      • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (choose Windows 7 32bit at no extra cost)
      • 8GB DDR3 RAM
      • 1TB SATA
      • 60GB SSD
      • 10x USB 2.0
      • 4x USB 3.0
      • Asus P8P67 Pro motherboard
      • 600W Corsair PSU
      • 25in Hanns-G H251DPB (0.28mm pixel pitch, 1920x1080)
      • 1.5GB Gainward nVidia GeForce GTX 580 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 106/58fps, Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 216/132fps)
      • onboard sound
      • 5x Chillblast speakers and subwoofer
      • 10x BD-ROM
      • 16x/16x DVD-R/+R, 12x/16x DVD-R DL/+R DL, 6x/8x DVD-RW/+RW, 12x/16x DVD-RAM/-ROM
      • two-year collect-and-return warranty
      • WorldBench 6 score: 175

      OUR VERDICT

      An excellent overclockable system with class-leading graphics. The Chillblast Fusion Omega power desktop PC is a great choice for enthusiast gamers.

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