A powerful and quiet media PC with a useful range of ports, but it's bigger than most mini PCs and very expensive
2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4770T, 16GB RAM, N/A display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
The Chillblast Fusion Vacuum Mini 3 is the largest mini PC we’ve tested, but its bigger case does give you the advantage of an optical drive and an awful lot of power. Its quad-core Intel Core i7-4770T processor can increase its clock speed from 2.5GHz to a huge 3.7GHz when there’s enough thermal headroom, and its 16GB of RAM ensures it has plenty of space to multitask. This was reflected in its excellent score of 98 in our multimedia benchmarks, putting it just two points behind our reference desktop 3.4GHz Core i5-3570K processor for raw performance.
This is very impressive for such a compact system, and it’s doubly impressive considering the PC is very nearly silent, thanks to its Streacom FC8 Evo Fanless Home Theatre chassis. This cools the processor using a pair of heatpipes screwed to the chassis, and fins help disperse the processor’s heat. The PC has no fans and is completely silent.
The Vacuum Mini 3’s wide range of ports make it very suitable for use as a media centre. Video outputs include two HDMI ports and a DVI port, and both its HDMI ports are version 1.4, so support 4K resolutions; we had no problems playing 4K video footage. The Vacuum Mini 3 also has a built-in dual Freeview HD TV tuner, which you’ll be able to use with Windows 7’s Media Center application to record and play back TV. The PC’s media center credentials are rounded out with a Blu-ray drive, but the PC doesn’t come with Blu-ray playback software; you can buy PowerDVD 13 for £23 inc VAT from Chillblast to plug the gap.
There’s a healthy supply of USB ports as well, with two USB2 ports on the front, and two USB2 and four USB3 ports on the rear. There are also two PS/2 ports for older mice and keyboards, two Wi-Fi antennas, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, an IR receiver port, an optical S/PDIF audio output and 7.1 surround sound.
If you’d rather operate the PC from a distance, you have plenty of options. Its Bluetooth support will be welcome news for those hoping to use a wireless mouse and keyboard and the BIOS also has options for waking the PC from Sleep mode via LAN, so you’ll be able to wake it up with a smartphone or tablet app. The PC also comes with a Xebec Bluetooth Micro Keyboard and Trackpad unit for wireless control.
|Processor||Intel Core i7-4770T|
|Processor external bus||100MHz|
|Processor clock speed||2.5GHz|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte Z87-N WiFi|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel Z87|
|USB2 ports (front/rear)||2/6|
|eSATA ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|Wired network ports||2x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||802.11n|
|PCI slots (free)||0|
|PCI-E x1 slots (free)||0|
|PCI-E x16 slots (free)||0|
|Free Serial ATA ports||0|
|Free memory slots||0|
|Free 3.5in drive bays||0|
|Hard disk model(s)||Samsung 840 EVO 250GB|
|Graphics card(s)||Intel HD Graphics 4600|
|Graphics/video ports||VGA, 2x HDMI, DVI-D|
|Sound||Realtek HD Audio|
|Sound outputs||7.1 line out, coaxial S/PDIF out|
|Supported memory cards||none|
|Optical drive type(s)||BD-ROM, DVD+/-RW +/-DL|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|Operating system restore option||restore disc|
|Warranty||two years collect and return|