Chillblast Fusion Cannon £500

3rd Nov 2013 | 09:30

Chillblast Fusion Cannon

Can a dual-core CPU still cut it for gaming?

TechRadar rating:

4.5 stars

Like:

Great frame rates; Good GPU and CPU choice; Easy upgrade path

Dislike:

No overclocking the CPU

Chillblast drops in a very effective graphics card, ensuring it's a decent gaming rig. The choice of graphics card isn't the most immediately interesting thing about this machine, though: that distinction goes to its dual-core Haswell CPU.

The Intel Core i3-4130 is a dual-core 22nm CPU with four threads of processing power thanks to the might of HyperThreading. Like the AMD APUs, it has an onboard GPU, but the HD Graphics 4400 isn't going to worry anyone with its gaming figures.

Also, because it's not designated as one of the K-series elite, it has a locked-down multiplier, so there's no overclocking or Turbo mode either. That 3.4GHz clockspeed is your lot.

Budget boost

In relative terms, that's not a massive issue compared with the pseudo quad-core AMD APUs. The Intel i3 more than holds its own against the standard APUs, and only the Aria Gladiator Hurricane's hefty 4.4GHz overclock gives the A10-6800K any real lead in terms of performance.

In fact, there's a good reason for restricting overclocking, because the Asus B85 motherboard in this Chillblast build doesn't really hold with such things. That makes it a perfect partner for the budget-minded gamer as it still has a PCIe 3.0 interface, USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps connections and supports the latest RAM up to 1,600MHz.

The intelligent choice of motherboard and CPU allows Chillblast to drop some decent money on a GTX 650 Ti Boost graphics card. That's what really makes this build deliver.

Benchmarks

Multi-thread CPU performance
Cinebench 11.5: Index score: Higher is better

Aria Gladiator Hurricane: 3.7
Chillblast Fusion Cannon: 3.66
Computer Planet ND 200: 2.96
Cyberpower Ultra Fusion: 1.53
DinoPC Batman GTX 660: 3.96
Palicomp Haswell i5 Gamer: 5.53
PC Specialist Trinity Trion A8: 3.25
Vibox Crypt: 3.45
Wire2Fire Velocity Ultima: 3.28

Gaming performance
Heaven 4.0: Frames per second: Higher is better

Aria Gladiator Hurricane: 9.1
Chillblast Fusion Cannon: 25.4
Computer Planet ND 200: 22.5
Cyberpower Ultra Fusion: 14.7
DinoPC Batman GTX 660: 28.8
Palicomp Haswell i5 Gamer: 15.2
PC Specialist Trinity Trion A8: 18.7
Vibox Crypt: 11.5
Wire2Fire Velocity Ultima: 25.1

BioShock Infinite: Frames per second: Higher is better
Aria Gladiator Hurricane: 16
Chillblast Fusion Cannon: 46
Computer Planet ND 200: 39
Cyberpower Ultra Fusion: 26
DinoPC Batman GTX 660: 51
Palicomp Haswell i5 Gamer: 25
PC Specialist Trinity Trion A8: 33
Vibox Crypt: 19
Wire2Fire Velocity Ultima: 44

CoH 2: Frames per second: Higher is better
Aria Gladiator Hurricane: 6
Chillblast Fusion Cannon: 16
Computer Planet ND 200: 18
Cyberpower Ultra Fusion: 6
DinoPC Batman GTX 660: 19
Palicomp Haswell i5 Gamer: 11
PC Specialist Trinity Trion A8: A8 6
Vibox Crypt: 6
Wire2Fire Velocity Ultima: 15

Grid 2: Frames per second: Higher is better
Aria Gladiator Hurricane: 27
Chillblast Fusion Cannon: 52
Computer Planet ND 200: 50
Cyberpower Ultra Fusion: 33
DinoPC Batman GTX 660: 60
Palicomp Haswell i5 Gamer: 38
PC Specialist Trinity Trion A8: 45
Vibox Crypt: 26
Wire2Fire Velocity Ultima: 49

Video encode performance
X264 4.0: Frames per second: Higher is better

Aria Gladiator Hurricane: 24.64
Chillblast Fusion Cannon: 21.63
Computer Planet ND 200: 18.64
Cyberpower Ultra Fusion: 10.79
DinoPC Batman GTX 660: 28.44
Palicomp Haswell i5 Gamer: 33.39
PC Specialist Trinity Trion A8: 21.86
Vibox Crypt: 22.34
Wire2Fire Velocity Ultima: 21.42

Memory bandwidth @ optimised defaults
SiSoft Sandra: Gigabytes per second: Higher is better

Aria Gladiator Hurricane: 15.53
Chillblast Fusion Cannon: 21
Computer Planet ND 200: 8.63
Cyberpower Ultra Fusion: 8.53
DinoPC Batman GTX 660: 16.32
Palicomp Haswell i5 Gamer: 21
PC Specialist Trinity Trion A8: 7.5
Vibox Crypt: 12.14
Wire2Fire Velocity Ultima: 12.26

Verdict

This is Nvidia's budget GPU king and has the same DNA as the GTX 660 (without some 192 CUDA cores). It's got a decent aggregate 192-bit memory bus, a full 24 ROPs and a Boost clock over the 1GHz mark. That means the Fusion Cannon is capable of some very impressive 1080p gaming performance, hitting 46fps in BioShock Infinite and 52fps in GRID 2 at the very top settings with 4x anti-aliasing. Company of Heroes 2 and Metro: Last Light are tougher tests, but with a little light tweaking (or a single mouse click using the GeForce Experience) you'll get those titles running smoothly and beautifully, too.

If you really need some heftier processing, the entire Haswell desktop lineup is available to drop into this rig and the PCIe 3.0 slot will take any modern GPU if you crave better graphics. Personally, I'd be looking at an SSD as my first upgrade for this machine, as it can feel a little sluggish on that 1TB HDD. But the strong current performance of the Chillblast machine means it can stand on its own for now.

deaktop PCs gaming desktops Chillblast
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