The decidedly retro appearance of the Chillblast Fusion Excalibur sets it apart from the competition. Its round power and reset switches are somewhat reminiscent of an old push-button TV set, and the large silver bezel of the 22in Digimate monitor continues this trend. It's a cohesive look, but may not suit all tastes.

Another system based on Intel's Core i7 920, the Chillblast Fusion Excalibur whizzed through WorldBench 6 with 120 points. This is a good result, even if our Best Buy machine left it in the dust with a 13-point lead.

The Chillblast Fusion Excalibur's gaming performance depends on an nVidia GeForce 9800 GTX+ graphics card. This card is less powerful than the GTX 260 found in the Palicomp and Eclipse, but it's conversely considerably faster than the CyberPower's HD 4850.

A 3GB allocation of DDR3 RAM is fairly standard for entry-level Core i7-based systems; three slots remain free for future upgrades, should you need them. This is one advantage the Chillblast Fusion Excalibur holds over the Best Buy Arbico, which offers only four memory slots. The Excalibur's 600W PSU is also more than adequate, given the lower power requirements of its graphics card.

Of all the PCs in this price category, the Chillblast Fusion Excalibur is alone in offering a set of 5.1-channel surround-sound speakers - that's five speakers and a subwoofer. You don't get the Blu-ray drive provided with the Palicomp Phoenix, however.