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An accomplished games machine and potent, extensively connected multitasker, this PC gets almost everything right
- Great gaming performance
- Good storage
- CPU strength and GPU power are both impressive
- Motherboard is disappointing
- Some aspects of its design are basic for a premium system
The relative newness of Nvidia’s GeForce RTX graphics cards means that there aren’t a great deal of pre-built, RTX-based PCs to compare against each other. Even so, it’s already clear enough that £1,300 for a desktop with the high-end RTX 2070 could be quite the tempting prospect – so long as the rest of it is up to scratch.
The Fusion Ryzen 7 RTX 2070 Custom Gaming PC builds around its GPU with an octa-core, 16-thread AMD Ryzen 7 2700 CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 250GB WD Black SSD, a 2TB hard disk and Gigabyte’s B450M Aorus M motherboard. It sticks to the basics in some minor respects – the CPU is air-cooled rather than water-cooled, and that motherboard uses the microATX form factor – but by and large, this is a premium system.
Chillblast Fusion Ryzen 7 RTX 2070: Performance
Nowhere else is this proven more convincingly than in gaming performance. In Metro: Last Light Redux, our most demanding test game, Chillblast’s system kept pace with the £1,600 Palicomp Intel i7 Supernova averaging a silky 90fps at 1,920×1,080 as well as 54fps at 2,560×1,440. The usual mix of Very High quality and SSAA proved a little too much at 3,840×2,160, judging by the 25fps result, but simply disabling SSAA bumped this up to a very playable 50fps.
There’s hardly a drop in visual quality either, as the high resolution naturally makes edges look smoother, something you’d normally need anti-aliasing for. In Dirt Showdown, the Intel i7 Supernova came out ahead at 1080p and 1440p, likely due to its overclocked Core i7-9600K having greater single-core heft than the Ryzen 7 2700. Still, with the Chillblast PC scoring 140fps at 1,920×1,080 and 130fps at 2,560×1,440, there are already so many frames in play that you’d struggle to see much difference even if you had a high refresh rate monitor.
Its 100fps at 4K, still using Ultra quality and 4x MSAA, is another fine showing. Predictably, if no less impressively, the RTX 2070 also drove this PC to a perfect SteamVR Performance Test result of 11. That translates into high performance in VR games even on their maximum graphical settings, and like all higher-end RTX cards, there’s another gift to VR headset owners with the USB Type-C VirtualLink port on the back.
This lets you connect an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift with a single cable for both power and data, though these particular headsets will need an adaptor. HTC and Oculus have committed to built-in VirtualLink support on future devices.
For now, it’s more than good enough just to have this degree of 1440p and 4K performance at a reasonable price. CPU power is also sufficiently high, even if it’s not quite as impressive as its GPU strength. The Fusion Ryzen 7 RTX 2070 Custom Gaming PC scored 137 in our 4K benchmarks’ image test, 252 in the video test and 302 in the multitasking test, for 258 overall.
Windows 10 flies along, and compute-intensive tasks such as photo and video editing are certainly welcome – multithreaded workloads have always been Ryzen’s strong suit. While you’d be getting respectable processing power for the money, however, be aware that the Ryzen 7 2700 sits just below the true CPU elite.
We’ve seen the Ryzen 7 2700X score considerably higher in benchmarks, and the Intel i7 Supernova blasts ahead, especially in the image test, where it scored an incredible 197. We’d recommend spending more if you need both an adept gaming system and a professional-grade workstation, but again, Chillblast’s desktop is just fine for recreational editing.
Chillblast Fusion Ryzen 7 RTX 2070 Custom Gaming PC review: Storage
There’s some very good storage in here, too. As we found out in our WD Black review, it’s not the very fastest NVMe SSD, but it comes close, and here it recorded some suitably lofty AS SSD results: a 2,694MB/s read speed, and a 1,505MB/s write speed. In practice, this makes for pleasingly rapid file transfers and short loading times. Its 250GB capacity is middling, but then overall capacity isn’t a problem thanks to the massive 2TB hard disk.
This is a traditional mechanical drive so won’t come close to the SSD’s speeds, but it’s convenient for stuffing with large video files and image folders while freeing up the SSD’s prime storage space for favoured games and applications. Should you ever run out of space, there’s also lots of room to add more drives. One of the two 3.5in bays is left empty, and a generous four 2.5in mounts are positioned around the internal chassis.
Chillblast Fusion Ryzen 7 RTX 2070 Custom Gaming PC review: Features
On the outside, the case – a Corsair Carbide Spec-06 RGB – looks nice enough. It’s all plastic at the front but has a full-size tempered glass side window, through which you can peer at the humming components and the moody red LED ring of the CPU cooler. As the name suggests, RGB lighting is present, albeit in a more restrained manner than most light-up cases: a single strip bends across the front panel, and handily can be controlled from a little three-button panel attached to the rear of the chassis.
A few inches above sits a nicely varied assortment of ports and connectors. With two USB2, four USB3 and two USB3.1 ports, you’re unlikely to run out of space for peripherals, dongles and removable storage, especially with another two USB3 ports on the front. Side speaker, rear speaker and C/SUB audio outputs beef up the usual line-in, line-out and headphone 3.5mm jacks, and a single PS/2 socket caters for those who prefer more vintage input hardware.
You also get a choice of wired or wireless networking, via the Gigabit Ethernet port and an 802.11n Wi-Fi card. It’s a shame this uses the slower standard and not 802.11ac, however.
Besides VirtualLink port, the graphics card contributes one HDMI output and a healthy three DisplayPorts. USB Type-C seems to be the most conspicuous absence from an otherwise well-equipped motherboard I/O port, but since the VirtualLink port can act as a standard Type-C port as well, you can still use any device that connects via the reversible port as if you were plugging it into the motherboard.
Said motherboard also happens to be the Fusion Ryzen 7 RTX 2070 Custom Gaming PC’s biggest weakness, besides its unwieldy name. Maybe it’s just cost-cutting but it’s always disappointing to see a microATX board in a case that can support full ATX models. The fact that the only spare PCI-E slot is a solitary PCI-E x16, and that there are no additional M.2 slots for faster storage, feel like unnecessary limitations.
That said, it could be worse. There are still a full four RAM slots, with two filled and two going spare, as well as enough SATA ports to fill out every single one of the empty storage bays. For those who aren’t even inclined to mess around with their PC’s innards, too, the motherboard size won’t be a pressing concern.
Chillblast Fusion Ryzen 7 RTX 2070 review: Verdict
It’s also a testament to the quality and capability of this PC that this is the only potential issue worth really complaining about. There might be the odd thing where we wish Chillblast had gone one step further – faster Wi-Fi, for instance – but there’s almost nothing that would actively impede your enjoyment or productivity, at least with realistic standards for a £1,300 system.
Chillblast Fusion Ryzen 7 RTX 2070 specifications
- Processor-Octa-core 3.2GHz AMD Ryzen 7 2700
- RAM-16GB DDR4
- Front USB ports-2x USB3
- Rear USB ports-2x USB2, 4x USB3, 2x USB3.
- Graphics card-8GB Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2070 Windforce 8G
- Storage-250GB SSD, 2TB hard disk
- Operating system-Windows 10 Home
- Warranty-Five years labour, including two years collect and return