Chillblast’s Fusion Photon is another system based on Intel’s Core 2 Duo E8600 chip. Scoring 127 points in our speed benchmark, it’s quick, if a little slower than the top two.

Thanks to the Chillblast Fusion Photon’s stunning 8GB of DDR2 RAM, Vista 64bit really shines. If you’re a compulsive multitasker or a fan of virtual machines, you’ll find those large dollops of RAM a huge productivity boost.

Like the Arbico Elite 8626GTX, the Chillblast Fusion Photon uses an 896MB nVidia GTX 260 graphics card (this time clocked at standard speeds). The difference in performance between a stock GTX 260 and the Arbico Elite 8626GTX’s BFG GTX 260 MaXcore is immediately apparent, with framerates dropping considerably.

The Chillblast Fusion Photon also comes with a set of 5.1-channel surround speakers, powered by a high-quality Creative X-Fi XtremeAudio sound card. And it’s fitted with the same LG Blu-ray Disc/HD DVD combo drive and a decent-quality 22in monitor.

The Chillblast Fusion Photon’s case is notably superior to the Arbico Elite 8626GTX’s. The Antec Three Hundred sports mountings for more system fans, both at the front and on top of the unit, along with a power-supply mounting fitted at the bottom of the case. The Corsair PSU is also more powerful than that supplied by Arbico.

The Chillblast Fusion Photon's motherboard won’t support a second graphics card, but two PCI and three PCI Express slots are available.

Chart ranking: Power desktop PCs (January issue)

  1. Arbico Elite 8626GTX
  2. Zoostorm 64-6406
  3. Chillblast Fusion Photon
  4. CyberPower Gamer Infinity XT Ultimate DDR3
  5. Mesh Xtreme GTX260 PCA