Chillblast has opted for a new and rather interesting processor for its Fusion Tracer, allowing it to build the fastest desktop PC in the chart. The Core i7-875K has an unlocked clock multiplier, and it's aimed squarely at overclockers.

Chillblast has opted for a new and rather interesting processor for its Fusion Tracer, allowing it to build the fastest desktop PC in the chart. The Core i7-875K has the same 2.93GHz clock speed and is almost identical to Intel’s Core i7-870, but the new chip has an unlocked clock multiplier. This aims it squarely at overclockers who want to get the best performance for their money.

We have no doubt that this processor will turn in some very impressive scores when overclocked, but even when tested at its stock speed it still powers the Chillblast Fusion Tracer desktop PC to a chart-leading 150 points in WorldBench 6.

The Chillblast Fusion Tracer desktop PC doesn’t come with a solid-state drive (SSD) like the Arbico and Eclipse. Instead, it offers a terabyte (TB) of hard-disk-based storage in a high-performance Raid 0 array. An additional 1TB drive is provided for backups.

The Chillblast Fusion Tracer desktop PC is a superb HD multimedia system. The high-quality 24in Samsung monitor’s full-HD screen complements the Chillblast’s Blu-ray drive and set of 5.1-channel external speakers (five speakers and a subwoofer).

Inside, 8GB of RAM leaves no room for memory expansion on the Asus P7P55D-E motherboard. This is a superior board to the ‘LX’ version used by Arbico and DinoPC. While both offer 6 gigabits per second (Gbps) SATA and USB 3.0 support, the Chillblast Fusion Tracer desktop PC’s version adds a second PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (operating at x4 speed) so you can supplement the ATI Radeon HD 5870 with a second graphics card.

Power PCs chart ranking

  1. Chillblast Fusion Tracer
  2. Arbico Elite i7-8670 HSD
  3. CyberPower Infinity i7 Phoenix
  4. DinoPC Ultrasaur 860 OC
  5. Eclipse Reaper xFire i796r587

>> NEXT PAGE: Buying advice

Chillblast has opted for a new and rather interesting processor for its Fusion Tracer, allowing it to build the fastest desktop PC in the chart. The Core i7-875K has an unlocked clock multiplier, and it's aimed squarely at overclockers.

Power PCs buying advice

Processor: Intel’s original 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, or you can save money by opting for an i7-930. Core i7-800-series chips are excellent value, delivering good performance while requiring less expensive motherboards.

Memory: A £1,001-plus Core i7 machine should come with at least 6GB of RAM, although 3GB may be 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 i7-900-based PCs requires you to install chips in threes. Core i7-800-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 or buy a dedicated Blu-ray drive.

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 often offering a performance edge, but costing considerably more. nVidia’s cards offer 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 and 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. If you’re using an Intel CPU, a motherboard with an X58 chipset will give you better performance in multicard 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 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.

>> NEXT PAGE: Specification and our expert verdict

Chillblast Fusion Tracer: Specs

  • 2.93GHz Intel Core i7-875K
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (choose Windows 7 32bit at not extra cost)
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • 2 x 500GB (Raid 0) + 1TB SATA
  • 10 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Asus P7P55D-E motherboard
  • 700W Eco Cool PSU
  • 24in Samsung B2430L (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB Asus ATI Radeon HD 5870 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 77/43fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 153/88fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 5 x Trust speakers and subwoofer
  • 4x BD-ROM
  • 24x/24x/12x/12x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • two-year collect-and-return warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 150
  • 2.93GHz Intel Core i7-875K
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (choose Windows 7 32bit at not extra cost)
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • 2 x 500GB (Raid 0) + 1TB SATA
  • 10 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Asus P7P55D-E motherboard
  • 700W Eco Cool PSU
  • 24in Samsung B2430L (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1920x1080)
  • 1GB Asus ATI Radeon HD 5870 (games scores: Crysis [High/Very High] = 77/43fps
  • Stalker: Call of Pripyat [Medium/Ultra] = 153/88fps)
  • onboard sound
  • 5 x Trust speakers and subwoofer
  • 4x BD-ROM
  • 24x/24x/12x/12x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • two-year collect-and-return warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 150

OUR VERDICT

The Chillblast Fusion Tracer desktop PC is a well-rounded system with great components, excellent upgrade potential and an officially overclockable CPU. At this price, the Fusion Tracer is hard to beat.

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