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Chillblast Fusion Bandit review

Economics can be a harsh mistress in the PC world

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Our Verdict

For

  • Good performance
  • Nice chassis
  • Sound dampening
  • 16GB of RAM
  • Good motherboard

Against

  • Expensive

There's an almighty battle going on between Haswell-based gaming rigs. And now two have pitched up with almost identical specs: the Chillblast Fusion Bandit is a near match for the Aria Gladiator Diablo GTX, but it comes at a premium price.

The explanation for this price difference is in the manufacturers. Aria doesn't just make systems: it also sells a hell of a lot of components and other techie goodies, too. That means its got the resources to buy big and sell cheap, and that's probably how it's able to undercut Chillblast.

But the Fusion Bandit from Chillblast is packing a little bit more into its spec than Aria's Gladiator.

First of all, you've got a slightly more powerful motherboard in the Bandit rig, with more USB 3.0 ports and PCIe slots. With the limited overclocking potential in the Fourth Generation Core chips, better motherboards aren't necessarily going to give you any more processor performance these days.

There's also double the amount of system memory, although the benefits of 16GB versus 8GB in a dedicated gaming rig are fairly ephemeral at the moment. The same can be said for its choice of SSD, too.

The Samsung 840 Pro is hands-down a quicker drive than the standard Samsung 840 in the Aria machine. Unfortunately, the actual performance difference is again quite intangible.

Where the Fusion Bandit does get a win is in the choice of chassis. The Fractal Design Define R4 - the same case it used with the impressive Fusion Stealth - is a rather lovely, monolithic box and it's also padded out with sound dampening material to keep the rig running as quietly as possible.

The Corsair H100i cooler also does its fair share of the work in keeping the noise to a minimum.

Defining chassis

The key components are the same when you're comparing the Chillblast and Aria machines. The i5-4670K is the new de facto gaming CPU and the 4.5GHz overclock is starting to look fairly standard too, with both these new machines sporting it.

They've also both got the impressive Nvidia GTX 770 graphics cards taking care of the gaming side.

Benchmarks

Comparing the Fusion Bandit with other Haswell machines doesn't make great reading. It comfortably beats the cheaper Cyberpower Achilles, with its GTX 660, but it's level with Aria's rig.

CPU rendering performance
Cinebench R11.5: Index score: Higher is better

Fusion Bandit: 7.6
Gladiator Diablo GTX: 7.7
3XS Vengeance: 780 9.6
Achilles XT: 7.6

DirectX 11 tessellation performance
Heaven 4.0: Frames per second: Higher is better

Fusion Bandit: 25.2
Gladiator Diablo GTX: 24.7
3XS Vengeance: 780 39.5
Achilles XT: 16.4

DirectX 11 gaming performance
BioShock Infinite: Frames per second: Higher is better

Fusion Bandit: 49
Gladiator Diablo GTX: 49
3XS Vengeance: 780 63
Achilles XT: 31

Verdict

Pricing is the biggest stumbling block for Chillblast. Unfortunately, while this is still a quality gaming rig, it's still just too expensive when you consider the competition. It's a sleek, quiet machine but ultimately that's not enough to justify the extra money you're paying out.