Based on 3.4GHz an Intel Core i5 3570 processor, the Fusion Lynx delivers more than enough performance for a family PC. Chillblast has actually selected the slightly more expensive “K” version of the chip, although the Asus P8B75-M LX motherboard is unable to take advantage of its overclocking features. The Chillblast Fusion Lynx will be available from February 7 2013.
The Chillblast Fusion Lynx system comes with a whopping 16GB of memory and its 1TB hard drive is also supported by an Intel 330 series SSD which delivers fast storage performance. Being a 120GB model it will require less user management than lower-capacity models.
An XFX AMD Radeon 7770 graphics card is installed in the Chillblast Fusion Lynx, which delivers a sensible level of GPU performance, allowing light gaming but avoiding a disproportionate spend on 3D graphics. You can easily find systems with a superior graphics card, but they tend to come at a much higher cost.
Instead, Chillblast has put the budget to more general-purpose use, such as the Cooler Master Silencio 450 system case which includes noise damping material to ensure quiet operation in the home. Its minimalist exterior also provides a handy front-facing USB 3.0 port and an SD card reader which can be accessed without opening the hinged front door. This case is one of the smartest of the bunch, with superior build quality and understated looks. It's also meticulously tidy inside, thanks to built-in cable management, although motherboard leaves little room for any upgrades.
We were particularly impressed with the Iiyama X2377 monitor included with the Chillblast Fusion Lynx. This 23in model includes an IPS panel with wide viewing angles and superior colour reproduction as well as a VGA, DVI and HDMI inputs allowing other devices such as a console to be hooked simultaneously up should you wish.
Other components include built-in Wi-Fi and the popular Logitech MK260 wireless keyboard combo, along with a Lite-on Blu-ray ROM drive which is supplemented by a separate Samsung DVD±RW burner.
Chillblast Fusion Lynx: performance scores
PCMark 7 score: 5311
Sniper Elite V21: 40.9 / 9.4
AVP: 44.2 / 22.9
Power consumption: 49 / 124
Chillblast Fusion Lynx: verdict
The Chillblast Fusion Lynx is a well-balanced system with good overall performance and enough graphics power for a bit of low-level gaming. It comes with an excellent monitor, plenty of RAM and a roomy 120GB SSD while the system case is one of the best at this price point.
How we test: General system performance
Core system performance is measured using PCMark 7, an industry-recognised test suite that uses 25 different workloads to measure areas such as storage, computation, image- and video manipulation, web browsing and gaming. We understand that results from this benchmark are not absolute, with Intel driver issues in Windows 8 meaning video-transcoding tests can present sub-optimal results. Nevertheless, the results give an idea of the relative performance
As well as the overall PCMark 7 result, typically a point score between 3,000 and 7,000 with current hardware, we have also published results garnered from some of the suite's sub-routines. These are designed to gauge performance in, for example, creativity and entertainment scenarios. Another test highlights the difference between storage technologies. This is an area that impacts perceived speed more than ever, now that even the slowest modern CPUs are more than fast enough for everyday PC duties. PC Mark also measures multimedia transcoding performance which can take advantage of GPU acceleration.
How we test: Gaming performance
As entertainment centres plugged into your TV, media PCs might be used to play games. Power and noise requirements usually prohibit the use of the best graphics cards, so we tested each PC running Stalker Call of Pripyat at 720p resolution with Medium quality settings and then at 1080p with Ultra quality settings. We also ran the Aliens vs Predator benchmark at 720p and 1080p resolutions, with both tests set to maximum quality.
How we test: Overclocking
We allow overclocked systems to be submitted only for our dedicated gaming PC reviews. All other components are run at stock speeds, with the exception of factory-overclocked graphics cards designed and sold at boosted speeds. We do, however, allow underclocking for the purposes of reducing power consumption.
How we test: Subjective assessment
We also pay close attention to the physical characteristics of each PC, its noise output and its build quality, delving inside the case and taking note of the quality of components used, cabling and airflow. Good-quality peripherals are also important, and where they are supplied we note the ergonomics of the keyboard and mouse. A media PC also needs a remote control and, preferably, a keyboard that can be operated from the sofa.
How we test: Support
Differences in warranty terms can impact our scoring. Long warranties are sought after, but we also look at the terms and conditions – specifically, whether faulty systems must be returned to the vendor at your own cost and if both parts and labour are included. Ensure the vendor offers full software support and preferably a home installation for more complex systems
How we test: Gaming performance
A typical family PC is likely to be used to play a game or two in its lifetime, but pricey graphics cards tend to be outside the budget of such systems.
However, you'll be able to enjoy most modern games when run at slightly lower resolutions and quality settings. Indeed, we used the Sniper Elite V2 and Alien Vs Predator to test the graphics capabilities of each PC. Sniper Elite is configured with Medium and then Ultra quality settings at 1080p resolution while Aliens Vs Predator is run first at 720p and then at 1080p resolutions with the highest quality settings selected both times. Both of these games have benchmark versions you can download yourself to try out on your own system to see how much improvement you're likely to get.