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Chillblast Billet Core Home Office PC review: Ready to upgrade

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £530
inc VAT

There’s impressive detail in this built-to-order Ryzen box, even if it isn’t as upgradeable as it first seems


  • Good multitasking performance
  • 5-year warranty
  • Practical


  • Less power efficient than competitors
  • No space for frequent upgrades

Offering AMD’s latest Ryzen processors for less than £500 is impressive, but Chillblast has a trick up its sleeve courtesy of AMD’s confusing part naming convention. While the 3000-series Ryzen CPU parts are based on the firm’s newest Zen 2 microarchitecture on a 7nm process node, AMD’s latest Ryzen APU range uses the older Zen+ architecture on a 12nm process node.

It’s still a capable family of chips. The Ryzen 3 3200G offers four cores, albeit without the ability to run multiple threads per core, running at a base 3.6GHz frequency and boosting to 4GHz. Chillblast has paired it with two sticks of 8GB DDR4-2666 memory, allowing the memory controller to operate in dual-channel mode – a configuration that offers a performance boost over single channel operation. For example, compare this PC’s scores with the Inferno L1 and its identical CPU but single-channel RAM.

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Chillblast Billet Core Home Office PC review: Features

Chillblast includes an Intel 660P 512GB M.2 PCIe drive for storage, which should be enough for most people. If not, adding more storage is easy, courtesy of six SATA ports on the motherboard and six free SATA power connectors hanging off the 500W 80 Plus Bronze-rated power supply. Your only limit is the case, which has room for two 3.5in drives, three 2.5in drives, or one of each before you’d need an adapter for one of the 5.25in bays.

Being one of only two systems in this Labs group to include 16GB of dual-channel RAM – and the only one under £500 – gives the Chillblast a performance edge in demanding multitasking tests. While the entry-level APU limits the simultaneous threads, performance feels snappy – in particular for workloads that take advantage of the graphics processor, which shares up to half of the installed system RAM as necessary.

Chillblast is pretty well alone with its impressive five years of warranty, plus lifetime technical support. The warranty is offered on a collect-and-return basis, covering both parts and labour for the first two years, switching to a return-to-base labour-only basis for the final three. An APU-based system has another edge: power efficiency. The Billet draws just 24.8W at idle and 101.5W at peak during compute-heavy workloads.

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Chillblast Billet Core Home Office PC review: Design

There’s no faulting Chillblast’s attention to detail. While the compact case doesn’t offer much room for cable management, everything is carefully put together – and the clever vertical hard drive bracket ensures good airflow. We’d normally warn against such a small rear extraction fan, but this is a high quality Noctua part – unusual at this price. Chillblast has even fitted own-brand heat-spreaders to the RAM, although this is more for visual effect than any kind of improvement in real-world heat transfer.

The system even offers potential for upgrades: as well as the SATA power connectors, the PSU includes two PCI Express 6+2 pin power connectors for add-in graphics cards, three four-pin connectors, and a floppy power connector – sometimes used by third-party lighting controllers now that floppy drives aren’t common. The motherboard is unusual in offering two full-length 16-lane PCIe slots, too, but all is not as it seems: the lower slot is only four-lane and too close to the bottom of the case to support anything but a single-slot card; the upper slot, meanwhile, is a 16-lane slot but is limited to eight operational lanes unless the fitted APU is swapped out for a Ryzen CPU.

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Chillblast Billet Core Home Office PC review: Verdict

As long as you buy this system with open eyes – aware that it’s built for storage expansion but not the best choice for gaming-mad upgraders – it’s a solid choice. Especially when you throw in Chillblast’s excellent five-year warranty.

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