Chillblast’s Fusion Anaconda system is a top performer, thanks to its 3.16GHz Core 2 Duo E8500 processor and 8800GTS 512MB graphics card. Coming in at a single point slower than Arbico's CD8500 PRO, it offers almost identical performance, a higher-quality display and better audio hardware.
The Chillblast Fusion Anaconda's Asus Vento A8 case is finished in black and silver with a large central power switch that lights up in blue. It also has a pair of conveniently placed USB sockets at the front, along with headphone and mic docks. These are always exposed rather than being hidden behind a panel. The DVD drive bay is fitted with its own doors to maintain a consistent look, no matter what additional drives you install. It also gives the front of the case a smart, flush finish.
It may be smart, but the Chillblast Fusion Anaconda's case doesn’t feel as robust as the one used by the Arbico CD8500 PRO. But it’s fitted with convenient thumb-screws for easy access and tool-free drive bays inside, of which three 5.25in bays and five 3.5in bays remain free for upgrades.
Audio is provided by the Creative Labs X-Fi Xtreme, a relatively high-quality sound card. Unfortunately, the Chillblast Fusion Anaconda's Logitech speakers fail to make the most of its multichannel capabilities by offering only stereo sound.
The Chillblast Fusion Anaconda's other peripherals include a wireless keyboard and mouse from Logitech and a 22in Acer P223W monitor, which delivers significantly better image quality than you’ll find elsewhere in the chart.
Power PCs chart ranking (May issue)
- Arbico CD8500 PRO
- Chillblast Fusion Anaconda
- Eclipse Platinum i84n88GTS-SLI
- Mesh Pulse 24
- Chillblast Apollo
This is actually a more capable system than the Best Buy Arbico CD8500 PRO – the peripherals make a big difference to the overall user experience. The Chillblast Fusion Anaconda costs £100 more, however. For some, the expense will be justified, but we feel that the Chillblast Fusion Anaconda is just pipped at the post.