Chillblast's Fusion Skyline Sandy Bridge PC offers performance that would have topped our power PCs chart a couple of months ago - and it costs just £500.

Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors have redefined performance expectations across all our PC charts, including this budget category. Chillblast’s £500 Fusion Skyline is fitted with a 3.1GHz Intel Core i5-2400 chip that offers much faster performance than we’ve seen previously at this price. It scored 149 points in WorldBench 6, which would have topped our £1,001+ PC charts a couple of months ago.

The new chip includes an updated graphics processor, making the decision not to splash out on a dedicated graphics card all the more easier. Our Fear gaming test doesn’t highlight this improvement, with the Chillblast Fusion Skyline desktop PC averaging 17fps, but intensive games such as Crysis will be transformed from a jerky, unplayable mess to something more usable – provided that you keep the quality settings down, of course.

If you want a basic machine that’ll chomp its way through multimedia encoding tasks and whizz through spreadsheets, the Chillblast Fusion Skyline is near-unbeatable. Only Eclipse’s Solar comes close to it in this regard, although that PC uses a slower processor. Sacrificing a little performance here leaves room in the budget for better components elsewhere, however.

Like the other systems on test, the Chillblast Fusion Skyline desktop PC comes with 4GB of DDR3 RAM, but it has only 500GB of storage – the competition, bar one, offer one-terabyte (1TB) drives. More pleasingly, the Skyline is supplied with a pair of external speakers, and its 21.5in full-HD monitor offers a digital input.

Budget PCs chart ranking

  1. Chillblast Fusion Skyline
  2. Eclipse Solar i523P67
  3. Arbico i3 5600 XL
  4. Dino PC Plutosaur 650
  5. Palicomp Core i3 Blast 560-22 USB3

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