Despite its slower performance in our benchmark than some of its rivals, Chillblast has blended the latest technologies with premium components to produce a specification that beats all others in the Fusion Claymore.
The Chillblast Fusion Claymore combines the 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-2600K processor seen in almost every other PC here with a 30GB OCZ solid-state drive (SSD). This uses Smart Response Technology (SRT) to operate as a high-speed cache, boosting performance of the one-terabyte (1TB) Samsung hard drive. The SSD is hidden from the user, and not used for storing files. Where a larger SSD is used to store the operating system, a greater performance boost can be achieved.
SRT is possible thanks to the Chillblast Fusion Claymore's Asus Z68-chipset motherboard. This also provides support for 6 gigabits per second (Gbps) SATA and USB 3.0. Note that two of the Chillblast’s four USB 3.0 ports are internal.
The Chillblast Fusion Claymore performs well, but this PC has ‘only’ 8GB of RAM. Rival systems packed with 16GB won higher scores in WorldBench 6, but whether you’d notice a difference in real-world performance depends on the applications you use.
An excellent Asus VS247H full-HD monitor is supplied with the Chillblast Fusion Claymore, offering a noticeable improvement over some of the budget models we see in these machines. It features LED backlighting, and has the edge over the competition in quality and features. It’s combined with a pair of Logitech speakers and a subwoofer, plus a Blu-ray drive.
The Chillblast Fusion Claymore also has the fastest graphics card here: a factory-overclocked nVidia GeForce GTX 570.
£1,000 PCs chart ranking
- 1. Chillblast Fusion Claymore
2. Arbico Elite Z685
3. Eclipse Matrix i726R697
4. Medion Akoya P5704 D
5. Chillblast Fusion Volt
£1,000 PCs buying advice
Processor: Intel’s second-gen Core i5 and i7 CPUs are the only serious contenders at this price. These ‘Sandy Bridge’ chips are much faster and use less power than their predecessors.
The 3.4GHz Core i7-2600K is the fastest available, with its ‘K’ designation denoting an unlocked multiplier. K-series CPUs are designed for overclocking, but demand a compatible motherboard.
At 3.3GHz, the Core i5-2500K offers a slightly lower specification. Unlike the Core i7, it has no support for hyperthreading and has 6MB rather than 8MB of level-three cache.
Motherboard: K-series chips require a motherboard that supports overclocking. These boards cost a little more, but a good version will do the hard work for you, providing a significant speed boost without any specialist knowledge.
Never pair a K-series CPU with a motherboard based on the H67 chipset – these don’t support overclocking. If you want to overclock, you should also invest in a third-party CPU cooler.
A 64bit OS will take full advantage of your RAM, but check that your software and drivers will be supported.
Storage: With storage prices falling, expect 1TB. We’re even seeing systems with 2TB at this price. An SSD may be available, providing a noticeable improvement in bootup times and system responsiveness. Their price requires cutbacks elsewhere, however.
Paired with a Z68 motherboard, a low-capacity SSD can boost hard-drive performance using Intel’s SRT.
Get a multiformat DVD writer that can write to a dual-layer format if you want to store 8.5GB on a single disc. Look for a minimum of eight-speed DVD+R DL. Try to get eight-speed DVD+RW.
It’s not uncommon to find a DVD drive that also reads Blu-ray discs, but DVD-burning speeds will be slower. Look for separate Blu-ray and DVD drives for the fastest performance.
Flat-panel: 24in flat-panels are standard at this price. Many vendors supply cheap screens to leave more cash for other components, but it’s worth spending more on a display if you intend to work with digital photos or video.
All twisted-nematic (TN) screens now have a response time of 8ms or less to minimise blur on fast-moving images. For image editing, contrast ratio and colour fidelity are more important – look for better in-pane switching (IPS) tech here.
An LED backlight doesn’t guarantee a superior display, but such models are often slimmer and more stylish. A digital input preserves picture quality.
Graphics card: At this price, the AMD Radeon HD 6970 is an excellent choice for gamers. It offers multi-screen and DirectX 11.0 support. nVidia’s GeForce GTX 560 Ti delivers similar performance, as well as support for 3D Vision.
You may find a GeForce GTX 570 at this price, which will give you even better gaming framerates.
Look for souped-up versions with faster clock speeds or additional memory.
Many graphics cards can be upgraded to dual-card setups. However, current motherboards have limited support for multiple graphics cards, so we advise you to buy the fastest single card you can.
Power supply: The level of power you require will depend on the graphics card you want to use. Look for at least a 500W unit or 750W-plus if you plan to add another card or overclock the CPU.