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Chillblast Fusion Halcyon – Review

Chillblast Fusion Halcyon – Review

The Chillblast Fusion Halcyon is the first system we’ve reviewed with one of Intel’s Core i9 processors inside – and it’s a beast that means business.

This new chip is one of the beefier Skylake-X parts, which means it has ten Hyper-Threaded cores that can address twenty threads. That’s more than twice as many as the average Core i7 silicon.


That’s not the only impressive fact about this new CPU. It’s got Intel’s 14nm architecture, and its clock speed of 3.3GHz can use Turbo Boost to hit 4GHz across all of its cores and 4.5GHz across two cores.

The new chip has a 140W TDP, which is one of the highest now offered by Intel or AMD – so it’s chilled by a Corsair Hydro H100i V2 with two 120mm fans. The Core i9 also has 44 of its own PCI lanes. That’s the most of any Skylake-X chip that’s currently available – a boon for those who want the most high-end components, like a second graphics card or PCI-based storage.

It’s the first time we’ve seen a Core i9 processor, but it’s not the first time we’ve seen Skylake-X. The Scan 3XS Carbon Aura included the Core i7-7820X, which has eight cores and an overclock – the CPU’s original 3.6GHz speed has been improved to 4.8GHz.

Chillblast has clamped the Core i9 processor into an Asus ROG Strix X299-E Gaming motherboard – the same board as the Scan.

It ticks almost every high-end box: smart heatsinks and RGB LEDs abound at the top and bottom of the black PCB, and the Republic of Gamers logo stands out in a smart block of clear perspex in the middle of the board. That’s got an RGB LED too, and all of the lighting can be controlled from Windows.

There are diagnostic LEDs, two M.2 slots, improved audio and game-friendly networking, and three PCI-Express x16 slots that are lined with metal to support beefy cards.

There are high-end features like on-board power and reset buttons and a POST display for diagnosing problems, and the backplate has dual-band 802.11ac wireless and loads of USB 3.1 ports.

It also has the X299 chipset. It’s the new bit of silicon that Intel introduced alongside Skylake-X, and it rearranges the SATA and USB port allocations and adds support for Intel Optane memory. Most importantly, it has 20 of its own PCI lanes, which means that this PC can deliver an overall 64 lanes of bandwidth – a vast amount, and more than the 52 lanes offered by the Scan’s identical motherboard and more limited Core i7 processor.

The GTX 1080 Ti used in this machine is built by Palit. It’s one of the firm’s JetStream cards, which means a huge plastic cover hiding a vast aluminium heatsink. The exterior has RGB LEDs, and the hardware is cooled by two 100mm fans.

That’s good, but Nvidia’s monster GPU isn’t overclocked – a little disappointing given Pascal’s tweaking headroom and the hardcore cooling gear. That means the GTX 1080 Ti runs at its normal base and boost speeds of 1,480MHz and 1,645MHz, and its 11GB of GDDR5 is stuck at 11,000MHz.

Scan’s machine also has a GT 1080 Ti, but that chip was overclocked, with the core improved to a whopping 1,569MHz.

Elsewhere, there’s a 500GB Samsung 960 EVO SSD, a 3TB hard disk and 32GB of memory. They’re all excellent inclusions, but only content creation professionals and others with extreme demands will really notice the impact of all that DDR4. As usual, there’s a high-quality PSU – a Corsair RM850x with an 80Plus Gold certification and fully-modular design.

Chillblast includes one of the best warranties in the business. The Fusion Halcyon is protected by a five-year labour deal with two years of collect-and-return service. Scan only offers three years of protection, but that’s still great – and that machine also comes with on-site servicing.

Full Specification

CPU: 3.3GHz Intel Core i9-7900X
Memory: 32GB 3,000MHz DDR4
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB
Motherboard: Asus ROG Strix X299-E Gaming
Sound: On-board
Hard disk: 500GB Samsung 960 EVO SSD, 3TB Seagate Barracuda HDD
Ports: Front: 2 x USB 3, 2 x audio, 1 x HDMI; rear: 6 x USB 3.1, 2 x USB 2, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x optical S/PDIF, 5 x audio
Case: Corsair Crystal 570X
Dimensions: (W x D x H): 480 x 512 x 234mm
Extras: Dual-band 802.11ac WiFi, Corsair RM850x PSU, Corsair Hydro H100i V2 water-cooler
Warranty: 5yr (2yr C&R, 5yr labour)


The Corsair Crystal 580X is a sizeable and stunning enclosure. The side panels, top and front are all built from sturdy tempered glass, and they can all be easily removed with thumbscrews.

The glass and metal provides stonking build quality, and beneath the glass at the front and top are plastic dust filters with a honeycomb pattern – and they’re strong, too.

The front panel has three 120mm case fans fitted with RGB LEDs that glow and can be controlled by buttons on top of the case.

There’s a fan controller and pairs of tool-free 3.5in and 2.5in bays in the wide area that’s available behind the motherboard tray, and a metal channel around the back of the machine is used to help route the major cables through the case. That means this rig is tidy around the back, and it’s slick at the front too – the black-covered cables can barely be seen, as Chillblast only makes them visible at the last minute through the discreet, rubber-ringed cable-routing holes.

The impressive tidying looks good, and it makes the system easy to access – but upgrade room remains a little tricky to find. The huge GPU makes it tricky to add expansion cards and get to the spare SATA ports, and the only storage room is the handful of bays behind the motherboard. There are four spare memory slots, but few people will need those.

That’s a tiny complaint, though, especially in a machine that’s this powerful – the sheer grunt on offer means upgrading will be far from most people’s minds.


The ten-core processor is a beast, although that’s hardly a surprise.

Its Cinebench result of 2,188cb squeaks ahead of the Scan, which had an eight-core chip with its core overclocked to 4.8GHz.

The two machines traded scores in other CPU tests. The Chillblast’s PC Mark 8 result of 4,930 beat the Scan 3XS Carbon Aura by a couple of hundred points. The Chillblast’s Geekbench single- and multi-core results of 5,002 and 29,144 are excellent – but the Scan was a tiny bit better in both tests.

It’s no surprise that these machines are close in application benchmarks. The Chillblast has two more cores and four more threads than the Scan, but the Chillblast also has a lesser single-core speed than its rival.

The Chillblast’s extreme core count is great for applications that can truly take advantage of Core i9, but there aren’t many bits of software that really do – only people who use high-end content creation, graphics and video tools will require ten cores. Gamers and those performing regular office tasks certainly don’t. It’s not just an issue that affects the Chillblast though – the Scan’s eight cores suffer similarly.

The SSD offers ample speed, too, with results of 2,175MB/s and 1,659MB/s – among the best on the market, and several times quicker than any SATA product.

The GTX 1080 Ti is a powerful GPU that destroyed our 1080p and 1440p benchmarks, and it then returned rapid results in 4K tests too. That doesn’t just bode well for 3,840 x 2,160 gaming – it means that multi-monitor setups and VR headsets will run smoothly with this PC too.

However, the stock-speed can fell a little behind the Scan’s overclocked version. The Chillblast, for instance, returned average 4K framerates of 75fps and 53fps in Battlefield 1 and Crysis 3 – but the Scan’s overclocked GPU hit averages of 82fps and 56fps in those games.

The gaps ranged between two and eight frames in the rest of our 4K gaming benchmarks. The Chillblast is hardly a slouch, then, but the Scan is consistently quicker.

Chillblast’s machine produced these consistent and fast benchmark results without any thermal issues. The CPU and GPU peak temperatures of 75°C and 70°C are excellent, and the machine remained quiet during even the toughest benchmarks. The Scan was just as impressive.


The Chillblast Fusion Halcyon is an excellent PC. The ten-core processor is a beast, the GTX 1080 Ti is fast, and every other component is a top-quality bit of hardware.

Its speed is matched with quiet operation, and the case is large, sturdy and well-managed. The warranty is generous.

The price, though, is our biggest sticking point. It’s £3,400, which makes it almost seven hundred pounds more than the Scan, while offering comparable performance in application benchmarks and no improvement in games. The Chillblast’s case is a little larger and snazzier, but it doesn’t offer much extra beyond the aesthetics.

If you’re one of the few people who really will use the extra power those two cores provides, then the extra cash will be worthwhile. But Skylake-X remains a niche, enthusiast product, and the ten-core Chillblast sits in an even narrower sliver of that market. This system is excellent, but gamers and other more conventional high-end users will be better served by the cheaper Scan.

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Chillblast Fusion Halcyon

About Author

Mike Jennings

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