Arbico’s little media centre packs plenty into a small case too. Inside, Asus’ E35M1-I Deluxe motherboard comes with an AMD E-350 processor pre-installed and is fitted with a huge heatsink which covers most of the motherboard’s surface, keeping all components cool without the need for a fan.

This Mini ITX motherboard is suited to Arbico’s compact Zippy system case. It’s the only PC in this round-up designed to stand vertically rather than horizontally, and has the Blu-ray drive also mounted vertically – making it fiddly to use.

As a Media Centre, the Zippy X35 performs adequately, but if you want to put it to any general-purposes computing tasks you will find it to be considerably slower than any of the competition. Our WorldBench 6 test returned a score of only 57 points – more than two times slower than most PCs in this category.

The system consumes relatively little power, idling at around 27W, considerably less power-hungry than all but Apple’s Mac mini. Graphics processing is integrated within the E-350 processor, providing Direct X11 capabilities and accelerated playback of HD content.

A Compro E750 dual-tuner DVB-T card provides recording and playback facilities on two stations simultaneously from Freeview digital terrestrial. It also comes with an infrared remote control, enabling you to operate Windows Media Center from your sofa.

Equally sofa-friendly is the included Logitech K400 Wireless Touch Keyboard. Its diminutive proportions find room for a built-in touchpad and mouse buttons which can be operated easily with a thumb while holding the keyboard in mid-air.

Despite the motherboard’s entirely silent cooling solution there are small fast-spinning fans built into the Zippy case that add enough noise to make the PC as a whole louder in use than Chillblast’s Fusion Avatar Media PC.

Arbico Zippy X35 HD Media Centre: Specs

  • E-350 Dual Core APU processor
  • 4GB MUSHKIN DDR3 1333MHZ RAM
  • 1.6GHZ Samsung 1000GB SATA II HARD DRIVE
  • Integrated AMD® Radeon HD 6310 graphics card
  • SAMSUNG BLU RAY READER / DVD +/- REWRITER
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • Gigabit Ethernet Optical
  • Passive CPU cooler built into motherboard
  • Logitech k400 Wireless Touch Keyboard
  • E-350 Dual Core APU processor
  • 4GB MUSHKIN DDR3 1333MHZ RAM
  • 1.6GHZ Samsung 1000GB SATA II HARD DRIVE
  • Integrated AMD® Radeon HD 6310 graphics card
  • SAMSUNG BLU RAY READER / DVD +/- REWRITER
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • Gigabit Ethernet Optical
  • Passive CPU cooler built into motherboard
  • Logitech k400 Wireless Touch Keyboard

OUR VERDICT

The Zippy X35 HD Media Centre is much, much slower than any other PC in this group – but it also costs less. It provides ample power for fulfilling multimedia duties and provides DirectX 11 graphics and accelerated Blu-ray playback. Its fanless CPU cooler is somewhat wasted in a case employing noisy fans.

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