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Review: Chillblast Fusion Flash

by Parm Mann on 10 November 2011, 17:00 4.0

Tags: Chillblast

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Introduction

Building your own PC is a whole lot of fun, but if you're rich, lazy, or a bit of both, it's almost as fun to get someone else to do it for you.

And those of course aren't the only reasons. Pre-built systems have a warranty in place for additional piece of mind, and if you're eyeing up a truly high-end specification, they often arrive with pre-overclocked components that are tested and guaranteed to operate at higher-than-default specification.

It's a winning formula, and one that Chillblast is hoping to put to good use in its latest PC, the Fusion Flash.

 

Now, Chillblast might not be a name that's familiar with most, but the UK-based system integrator has been around since 2001 and claims to be "one of the most highly respected and decorated desktop PC manufacturers in the world."

Lofty claims, but the company has amassed a collection of awards and a quick look through the Fusion Flash specification suggests that Chillblast is in tune with what the target enthusiast market is looking for in terms of component combinations.

At its heart, the Fusion Flash consists of an Intel Core i5-2500K processor (overclocked from 3.3GHz to 4.8GHz, naturally), an AMD Radeon HD 6970 2GB graphics card and a 120GB Corsair Force Series 3 SSD. Hard to argue against those three core choices, and Chillblast has put them together in a complete base unit priced at £1,134 including VAT.

That's just the wrong side of the 1K mark for our liking, but the inclusion of solid-state storage is what pushes up the cost, and Chillblast hasn't skimped in other areas.

 

For its chassis, the Fusion Flash makes use of Fractal Design's award-winning Define R3. It's an enclosure we haven't spent a lot of time with previously - and that's something we're now starting to regret as it's really rather good. The mid-tower frame isn't too big, it looks suitably smart, and it's foam-padded panels are designed to keep noise in check.

Chillblast has opted not to tweak the chassis' default fan configuration - there's a single 120mm front intake and a single 120mm rear exhaust (both hooked up to a fan controller) - but there is plenty of room for expansion through the Define R3's five optional fan slots.

The inclusion of a Blu-ray optical drive is a plus, and it's neatly tucked away behind the chassis' padded front door, but it's a shame Chillblast hasn't included Fractal Design's optional Define R3 USB 3.0 upgrade kit. As it stands, the system has no front-facing USB 3.0 ports, and that's something you'd expect to find on any modern-day PC priced at over £1,000.

Chillblast Fusion Flash default specification
Processor Intel Core i5 2500K @ 4.8GHz
Cooler Corsair Air Series A70
Motherboard ASUS P8Z68-V LE
Memory Corsair XMS3 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3
Memory timings and speed 9-9-9-24-2T @ 1,600MHz
Graphics card(s) VTX3D Radeon HD 6970 2GB
Sound card Onboard high-definition audio
Disk drive(s) 120GB Corsair Force 3 SSD
1TB Samsung HD103SJ HDD
Optical drive(s) Samsung Blu-ray drive / DVD writer
PSU Corsair CX600
Chassis Fractal Design Define R3
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
System cost £1,134

Still, the complete specification looks tasty, and adding up the cost of the individual components suggests that Chillblast's price tag is bang on the money. Component pricing fluctuates almost daily (more so with the current hard-disk manufacturing crisis), but picking up all of the above from scan.co.uk for a self-build would cost around £1,150 going by today's prices.

Getting someone to do it for you and nabbing a two-year collect-and-return warranty doesn't seem a bad idea when you're potentially saving a few pounds, but how's Chillblast's build quality?