Price: £2,895 plus VAT
Pros: Excellent performance for both visual effects and CG work
Cons: Some stability issues
Chillblast is a company more associated with gaming PCs than workstations – indeed it’s highly regarded by our sister mag PC Advisor for its products in the former category. However, this workstation, while powerful, hasn’t made the best impression on us.
First, the good points. The Chillblast Fusion Render has a 3.3GHz six-core chip from Intel’s latest line of Core i7s, overclocked to a lightning-fast 4.7GHz. It also has 16GB of RAM, an Nvidia Quadro 4000 graphics card with 2GB of RAM, a 240GB SSD system drive and a 2GB media hard drive. These are great specs for the price.
Chillblast’s Fusion Render workstation is the first we’ve ever seen without any identifying markings for its builder on it
These components produced notable results in our tests. In Cinebench’s rendering tests, this workstation was 50 per cent faster than the fastest model we’ve seen using the previous generation of chips. In After Effects and our Maya real-time 3D test (which uses particles, so is both CPU- and GPU-based), the Fusion Render matched some dual-Xeon systems we’ve tested. These are all-round tests of performance, and show this workstation in a great light.
We were much less impressed with the Fusion Render’s stability. Even with the latest motherboard BIOS installed, in about one boot in 10 we saw messages saying that overclocking the processors had failed. The system was stable after this, just a lot less powerful for anything tapping the CPU.
While we can’t confirm this, experience suggests that it’s because Chillblast has overclocked the processor a bit too much. This is a shame: even with a little less throttle, this would still have been a great workstation.