Currently topping two of our four PC charts, Chillblast is making a real name for itself as a manufacturer of quality trail-blazers. Not that it had an easy job of it this time around. A hair's width split the Chillblast Fusion Tomcat and the Arbico 880 GTX that topped this chart last month, but the Chillblast Fusion Tomcat's fresher component line-up wins it the Best Buy award.
This closeness shouldn't detract from a machine that's a very worthy winner. It's marginally slower than the Arbico 880 GTX, notching up 115 points in our WorldBench tests compared with the Arbico 880 GTX's 116. But the Chillblast Fusion Tomcat was slightly faster in games tests - despite both machines sharing the same graphics card. The Chillblast Fusion Tomcat's sturdy component array matches an Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 with 2GB of DDR RAM. Using high-calibre Geil PC2-6400 memory the Chillblast Fusion Tomcat can hit some strong performance figures, although the future-minded might prefer double the memory allocation.
The Chillblast Fusion Tomcat's 500GB hard drive is capacious and the 22in Acer AL2216W offers solid image quality. In contrast to the £501-£750 PCs category, the £1,000 budget of these PCs leaves plenty of room for a good graphics card. The Chillblast Fusion Tomcat's GeForce 8800 GTX is one of the best there is (the 8800 Ultra is faster, but supplies are thin on the ground).
We might hope for a better sound card, and it's something of a surprise that you get to the fourth PC in the chart before you find one with a half-decent audio device. Only the fifth-placed Evesham Oxegen RD1500 actually has a good sound card. The Chillblast Fusion Tomcat's Gony speakers aren't well-known to us, but they are of considerable quality. The Samsung DVD writer is a first-rate model, adding quite stunning 12-speed and 16-speed DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL capabilities.
Chart ranking: £751-£1,000 power PCs, January 08 issue
- Chillblast Fusion Tomcat
- Arbico 880 GTX (last month 1)
- Eclipse Genesis SLI i685n88GTX
- Arbico QC2900 XT
- Evesham Oxegen RD1500