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Chillblast Fusion Nano Fury review

Michael Passingham
6 Oct 2015
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,500
inc VAT

An incredibly small and powerful gaming PC, but it's far too noisy

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 3.5GHz Intel Core i5-6600K, RAM: 16GB, Front USB ports : 2x USB3, Rear USB ports: 2x USB3.1, 4x USB3, 2x USB2, Total storage: 250GB SSD, 1TB hybrid hard disk, Graphics card: 4GB AMD Radeon R9 Fury Nano, Operating system: Windows 10 Home 64-bit, Warranty: 2 years collect and return with parts cover followed by three years RTB

If giant PCs such as the Wired2Fire Diablo Elite aren't your thing, perhaps the Chillblast Fusion Nano Fury is the right PC for you. In fact, if you were to remove the graphics card from the Diablo Elite, the Fusion Nano Fury would very nearly fit snugly inside its larger rival.

The Raijintek Metis chassis measures just 190mm wide, 277mm deep and 254mm high and is made of brushed aluminium. The PC is also available in black, green, red, blue, grey and gold finishes. Chillblast has made a modification to the case in order to make the compact design work: the firm's engineers have machined an exhaust hole in the top of the chassis that allows the AMD R9 Fury Nano graphics card, which is mounted upside down inside the case, access to a decent amount of ventilation.

The Fusion Nano Fury takes its name from this card; a tiny graphics adaptor that can match some of the most powerful full-size models. It's just 152mm long, 110mm wide and 39mm thick, but you pay for the size; the card costs £500 on its own.

For such a tiny component, the AMD R9 Fury Nano managed truly astonishing performance. In Dirt Showdown at 1,920x1,080 with High detail and 4x anti-aliasing, the card managed a huge 136fps, and we even saw 58fps in the demanding Metro: Last Light benchmark. This Full HD performance is in line with what a full-size Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 can achieve. Ramp things up to 3,840x2,160, and it's still a capable performer, managing 67fps in Dirt and 30fps in Metro. It's not quite as monstrously quick as the GeForce 980 Ti inside the Wired2Fire PC, and you will have to start tweaking graphics settings on the latest games if you want to play them in Ultra HD, but it's seriously impressive for such a small card.

There's a problem, though. The card produces a significant amount of electrical coil whine in the form of a high-pitched buzzing. This is a known problem with R9 Fury Nano cards and is only audible under specific circumstances. For example, it was loudest when running Dirt Showdown and significantly quieter in Metro: Last Light. The whine is even audible when the case is completely sealed and is far louder than any fan noise the card produces. As AMD's production process gets more refined, the card may get quieter, but it's a pretty big drawback on current cards.

The PC's processor is an overclocked quad-core Intel Core i5-6600K, although instead of air cooling, Chillblast has opted for a Corsair Hydro H75 closed circuit water cooling system. The PC's processing performance is strong, although with a maximum Turbo Boost speed of 4.4GHz, it isn’t clocked as high as some of the larger Core i5-6600K-based builds we've seen. In our 4K application benchmarks the Fusion Nano Fury managed an overall score of 124, which is a fair way short of the 182 achieved by the 4.7GHz Core i7-6700K in the Wired2Fire PC.

Chillblast supplies 16GB of 2400MHz DDR4 RAM, which should be enough for almost any application and game. You get a 250GB Samsung PCI-E M.2 SSD for Windows and your applications. M.2 SSDs are particularly quick; this one has a maximum claimed read speed of 2.1GB/s and 1.2GB/s sequential write speeds, which is more than double the claimed throughput of the Samsung Evo 850 SATA SSD found in the Wired2Fire. It may have half the capacity, but if speed is key, there's no competition. The SSD is backed up by a 2.5in 1TB Seagate hybrid hard disk, which has 8GB of solid state storage to boost performance for the files and programs you use the most. This is a PC with some seriously snappy storage.

^ The motherboard is mounted upside-down, vertically; we've rotated the image for clarity

As you might expect, expansion is limited. In reality, the only way you could ever add components to this PC would be to remove others first. Both RAM slots on the Asus Z170I Pro Gaming motherboard are filled by 8GB 2133MHz DDR4 memory modules, and while you could in theory expand this to two 16GB modules, this will cost you more than £200. There's also a free SATA3 connector, but finding a space for another drive is impossible as there are no free mounting points. Forget adding extra kit to the motherboard, as there aren't any PCI-E slots beyond the single x16 slot occupied by the graphics card. The motherboard does at least come with 802.11ac Wi-Fi, so you won’t need to worry about finding space for a fast wireless card.

The Chillblast Fusion Nano Fury is the most powerful small-form-factor PC we've ever tested. Although you certainly don't get the extreme power of a larger desktop PC, its graphical prowess is still very impressive. The audible coil whine from the graphics card is a drawback, and not something that can be easily forgiven in a £1,500 PC, however. It might be worth seeing if quieter R9 Fury Nano cards are produced before splashing out on a tiny gaming PC such as this. 

Core specs
ProcessorQuad-core 3.5GHz Intel Core i5-6600K
Processor socketLGA1151
RAM16GB
Memory type2133MHz DDR4
Maximum memory32GB
MotherboardAsus Z170I Pro Gamer
Motherboard chipsetIntel Z170
Ports and expansion
Front USB ports2x USB3
Rear USB ports2x USB3.1, 4x USB3, 2x USB2
Other ports1x PS/2
Networking10/100/1000 Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Case typeMini ITX
Case size HxWxD254x190x277mm
PCI (free)None
PCIe x1 (free)None
PCIe x16 (free)1 (0)
Serial ATA (free)2 (1)
Memory slots (free)2 (0)
Drive bays 2 1/2" (free)1 (0)
Drive bays 3 1/2" (free)None
Drive bays 5 1/4" (free)None
Storage
Total storage250GB SSD, 1TB hybrid hard disk
Memory card readerNone
Optical drive typeNone
Graphics
Graphics card4GB AMD Radeon R9 Fury Nano
Graphics/video ports3x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI
Sound
Sound cardSupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio (on-board)
Sound card outputs5x 3.5mm, 1x S/PDF
SpeakersNone
Software
Operating systemWindows 10 Home 64-bit
Operating system restore optionWindows 10 restore
Buying information
Warranty2 years collect and return with parts cover followed by three years RTB
Price including delivery (inc VAT)£1500
Price excluding monitor (inc VAT and delivery)N/A
Supplierchillblast.com
Detailschillblast.com
Part CodeFusion Nano Fury