Losing out to the Arbico purely on price, the Chillblast Fusion Turismo is a worthy contender. Another system based on the Intel Core i7 920, the Chillblast scored 137 points in our WorldBench 6 speed test.

Using an nVidia GeForce GTX 285 graphics card fitted with 1GB of memory, the Chillblast Fusion Turismo delivers excellent gaming performance. It also comes with a set of surround-sound speakers, complete with a subwoofer, and a Blu-ray drive. This is in addition to the 22-speed DVD drive.

The Chillblast Fusion Turismo's 24in full-HD Acer display delivers good image quality and comes with dual inputs. It's a great choice for watching Blu-ray movies, although it lacks an HDMI input for hooking up your games console.

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Antec's Three Hundred system case is reassuringly sturdy, stylish and robust. It offers plenty of cooling, including dual fans at the front and a top-mounted fan at the rear. USB ports are conveniently placed at the top of the Chillblast Fusion Turismo's front panel.

The Asus motherboard is a decent model that offers three 16x PCI Express slots, but it misses a trick by neglecting to add scaleable link interface (SLI) support, which lets you add a second graphics card. The Chillblast Fusion Turismo's internal cabling is extremely tidy, too - the mark of a carefully thought-out system.

Like the Arbico, Chillblast supplies three 500GB hard drives with the Fusion Turismo. Two are combined in a high-performance Raid 0 configuration; a third is left free for backups.

Chillblast's two-year collect-and-return warranty provides further peace of mind.

Chart rankings: Power desktop PCs (October 09 issue)

  1. Eclipse Armageddon X58-i795N275
  2. Arbico Elite i7890 HD
  3. Chillblast Fusion Turismo
  4. CyberPower Gamer Infinity i7 Phoenix
  5. Chillblast Fusion Thunder


>> NEXT PAGE: Power desktop PCs buying advice



Buying advice: Power desktop PCs (October 09 issue)


Processor: Intel’s quad-core Core i7 CPUs offer a number of speed boosts, including the ability to run eight threads simultaneously, although they require more expensive motherboards and memory than previous-gen chips. With the superb 920 and 940 soon to retire you may find some excellent deals available. The dual-core E8600 is still a very fast processor and delivers excellent value.

Memory: A £1,000-plus Core i7 PC should come with 3GB of RAM (preferably 6GB). For dual-core machines, look for 4GB in two modules to allow room for expansion.

Core i7 PCs require you to buy your chips in threes, in order to take advantage of the triple-channel architecture. You’ll also need to splash out on DDR3 RAM.

A 64bit operating system can take full advantage of this memory, particularly if you’re running a dual-graphics setup.

Storage:
Expect a terabyte. Look for a pair of drives rather than a single unit; it will boost performance and prevent the risk of total data loss. Raid setups are an option. Consider mirroring for added security. SSDs can provide speed boosts, but offer limited capacity and are expensive.

Cover backup with a multiformat DVD writer. Dual-layer capabilities (allowing you to store 8.5GB on a disc) are useful. Make sure the drive supports DVD+R DL 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. Alternatively, buy a second DVD burner for backup.

Display:
We’re seeing increasing numbers of 24in displays in our PC charts. This used to be the magic size at which 1,080p (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, making them excellent value for money.

Make sure you get a digital input for the best image quality.

Graphics card:
For a thrilling gaming experience, choose between nVidia’s GeForce GTX 285 or GTX 295 and an ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2. The latest GeForce GTX 275 and Radeon HD 4890 cards also offer great performance and very good value for money.

Also look out for pre-overclocked graphics cards, which can deliver excellent value for money 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 in your PC for sound cards or TV tuners.

Motherboard:
If you’re considering any upgrades, check that the motherboard offers enough memory slots to support additional chips. SLI or CrossfireX support will enable to you 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 demand a powerful PSU.

Sound card and speakers:
Onboard sound is still no match for a decent sound card. You should be able to get a Creative Audigy or X-Fi card at this price. If you only want 2.1-channel speakers, make sure they’re high-quality models.

>> NEXT PAGE: Specifications and our expert verdict

Chillblast Fusion Turismo: Specs

  • 2.66GHz Intel Core i7 920
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit (choose XP or Vista 32bit at no extra cost)
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 3x 500GB SATA (2 in Raid 0 configuration)
  • Asus P6T SE
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 600W OCZ PSU
  • 24in Acer V243HBD (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1,920x1,080)
  • 1,024MB PCI Express Asus nVidia GeForce GTX 285 (games scores: Crysis (High/Very High) = 72/29fps
  • Fear = 224fps)
  • Creative Audigy SE 7.1
  • 5 x Trust speakers and subwoofer
  • 6x BD-ROM
  • 22x/22x/4x/4x/6x/6x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • two-year collect-and-return warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 137
  • 2.66GHz Intel Core i7 920
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit (choose XP or Vista 32bit at no extra cost)
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • 3x 500GB SATA (2 in Raid 0 configuration)
  • Asus P6T SE
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 600W OCZ PSU
  • 24in Acer V243HBD (0.27mm pixel pitch
  • 1,920x1,080)
  • 1,024MB PCI Express Asus nVidia GeForce GTX 285 (games scores: Crysis (High/Very High) = 72/29fps
  • Fear = 224fps)
  • Creative Audigy SE 7.1
  • 5 x Trust speakers and subwoofer
  • 6x BD-ROM
  • 22x/22x/4x/4x/6x/6x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • two-year collect-and-return warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 137

OUR VERDICT

Whether you want an excellent office workhorse, a capable gaming machine or an attractive multimedia machine, Chillblast's Fusion Turismo is an excellent choice.

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