Chillblast Fusion Mamba £1599
1st May 2012 | 15:20
Our first full, premium Ivy Bridge gaming PC
Introduction and benchmarks
The Chillblast Fusion Mamba is a full gaming PC that packs a hell of a punch with its Ivy Bridge/Kepler sensibilities.
That means Chillblast is bringing together two of the biggest hitters from the latest round of technological advancements, sticking an overclocked Intel Core i7 3770K and an Nvidia GTX 680 into the same chassis to fight it out for top billing.
This then is the premium rig of the Ivy Bridge-based machines we've been playing with this month, compared with the Intel Core i5 3570K-powered Palicomp Alpha Detonator, and as such there is barely a hint of compromise in the make up of the Fusion Mamba.
This is the top 3rd Gen Core CPU, with a stock running speed of 3.5GHz but with some simple overclocking and Corsair's brilliant CoolIT-powered H100 water block keeping things chilled at a not-too-shabby 4.7GHz.
To be fair that's not exactly unprecedented for the top Sandy Bridge processors either, or even the mid-range chips that we've had running happily at a frankly crazy top-speed of 5GHz with Mr. Laird's patented 'shonky cooler'.
Still, a 4.7GHz Core i7 3770K is still faster than a 4.7GHz Core i7 2700K.
If only just.
That gave it a Cinebench R11 index score of 8.95, a pretty decent score, but the overclocked Core i7 3770K in the Fusion Mamba gives it a rating of 9.48.
When you think that the stock-clocked Intel Core i7 3930K, the £500-odd hexcore Sandy Bridge E beast gets a score of 10.22 that's some pretty impressive numbers.
Processor - Intel Core i7 3770K @ 4.7GHz
Motherboard - Asus P8Z77-V Pro
Graphics - Palit GTX 680
Memory - 16GB Corsair 1,600MHz DDR3
Operating system - Windows 7 Home Premium
In any of the CPU benchmarks you want to pass its way the overclocked Intel Core i7 3770K in the Fusion Mamba will chew up and spit back out.
The strictly quad-core Core i5 3570K is quite a way off the pace, in both Cinebench, and about 10fps behind in X264 HD.
In gaming terms though things are a lot closer, with the overclocked AMD Radeon HD 7970 in the Palicomp machine actually taking the lead in Heaven benchmark.
They switch position in the more Nvidia-favouring DiRT 3 and AMD-centric Shogun 2 benches, but the Batman: Arkham City benchmark is a little more platform agnostic.
CPU rendering performance
DirectX 11 tessellation performance
DirectX 11 gaming performance
So if, in these just-after-launch days, the Ivy Bridge CPU gets the top billing, the other superstar of this Chillblast Fusion Mamba, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 still deserves much of the plaudits.
In a gaming PC the graphics card is the component that's going to give you the most joy.
After all, as good as Intel reckons it's got the HD4000 graphics in Ivy Bridge, they're still not gaming-capable.
And 'gaming-capable' would seem like a slight if you aimed it at Nvidia's GTX 680; it's far more than just capable.
This GPU will make smooth, buttery frame rates out of pretty much any game engine you throw at it. Even Epic's next-gen Samaritan demo runs like someone's coated it in olive oil; it's that slick.
And no, that's not just because of the blurring you get from FXAA…
Sadly for Chillblast though you can get pretty much the same frame rates from the Sandy Bridge school of gaming machines, like the Scan 3XS Performance GTX.
That rig comes with the GTX 680 and the version we saw was sporting an old Intel Core i5 2500K at 4.7GHz (though it's back in the shop getting fitted with the price-comparable Intel Core i5 3570K as I type) and was only a couple frames short in the gaming benchmarks.
And for £400 less.
The Palicomp Alpha Detonator, with it's overclocked AMD Radeon HD 7970, is around £300 cheaper and still manages the same sort of frame rates in games too – actually taking a strong lead in the AMD-favouring Shogun 2 test.
But the Chillblast Fusion Mamba isn't just about getting the best frame rates it's a well-specced machine in every other respect too.
With 16GB of fast DDR3 you might call it overkill, but this is a premium machine and that's compounded by the 120GB SATA 6Gbps SSD paired with the 1TB HDD and the seriously sound-proofed Obsidian 550D chassis from Corsair.
So, if it's bells and whistles you want to go along with your flying gaming frame rates then the Chillblast Fusion Mamba ticks the boxes.
Ivy Bridge: What you need to know
Intel Core i7 3770K review
Intel Core i5 3570K review
The specs list for the Chillblast Fusion Mamba reads like a what's what of the top components of today, with that headline CPU/GPU pairing topping the bill.
This isn't just a games machine either, with the full HyperThreaded Ivy Bridge chip and a huge amount of RAM it's just as capable as a serious productivity rig too.
The difficulty is that when something's this well put together it's tough to dislike.
Unfortunately though, at £1,600 it's a hell of a lot of money, and if gaming's all you care about with your PC then there are cheaper alternatives around that will offer the same performance.
This Chillblast Fusion Mamba is a very serious machine and a premium one at that. It's a great gaming rig and is more than capable of more straight-laced computer-based productivity shenanigans too. It's a well-specced, premium Ivy Bridge machine with a spectacular GPU to back up those CPU chops.