Chillblast’s latest system is a tiger wrapped in velvet, packing immense bite when it comes to performance, and yet muffling its growl to such an extent that in normal use the PC can barely be heard.
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Under normal Windows use it added just 5dB to the sound in the room while idle, or around 8dB during gaming. This makes it an unusually quiet and discreet Windows box, and one that could easily whirr quietly in the corner of a living room, for instance.
It’s perhaps less surprising to see the strong turn of speed of which this system is capable. The Chillblast Fusion Stealth plays host to that popular but always welcome CPU, the Ivy Bridge Intel Core i5-3570K.
The base 3.4GHz CPU clock speed is boosted to 4.3GHz as standard. Memory is similarly well specified, the 16GB of 1600MHz Corsair Vengeance LP chips providing strong support. Add a spacious 2TB Seagate Barracuda hard drive, and combine it with a trusty 120GB Intel 330 SSD, and the Stealth’s potential becomes apparent.
Chillblast Fusion Stealth: Performance
The PCMark 7 score of 6422 points is a strong figure that beats that of most Core i5 systems. It isn’t quite as high as the 6498 of the company’s Fusion Firebird, but the latter’s better graphics card could have something to do with the slight difference.
The Chillblast Fusion Stealth’s video is still capably handled, but the nVidia GTX 670 with 2GB video memory, despite getting the best treatment Asus has to offer, isn’t quite up to the capabilities of the Firebird’s 680.
The framerate of 241fps in Stalker: Call of Pripyat (at Medium settings) is a very decent achievement. It’s short of the 273 notched up by the Firebird’s GTX 680, but it still indicates much graphics power here. Interestingly, the fall in speed with Ultra settings was just 9fps behind the Firebird, at 113fps.
Aliens versus Predator was another very playable result, turning up a score of 94.5fps. The 680 systems will get into triple figures, but this is still very respectable.
The Fractal Design Define R4 casing is rather imposing, a seemingly smooth slab of plastic that more resembles a monolith set up to a silicon god, or an artefact from the dark side of the moon. The almost featureless door (the silver Chillblast logo at the bottom and a single light on the top are its only adornments) opens up to reveal, well, very little besides the optical drive.
A second bay sits ready for use (along with six more 3.5in bays internally), but the rest of the rather tall front is taken up with cooling. Underneath the lid, the motherboard is nicely arranged, and the spare slots are mostly easy to get to.
A Gelid Tranquillo CPU cooler keeps temperatures down while adding virtually nothing to noise levels. This cooler is rather large, though, and will make it a slight squeeze (albeit still possible) to use all four memory slots – only two are currently consumed.
Another sizeable fan at the rear of the case keeps the air flowing. A 680 watt BeQuiet PSU offers ample power. Chillblast’s carefully picked components makes for a system light on power usage in normal use. It drew a modest, by gaming PC standards, 61 watt when idling, and never exceeded 70 watt mark while running a word processor, for instance.
Gaming is another matter, though, and the system demanded a rather more significant 236 watt when running through Stalker: Call of Pripyat which is quite normal for gaming.
The LG optical drive isn’t a BD-R writer, but it does allow you to playback Blu-Ray discs, with 10x playback. Up to 16x DVD writing facilities are included too, making this a very decent drive for those who won’t need the higher storage capabilities of BD-R.
No memory card drive is included although six USB 3.0 ports are provided (four of these at the rear), with another four USB 2.0 ports split across the top and back of the case.
The audio ports at the front are nicely placed, and placed alongside these is a reset button. Unfortunately, the label over this is worryingly similar to that marking the headphone socket – we’d hate to think that one moment of madness while plugging in the headphones could lead to all your work disappearing.