Chillblast's Fusion Torpedo is the fastest Core i7-950 desktop PC we've reviewed, with 169 points scored in WorldBench 6.

Chillblast’s Fusion Torpedo is the fastest Core i7-950 desktop PC we’ve reviewed. It’s good to see the technology go out with a bang, since the launch of Intel’s brand-new Sandy Bridge processors means we won’t be seeing Core i7-950 PCs in this chart for much longer.

The Chillblast Fusion Torpedo scored a blistering 169 points in our WorldBench 6 real-world speed test. This is just two points fewer than the i7-2600K-powered CyberPower PC, and a massive 15 points more than the Palicomp.

There’s plenty of room for upgrades inside the PC's Cooler Master Elite 430 system case, and the Chillblast Fusion Torpedo's internal cabling is stored neatly out of the way.

A 12GB allocation of DDR3 RAM and a 2TB hard drive are provided – twice the amount of storage supplied by most of the competition. And Chillblast has added a 60GB Corsair Force SSD, which speeds up bootup times and helped the Fusion Torpedo desktop PC to excel in our benchmark tests.

A 25in Hannspree display provides a full-HD (1920x1080 pixels) image, making it a perfect complement for the Chillblast Fusion Torpedo's 12-speed Blu-ray drive. This monitor is larger than most of the competition and it offers a trio of inputs, including two HDMI. A set of five speakers and a subwoofer complete the PC’s multimedia credentials.

With an ATI Radeon HD 6970 onboard, the Chillblast Fusion Torpedo desktop PC demonstrated the joint-fastest gaming results here.

Power PCs chart ranking

  1. CyberPower Infinity Achilles GT
  2. Chillblast Fusion Torpedo
  3. Arbico Elite i7969 HSD
  4. Palicomp Kinetic Blitz 950-6970
  5. DinoPC Maxosaur 870

>> NEXT PAGE: Buying advice

Chillblast's Fusion Torpedo is the fastest Core i7-950 desktop PC we've reviewed, with 169 points scored in WorldBench 6.

Power PCs buying advice

Processor: Intel’s ‘Sandy Bridge’ CPUs offer such a huge amount of performance that enthusiasts will be eager to get one as soon as possible. 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.

Core i7-950 and -870 processors cost less, but buying a PC based on one will tie you to a motherboard that doesn’t support the newer processors.

Memory: A £1,001-plus Core i7 machine should come with at least 6GB of RAM. Some come with 12GB, although most of us won’t need this much.

The triple-channel architecture of Core i7-900-based PCs requires you to install chips in threes. Core i7-800- and the new Core i7 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 at least 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.

Consider mirroring for added security. SSDs provide a speed boost, but offer limited capacity and are expensive.
Go for an SSD with 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.

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

Graphics card: For a thrilling gaming experience, choose between nVidia’s GTX 580 and AMD’s Radeon HD 6970. nVidia’s card is faster and offers support for PhysX in-game effects, but is also more expensive. Both ATI and nVidia cards now support stereoscopic 3D when used with the right display hardware and glasses.

Don’t be fooled by AMD’s naming system: the Radeon HD 6850 and 6870 cards are slower than the 5850 and 5870.

Look out for pre-overclocked graphics cards. Some cards also come with custom cooling solutions, offering faster clock speeds and quieter operation.

Buying a single-card setup leaves more space for sound cards or TV tuners.

Motherboard: If you’re considering a RAM upgrade, check there are free slots.

SLI or CrossFireX support lets you add extra graphics cards to boost gaming performance. If you’re using an Intel CPU, an X58-chipset motherboard offers better performance in multi-card setups.

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.

>> NEXT PAGE: Specification and our expert verdict

Chillblast Fusion Torpedo: Specs

  • 3.06GHz Intel Core i7-950
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit (choose Windows 7 64bit or XP at no extra cost)
  • 12GB DDR3 RAM
  • 2TB SATA
  • 60GB SSD
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Asus P6X58D-E motherboard
  • 600W OCZ PSU
  • 25in Hannspree HF257HP (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 2GB Asus ATI Radeon HD 6970 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 85/50fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 168/108fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 5 x Sweex speakers and subwoofer
  • 12x BD-ROM
  • 16x/16x/12x/8x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • two-year collect-and-return warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 169
  • 3.06GHz Intel Core i7-950
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit (choose Windows 7 64bit or XP at no extra cost)
  • 12GB DDR3 RAM
  • 2TB SATA
  • 60GB SSD
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Asus P6X58D-E motherboard
  • 600W OCZ PSU
  • 25in Hannspree HF257HP (0.28mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 2GB Asus ATI Radeon HD 6970 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 85/50fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 168/108fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 5 x Sweex speakers and subwoofer
  • 12x BD-ROM
  • 16x/16x/12x/8x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • two-year collect-and-return warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 169

OUR VERDICT

It’s an excellent PC today, but the Chillblast Fusion Torpedo is based on older technology and its motherboard won’t accept Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge processors.

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