Chillblast Fusion Sentry - A Fast PC Kitted Out With One Of Intel’s Latest Processors

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One of the biggest reasons to buy a new desktop PC – especially lf your current model is several years old and on its last legs – is faster performance. The Chillblast Fusion Sentry is the first PC we’ve seen that’s equipped with one of Intel’s 5 new fourth-generation Core processors (called Haswell), which the company says are its fastest yet.

Intel releases new processors every year on an alternating ‘Tick-Tock’ schedule. ‘Tock’ chips have a major new design that should have faster performance and more features, while ‘Tick’ processors use the same design, but are smaller and more power efficient. The Haswell chips are ‘Tock’ processors and should therefore be faster than last year’s ‘Ivy Bridge’ third-generation Core chips.

Chillblast Funsion Sentry

Chillblast Funsion Sentry

However, in our benchmark tests it wasn’t faster than our test PC which runs last year’s Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz Core i5 3570K chip. But with a 3.2Ghz Core i5 processor and 8GB of memory, the Sentry is still a powerful, speedy computer.

Chillblast has fitted the Sentry with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 650Ti graphics card. It’s not the most powerful graphics card available, but it’s fast enough to play graphically demanding games smoothly.

Despite its fast performance, the Sentry is very quiet because it has just one rear cooling fan instead of multiple cooling fans like some other PCs. It didn’t overheat when running our benchmark tests, but if you later upgrade the PC with more power-hungry components – such as a faster graphics card then you’ll want to add more cooling fans. There’s plenty of room for adding them – there’s space for two fans on the side of the Sentry and another for two fans at the top.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 650Ti graphics card

Nvidia GeForce GTX 650Ti graphics card

There’s plenty of space for other upgrades too. There’s one PCI and one PCI Express slot for adding peripherals such as a Wi-Fi card or TV tuner. If the 1TB hard disk isn’t enough, up to three more disks can be fitted. There’s also dedicated space for fitting up to three SSDs. It’s unlikely you’ll need to fit that much extra storage, but if you do, then you’ll need to add a PCI card with more SATA ports as there are just four free SATA ports on the Sentry’s motherboard. The 650W PSU has just three spare power leads, so you will need splitters if you’re intent on adding lots of internal upgrades. Most people won’t need these upgrade options, but PC enthusiasts will appreciate them.

There are plenty of ports for adding external peripherals. At the front are two USB3 ports and a USB2 connector, while round the back are four USB3 ports and a pair of USB2 connectors. You won’t need to add a memory card reader, though, as one is already built-in. Wi-Fi isn’t built-in, but there’s a Gigabit Ethernet port for wired network and internet access. There are two DVI ports and a HDMI connector so you can connect up to three monitors.

Included with the Sentry is a 23in liyama ProLite X2377HDS monitor which has a 1920x1080 pixel resolution and uses IPS technology. It’s bright with excellent contrast. You can adjust brightness using four buttons on the underside of the bottom bezel. Viewing angles are restrictive for an IPS monitor, though – you have to look at it straight on or the otherwise good color accuracy suffers. Another disappointment is the inflexible stand which feels wobbly, can’t be tilted and doesn’t have any height adjustment. Despite these flaws, it’s a good monitor and better than the cheap monitors often thrown in with PCs.

Included with the Sentry is a 23in liyama ProLite X2377HDS monitor

Included with the Sentry is a 23in liyama ProLite X2377HDS monitor

Also included with the Sentry is a basic Logitech cordless keyboard and mouse. The mouse works well enough, but the keyboard‘s keys feel spongy. We found this made typing uncomfortable and increased the likelihood of typos.

Overall, the Chillblast Fusion Sentry is a good value PC. It’s quiet, comes with a generally good-quality monitor, has some useful expansion options and is also faster than many PCs from two years ago. It’s a good choice for replacing a PC of that age or older. Although the new Haswell processor didn’t perform faster than a comparable last-generation Ivy Bridge chip, it isn’t worth seeking out a PC with the older chip unless it's substantially cheaper or more generously equipped in other ways. The Sentry’s Haswell processor can be swapped out for future Intel processors, which isn’t the case for an Ivy Bridge-based PC, so it has better upgrade potential.


·         Intel: Ivybridge Core i5 3570k (Quad)

·         Overclocked: To 4.4Ghz Per Core

·         Asus: P8Z77-V LX (New Z77 Chipset)

·         Patriot Viper: 8GB 1600Mhz

·         Storage: 1TB SATA3, 6Gb/s

·         Samsung: 24XDVDRW

·         AMD: Radeon HD7850 2GB

·         Asus: 24” VS247H LED HDMI HD TFT Monitor

·         Pricing: $1,140


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