Chillblast has bolstered its well-established Work and Play line of micro-systems with three new models, each of which offers greatly enhanced performance compared to the other units in our range.
Powered by AMD Ryzen processors, the WAP Ultimate micro-systems benefit from very capable onboard Radeon graphics, as well as a level of flexibility and expandability not seen before in a WAP system. Each of the three units shares the same outer shell, so let us look at that, first of all.
The WAP Exterior
On the leading edge, you will find three high-speed USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, LEDs for power and HDD access, two jacks for a microphone and headphones respectively, plus the power button.
Rotate the system by 180 degrees to its rear and you will find dual HDMI outputs supporting 4K, a power jack for the 5A, 12V, AC adaptor, a Gigabit Ethernet port, plus two USB 2.0 ports for your input peripherals and any other legacy devices.
The other two sides of the device are vented for superior cooling, and there is a Kensington slot should you need to lock these down, making them ideal for schools and offices.
Opening up the device is as simple as removing four screws on the underside, hidden beneath the rubber feet.
With the back cover off you will find a 2.5” SSD mount for conventional SATA hard drives or SSDs, two SO-DIMM slots supporting a maximum of 32GB density DIMMs (64GB total), an M.2 NVME SSD slot and a built-in Intel Wireless-AC 3165 mini Wi-Fi card providing networking as well as Bluetooth connectivity.
Its modular nature gives the WAP ultimate unparalleled flexibility for a micro PC, as you can upgrade its capabilities as your needs evolve.
The WAP Ultimate comes in three flavours.
The entry-level unit is a fully integrated system that comes with 4GB of DDR4 RAM, a 64GB SSD and Windows 10 Pro 64 bit for £269.99 inc VAT. The two more powerful units ship with configurable specifications and can be tailored to suit your needs.
Here is a breakdown of their features and benefits:
|WAP Ultimate AMD 3020E 64GB Micro System||WAP Ultimate AMD 2500U Micro System||WAP Ultimate AMD 3500U Micro System|
|CPU||AMD 3020E CPU||AMD Ryzen 2500U CPU||AMD Ryzen 3500U CPU|
|Cores / Threads||2/2||4/8||4/8|
|Clock Speed||1.2 – 2.6GHz||2.0 – 3.6GHz||2.1 – 3.7GHz|
|Graphics||3 Core Radeon Graphics @ 1GHz||8 Core Radeon Vega 8 Graphics @ 1.1GHz||8 Core Radeon Vega 8 Graphics @ 1.2GHz|
|RAM||4GB (64GB Max)||Configurable (64GB Max)||Configurable (64GB Max)|
|Storage||64GB (M.2 + SATA ports for upgrades)||Configurable (M.2 + SATA ports for upgrades)||Configurable (M.2 + SATA ports for upgrades)|
|OS||Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit||Configurable||Configurable|
As the Ryzen processors are relatively less commonplace than their Intel-embedded counterparts, we have run each variant through its paces in the World’s most commonplace benchmark of indicative performance – Passmark. You can run this simple test free of charge on any PC and it gives you a broad idea of both processor and video card capabilities.
|Chillblast WAP Ultimate Ryzen 3500U / 8GB DC / 64GB FORESEE||Chillblast WAP Ultimate Ryzen 3500U / 4GB SC / 64GB FORESEE||Chillblast WAP Ultimate Ryzen 2500U / 8GB DC / 64GB FORESEE||Chillblast WAP Ultimate Ryzen 2500U / 4GB SC / 64GB FORESEE||Chillblast WAP Ultimate AMD 3020U / 8GB DC / 64GB FORESEE||Chillblast WAP Ultimate AMD 3020U / 4GB SC / 64GB FORESEE||WAP Lite / Intel N3060 / 4GB / 64GB EMMC||ASUS PN50 4300U||WAP / Intel J4115 4GB / 64GB EMMC|
|2D Graphics Mark||475.5||414.1||451.9||373.9||303.4||222.1||83.5||429.1||71|
|3D Graphics Mark||1649||1013.6||1548.3||971||925.6||539.8||245.9||893.2||233.6|
As you can see, a big benefit in performance can be had by using the dual-channel (DC) memory in any of the WAP Ultimate models. This is because the advanced on-die memory controller of AMD Ryzen processors particularly benefits from high memory bandwidth. You will notice that the 2500U variant is actually faster than even the 3500U model if the former is equipped with dual-channel memory, while the latter is equipped with only single-channel.
What is clear is that the WAP Ultimate delivers performance at another level compared to previous Intel embedded WAPs and provides a competent desktop level of performance for everyday tasks. We also compared the WAP 3500U to the similar competing Asus PN 4300U which it is considerably faster than, particularly in the graphics department.
An AMD NUC?
The WAP Ultimate’s comparison to Intel’s ubiquitous Next Unit of Computing is inevitable – both are configurable, barebone systems that are small enough to VESA mount on the back of a screen, yet offer advanced features and performance.
Where the WAP Ultimate maintains a clear lead over the NUC is in its GPU capabilities. With a couple of exceptions, NUCs use Intel’s “HD Graphics” processors which are only suitable for the most basic of 3D work and fail to accelerate image processing and other intensive tasks to a notable degree. The Integrated graphics on the WAP Ultimate range – in particular the Ryzen 5 variants – is fast enough to play Fortnite with decent performance at FHD resolution.