CHILLBLAST Fusion Hubble Review

CHILLBLAST Fusion Hubble Review

IF YOU WANT to get your hands on a new Intel Kaby Lake chip, but don’t fancy performing the brain transplant operation that is installing one in a custom build, fear not – pre-built systems containing the 7th-gen processors are now available. The Chillblast Fusion Hubble, featuring a Core i5-7600K, is the first we’ve had on the Shopper benches. This particular silicon is the successor to the Core i5-6600K, arguably the best quad-core CPU for general use regarding price versus performance. With a nippy base clock of 3.5GHz and a Turbo Boost clock up to 3.9GHz, the i5-6600K offered plenty of punch for simple tasks. Not only does its Kaby Lake replacement up stakes to a 3.8GHz base clock and 4.2GHz boost clock, but Chillblast has given base speeds a significant overclock to 4.6GHz. Those are promising figures, and with the aid of 8GB of DDR4 RAM, the Fusion Hubble put its hardware to work efficiently in our benchmarks, scoring 141 in the image test, 140 in the video test, 149 in the multitasking test and 145 overall. These are some superlative scores for a £1,000 rig, even if the spread of Kaby Lake means it might not stay that way for long; the image and video test results, in particular, are closing in on what we’d expect from a stock Core i7-6700K, likely thanks in part to Kaby Lake’s new media engine.

 

Gaming performance is, by comparison, slightly more modest. While the Fusion Hubble packs a GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card, it’s only the 3GB VRAM version, not the more powerful 6GB model. This means some firmly mid-range frame rates in our test games. Dirt Showdown, for instance, managed 126fps at 1,920×1,080, 92fps at 2,560×1,440 and 51fps at 3,840×2,160, all at Ultra quality. That’s still good, but not a patch on what the identically priced Yoyotech Warbird RS C6 (Shopper 348) can do with its 8GB GTX 1070. It’s the same story with Metro: Last Light Redux, which (running at the normal Very High settings) averaged a respectable 47fps at 1,920×1,080 but required compromises to quality at higher resolutions. At 2,560×1,440, it scored 27fps with SSAA enabled and 52fps with it switched off, while at 4K resolution, we had to switch to Medium quality, disable SSAA, select Normal tessellation and AF 4X texture filtering, and turn off advanced PhysX effects to bump up the frame rate from 10fps to a more pleasant 55fps. To be fair to the Fusion Hubble, these are good results for the price, and it can even handle virtual-reality hardware, as it scored a high 7.8 in the SteamVR Performance Test benchmark. It’s just that the Core i5-7600K sets such a high standard for its compute performance that the graphics element can’t help but seem overshadowed.

 

Happily, there’s a lot else going for it as well. Those components are housed in a large, sound-dampened mid-tower case with a good mix of customization options, including room for up to five storage drives (two 3.5in bays plus three 2.5in mounting points around the chassis). The front I/O panel is awash with connectivity, from the two USB2 and two USB3 ports to the integrated SD and microSD card readers. Open up the front panel door, and you’ll also find a removable dust filter, two 5.25in drive bays, and two fan speed switches. The motherboard, Gigabyte’s new-for-Kaby Lake GA-Z270- Gaming K3, is also excellent. On the back panel, it provides a bountiful eight USB ports, including one USB3.1, one USB Type-C, and two USB3 DAC-UP ports, with audiophiles being further served by added rear speaker, side speaker, and C/SUB outputs. On the inside, there are no fewer than three PCI-E x16 slots (two of which are free), plus three PCI-E x1 slots and an M.2 port for NVMe storage. Strips of red lighting around the board’s edges add a touch of flair, though, with no side window, you’ll have to admire them through the mesh at the top of the case – if you haven’t covered it up with the included sound insulation panel, anyway.

 

On that note, there’s an exceptional combination of speed and capacity in the form of a 250GB SSD and 1TB hard disk. That solid-state drive has over twice the space of our current £1,000 Best Buy, the Warbird RS C6. The Fusion Hubble also has an advantage for keen overclockers in its CPU Watercooler, which is pleasingly quiet for a closed-loop 120mm unit. While the Warbird RS C6’s far superior GPU means it’s still the best choice for gaming enthusiasts, the Fusion Hubble is a complete package overall. Much of this is to do with the Core i5-7600K – we’re wary of hyping it up too much, as we’ve yet to see what other PC builders can do with it, but it does ensure that Chillblast’s system can get pretty much any non-gaming task done just that little bit quicker. That’s a good sign for Intel’s new processor family, and we can’t wait for them to power other PCs of this caliber.

Specifications

Processor

• Intel Core i5-7600K Kaby Lake Processor
• 6MB L3 Cache

CPU Cooler

• Chillblast 120 CPU Water Cooler

Motherboard

• Gigabyte GA-Z270-Gaming K3 Motherboardd

Memory

• 8GB DDR4 2133MHz
• Configuration 2 x 4GB
• Dual Channel Support on 2 DIMMs
• 4 x DIMM Slot

Solid State Drive

• 250GB SK hynix SL301 Solid State Drive

Hard Drive

• Seagate 1TB BarraCuda 7200RPM Hard Disk

Optical Drive

• None

Software

• Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64bit

Display

• Monitor not Included

Graphics

• NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB Graphics Card

Audio

• Onboard High Definition Audio

Input Devices

• Keyboard and Mouse not Included

Networking

• LAN: 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet

Power Supply

• EVGA 600W 80 PLUS White PSU

Dimensions

• Width 230mm
• Depth 475mm
• Height 468mm

Interfaces

• 5 x USB 3.1
• 1 x USB 3.1 type C
• 2 x USB 2.0
• 1 x RJ45 LAN Port
• 1 x HDMI Port
• 3 x DisplayPort Port
• 1 x DVI
• 1 x PS/2
• 6 x Audio Jack

Expansion

• 2 x 16x PCI Express Slot
• 2 x 1x PCI Express Slot
• 4 x SATA ports
• 1 x M.2 port

Warranty

• 5 Year Standard Warranty (2 Year Collect & Return, 5 Years Labour)
• Lifetime Tech Support by Chillblast

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