Chillblast Fusion Mantis full review
At £749 including VAT and delivery, Chillblast’s Fusion Mantis is an inexpensive gaming PC that skimps not one bit on build-quality or performance. Much of the cost saving comes from the fact that it ships as a base-unit only, to which you would be adding your own monitor and peripherals.
The Fusion Mantis features the latest NZXT Source 340 system case, a selection which has also proven popular with three other vendors in this test. The Source 340 offers a very clean, minimalist, design with an entirely featureless front panel, lending the PC a more expensive feel. This is possible because the case has no front drive bays, and therefore no internal optical drive.
It also features a transparent side window which starts part way up the side of the case, thereby blocking most of the internal cabling from view. The Fusion Mantis is therefore very tidy inside and the use of a Corsair H55 liquid-based CPU cooler assists creates extra space inside, which also helps with airflow through the case.
The CPU in question is an Intel Core i5-4690K Quad Core processor, which is perfect for this type of gaming PC, thanks to its stellar performance and overclocking capabilities. Chillblast has pushed the 3.5GHz chip to 4.2GHz in this system, which is less ambitious than much of the competition but enough to give a noticeable boost to overall performance and ensure high frame rates.
A 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 graphics card does all the heavy lifting when it comes to gaming, and you’ll find the same graphics card in many other gaming systems at this price and a good deal higher. Also see: Best gaming laptops 2015.
The Fusion Mantis comes with 8GB of RAM as standard and comes with a couple of spare slots ready for a user upgrade to 16GB. You might also like to upgrade the 1TB Seagate SSHD hybrid drive, by adding a discrete SSD to boost performance and perhaps replacing the SSHD with a standard hard drive of a larger capacity. Chillblast will charge an extra £80 at purchase time for either of these SSD-based configurations.
The system is built around a Gigabyte Z97HD3 motherboard, which comes with Intel’s premium Z97-Express chipset, rather than the less featured HD81 Express chipset which will often be found in such gaming PCs.
Performance-wise, the Fusion Mantis performs much as you would expect - a little way behind PCs with faster overclocks, but considerably faster than those which haven’t been overclocked at all. As the only PC in the group test without an SSD, the Fusion Mantis has a rather slow PC Mark 8 storage score, but if this matters to you, it’s easily rectified with one of the storage upgrades mentioned above.
Gaming scores are very respectable, with most scores near or above 60fps as long as you steer clear of “Ultra” quality modes. You could spend more for a more powerful graphics card, but you would have to spend significantly more to reach playable speeds at 1080p with everything on maximum. See all PC reviews.
Power consumption peaked at 277W flat out, so the supplied Corsair CX 600 power supply is more than ample for this configuration.
The Fusion Mantis is backed by Chillblast’s superb 5-year warranty (labour only) with a collect and return service for the first two years (parts and labour included).
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Chillblast Fusion Mantis: Specs
- 3.5GHz Intel Core i5-4690K (4.2GHz OC) processor
- Corsair H55 Water Cooler
- 8GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM
- 1TB Seagate SSHD Hybrid Drive
- Corsair CX 600 600W PSU
- Gigabyte Z97-HD3 Motherboard
- Windows 8.1 64-bit
- MSI GeForce GTX 960 2GB
- gigabit ethernet
- 6x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0
- 2x DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, PS2
- NZXT Source 340
- Chillblast Family Software Pack (optional)
- 5-year labour, 2-year collect and return inc parts and labour warranty
- PCMark7 overall score: 5823
- Alien vs Predator: 55fps (1080p), 104fps (720p)
- Sniper Elite V2: 29fps (Ultra), 124fps (Medium), 289fps (Low)
- Final Fantasy XIV: 86fps (Maximum)
- max CPU temperature under load: 72
- power consumption: 50W (idle), 277W (load)