Chillblast Fusion Tranquility review

An extremely powerful yet near-silent PC system
Photo of Chillblast Fusion Tranquility
£1,200

If the gentle hum of a PC system is enough to drive you to distraction, UK-based manufacturer Chillblast may have a new system that’s right up your street. The Fusion Tranquillity promises all of the speed you would expect from a £1,000-plus performance desktop – but promises near-silent running thanks to a clever combination of premium components and noise-reduction products.

What’s inside?
At the heart of the Tranquillity lies Intel’s Core i5 2500K processor, a chip that provides almost all of the performance of the flagship i7 in a more affordable package. The ‘K’ suffix denotes an unlocked clock multiplier – a feature Chillblast has taken advantage of with a 900MHz overclock, bolstering the chip’s frequency to a powerful 4.2GHz. This is enough of a boost to deliver a 27 per cent increase in performance compared to the same chip at stock speed. 4.2GHz may be less ambitious than other systems we’ve seen that are equipped with this processor, but for a system where silence is as important as speed, it’s an impressive achievement. Gelid’s Tranquillo cooler makes this feat possible, all the while emitting just 12dBa of noise.

The Chillblast’s Asus P8P67 motherboard provides the backbone of the system, and it’s a good choice. It offers premium features like Bluetooth, FireWire and Crossfire graphics support, as well as USB 3.0 and 6Gbit/s SATA ports. 8GB of memory is now standard in desktops at this price range, but the system’s inclusion of a solid state drive ensures blistering performance. The Corsair Force may not be the fastest SSD we’ve ever reviewed, but it’s a proven product, and is like bottled lightning compared to conventional storage.

Complementing the solid state drive is a 1TB Samsung F3, a fast 7,200rpm hard disk that should provide ample storage space for most users. Despite being quiet in its own right, Chillblast has decided to further hush this drive by installing it within a 5.25in Scythe QuietDrive enclosure.

Arguably the most impressive component in the Tranquillity is the video card, a special edition Gainward ‘Phantom’ Edition GTX 570. Despite offering clock speeds quicker than the stock Nvidia reference card, a special heatpipe cooler delivers near silent operation.

Performance
This combination of hardware provides exceptional overall performance. The system was more than 50 per cent quicker than our Core i5 750-based reference PC in our Sysmark 2007 benchmark test, and was even faster in PC Mark Vantage. The overclocked GTX 570 also makes the Tranquillity a fearsome gaming system, providing more than 100fps in our F1 2010 benchmark, and a smooth 57fps in Crysis at Ultra-High settings.

But is it quiet?
The Tranquillity is housed within the award-winning Fractal Design R3 case, a fantastic chassis that features both manually controllable 120mm fans and noise-absorbing foam on all internal surfaces. We were a little concerned that the 900MHz overclock might result in high temperatures, but such worries proved unfounded. Even in hot July weather, the CPU peaked at 76 degrees Celsius, while the GPU barely reached 80 degrees at full load – testament to the Gelid CPU cooler and well-thought-out case layout.

The Tranquillity’s plethora of low-noise components could easily be undone by a bog-standard power supply, but the firm’s choice of a BeQuiet 680W ensures that the machine is barely audible from a couple of feet. Place your ears on the side panel of the case in a quiet room and you can just about hear the Tranquillity tick over. In a normal environment the machine is completely inaudible – nirvana for those seeking both power and, well, tranquillity.

If we’re being ultra-picky, USB 3.0 ports at the front of the case would have been appreciated, and at £1,200 including VAT, other equivalently-priced competing systems may offer marginally more performance, but overall this system is a triumph.

Company: Chillblast

Website: http://www.chillblast.com/

Contact: Chillblast on 0845 4567831

Positives
  • Virtually inaudible yet as fast as any desktop we've tested.
Negative
  • Not cheap; no front USB 3.0 ports.

Verdict

The Chillblast Fusion Tranquillity is a fantastic high-end PC for those who don't want to compromise peace and quiet for blistering high end performance.