Hard disks can often be the bottleneck in a PC's performance. Whereas Arbico has chosen a Raid configuration to keep data moving, Chillblast has used newer technology to help out. In addition to a 1TB Samsung hard drive, the company has installed a 30GB solid-state disk (SSD) from OCZ into its Fusion Hercules.

The jury is still out over the benefits of SSDs - sometimes they can be faster than standard hard drives, sometimes slower. A relatively small capacity of 30GB will quickly get used up, too. But, in any case, a score of 136 in our WorldBench 6 real-world speed test demonstrates that the Chillblast Fusion Hercules is a very fast system.

The Intel Core i7 920 processor delivers superb performance, while the Chillblast Fusion Hercules' 6GB allocation of DDR3 RAM and 64bit OS give it plenty of room to breathe. MSI's X58 Pro motherboard provides six memory slots, three of which remain free for future upgrades. It also offers two PCI Express 16x slots, giving you the option of adding a second graphics card later on.

An ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 graphics card delivered blistering performance in our gaming tests, thanks to its dual-processor design. In our most demanding Crysis tests, the Chillblast Fusion Hercules pumped out higher framerates than all but the GTX 295-equipped Mesh.

The Chillblast Fusion Hercules' 24in Yuraku display looks rather chunky and functional, but it delivers a rich picture with saturated colours and is capable of 1,080p (full-HD) playback from the bundled Blu-ray-capable DVD drive.