The superb performance of the Fusion Hornet from Chillblast is reflected in its 126 WorldBench 6 processing-speed points, thanks to its E8500 processor, which remains unbeatable in this category. It also uses an ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics card, which provides very good gaming performance for the money.

Although we think some customers will find the Arbico CD 4850 has the edge, there are a few reasons why others may prefer the Chillblast Fusion Hornet. The monitor, a Chimei CMV 223D DVI, is still a budget model but offers a DVI connector, which can result in a sharper picture. Both systems are fitted with 4GB of DDR2 RAM, but Chillblast supplies this in two sticks rather than four – making memory upgrades easier and cheaper. Chillblast also offers an optional overclocking service that sees the 3.16GHz processor pushed, fully tested, to a blistering 3.8GHz.

The Chillblast Fusion Hornet’s Coolermaster Elite 330 case is an old favourite. It has good build quality and a smart office-friendly design with tool-free drive bays and plenty of expansion room. However, its looks won’t particularly impress gamers and modders. If you’re buying primarily for gaming, you’ll get better performance from Eclipse's Matrix i85A487, which uses a faster ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics card – though this system failed to reach its full potential in non-gaming applications.

Furthermore, the Asus P5Q motherboard used by the Chillblast Fusion Hornet comes with Crossfire support, so truly power-hungry gamers have the option to add a second graphics card.

Overall, the Chillblast Fusion Hornet offers top-notch performance and can be easily upgraded. It only lacks the add-in sound card supplied by Arbico.

Budget desktop PCs: chart ranking (October issue)

  1. Arbico CD 4850
  2. Chillblast Fusion Hornet
  3. Eclipse Matrix i85A487
  4. CyberPower Gamer Infinity GT
  5. Packard Bell imax 3414

>>NEXT PAGE: Budget desktop PCs buying advice