Chillblast Fusion Vacuum Mini review

Price when reviewed

Media centres and passively cooled PCs tend to be the preserve of specialist builders such as Quiet PC and Tranquil, so we didn’t expect to see one from Chillblast – a company better known for producing high-end overclocked systems.

Chillblast has followed a tried and tested route when designing its Fusion Vacuum Mini. Streacom’s F8 chassis, which we’ve seen before in the Tranquil iXL, has been pressed into service. It’s easy to see why: its build quality is fantastic. The minimal design and brushed aluminium make for a smart small-form-factor machine and one side of the system is covered with metal fins designed to dissipate heat.

Chillblast Fusion Vacuum Mini - front (angled)

Under the lid – which slides off after several screws are removed – it’s clear that Chillblast has pushed the Streacom to its limits. The SSD and optical drive are attached to a cage that sits at the top of the machine, and while this can be removed with a handful of screws, it’s not easy. The heatsinks on the RAM make removal tricky and the BlackGold BGT3620 TV tuner card is tall enough to intrude too.

Upgrade room on the Asus P8H77-I motherboard is limited. The TV card takes up the single PCI-Express x16 slot. Both memory slots are occupied and, even though three SATA 3Gbit/s and one SATA 6Gbit/s sockets are empty, there’s little room to add extra storage. While there’s a free 3.5in bay on the underside of the drive cage, the DIMMs will make fitting a hard disk tricky.

Chillblast Fusion Vacuum Mini - interior

It’s cramped, but without any cooling fans the only noise that escapes the Fusion Vacuum is the sound of a disc spinning in the optical drive. This is also one of the best specifications we’ve seen from a small-form-factor machine. The BlackGold TV tuner has impressed us before thanks to its dual tuners and Freeview HD support, and Chillblast also includes a dual-band 802.11n wireless USB dongle, eight gigabytes of RAM and a Blu-ray reader. The only major omission is a hard disk – storage is provided by a 240GB Mushkin Chronos SSD.

Processing power comes from Intel’s Core i5-3450S, which is the company’s weakest low-power Core i5 chip. That’s not to say it’s sluggish, as this 22nm CPU runs at 2.8GHz, Turbo Boosts to a peak of 3.5GHz across one core and includes 6MB of L3 cache. Its benchmark score of 0.95 is the best we’ve recorded from a passive PC, and it’s arguably more than most people need – the £529 version of Apple’s Mac Mini includes a 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M with reasonable power, and the £799 version has a Core i7-2620M, which has scored 0.7 in our benchmarks in Apple’s 13in MacBook Pro.


Warranty2yr collect and return

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity240GB
RAM capacity8.00GB
Screen sizeN/A


CPU familyIntel Core i5
CPU nominal frequency2.80GHz
CPU overclocked frequencyN/A
HSF (heatsink-fan)Passive


MotherboardAsus P8H77-I
Motherboard chipsetIntel H77
Conventional PCI slots free0
Conventional PCI slots total0
PCI-E x16 slots free0
PCI-E x16 slots total0
PCI-E x8 slots free0
PCI-E x8 slots total0
PCI-E x4 slots free0
PCI-E x4 slots total0
PCI-E x1 slots free0
PCI-E x1 slots total0
Internal SATA connectors3
Internal SAS connectors0
Internal PATA connectors0
Internal floppy connectors0
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec


Memory typeDDR3
Memory sockets free0
Memory sockets total2

Graphics card

Graphics cardIntegrated
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?no
3D performance settingLow
Graphics chipsetIntel HD Graphics 2500
DVI-I outputs1
HDMI outputs1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
DisplayPort outputs0
Number of graphics cards0

Hard disk

Hard diskMushkin Chronos
Internal disk interfaceSATA/600
Spindle speedN/A
Cache sizeN/A
Hard disk 2 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 2 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 formatted capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 spindle speedN/A
Hard disk 2 cache sizeN/A
Hard disk 3 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 3 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 4 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 4 nominal capacityN/A


Optical disc technologyBlu-ray reader
Optical disk 2 make and modelN/A
Optical disk 3 make and modelN/A


Monitor make and modelN/A
Resolution screen horizontalN/A
Resolution screen verticalN/A
ResolutionN/A x N/A
Pixel response timeN/A
Contrast ratioN/A
Screen brightnessN/A
DVI inputsN/A
HDMI inputsN/A
VGA inputsN/A
DisplayPort inputsN/A

Additional Peripherals

Speaker typeN/A
Sound cardN/A


ChassisStreacom F8
Case formatMini ITX
Dimensions240 x 250 x 100mm (WDH)

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays0

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream)8
PS/2 mouse portno
3.5mm audio jacks2

Front ports

Front panel USB ports2
Front panel memory card readeryes

Operating system and software

OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery disc
Software suppliedN/A

Noise and power

Idle power consumption40W
Peak power consumption101W

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings43fps
3D performance settingLow
Overall Real World Benchmark score0.95
Responsiveness score0.99
Media score0.97
Multitasking score0.88

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